The day the NFL schedule comes out is sort of like Christmas in April for us football fans. It’s time to look over the schedule, think which games are winnable/not winnable, only to be proven wrong in five months, etc. And for own-of-town fans like me, it’s time to start thinking about when to take a road trip to Ray-Jay to see the Bucs.
Here’s the schedule:
Sept. 8 – SAN FRANCISCO
Sept. 12 – at Carolina (Thursday night)
Sept. 22 – NEW YORK GIANTS
Sept. 29 – at L.A. Rams
Oct. 6 – at New Orleans
Oct. 13 – CAROLINA (in London)
Oct. 27 – at Tennessee
Nov. 3 – at Seattle
Nov. 10 – ARIZONA
Nov. 17 – NEW ORLEANS
Nov. 24 – at Atlanta
Dec. 1 – at Jacksonville
Dec. 8 – INDIANAPOLIS
Dec. 15 – at Detroit
Dec. 22 – HOUSTON
Dec. 29 – ATLANTA
Tampa Bay has historically gotten rough stretches, and this year is no different. After hosting the Giants in Week 3, the Bucs don’t play another home game until… Week TEN?! The Bucs will be the “home” team for the game in London, but it’s ridiculous that they have to go nearly two months between “real” home games.
Relax, everyone. Just relax.
What happened to the Buccaneers on Monday happens to every team in every sport at some point: players jumping ship for more money to play elsewhere.
For those who haven’t heard the news, here are the big headlines: Kwon Alexander struck gold in San Francisco. DeSean Jackson is going back to Philadelphia. And Adam Humphries is trading in red and pewter for Titan Blue.
Judging by my social media feeds, you’d think the world is about to end. Well, D-Jax turned back into a crybaby when he stopped getting the ball thrown to him. People loved Kwon’s passion but I read today that he missed a lot of tackles – a big problem for this defense over the past couple of years. Humphries is the loss that hurts me the most. Here’s a guy coming off a career year. But hey – money talks, and Tennessee offered more than Tampa. End of story.
Everyone is replaceable, ladies and gentlemen. Let’s see who the Bucs get in the draft, and more importantly, what Bruce Arians does with the players they acquire.
Photo courtesy: USA Today
We’ve known for a little while now that the Buccaneers would be playing a ‘home’ game away from Ray-Jay next season. Now we know who…and where.
The Bucs announced today that their game against the Panthers will be played in London.
I understand why Tampa Bay has to give up a home game; Tampa will be hosting the Super Bowl in 2021. But I don’t understand this selection by the NFL at all. Why would you take a divisional matchup away from the fans in Tampa? The games against the Panthers, Saints and Falcons carry more weight than the others.
Screw you, Mr. Goodell.
Photo courtesy: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
We now know who’ll be guiding the Buccaneers’ ship next season, and it’s someone the NFL is very familiar with.
Bruce Arians was named the team’s new head coach on Tuesday night. Arians coached the Arizona Cardinals for five seasons, and was successful there, making the playoffs twice. We can only hope he’ll help Tampa Bay end an 11-year playoff drought. After 2017, Arians “retired” (yeah, okay) and then spent the 2018 season in the broadcast booth with CBS, teaming up with Greg Gumbel and Trent Green.
I like this hire. Of course, I’ve said that about a lot of hires over the years. This guy has a proven track record – not just in Arizona, but in Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and Cleveland prior to that. He’s also an offensive-minded coach.
Hey coach: have you seen our defense over the past few years…
As for the guy he’s replacing, Dirk Koetter? He just became the Falcons’ offensive coordinator. Oh, the drama.
Photo courtesy: Associated Press
As we say goodbye to 2018, it’s time to reflect on the Buccaneers season that ended with a last-place finish, and the firing of Dirk Koetter as head coach.
BEST MOMENTS: the first two games against the Saints and Eagles, both won by the Bucs. Nobody outside of us diehard fans thought they win a shootout in the Superdome, then beat the defending champs in the home opener, both with Jameis Winston suspended for the first three games.
WORST MOMENT: things started going downhill with the blowout loss to the Bears in Chicago, followed by another defeat in Atlanta after the bye week. It was only then that the Bucs decided to fire Mike Smith as defensive coordinator. Smith should’ve been let go before the season began, much less five games in. With Smith at the helm, his defense allowed at least 30 points in four of the first five games.
BEST OFFSEASON ACQUISTION: Jason Pierre-Paul. What a steal this guy was. He had 12.5 sacks on a team that, last year, hardly got any pressure on the quarterback.
BIGGEST DRAFT DISAPPOINTMENT: Ronald Jones. The Bucs drafted him in the second round. He gained a grand total of 44 yards rushing. He didn’t even play in more than half of the games, and not all of those were due to injury. The Bucs clearly were not happy with him from the start of training camp, hence the lack of playing time.
GOOD RIDDANCE AWARD: DeSean Jackson. He made it clear he wants out. I say, get out of town. This whiner was unhappy that Winston wasn’t getting him the ball. He pulled off similar antics when he played for Philadelphia and Washington.
BIGGEST QUESTION MARK GOING FORWARD: Jameis Winston. General Manager Jason Licht has made it clear that Winston will return in 2019. We saw a lot of good Jameis, and a lot of bad Jameis: 19 TD passes, 14 INT’s and three lost fumbles.
INTERESTING FACT: on December 2nd, I saw the Bucs beat the Panthers at Ray-Jay. That was the last time Tampa Bay tasted victory.
Sure, there are other good and bad moments, but these are the ones that come to mind at first. I wish all of you a Happy New Year, and go Bucs.
Well, that didn’t take long.
Word just came out tonight that Dirk Koetter has been fired as head coach of the Buccaneers.
He went 19-29 in three seasons in Tampa, culminating with today’s 34-32 loss to the Falcons in Ray-Jay.
Koetter is the second member of the coaching staff to lose his job. Defensive coordinator Mike Smith was let go after five games.
These may not be the last two moves the team makes in the coming days. Stay tuned.
I hope this was the last time we see Dirk Koetter on the Tampa Bay sidelines. And that may not be the only change we see in the coming days.
The Bucs finished in last place in the NFC South yet again this year, losing 34-32 to the Falcons in the regular season finale. The Buccaneers blew a 17-0 lead in this one. After starting the season 2-0 (remember that?) they lost 11 of their last 14 games.
At the end of 2017, I was in favor of giving Koetter one more year. Well, that year has come and gone, and there wasn’t any improvement in the win total.
When you go 5-11 in back-to-back seasons, change is inevitable. A housecleaning at One Buc Place would not surprise me, starting at the top. But, with the Glazers, who knows.
Photo courtesy: Atlanta Falcons