Unlike Bruce Arians’ announcement, this isn’t exactly bombshell news, but the Buccaneers are in significantly better shape than the rest of the division by leaps and bounds. It really isn’t particularly close, like, at all. To put it rather bluntly, this division stinks on ice save for the Bucs.
Part of the reason for this is that the Buccaneers have the best head coach in the NFC South in Bowles. Remember, in his first season with the New York Jets in 2015, he had them at 10-6 with Ryan Fitzpatrick as his quarterback. The Jets. Naturally, the front office then got in the way and the wheels fell off, so he really wasn’t given a fair shake in the big apple. He was also the interim coach of the Miami Dolphins in 2011, going 2-1 for whatever that’s worth.
As for the rest of the division, Sean Payton is now gone from the New Orleans Saints which means so is the biggest threat to the Buccaneers. His replacement, Dennis Allen, also some experience as a head coach. For 2012, 2013, and the first quarter of 2014, Allen was the head coach of the Raiders. His records during those seasons? 4-12, 4-12, and 0-4. Now granted, obviously the Saints have more talent than those hapless Oakland teams, and Allen has had great success plus the respect of the locker room as a defensive coordinator in New Orleans, but that record is nothing to pooh-pooh at.
As for the rest of the division, Matt Rhule is entering his third season as grand Poobah of the Carolina Panthers, and can already feel his seat burning up after two straight five-win seasons thanks to some, shall we say, “questionable” decisions particularly pertaining to personnel. Then there’s Arthur Smith of the Atlanta Falcons. While Smith has shown signs of promise, the Falcons have gone as close to full-blown tank mode as imaginable so the jury is still very much out on Smith.
With all this being the case, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have little to worry about when it comes to the NFC South, or the majority of the NFC for that matter. They already have the best quarterback of all time, and now have the best coach in the division in Todd Bowles captaining the ship. Everything will be just fine.