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Have Bucs fallen into trap of believing all the hype about them?

Roy Cummings

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Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire
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TAMPA – As Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter walked off the fields at One Buc Place following his team’s training camp workout on Wednesday, a fan shouted out, “Good practice coach.’’

“Yeah, I’m not so sure about that,’’ Koetter muttered back.

Wednesday marked the 19th of the Bucs camp workouts. It also marked the third time in the last week that Koetter walked away from a workout unhappy with what he’d just seen.

 “Not good, not good,’’ a clearly perturbed Koetter said Wednesday when asked how practice went. “Our effort – it wasn’t good enough. And that’s on me. I have to coach them better.’’

Not necessarily. After more than three weeks of workouts and two preseason games, the Bucs appear to have reached that point where they’re just over camp and are ready to play start playing games that matter.

The problem is, they’re really not as ready as they need to be. From an execution standpoint, the Bucs need every work day they have left before the start of the season, and Wednesday’s workout showed why.

It was another day when the energy level wasn’t quite what it needed to be and the play on the field was rather sloppy, and the fact the Bucs mauy have grown tired of the same old camp routine is no excuse for that.

“We’re definitely at that point,’’ Koetter said of being anxious to end the grind of camp, “but that’s making excuses. If you’re looking for excuses that would be one, but you try not to do that.’’

The hope of course, and the likelihood, is that the Bucs will soon break out of their malaise. The fear is that they won’t break out of it before the season starts and it’s a legitimate fear.

The Bucs have a sprinkling of veterans who know, or should at least remember, what it takes to make it to the playoffs. Guys like Robert, Ayers, Chris Baker and Brent Grimes.

For the most part, though, this a very young team, one loaded with players who have never experienced a playoff run or even been on a team that was expected to make one.

The bulk of the Bucs best players, in fact, fall into that category, and what’s worrisome is the possibility that some may have fallen into the trap of believing all that’s being said of them.

The Bucs were picked for Hard Knocks and have since emerged as one of the chic picks to make the playoffs because they have that look of a good young team on the rise.

The Bucs can’t just throw their helmets out on the field and expect those expectations to become reality, though, and Koetter has been preaching that since the team first gathered together back in the spring.

Koetter was among the first to try to quell all the great expectations everyone has for this team and he did so, in part, out of fear his young players might start believing the hype.

It’s hard to tell if that’s what’s happening here, but when a coach describes every third or fourth practice as “sluggish’’ or “not good enough,’’ something is definitely wrong, and time may be running out to fix it.

 

Roy Cummings is a native of Chicago, Illinois who grew up in the suburb of Lombard. He and his family later moved to Lakeland, Florida, where Roy attended high school at Kathleen High. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications in 1983 and immediately went to work for the Tampa Tribune. After five years working in a Polk County bureau covering everything from high school sports to college football to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, Roy moved back to Tampa and became the Tribune's first beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning, covering the team from its inception through the first eight years on the ice. He was then moved to the Buccaneers beat, where he stayed until the paper was folded in May, 2016. A two-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year, Roy has extensive experience covering all Tampa professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Fantasy Football “Start/Sit” for Florida players Week 14

Florida Football Insiders

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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Everyone’s favorite time of year has arrived, that is if you had a good season. The fantasy playoffs are here, and if you made it, chances are some Florida players helped get there.

This week the Buccaneers will host the reeling Colts. The Jaguars will host the under-performing Chargers, and the Dolphins travel to play the ever-disappointing Jets.

The Buccaneers will entertain the Colts, who have the 13th overall defense. The Colts are 1-4 in their last five games and desperately need a win. Last week, they were torched on the ground by Titans RB Derick Henry. However, this was the first 100-yard rusher against the Colts this season.

The Bucs again surprised fantasy players last week, when Ronald Jones was benched in the first half for not picking up a blitz. This led to Peyton Barber scoring two touchdowns, while Jones had zero points. The Colts have surrendered two passing touchdowns in each of their last three games. Last week the Tampa Bay offense didn’t have to do nearly as much as usual.

This week, expect the Bucs vertical passing to be back throwing the ball at least 35 times. With a stout run defense, Jameis Winston will need to be at the top of his game in a big test for this Bucs team.

The Jaguars offense has been rough through the air with Nick Foles back. Now, Foles is back on the bench in favor of rookie, Gardner Minshew. The Chargers come into town with the 4th ranked pass defense, but let Drew Lock and Cortland Sutton connect for 74 yards and two touchdowns. The Chargers own the 18th ranked rush defense, and that is music to the ears of Leonard Fournette.

It has been a rough couple of weeks for the running back facing some stout run defenses. This weekend look for Fournette to get back on track. With the return of Minshew means the D.J. Chark becomes even more attractive. Chark was still the top guy with Foles in, but he and Minshew have a good connection.

The Dolphins are coming off one of the stunners of the year beating the Eagles in a 37-31 shootout. This week they set their sights on the Jets, who just gave the Bengals their first win. The Jets have the leagues’ best-run defense, which is usually significant. However, the Dolphins can’t run the ball effectively at all.

That means Ryan Fitzpatrick will be throwing a lot against the 19th ranked pass defense.

Last week Fitzpatrick and Devante Parker destroyed the Eagles secondary. This week they will have all the opportunities to do the same thing to the Jets. With the tight end position a mess, Mike Gesicki is an option again, who has scored in two straight games.

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Colts Kicker Adam Vinateri out for Bucs game

Abbey Radeka

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Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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The Colts are traveling to Tampa Bay but will likely take on the Bucs without their future Hall of Fame Kicker, Adam Vinatieri.

Before the matchup last week against the Titans, Vinatieri had began to experience a bit of pain in his left knee, the leg he plants to kick with his right leg. He told reporters that the pain began to increase through the week which led him to be placed on the Colt’s injury report for the first time this season.

Later Friday afternoon, Indy made Vinatieri’s “out” status official:

Vinatieri who is currently the NFL’s all-time leading scorer, has struggled to be consistent this season and has made a career-low 68% of his field goal attempts. He’s cost the Colt’s a couple of games in his missed eight field goals and six extra points.

Colts head coach Frank Reich said Wednesday that Vinatieri saw some doctors and got scans to figure out the severity of the problem. From there, they’ll consult with doctors and make a decision, which could potentially end his career. He’s currently sitting at 599 made FGs in his 24 seasons, just one shy of the 600 mark.

Earlier this week, Indianapolis secured rookie kicker Chase McLaughlin off waivers from the San Francisco 49ers and the 45 year old Pro Bowler had said on Thursday that if he got the go ahead from everyone, he’d take the field on Sunday.

“Docs and trainers and everybody will put their two cents in and we’ll see if we can go,” Vinatieri said. “If I can go, I’ll go.”

Obviously, he did not get good news, and that means the rookie McLaughlin is in to kick at Raymond James Stadium.

The Colts are looking to stay in the race for the AFC wild card spot, in a similar situation as the Bucs, so this Sunday (and really every Sunday from here on out) is a do or die for both teams.

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