The Tampa Bay Buccaneers became part of the NFL in 1976. The Buccaneers finished their inaugural season with a record of 0-14. This would be good enough for the last place in the division. I know most of you are shocked by that outcome. The Buccaneers would have only two winning seasons from 1976-1996.
The Buccaneers would turn things around from 1997-2007. The Dungy and Gruden Eras would bring seven playoff appearances, which included the ultimate prize in 2002. These are considered the “Golden Years” for our beloved Bucs. The Buccaneers were loaded with talent in 2002 but needed the right guy to lead them to the promised land. Jon Gruden was the man for the job. The ultimate prize would lead to several years of disappointment for the Buccaneers again. They have not made the playoffs since 2007.
Enough from the past, let’s look at the 2019 Buccaneers. This was a big year for our franchise. When I say franchise, I mean number 1 pick, Jameis Winston. What will he do with Bruce Arians whispering in his helmet? The Buccaneers quarterback threw for 5,000 yards and 30 touchdowns. Outstanding right? Not so fast, Winston threw 30 interceptions to accompany those eye-popping statistics. Can we rely on him to figure it out for the future?
There is no doubt in my mind that Winston WILL be the franchise quarterback for the Buccaneers from 2020 and beyond. Next season, I believe the Byron Leftwich offense will lean on the run game and short passes. I see the Buccaneers mirroring the Titans offense that has made Ryan Tannehill look like Tom Brady. Tampa Bay will lean on Ronald Jones to carry the load in 2020. A good run game is exactly what Winston needs to be successful. Jameis Winston has arguably the best receiving core in the entire NFL. The combination of Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and O.J. Howard can keep any defensive coordinator up at night.
The Buccaneers came on strong at the end of the season. They would finish the campaign with a 7-9 record (2nd Place). Matt Gay solidifies the kicking game. The defense will hopefully bring back Sack Barrett and Ndamukong Suh. We haven’t seen a defensive front like that since 2002. Tampa Bay was a missed kick and two terrible officiating calls from making the playoffs in 2019, so there should be growing excitement for next season. Stay positive and trust that Bruce Arians can get us to the playoffs once again. Go Bucs!