At this moment, before the season starts and reality hits, do you feel the Buccaneers can be postseason contenders?
Horan: I, unfortunately, don’t see the Buccaneers making the playoffs this season. There is plenty of reason for optimism and I expect them to compete in all 16 of their contests, but there are simply too many crucial factors working against them. For one, the NFC South is simply too good this year. I don’t know which team will end up winning the division, but all three of the competitors are at the very least as talented as the Buccaneers. Secondly, the NFC itself is extremely deep, making a pursuit for the wildcard very difficult. Perhaps even needing eleven wins. Thirdly, the Jameis Winston suspension. If the team goes 0-3 during that stretch then they are effectively cooked from the playoffs. Perhaps they do eek out a victory in that stretch and perhaps their NFC and NFC South brothers aren’t as deep as they appear, but it all seems tough to believe at this point.
DeFeo: Sadly I do not think the Buccaneers are a playoff team this year. They have added a lot of pieces but I have not seen anything from the coaching staff to show that they can make enough adjustments to win games. The biggest issue I had last year was with Mike Smith and his inability to adjust his defense when opposing teams were tearing apart his zone defense. The offense is also going to need to produce. The running game looks better but Dirk Koetter seems to be infatuated with a rotation instead of using the hot hand. Jameis Winston also needs to limit turnovers, which he has yet to do in his entire NFL career. With the Buccaneers having so many issues other teams are just better. The NFC South has three playoff teams currently and the Buccaneers went 1-5 against them last season. The need to improve on all levels and a lot of luck if they want to make the playoffs, and right now I just don’t see them making the final 12.
King: As much as I want to say yes as a fan, the real answer is no. The three-game suspension hurts but that is just one part of the season. The NFC South is arguably the toughest division in the league. The NFC itself is a gauntlet. The additions to the team are a great step towards winning. But to me, it isn’t enough yet. The Bucs still have some holes to fill along the roster that impairs their chances at the playoffs this year thus continuing the playoff drought.
Quesenberry: At this time yes I do believe the Bucs are a playoff team. I may be an optimist but the time to win is now. I believe they will be a playoff team because they have to be if they want to keep their job. There was so much optimism going into the 2017 season and they completely embarrassed themselves and their fans. The Bucs owe it to their fans to be in the playoffs, and I think they know that. Time is running out on key players like Gerald McCoy and even Lavonte David. They have been here for the darkest times. If they can turn it around and make this team a yearly playoff contender it will be even sweeter. They can be the next generation of Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks.
Doyle: The time for positivity is now. Tampa Bay has a path for a playoff run. The journey begins and ends with Winston. Despite the off-field issues and distractions, if he can manage to put it all together in 2018, the Buccaneers have the talent to follow suit. They are in a tough division and conference, but isn’t this team better than the one which was supposed to take the league by storm last season?
Stalheim: At this current moment after not playing a single game yet and coming off of a 5-11 season do I feel that the Buccaneers can complete for the playoffs? As much as the Buccaneers fan that I am and the fact that I would like to think they are going to go 16-0 like my Buccaneers Madden teams always do, I can not say they will compete for the playoffs this season. “At this moment” being the key phrase as I have a bad taste in my mouth after the disappointing last season, and even with all of the new acquisitions none of them have been on the field in a meaningful time in full pads yet. So the fan in me would like to see them compete for the playoffs every season but after the disappointing last season when I thought they would be a playoff team I am not ready to say they can compete this year, but that could change very quickly as the season grows closer and closer.
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