Here’s a recap of the Bucs’ 38-35 loss to the Giants on Sunday: They fell behind early, made a mediocre quarterback look like a great quarterback, turned the ball over, benched Ryan Fitzpatrick for Jameis Winston and rallied before ultimately folding. In other words, they did what they’ve done most weeks. They’re 3-7, but all is not lost: They’re in position to land the seventh overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft.
I’ll be back around lunchtime with my weekly AfterMath analysis, but for now let’s start talking about the things we’re going to talk about this week.
• Did Jameis Winston regain the starting job? Probably. There’s a good chance we’ll find at Dirk Koetter’s 2:30 p.m. news conference. Follow along here.
• ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Sunday that the Jaguars will consider trading All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey in the offseason. The team dismissed the idea in a report, saying “The Jaguars have zero intention of trading CB Jalen Ramsey. There is no truth to this rumor.”
The Bucs could use another cornerback or four, so they should jump in the Ramsey sweepstakes, right? A couple of things to consider: 1.) 30 other teams will be interested, so the price the former Florida State star will be high, likely astronomical. 2.) Tampa Bay has done this before — in 2013 with Darrelle Revis — and it backfired badly.
Granted, Revis was coming off a major knee injury, was 28 during that season and was playing under a coach and general manager desperate to keep their jobs. Ramsey will be 25 next season and won’t be eligible for free agency until 2021.
Ramsey is a playmaker, but he can be prone to allowing big plays, too, which we saw during the Jaguars loss to the Steelers on Sunday. Though he picked off Ben Roethlisberger twice, he also allowed a 25-yard completion late that set up a game-winning touchdown.
• The last time the Bucs forced a turnover: Oct. 21 against the Browns, when Antony Auclair stripped the ball from Jabrill Peppers during a punt return. It’s not just a matter of the ball not bouncing their way. They’re often not even close to it. Case in point: Eli Manning completed 17 of 18 passes.
• Speaking of the Browns, Schefter reported that Cleveland is interested in interviewing former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for its head-coaching job. “No, thanks,” Rice said. Good call.
No word yet on whether Tampa Bay also will seek to raid George W. Bush’s cabinet and pursue Colin Powell.
• In his Bucs debut, Cairos Santos made all five of his extra points. That’s great and all, but before we hand him the keys to Tampa, let’s see how he kicks in front of the home crowd.
• Looking ahead to the 49ers’ visit, it will be a homecoming for Matt Breida, the former star running back at Nature Coast Tech High in Brooksville. Breida, who signed with San Francisco after the 2017 NFL draft (the draft in which Tampa Bay chose Jeremy McNichols is the fifth round), is enjoying a breakout season. He has gained 756 yards from scrimmage and scored five touchdowns. Bucs running backs Peyton Barber, Jacquizz Rodgers, Ronald Jones and Shaun Wilson have gained 814 yards from scrimmage and have scored three touchdowns.
Another Tampa Bay connection: Jeff Monken, the cousin of Bucs offensive coordinator Todd, recruited Breida to Georgia Southern in 2013.
• Sunday will be a reunion of sorts for Todd Monken and Nick Mullens, who has gone from practice squad player to 49ers starting quarterback. Monken recruited Mullens to Southern Mississippi in 2013, and two seasons later Mullens set school single-season records in touchdown passes (38), passing yards (4,476) and completions (331). He also holds records in career touchdown passes (87) and passing yards (11,994).
• It’s Thanksgiving week. Here’s a video of Ryan Fitzpatrick and wife Liza making chicken squares on Rachel Ray. “Chickeny, cheesy, croissanty — it’s got it all.”
Eli Manning’s passer rating Sunday, the highest rating of his career in a game in which he threw more than 10 passes.
Ranking the Bucs’ “losses”
5. 38-35 loss to New York Giants
Things we said
Winston didn’t say it in so many words, but he was hurt by his benching. He may have deserved it after turning the ball over 10 times in 14 quarters, but beneath his words Sunday was a 24-year-old No. 1 overall pick who Koetter gave up on. By Rick Stroud.
Pierre-Paul’s return to the Meadowlands lived up to the buildup. He was received well, even cheered by Giants fans at times, while he logged 1.5 sacks of Manning and seven tackles. By Eduardo Encina.
Barber entered the game having just two games of more than 16 carries, and his 3.7 yard-per-carry average entering the day had been pedestrian. But he averaged 5.9 yards per carry Sunday, often driving for extra yards after drawing contact. By Eduardo Encina.
Lots of bad marks in this one, be warned. By Rick Stroud.
Starring Rick Stroud and Eduardo Encina.
Contact Thomas Bassinger at [email protected]. Follow @tometrics.