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.
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
The Buccaneers’ 2018 schedule is now out. Now it’s time to dissect it, decide which games are most winnable, and for out-of-town fans like me, think about which game to head south to see.
My first thought after taking a look at this: ouch! What a tough five-game stretch to open with. The Bucs face four playoff teams, starting with the division champion Saints in the Superdome, followed by the Super Bowl champion Eagles in the home opener. Then, they get the Steelers on a Monday night. How does a Bucs’ team that went 5-11 last season end up on MNF? Oh, that’s right, they’re playing the Steelers, which will give the idiots at BSPN something to crow about while at the same time dissing Jameis Winston, even if Winston gets off to a good start.
Tampa Bay goes to Chicago in September. It sure beats December. But Baltimore in mid-December could be interesting to say the least.
There is a stretch of three straight home games in late November/early December. And wouldn’t it be interesting if the finale against the dirty birds from Atlanta is meaningful? One can dream, anyway.
Here’s the schedule:
Sept. 9 — @ New Orleans
Sep. 16 — PHILADELPHIA
Sept. 24 — PITTSBURGH (Monday)
Sept. 30 — @ Chicago
Oct. 14 — @ Atlanta
Oct. 21 – CLEVELAND
Oct. 28 — @ Cincinnati
Nov. 4 — @ Carolina
Nov. 11 – WASHINGTON
Nov. 18 @ NY Giants
Nov. 25 – SAN FRANCISCO
Dec. 2 – CAROLINA
Dec. 9 – NEW ORLEANS
Dec. 16 — @ Baltimore
Dec. 23 — @ Dallas
Dec. 30 – ATLANTA
If you’re like me, you’re still trying to comprehend how the Buccaneers beat the Saints in the season finale.
Jameis Winston threw three more interceptions, including a horrendous one into triple coverage. The Bucs gave up a 100+ yard kickoff return for the second week in a row (but scored their own special teams touchdown in the fourth quarter.) A missed extra point by Patrick Murray was looming large. There’s no way Winston would drive his team 95 yards in the final two minutes.
Oh, but he did. Yes, the recent turnover machine hit Chris Godwin on a deep ball with nine seconds left in the contest to win it. And before all of the Saints fans in attendance could wipe away their tears of disbelief, they found out they’d won the NFC South anyway, because Carolina choked against Atlanta.
This Godwin kid is pretty good, the more I see of him. He’s made some acrobatic catches, and with the disappointing season turned in by Desean Jackson, Godwin could be the number-two receiver on next year’s team.
Was this game perfect? Of course not. I mentioned the interceptions and the kickoff returns. Mike Smith’s defense is still a sieve. The lack of a pass rush was a problem all year, though they did sack Drew Brees twice.
But it was nice to finally win a game. I’d much rather see them win than intentionally lose to improve their draft pick order. Heck, this team needs help just about everywhere, so any decent player will do at this point.
Coming on Monday: my ‘year in review.’ As you might expect, with a 5-11 season, it won’t be pretty. But tonight is a night to be joyous, because the boys in Pewter finally won another game. Happy New Year, and good night.
Photo Courtesy: Tampa Bay Times