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T.J. Rives | Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sideline Reporter

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence
The Truth Network Radio
September 26, 2023 7:09 pm

T.J. Rives | Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sideline Reporter

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence

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September 26, 2023 7:09 pm

Tampa Bay Bucs sideline reporter TJ Rives joins the show to recap a tough MNF Football loss to the Eagles at Raymond James Stadium.

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Shop in store or visit Ashley.com today. T.J. Reeves, who is part of the Deckerhoff crew. Gene Deckerhoff does play-by-play.

He's on the sidelines roaming back and forth and up and down and seeing what he can see. T.J., let's talk about the Eagles and what they were able to do in the trenches. What stands out about the game against Philadelphia?

How about two words as advertised on Philadelphia. Both sides of the ball, front seven on defense controlling the line of scrimmage and then that offensive line just went right at the Buccaneers for four quarters and took it to them for the most part. They ran when they wanted to run. They controlled the clock. They controlled the game. So as much as it was a frustrating night for the Bucs, not really able to do a whole lot in this one, you got to credit the Eagles. They look like the defending NFC champs tonight at field level.

Big, physical on both sides of the ball. And if you're going to beat this team, whether you're San Francisco, Dallas down the road, maybe the Buccaneers get another crack, whomever, you have got to be ready to bring the lunch pail and bring it for 60 minutes. Because that's what the Eagles do. And to this point, they had not turned the ball over offensively. An interception tonight and then there was another lost fumble. So what did you see in terms of the way that the Eagles played them defensively? They were very physical again in stopping the run for the most part, especially early in the game. Buccaneers could not get in a rhythm.

They got one first down on like each of the first three drives and still had to punt the ball. And then the sequence you're talking about, we haven't seen the turnover yet in Baker Mayfield through a pass where he just did not see the safety coming over in front of Chris Godwin. But you immediately get that one back, Amy, you get an interception by Devon White, who was playing hurt.

I'm not making excuses, but he's not even 75 percent of Devon White. He picks the ball off and he's the only guy on that side of the field. And he ran about 20 yards.

And can I say it on after hours? He looked like me going out of bounds. I mean, he just didn't.

And I'm 53 years old. So he didn't have anything on that play. But then you give the ball right back to plays later on a Richard White fumble. Rashad Rashad said to me after the game just a little while ago on Buccaneers radio, I got to take better care of the ball. They're going to swat at me.

I'm a second year player. And they swatted at him from behind and knocked it out of there. It gave the Eagles momentum back. They got a field goal. They then come out of a locker room and march on a 75 yard drive.

And that that really it wasn't everything. But that set the tone for the second half because once they put that in for 20 to 3, it was big trouble for the Bucks. What have you noticed about this group, this new offense coming together and jelling and how the pieces fit? They have been good. And again, it's a first year offensive coordinator and Dave Canales who came from Seattle as the QB coach. So he's getting used to calling plays.

He's got a brand new quarterback in Baker Mayfield who's getting used to the personnel around him. And four of the offensive line positions are different. You've moved Tristan works from right tackle to left tackle. You've got a brand new left guard who was with the Chargers last year and Matt Feiler. You've got a rookie right guard that you just drafted out of North Dakota State, Cody Malk, and then Luke Gedicke who primarily played guard last year. But it's a natural right tackle is the right tackle. So 80 percent of your offensive line is different.

So that is going to take some getting used to. But by and large against Minnesota and Chicago, they were able to execute. They were able to protect Baker Mayfield.

This is a different level team, obviously, tonight. And they disrupted the Buccaneer offensive line from the jump. They pressured Mayfield some and the Bucks never got in rhythm really until the fourth quarter. There was a key sequence in the second quarter where they put a drive together and Mike Evans did come up with the ball in the end zone. You settle for a field goal. And from there it was a drought after that doing anything offensively until the fourth quarter. And the Eagles are too good for you to go two or two and a half quarters without scoring points. TJ Reeves is fresh off the Buccaneers sidelines on their radio network as they drop their first game of the year to the visiting Eagles, but still two and one. And interestingly, in the NFC South, everybody loses in week three. We'll get to that coming up.

