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Cook’s Top 5: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Quarterbacks

Cook tackles the Tampa Bay Buccaneers! From 0-26 while calling for the execution of the team, to undisputed best team in the NFL…it’s a funny ride. How close is his QB Top 5?

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have an interesting history. The worst winning percentage of any franchise currently in the National Football League. Absolutely miserable at the outset, a long streak of futility after a brief stretch of relevance, and then a long streak of uselessness after that before signing Tom Brady. You’d like to call them the worst franchise in NFL history, but they’ve got two more Super Bowl wins than my Bengals, or the Browns, Lions, Cardinals or most other teams we put in this conversation.

Such a weird franchise. They’re either at the top of the league or a complete joke. Not much middle ground to be had. People want to tell me about Vinny Testaverde’s stint with the team when he had more interceptions than Barry Horowitz had losses. Let’s go ahead and count five down as quick as we can.

5. Trent Dilfer

Dilfer was the sixth overall pick in the 1994 NFL Draft, and to say he got off to a rough start would be a bit of an understatement. Downright ugly numbers in 1995 & 95, but 1997 saw a turnaround that led to a Pro Bowl selection. It also led to the Buccaneers making the playoffs for the first time in fifteen years. Dilfer still holds the record for most wins as a starting quarterback of the Buccaneers with thirty-eight. He never set the world on fire, but he grew into the role of “game manager”. His career as an analyst & quarterback guru after retiring from football show that he understood the position better than most.

4. Doug Williams

You can’t overstate how dreadful the Buccaneers were during the first years of their existence. They lost their first twenty-six games, being shut out in eleven of them. When asked about the execution of his football team, coach John McKay said he was for it. All of a sudden, in year 4, the Bucs win the NFC Central and make it to the conference championship game. The young defense got better, running back Ricky Bell went for 1,000 yards, and Doug Williams emerged as the Bucs’ first somewhat competent quarterback. The Bucs had taken him seventeenth overall in the 1978 Draft, making Williams the first Black quarterback taken in the first round in Draft history.

Williams wasn’t the strongest part of that team, but he would improve in the next couple of seasons. He threw for over 3,000 yards in 1980 & 81, finishing in the top ten in the league. Williams would take the Bucs back to the playoffs in 1981 & 82 before leaving for the USFL due to a contract dispute. The Buccaneers would lose ten games or more each of the next twelve seasons, and wouldn’t post a winning record until 1997. Williams would win a Super Bowl with Washington. Tampa probably should have kept him around.

3. Jameis Winston

Jan 3, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) looks to pass in the third quarter. The Panthers defeated the Buccaneers 31-10 at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Winston was the first overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, having been one of college football’s top stars during his two seasons at Florida State. He came out of the gate strong, earning a Pro Bowl selection & being named Rookie of the Year after his first season. He kept putting up numbers the next few seasons, including 5,109 passing yards in 2019. That led the league, but he also led the league in interceptions & overall turnovers. The consistent inconsistency on the field combined with off-field issues led to Bucs management souring on their young QB, and letting him go after the 2019 season.

Famous Jameis tops the Bucs’ list in most passing categories. Most passing yards by nearly five thousand. Most touchdowns by forty-one. He’s played in the third-most games, so it’s not like some of these franchise lists where one guy plays twice as many games as everybody else. He put up some numbers, but they weren’t enough to keep Tampa from looking for better options. They found one, and now Winston’s in New Orleans hoping to fill Drew Brees’ old position. It’s a great opportunity for Jameis to prove that he deserved the hype he got coming out of college…if he can fight off Taysom Hill.

2. Tom Brady

I got the impression that some Buccaneers fans were a bit insulted at the idea that TB could be the franchise’s best quarterback after one season. Granted, there might be a touch of recency bias here, as Brady’s one season with Tampa Bay was the most recent season, and ended in a Super Bowl victory. Dude’s 1 for 1 in winning titles for this team. Threw for 4,633 yards & 40 touchdowns. good for third & second-best in the league respectively. Oh, and he was 43 years old. Will be 44 this Tuesday. Had a torn up knee for this season where he was old. Didn’t seem to affect him too much.

