Here’s another opinion piece for Bucs Life News.
Here are a few reasons to be optimistic about the Buccaneers in 2019. Bruce Arians is officially the head coach of the Bucs. The team will finally have a competent head coach. Bruce Arians has a 61.9% winning percentage as a head coach in six years of being a head coach. Don Shula is the winningest NFL head coach of all time with a 67.7% winning percentage over 33-years as a head coach, so I’ll take a coach with a 61.9% winning percentage. In his six years of head coaching experience, Arians had only had one losing record.
2013 with AZ: 10-6
2014 with AZ: 11-5
2015 with AZ: 13-3
2016 with AZ: 7-8-1
2017 with AZ: 8-8
Obviously, the three areas that have to improve the most are the secondary, the offensive line and the running game. The Bucs defense finished the season ranked as the second to last worst defense in the NFL, at #31 out of 32.
Arians knows how to evaluate and develop talent. Arians is a great offensive minded coach and is often referred to as a QB whisperer. Arians likes Jameis Winston a lot and can probably develop Winston a lot further into a potential star QB. There were some questions regarding who is going to be joining Arians in Tampa Bay but now that had been hired those questions have been answered. Harold Goodwin, who was Arians will come in as the running game coordinator and Olines coach, former NFL QB Byron Leftwich will be the offensive coordinator, and call plays, and Clyde Christensen as the QBs coach. Arians also reached out to former HC and his former DC at Arizona 2013-2014, Todd Bowles and he is bringing in Kacy Rodgers as Lines coach. During that time Arizona had a top ranking defense.
This past season, statistically, Tampa Bay had the most prolific offense in the NFL and in Bucs franchise history. Obviously, there are still some glaring and obvious needs on this team with several areas of concern that need to be addressed and improved in the offseason. Many of those areas of concern, as far as player personnel is considered, I addressed in my previous opinion piece that is posted on Bucs Life News Facebook page.
Even with the team that we had this year, combined with all of the injuries, especially on defense, despite the team finishing 5-11, there were six games that the Bucs only lost by a touchdown or less.
A few of the other close losses include losing to Baltimore by 8, New Orleans by 14, Washington by 13 and Carolina by 14. The only game that the Bucs got blown out in was @Chicago, 48-10. If the Bucs take away six of those losses that were only by a touchdown or less and make them wins, this team, as bad as it was is 11-5, in the playoffs and in the hunt for the Super Bowl.
There is talk that the Bucs have a legitimate chance at landing Le’Veon Bell. I’m still on the fence about whether I want him or not, or whether the team needs him or not or if they can afford him with all of the other areas of concern that need to be addressed. Either way, this team really needs a legitimate, consistent running game to take the pressure off of Winston.
If some of the right moves are made this offseason, the salary cap is not going to be an issue. After releasing several guys that need to be let go, there will be plenty of cap space to work with to sign some big name free agents. Having the fifth overall pick in the draft is huge. As long as the front office makes some wise choices in the draft, this team is going to be ready to compete for the NFC South title in 2019. Go Bucs!