It's After Hours with Amy Lawrence here on CBS Sports Radio. I've heard Todd Bowles describe Baker Mayfield as a warrior, which I thought was an interesting word for him. What type of leadership style do you see with him?

I like what I've seen so far. You hear all these different stories. And look, he understands this is his fourth opportunity and maybe his last opportunity for now to be an established starter if it doesn't work out. I mean, let's be realistic. You had a chance in Carolina and it didn't work. The Rams did not make a legitimate offer to keep you.

So now you're here in Tampa Bay on a one year Prove-It contract. So he knows he knows he's got to be the best Baker Mayfield. He's got to be a leader as a veteran. Remember, the guys, you know, played in over 40 games in the NFL. He won a playoff game in Cleveland and he's done a really good job of keeping his composure and being on the same page with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Tonight, the opponent had something to do with that. But by and large, Baker Mayfield has been good. It's early. It's only three games, but they've got to keep him healthy and he's got to keep the right attitude and the right focus right now. Because you've got a lot of talent, especially on the offensive side of this of this football team between Evans, Godwin, Rashad White, the running back, the tight end that can go down the field and can make plays.

You've got some weapons. And if Baker Mayfield trusts those and can set them up to make plays, you've got a chance to do some damage. I like the connection I've seen between him and Mike Evans. Mike, obviously a very talented receiver, but the last couple of years had a Tom Brady.

That's developed pretty quickly. Yes. And there were a couple of balls. You just said to me again on the postgame show, a couple balls for Mike Evans where he didn't make the play.

He said those are on me. But yeah, he made a couple of spectacular catches in this game as well. Got the touchdown later on in the game. And Baker sees the same thing that Tom Brady saw when he wanted to come to the Buccaneers, which is Mike Evans going to make a lot of quarterbacks look good. Chris Godwin underneath going to make a lot of quarterbacks look good. And you're just getting acclimated as a new quarterback with a new offensive coordinator and a new offense for these guys to learn. You're just getting into the beginning stages of it three games in. Let's see what it looks like as you get into mid-October, early November. Does the offense start to click a little bit more?

Because you certainly have some weapons that can that can make that happen. I like Mayfield's toughness. He'll get into a defender's face that's trying to rough him up or sack him.

He's not taking anything off anybody. So you see some early positive signs that the Bucs can build on there. Rashad White has had some really impressive moments and impressive runs to start the season.

A third round pick from 2022. And it was a different backfield with Tom Brady the last couple years. How much of a balance do the Bucs want between him as their premier back and then the passing attack? Well, you had Leonard Fournette here, that's your point, previously, and he was a great outlet for Brady on short passes as the check down.

So White can be that as well. And you saw a couple of times tonight when he got in space and they got him the football. He can make people miss. He's very patient with how he runs.

I think one of the criticisms that may start to build up is that maybe he needs to be a little more decisive in hitting a hole. If it's there on an occasion. Because in the NFL it's a half second, it's a half step. And if the half step or the half second isn't to cut and go somewhere else, it's a half second where two guys close and they're on top of you. And you get a yard instead of maybe getting eight or ten yards or getting out the gate.

So we'll see. He's developing. Only a second year player. He was a tremendous pass catcher in college.

He'll probably, if he stays healthy, easily be a 50 catch guy or more over a 17 game season. He's that good out of the backfield. So that's one of the pieces on this offense and they do want to be balanced. They want to have him run the ball. He's the primary back here. Fournette's not here anymore. He's the primary guy they want to go to. TJ Reeves with us after Buccaneers and Eagles on Monday Night Football. He's a sideline reporter.