Doesn’t matter. Brady will have a game or two, or even a moment of two where he looks human. Many of you will take that as reason to believe that the old man’s washed up and doesn’t have it anymore. Me, I’ll believe that when he’s retired. All indications are he’ll last long enough in Tampa to become this franchise’s official GOAT. Just needs another season like this one to do it, in my opinion.

1. Brad Johnson

Johnson was drafted in the 9th round of the the 1992 NFL Draft, which doesn’t even exist nowadays. His time with Minnesota led to a stint with Washington where he got his first Pro Bowl selection, and those two seasons led him to Tampa Bay. The Bucs were in that time period where all they needed was a game manager at QB, and Johnson was able to be that.

Johnson’s second Pro Bowl selection came in 2002, the season where the Bucs had their most wins in franchise history and won their first Super Bowl under the teaching of Jon Gruden. That boy got a decade of announcing Monday Night Football and a big money deal coaching the Raiders. Craziness. As obsessed as Gruden is with quarterbacks, Johnson is the best one he ever coached. How bout that?

Thanks for reading! Next time we look at the Tennessee Titans!


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NFL

Cook’s 2022 NFL Gambling Picks: Week 12

NFL Week 12 kicks off with a trio of Thanksgiving Day games! Steve Cook has all of your picks for the week, click and see who will win!

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Giants vs Cowboys NFL Week 12

NFL Week 12 kicks off with a trio of Thanksgiving Day games! Steve Cook has all of your picks for the week, click and see who will win!

Hi, hello & welcome to Week 12 of the National Football League! I’m Steve Cook, and I’d like to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all of you that have chosen to spend part of your day checking out some NFL picks on the Chairshot. It’s one of the most glorious days on the NFL calendar, with three games to watch while we eat turkey and endure our families.

We went over .500 again last week, but only by one game. The push to an overall .500 record continues, but let’s hope that next week we’re thankful for some outstanding picks. Odds are via Vegas Insider Consensus as of Wednesday morning.

Thursday, November 24

Buffalo (-9.5) at Detroit

The Bills got a chance to get accustomed to Ford Field this week, as they ended up playing their Week 11 game with Cleveland there due to their homefield being covered with several feet of snow. It’s been a good chance to see what the Bills’ offense could do in an indoor environment. (Remember when we thought Josh Allen might be seriously injured? That was funny.) I expect this to be a high-scoring game and a good way to start off Thanksgiving, which is more than we can say for most Lions games that have been featured in this timeslot since 1934.

I think the Bills will win, but I also think that spread is at a high number and the Lions can put up some points on a Bills’ defense that hasn’t quite lived up to preseason billing.

NY Giants at Dallas (-9.5)

Two teams with opposite experiences during Week 11. The Cowboys had their best showing of the season, laying waste to the Vikings in Minneapolis. Meanwhile, the Giants got humbled in East Rutherford by the Lions. You can see why the spread is a bit higher than one would expect here, and even if the roles were reversed one would expect the Cowboys to be a heavy favorite anyway. Vegas has been high on Dallas all season, while waiting for the bottom to drop out on the Giants. Maybe we’ve finally reached that point? If nothing else, injuries definitely seem to be catchup up with the G-Men.

Again, I look at the number and think it’s a bit too larger. Sure, the Cowboys won by 37 points last week against a team that’s probably better than the Giants, but I don’t see them stringing together two games in a row like that. I’ll roll with the Giants and the points.

New England at Minnesota (-2.5)

Folks who have been waiting all year for the Vikings to put together a stinker & reveal themselves as frauds were quite happy with Sunday’s result. The Vikings had no answers for the Cowboys on offense or defense. One would hope for a better effort on Thursday night against the Patriots, but we know all about the Kirk Cousins prime time narrative. Whether it’s his fault or not, and the statistics show that it usually hasn’t been Cousins’ fault, his teams haven’t gotten it done when the lights are on bright.

