In 2015, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn’t make the playoffs. They didn’t come close. But it wasn’t all bad news, they just needed to install Dirk Koetter as the head coach.
Then came 2016 and a 9-7 record for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Again, not enough to make the post-season, but it was ok because there was promise and improvement and Keith Tandy was the next great Bucs safety!
Well, 2017 came as we all knew it would, and once again the team failed to make the playoffs. They did play their way into the Top-10 of the NFL Draft though. This time it was injury.
The roster is talented, but injuries derailed the 2017 campaign. This was the reason the team kept their coaching staff mostly in tact, and is again re-loading for a run at the post-season in 2018.
Honestly, this has to be it. This needs to be the year. And it’s a bad year to need it too.
Amidst all of the Jameis Winston revelations and speculation was a graphic displayed on NFL Network – no I didn’t screen grab it, so you’ll just have to go with me on this one – which showed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the hardest opening three games of any team in the Super Bowl era.
Era. That’s a big word. A big word to go with a big season. And now, a big suspension looming ahead of the big season facing the hardest opening set in this era.
The pressure is getting bigger. And heavier.
Recently, in an interview with Greg Auman, William Gholston stated,
"“I just played [crappy], completely. That’s just being real. There’s no excuse for it.”"
Well, he’s not alone. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the team should just dissolve into oblivion if this campaign doesn’t end in the post-season. However, this fan base can’t go through another off-season of excuses.
I made the case just a few days ago this team had a Top-5 receiving corps. I truly believe it. It’s not homer-talk.
The running game isn’t proven to be fixed, but Peyton Barber showed promise and Ronald Jones certainly has the skill set to compliment him well. Veterans Jacquizz Rodgers and Charles Sims have shown they can come through in key moments from time-to-time as well. Oh, and don’t forget Shaun Wilson.
The offensive line is much improved, even if there is some uncertainty on the right side. Defensive line was aggressively addressed this off-season.
Secondary play is going to be a concern until it’s not. Justin Evans and Brent Grimes are the standouts while Chris Conte quietly played well above the flak he continues to take.
The linebackers. Well. Enough said.
This is it. No more – well, we’re just missing this thing, or we had bad luck, or whatever.
Talent is there. The coaches are coaches for a reason. It’s time to put it together, or start addressing the one thing which hasn’t been addressed in the last three years of excuse laced failure: Leadership.
Tough way to start a season, and it’s even tougher considering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will most likely be missing their on-field leader for three weeks. Allegedly.