It's after hours on CBS Sports Radio. Yeah, bit of a surprise after a couple weeks, TJ, because you had three teams that had started out 2-0 in the NFC South where there's been so much transition at Coach and QB. After having seen now three weeks with this division, what are your impressions? It's interesting that Atlanta got off to the 2-0 start. So did New Orleans, but neither one of them looked very good. I mean, the Saints in fairness had the lead, then Derek Carr got hurt, but they didn't look good in the third and fourth quarter of that game.

Atlanta got really handled in a lot of ways like what Philadelphia did to the Buccaneers, what Detroit did to Atlanta. So it is a division that is wide open. It is a division that eight wins may be enough to win it.

It was last year. Nine wins, you're a pretty good bet to win this division. And the Buccaneers now have the Saints staring at them for the first of two for this week. They then play Atlanta coming in a couple of weeks after that and then don't really have a division game until much later in the year. Don't see Carolina at all very late in the year. But I honestly believe the South will be wide open with a chance for an eight- or nine-win division winner.

And the Buccaneers hope to be there. Come late December, they hope to be in the range seven, eight wins, something like that, with a chance to win the division. Isn't that what the Bucks did last year, win it at eight and nine?

Yes. I mean, just be in range. We kept joking. The old Dick Van Patten comedy, eight is enough, with the eight kids. We kept saying eight is enough, and eight was enough last year. I don't know that eight is definitely enough this year on eight wins, but a ninth win? Ten wins absolutely wins this division, the NFC South. Nine may be enough as well.

Who can get to nine? That's what part of the challenge will be. Why are the expectations so low for this team? Is it because of the change at quarterback or something else?

I think it's part of that new offense. Salary cap greatly restricted you. You could not go out and be aggressive in free agency. So this is looked at as kind of like a rebuild in progress on the fly with star players like Evans, like Godwin, like Vida Villa, the defensive tackle. Lavonte David and Devin White in the middle.

Antoine Winfield, a very underrated safety, making plays all over the field. You have got some players on this team. You just don't have as much depth maybe as you would want. Certainly not like Philadelphia, not like San Francisco. And if the Bucks are going to contend with those teams, they've got to play a complete game. They've got to play clean where you're not turning the ball over.

They were neither of those things, young lady, on Monday night. And that's why Philadelphia got the W. TJ Reeves is with us here from Tampa after hours on CBS Sports Radio. Still watch this Bucks defense, especially with Todd Bowles as the head coach. And I feel like that's an advantage the Bucks may have over some of the other teams in the NFC.

Or at least can go toe-to-toe with the defense the Saints have. Well, and he wants this to be a turnover creating a havoc-type defense, wreak havoc. And they didn't get to Hurts as much.

And I know Hurts was also battling flu-like symptoms. He wasn't himself trying to run the ball, didn't see that very much. Threw it when he needed to throw it.

A.J. Brown was good. This defense has gotten sacks the first two weeks, had six of them against the Bears last week. Bears are obviously awful. They had five turnovers coming into the night, five takeaways, got two more tonight. That's the kind of defense Todd Bowles preaches. And if the Bucks are going to go anywhere, that's the kind of defense they're going to have to beat. Front seven creating pass rush and sack opportunities and get some takeaways.

Take the ball away. And they got a couple of them in this game, but ultimately it was not enough. Philadelphia just too good running right at that Buccaneer defense and kind of wore them down some. I mean, they killed the last eight and a half minutes of the game tonight. The Bucks get in the end zone, get a two-point conversion.

It's 25 to 11. You're thinking they've got all three timeouts. There's about eight and a half minutes left. If you get a stop, the game is back on.

You've got a chance. The Eagles didn't let that happen. They slammed the door. They got five first downs. They killed the clock.

Credit to them. So right now we have just the two teams, the Niners and Eagles, who played in the championship last year. They're still undefeated and only one team in the Miami Dolphins from the AFC. And I have got to ask, what is your reaction to what happened yesterday with the Dolphins against the Broncos?

And not just a 50-point win, but a 70-point performance. Amazing. And you don't know this, but I'm about to let you in on it. My in-laws may be the biggest Dolphins fans ever. They've lived in the Tampa Bay area forever. They were going bonkers. All the Dolphins fans are going bonkers.