He’ll also be facing a defense that’s been absolutely on point lately. The Vikings’ defense has been a bit of a disaster lately, so I’m liking the Patriots to at least keep things close if not score the upset. That’s right, we’re rolling with three doggs on Thanksgiving! Gobble gobble!

Sunday, November 27

Houston at Miami (-13)

On one hand, that’s a lot of points. On the other hand, Tua & the Dolphins’ offense can put up some points and are coming off of a bye. The Texans look to be in good shape to get the #1 overall draft pick and a chance at a franchise quarterback, which is something they could definitely use. I see the Dolphins taking care of business here.

Baltimore (-4) at Jacksonville

It was a bit of a slog, but the Ravens were eventually able to dismiss the lowly Panthers. Lamar Jackson wasn’t looking quite like himself due to an illness, but the defense stepped up and kept Baker Mayfield from doing much of anything. The Jaguar offense isn’t a large step up from Carolina’s, and I see the Ravens holding them in check to get the victory in Jacksonville.

Tampa Bay (-3.5) at Cleveland

Oh look, the Bucs are starting to hit their stride in the second half of the season. We’ve never seen a Tom Brady-led team do that before, right? Seems downright impossible to believe. They head up to Cleveland this week to face a Browns team that’s trying not to fall off the map before Deshaun Watson comes in and becomes the franchise quarterback that Cleveland hasn’t had since Bernie Kosar. They’ve managed to keep things close in their recent defeats, and could really use a win here to start a late-season push.

I see the Buccaneers winning by a touchdown or so, probably in the last minutes of the game just to stick the knife into Cleveland fans a little bit more.

Chicago at NY Jets (-5.5)

After Justin Fields & Zach Wilson got all of the hype early this season, there’s actually a chance that the quarterbacks in this game could be Trevor Siemian & Mike White. Fields injured his shoulder last week while carrying the offense on his back against the Falcons, while Wilson was wildly ineffective against the Patriots and refused to take any of the blame for his team’s failures on offense. Wilson hasn’t lived up to the preseason hype since debuting in Week 4, and it seems like the Jets are strong enough at other positions to make the playoffs with any level of production at quarterback. The report as of press time is that Wilson will be benched this game.

This is one of those games that I don’t have a really good read on. Fields being healthy or not has a dramatic impact on the Bears offense against a really good Jets defense. The Bears defense isn’t any good, but who’s going to score on them in this game? It’s a pickle, but I’ll take the Jets to rebound from last week in a low-scoring affair.

Cincinnati (-1.5) at Tennessee

I’m pretty sure we’ve discussed this before. There’s no such thing as a “revenge game” for losing in last year’s playoffs during the regular season. The Titans who were part of the 2021 team that had the #1 seed in the AFC and had the best chance of any Titans team during the 21st century to go to the Super Bowl aren’t going to feel any better about their loss to tbe Bengals in the Divisional Round by defeating them in Week 12 of the 2022 regular season. These games are not equal in importance. Maybe, if the game was in Week 18 and could keep the Bengals from making the playoffs, that could be a “revenge game”. Not in Week 12.

The Bengals’ defense uncharacteristically struggled against the Steelers on Sunday, but Joe Burrow, Samaje Perine & company were effective enough on offense to get the team to 2-0 when wearing white helmets. They’ll be back in the orange helmets this week for their trip to Nashville, which I’d expect to be a fun place during Thanksgiving Weekend. I also expect this to be a tight game, and I still think people are sleeping on the Titans a bit. They looked good in Lambeau Field on Thursday night, and will be rested up & ready to go here.

