Buccaneers Finish 9-7: Monday Morning Pick Six
By James Yarcho
It was an interesting season to say the least. For the first time since 2010, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers finish with a winning record – and plenty to build on for 2017.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are undefeated in 2017! Granted, that doesn’t help them much for the 2016 season, but it’s certainly nice to not see a record below .500 for once. Not only that, but the Buccaneers capped off the year with a sweep of division rival Carolina, giving them a 4-2 record in the NFC South, which is very promising moving forward.
It wasn’t pretty, but honestly, how many Bucs games were? They had their share of ugly wins – and ugly losses – throughout the season. Ultimately they learned how to compete which was the next step in their growth. Next, they learn how to finish and that will be what catapults them into the playoff picture next season.
One last time this season, it’s time to pick six.
Six Topics Suitable For Discussion
1.) The Foundation Is There. Jameis Winston, Mike Evans, Kwon Alexander, Vernon Hargreaves, Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David, Cameron Brate, Donovan Smith, Ali Marpet, Noah Spence. These are the players that – outside of David and McCoy – have been brought in under the Jason Licht and (somewhat) Dirk Koetter era that have formed the foundation of this team moving into the future. These are the players that will be built around to create a competitive, contending team over the better part of the next decade. With Dirk Koetter at the helm, the Bucs appear to have the right pieces in place to start something truly special. Koetter still has some growing to do, but so does this team. Jameis has his issues, so do Kwon, Smith, and Marpet. But these are second year players with a first year head coach. The future is bright in Tampa Bay.
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2.) Brent Grimes: Have A Day, Young Fella! This was the reason the Bucs signed Grimes in the off-season. Performances like this. As much as I personally can’t stand Pro Football Focus, their anti-Bucs narrative, and their flawed grading system based on watching plays where they don’t actually know what’s supposed to going on, even they gave Grimes pretty high praise – and it’s hard to argue.
Without Grimes heads up play, resulting in a pick six, or his key pass breakups in the end zone, the Bucs lose this game, finish at .500, and have Bucs fans pretty upset this morning. Hell of a game by Grimes as he really came into his own as a Buc in the second half of the season. Excited to see it continue in 2017.
3.) Jameis Winston: Record Setter. Jameis Winston set not one, but two Buccaneers records in the win over Carolina. Not only that, he became the first quarterback in NFL history to have back-to-back 4,000 yard seasons to start a career. As if that wasn’t enough, he helped Mike Evans tie a Bucs record, got Adam Humphries to a career high in receptions, and was a key reason Dirk Koetter had more wins in his first season as a head coach than Lovie Smith did in two seasons with the Bucs. More on those records in the numbers to consider…
4.) Noah Spence Is One Tough Dude. We all enjoyed the evolution of Noah Spence this season. He played the majority of his rookie year wearing a shoulder harness. In the win against the Panthers, Spence caught Cam Newton in the air during a jump pass and dislocated his shoulder in the process. Spence went to the sideline, popped it back in, and finished the game. You could tell he was in obvious pain, but he kept going. He still has some developing to do, but no one can question this kid’s toughness, tenacity, or heart.
5.) Lavonte David Was The Official Cam Killer Of The Game. Three sacks? Three?! On Cam Newton?! THAT is the Lavonte David we have been dying to watch all year long. Lavonte was his dominant self and he finished the season with by far his best performance of the year. It was refreshing to see him (hopefully) quiet the haters down headed into the off-season.
6.) Brace Yourselves: Mock Drafts and Free Agency Crushes Are Coming. With no postseason comes social media being flooded with Bucs fans stating, debating, and arguing who the Bucs should draft, what free agents they should sign, more mock drafts than you saw last year. Why? Because it’s fun. It’s fun to read about, talk about, think about. To see how this team continues to take shape and build is exciting. The Bucs are at the point now where they’re filling the final holes on the roster before they become true postseason contenders. This is likely the last off-season they’ll need to put a division champion team together. Free agency starts March 9th…
Six Numbers To Consider
28 – Passing touchdowns by Jameis Winston, most ever in a season by a Bucs quarterback
12 – Touchdowns by Mike Evans, tying his single season record from 2014 for most in a season by a Bucs wide receiver
4,090 – Passing yards by Jameis Winston in 2016, most ever in a season by a Bucs quarterback
10 – Receptions by Adam Humphries – a career high
2 – Buccaneers coaches to have a winning record their first year with the team – Jon Gruden and Dirk Koetter
19 – The pick the Bucs will have in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft
Six Best Tweets
Six Important Off-Season Dates
January 2nd – Teams can pick up fifth year option and/or extend players drafted in the 2014 draft (Mike Evans)
February 28th-March 6th – NFL Scouting Combine
March 7th – Teams can begin negotiating with unrestricted free agents
March 9th – New league year begins at 4 p.m. EST. Teams can officially sign free agents, trade players.
April 21st – Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets
April 27th-29th – 2017 NFL Draft
Six Super Bowl Bets
1.) New England Patriots – Belichick, Brady, home field…
2.) Green Bay Packers – Getting hot at the right time
3.) Pittsburgh Steelers – See above
4.) Seattle Seahawks – Experience means something in the postseason
5.) Dallas Cowboys – Great season, but not sure if Dak and Zeke can take them the distance as rookies
6.) New York Giants – Defense wins championships and theirs is stout