It was almost like an out-of-body experience. And every time they got the ball. When you contemplate, Dan Marino had all those great numbers in a Hall of Fame career.

He didn't come anywhere close to having a 70-point game. They were just ridiculous on the Broncos. And because we were playing Monday night, I got a chance to watch a good bit of that game. Typically on NFL Sundays, I don't get to sit and just watch games because we're working.

They worked them over. This is why I keep saying to Buccaneer fans, and I'll say this after the loss. Okay, you're 2-1. Would you rather be Denver coming off of that game with the way that they looked? Would you rather be the Washington commanders trying to figure it out after what Buffalo did to them?

Maybe be the Chicago Bears at this point who looked very much like a team that could go winless with the disarray they're in. That was shocking. And I think it's as shocking as anything is that Denver didn't look like they wanted to tackle anymore. From the third quarter on.

Honestly, that's how 49 to whatever becomes 56, becomes 63, becomes 70. It was ridiculous. Are you a believer in the Dolphins?

Yes. How can you not be? How can you not be with that explosiveness, with the scheme they have to run the ball? I don't know that they can win the whole thing, but good lord, they are spreading people out. They are passing with amazing efficiency.

Tyreek Hill is lethal in the open field in space, still is. And there are a lot of people that are going to be eating their words about Tua Tagovailoa not being big enough, not being good enough. I mean, 16 for 16 to start the game. It's a long season, it's only three games, but how are you not a believer in what they've done offensively so far this year? Wow.

Yeah, it's been a lot of fun to watch it come together. What's one other factor, element, or storyline that strikes you after three weeks of the NFL season? I don't want to cop out on you, the fact that anybody can beat anybody. Who saw Houston going to Jacksonville and just put it on them for four quarters? Not me, that knocked me out of my survivor pool. I know, who saw the Dallas Cowboys basically no-show for four quarters in Arizona? I mean, it's one thing to credit the Cardinals, but the Cowboys didn't play with emotion or passion.

How much of that is Trayvon Diggs' injury and he's gone for the year a couple days before the game? But I mean, this league, it has already been demonstrated. Anybody, any given week right now, early on in the year, yes, the better teams will rise to the top, but you better be ready to play.

You better be ready to play week in and week out, so that's the surprising thing. And I am here to testify on After Hours, the Eagles are legit. The Eagles have been legit the last two seasons. They are physical, they are tough. Good luck on stopping them on third and one and fourth and one when they're still allowing this push rugby play.

And in third and short and fourth and short, good luck stopping that. I watched it firsthand tonight, the Eagles are tough. And if you don't mind, I'm going to pick your brain actually about one more thing, because I know you're also immersed in college football.

You do play-by-play and address it on your podcast. How much of a hit did the Deion Sanders circus take in Oregon? A big one. A big one, and now you've got USC coming for this week, and the only question is, is Colorado going to keep up with them? USC is going to put points up, but USC's defense not as good as Oregon.

How about in the greater Denver slash Boulder, Colorado market? You had Oregon up 42 to nothing, and you have the Broncos give up a 70 burger on Sunday. It was a rough Saturday and Sunday for those two, and it will not get easier for Colorado. Not just USC, they've still got to play Oregon State. As you know, they've still got to play Washington State, they've still got to play UCLA, they've still got to play Utah. It could be rough down the stretch here. We keep saying it's a long season. It's a long season for Deion, for Coach Prime, and it may get longer starting on Saturday. Wow.

Only three weeks into NFL, a month into college football, still have infinite possibilities. So you can find TJ Reeves on Twitter at Buck, B-U-C, Sideline Guy, and that's exactly where we hear him, see him, watch him. Thank you so much for a couple of minutes. Always good to connect with you. Always good to be with you, and after hours, whenever you need me, come find me.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-30 07:51:18 / 2023-09-30 08:00:18 / 9

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