Thursday, November 23, 2017
Sports

Jones: A half-empty, half-full view of the Bucs

RECOMMENDED READING


The Bucs head to New Orleans, and it won’t be a Big Easy. At 2-5 and losers of four in a row, their season is in jeopardy.

By Sunday night, they will have new hope, or we can pick a graveyard plot to bury this 2017 season.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

The Bucs were offseason darlings, the chic pick to make the playoffs. They’ve gone from up-and-coming to down-and-outing in a month.

Yet, look at this roster. You see a bunch of talent. And we’re barely into November. Still feels like plenty of time depending on how you look at things.

Are you a glass half-full kind of person? Or a glass half-empty?

Well, we’ll break it down for each of you. Here’s our Glass Half-Empty and Glass Half-Full Guide for the Bucs.

GLASS HALF-FULL: Hey, there are still nine games left.

GLASS HALF-EMPTY: You mean there are nine more of these games?

GLASS HALF-FULL: They still have an offense with first-round picks Jameis Winston, Doug Martin, Mike Evans and O.J. Howard, as well as prized free agent DeSean Jackson and catch-everything tight end Cam Brate.

GLASS HALF-EMPTY: That offense with all that talent has scored a grand total of six points in the first half of the past three games combined.

GLASS HALF-FULL: The Bucs could get some help for the pass rush with defensive end Darryl Tapp, who has 28 career sacks.

GLASS HALF-EMPTY: The Bucs have seven sacks in seven games. There are eight players in the league with more sacks than that. The Bucs are on pace for 16 sacks this season, which would be the lowest total since the Jaguars had 14 in 2009.

GLASS HALF-FULL: Winston is going to keep playing despite a shoulder that is not 100 percent. Still, he gives the team its best chance to win.

GLASS HALF-EMPTY: Winston is coming off a two-interception game against the Panthers in which he had a season-low QB rating 49.2. He is clearly not playing his best football right now, and it isn’t all because it has been windy.

GLASS HALF-FULL: The secondary wasn’t too bad last week, even without the services of cornerback Brent Grimes or the help of a pass rush.

GLASS HALF-EMPTY: Sunday’s opponent, Drew Brees, owns the Bucs. The Saints QB has thrown for more yards and touchdowns against Tampa Bay than any opponent. And if he wins Sunday, it will give him 16 victories over Tampa Bay, more than any other quarterback.

GLASS HALF-FULL: The rest of the schedule doesn’t look that daunting. A bunch of division games, then the Dolphins, Jets, Lions and Packers without Aaron Rodgers.

GLASS HALF-EMPTY: Actually, the Jets are better than anyone thought they’d be. The Green Bay game is at Green Bay in December (brrr!), and the NFC South is pretty good after all.

GLASS HALF-FULL: A win Sunday and the Bucs are 3-5. That’s the same record they had a season ago before going on a five-game win streak that put them at 8-5 and gave them a really good crack at the playoffs.

GLASS HALF-EMPTY: What makes you think this team can win two in a row, let alone five?

Contact Tom Jones at tjones@tampabay.com. Follow @tomwjones.

 
Comments
Irish, Gamecocks potentially await USF women this weekend

Irish, Gamecocks potentially await USF women this weekend

The extended Thanksgiving weekend is upon us, with Christmas on deck. A season of bountiful dining, though some are wondering if Jose Fernandez has bitten off a bit more than he can chew.One thing's certain: There's not a cream puff or cupcake to be ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Days after a high fever, Jon Mott wins his fifth Times Turkey Trot 10K

Days after a high fever, Jon Mott wins his fifth Times Turkey Trot 10K

CLEARWATER — On Tuesday, Jon Mott had a 103-degree fever. That was not enough to keep him from maintaining his dominance Thursday at the 39th Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot.The former Northeast standout added to his record with his fifth title in the ev...
Updated: 5 hours ago
New Weeki Wachee basketball coach transitions from years on college sidelines

New Weeki Wachee basketball coach transitions from years on college sidelines

WEEKI WACHEE — Mark Lee was looking for an accomplished coach to take over Weeki Wachee High’s boys basketball team. Not only did he find what he was searching for, but he may have gone above and beyond with the hiring of Rick Scruggs.The 30-year vet...
Published: 11/23/17

Koetter says Bucs not distracted by Jameis Winston’s off-field issue

The Bucs are 1-0 since news broke last Friday of Jameis Winston being accused by an Uber driver of groping her during a ride in March of 2016.That's really all the evidence coach Dirk Koetter needs to say the issue has not been a distraction to the t...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Happy Turkey Day!Today is a day of tradition.The Macy’s parade. Turkey and stuffing. The Lions and Cowboys.And our annual "Turkey of the Year.’’It’s a tradition started by my former colleague at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the brilliant columnist P...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Nikita Kucherov really does admire Patrick Kane

Nikita Kucherov really does admire Patrick Kane

TAMPA — Lightning wing Nikita Kucherov has watched plenty of film on Blackhawks star Patrick Kane.Kucherov marveled how the 2015-16 league MVP uses deception to "hide" from defenders. He noticed how patient Kane was with the puck, how well he passed ...
Published: 11/22/17
Lightning beats Blackhawks in OT

Lightning beats Blackhawks in OT

TAMPA — The Lightning entered Wednesday’s game against the Blackhawks determined to avoid its first losing streak of the season. And it did in dramatic fashion, with Brayden Point’s power-play goal in overtime lifting it to a 3-2 victory. "A big boun...
Published: 11/22/17

Joe Smith’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Lightning-Blackhawks game

Every Lightning-Blackhawks game at Amalie Arena has a good representation of red in the stands. And Wednesday’s matchup was no exception, with a large contingent of transplants and travelers. "It feels like half the city of Chicago is traveling down ...
Published: 11/22/17

Thursday’s sports on TV/radio

TodayCollege footballMississippi at Mississippi State7:30 p.m.ESPNCollege basketballMissouri vs. Long Beach State11:30 a.m.ESPN2Tennessee vs. Villanova12:30 p.m.ESPNSt. John’s vs. Oregon State2 p.m.ESPNUPortland vs. North Carolina2:30 p.m.ESPNNorth C...
Published: 11/22/17
Niederreiter stays hot for Wild in win

Niederreiter stays hot for Wild in win

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Nino Niederreiter and Mikael Granlund each scored two goals to lead the Wild to a 5-4 victory over the Sabres on Wednesday night. Tyler Ennis also scored, and Mikko Koivu and Ryan Suter each had two assists as the Wild snapped a two-g...
Published: 11/22/17