Denver (-2.5) at Carolina

Sam Darnold is back! Will it matter for the Panthers? Probably not in the long run. It’s tough to tell much difference between the Panthers quarterbacked by Darnold, Baker Mayfield, P.J. Walker, Todd Bergman or Jeremy Lambert. You get the same result either way. Fortunately, D’Onta Foreman has kept the Panther running game going and the defense has been pretty effective. That’s enough for me to pick the Panthers against a Broncos team that reaches new lows with each week.

Atlanta at Washington (-4)

Both the Falcons & Commanders have found most of their success on offense running the ball, so expect a ton of that in this game. I think it’ll come down to which team does better at defending the run, and so far this season it’s been the Commanders. The Falcons have been weak overall on defense, which leads me to believe that Taylor Henicke & the Commanders will defend serve at home.

Las Vegas at Seattle (-3.5)

The Raiders got a cute little overtime win against the Broncos last week, but should return to Earth this week. The Seahawks are a big step up in offense from what they saw last week, and their passing defense should get the job done against Derek Carr. I see the Seahawks continuing their push to the playoffs with a big win here.

LA Chargers (-4) at Arizona

Both teams came up short last week in prime time against division rivals. The Chargers’ effort against the Chiefs was far superior to the Cardinals against the 49ers, but the end result was the same. Except I don’t think any of the Chargers’ coaches got fired for groping women. LA needs a win here to stay in playoff contention, and I like their chances of doing it with Justin Herbert doing his thing with some comptent wide receivers. Take the Chargers as the road favorites, it’s not like the Cardinals win very often in Glendale anyway.

New Orleans at San Francisco (-9.5)

The 49ers have been on an absolute roll since integrating Christian McCaffrey into the offense. They now have the look of a team that should contend to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. The Saints do not have that sort of a look about them, even if they took care of last year’s Super Bowl Champions last week. Ride with the 49ers here.

LA Rams at Kansas City (-14.5)

Here’s the thing: The Rams have been on quite the losing streak, but they’re keeping things close in these games. The issue is that they haven’t been playing teams anywhere near the Chiefs’ level. The last time they did, the 49ers blew them out by 17 points. And that was before they lost Cooper Kupp and cut the running back that they insisted was the best back they had and used to try & drive Cam Akers out of town. Lots of problems in LA when you don’t have Andrew Whitworth’s leadership on offense or Von Miller holding things down on defense, and when you have Matthew Stafford spending ton of time in concussion protocol.

I trust the Chiefs to score a ton of points. The Rams, not so much.

Green Bay at Philadelphia (-7)

To say things aren’t going well for the Packers in 2022 would be an understatement. They followed up a big comeback win over the Cowboys with a listless effort against the Titans on Thursday night. The bright side of that is they’ve had plenty of time to think on things and get healthy before going to Philadelphia & playing the top team in the NFC. A win here could change the narrative for Aaron Rodgers & company.

I don’t see the Packers winning, but I can see them keeping things close against an Eagles team that hasn’t been looking unbeatable lately. Packers & points seems the way to go here.

Monday, November 28

Pittsburgh at Indianapolis (-2.5)

Even though the Steelers came up short against the Bengals, they still look much improved from their efforts early on in the season. As I’ve said previously, I expect Pittsburgh to be a much stronger team in the years ahead, and they’ll be back in playoff contention sooner rather than later. Not a fan of it myself, but that’s what’s going to happen. The Colts have also looked better lately, as the coaching change seems to have brought life into a team that really isn’t that bad. I have higher hopes for this game than the Tweeter does.

This should be a tight game, but I think the Steelers‘ defense will have a better showing this week against Matt Ryan than they did against Joe Burrow. Tell you what though, Jeff Saturday fans would certainly have reasons to beat their chest if their boy can get a win over Mike Tomlin.

Week 11 Results: 7-6-1
Overall Results: 78-82-5


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Down The Wire: NFL No Cap Recap Week 11

Tom and Dave are back, with no cap, to break down all the action from week 11 in the NFL.

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Tom and Dave are back, with no cap, to break down all the action from week 11 in the NFL.

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