Buccaneers need to look at the past to see the future

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

The Buccaneers can learn from the past to win in the future.

Let me tell you all a story about a man named James Wilder. An old-school Buccaneer (think mid ‘80s) who, along with another Buccaneers legend, quarterback Doug Williams, kept the momentum flowing using a play called the swing pass. In today’s terms, passing to the running back out of the backfield.

Just like any play, it didn’t work all the time, but it worked enough. In fact, it worked enough in 1984 to put James Wilder, the Bucs’ bell cow, on the threshold of an NFL record for combined yards in a season. Back then, former Buccaneer star quarterback Doug Williams, from Grambling State, would look for Kevin House and then Jimmie Giles, and then dump the ball to Wilder coming out of the backfield.

It worked well enough for Wilder to amass 685 receiving yards that year, which he combined with 1,544 ground yards, putting him at 2,229 yards for the season. At the time, he only needed a few more yards to set the record.

And, to the team’s credit, they allowed the Jets to score a chump touchdown just so they could get the ball back and give Wilder another shot at the record. Some might think doing something like that was a bit cheesy, and maybe even a little bush league. But the team wanted their guy to have a shot at a record.

Things like that are done all the time, maybe not giving up a TD to get the ball back, but just last year the Bucs opted to get Antonio Brown to the 45-catch level he needed for a new Mercedes bonus he could pick up, rather than give Ronald Jones a chance to crack 1,000 yards.

Jones didn’t have any money riding on his performance, but AB did. And the team, well at least Tom Brady, made sure he had the opportunity to get it.

In the end, for the ’84 Buccaneers, it didn’t work out. The Jets stymied Wilder, and the rest is ancient history. But the essence of what got the Bucs to have a chance to set a total yards record for a player exists even today. The difference being that the passing yards are likely going to have to be inflated a bit since any Buc rushing for 1,500 yards this year is not likely.

So, what do we have to do? We have to add in that swing pass so that Tom has an additional outlet in case the field gets jacked and no one gets open. Isn’t that really what Giovanni Bernard was picked up to do? Passing to the back is a must-have for the Bucs to continue to or even increase their chances to make it all the way back to the SB.

Some of the teams will be looking for the pass, but the pass option to the running back is very hard to stop and gets the ball into the hands of a playmaker with the ability to shake up the way other teams play against us. Moving forward, that’s something Tampa can add that is pretty simple and pretty effective.

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