Tampa Bay Buccaneers Are Getting Better, Slowly But Surely


It’s easy to kick someone while they’re down. In the case of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, after another loss on Sunday to the Chicago Bears which brought the team down to 2-9 on the season, it’s especially effortless. But, at some point, you need to stop looking at the negatives and begin focusing on the positives for the Bucs going forward.

While the numbers weren’t of the 100+ yard variety that we may have grown accostumed to with Mike Evans, he still managed to put up some solid numbers (three catches, 47 yards, one touchdown) against a Bears defense that made stopping him their No. 1 priority in the passing game. With much of the attention on Evans, Vincent Jackson and Louis Murphy made the most of their opportunities, eclipsing the 100-yard mark. Games like this prove that regardless of who receives a majority of the attention, another wideout can pick up the slack and contribute in a big way.

Can we take a second to commend the Buccaneers’ defense? After a terrible start where they gave up 56 points to the Atlanta Falcons in Week 3 and 48 points to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 6, the Bucs have started to settle into their roles within the Tampa 2 scheme and the numbers are showing it.

Following their loss to the Minnesota Vikings in late October, the Buccaneers had only 10 sacks on the season. If they couldn’t get the quarterback, the defense, as a whole, wasn’t going to succeed. The message was received loud and clear because the Bucs have 13 sacks in the month of November alone. In that same span, the Tampa defense has faced formidable passers, like Robert Griffin III, Matt Ryan and Jay Cutler, who haven’t been able to match the type of success we were seeing from quarterbacks earlier in the year.

The defense is still a work in progress, however, it looks like the progress is headed in the right direction. Even though head coach Lovie Smith maintains that he’s looking at this season as the team being two games out of first-place in the NFC South, let’s briefly allow for reality creep in. The Bucs aren’t making the playoffs and they’ll hopefully get a high draft pick for their troubles. Maybe utilizing that spot to get their true franchise quarterback, say Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota?

In Lovie’s first season as the Bears head coach, Chicago went 5-11 before really seeing any signs of improvement. Things are starting mirror themselves with Tampa. There’s some rough seas right now, but if you look hard enough, you can see that peak of sunlight. The Bucs are getting better, slowly but surely.

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