May 5, 2021

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Opinion Editorial: When “Winning Now” is losing later

5 min read

Devils Advocate

Allow me to play devils advocate for a while. With all the excitement of the Patriots Annex South in Tampa, added to an extremely talented returning defense. The talk is clearly centered on the Win Now style of Champion building. It seems with every move made by One Buc, it is made even more clear, that is the focus. We got two seasons at best with Brady and Gronk, and the feeling is obviously get it done within those two years. Preferrably year one and a home team birth in the Super-Bowl for an NFL First.

Winning now line of thought

I get it, any team only has so many chances, so many years with the players that are assembled to get it done. Those chances can slip right through your fingers and leave you clutching air. I believe though that the Bucs could have done both. That is, build to win now, and have an eye looking out for the future too. Nothing really is much more pitiful than what a team can look like after a quick build up for a Sports title run. The Jettesoning of players and talent after the title can leave yesterdays champion looking like next seasons basement dweller. We have seen it before, the Marlins come to mind. I will next list a few of the things that could have been done differently so as to ease our transition to post Brady Buccaneer Football.

My reasoning and thinking on the situation

First off I will acknowledge that bringing Gronk in under his current Patriots price tag of ten million, for one year. May have been done as to be a draw to season ticket holders as much as it was to bring in a five time pro-bowler/close friend and favorite target of our new quarterback. One wonders with all the injury problems Gronk has had, how much return on the field, are the Bucs going to get for their ten cool ones invested. After all they already have Cam Brate, and yet to emerge, superstar in waiting O.J. Howard.  Couldn’t Brady have been able to get the ball to one or both of those current tight ends on the roster?

Having one eye to the future in this draft

To me the biggest mistakes with the future in mind though were made in the draft. Through the re-signing of our own defensive free agents, as well as the Patriot Pair, our chances at making the playoffs and beyond have gone way, way up. Here’s how I’m thinking the draft should have been handled. First round you go get your big offensive tackle (this they did) in Wirfs. Then in the second round you get the absolute best running back available. Ronald Jones and our running game needed another RB1 back in the stable. I don’t care how you look at it, Ke’shawn Vaughn out of Vanderbilt is not an RB1 any more than Peyton Barber was. Other than Jones the position has been neglected for several years. He was a reach to begin with in the third round. He was clearly better suited to the fourth round and beyond. He would make a very good RB3, to give Jones a  breather at points during games, and as a  receiving threat on third downs. This is not to say that Antoine Winifield Jr. a safety out of the University of Minnesota is not a fabulously talented player, or isn’t a value choice in the second round. My problem is that we needed a RB1 more than we needed a safety in that spot. The Bucs added a speed back in the 7th round, Raymond Calais from Louisiana Lafayette. He only 5’8″ and his knock is he doesn’t block. So good luck with that in Arians offense.

Seemingly injuries to key players aren’t being planned for

If Winifield Jr. goes down hurt this season, our defense is still a top 3-4 defense. If Ronald Jones goes down injured this season, we’re in big trouble. Our offense would be limited in it’s overall scope quite a bit. Vaughn had very few runs of twenty yards or more last season in Nashville. He’s not that kind of back. He’s not a game changing, break your back runner. He’s a one move and done back that is just barely faster than Peyton Barber was. Simply, we needed a stronger running back. Cam Akers, and A.J. Dillon were both there when the Bucs selected Winifield Jr. . Even in the third round when we selected Vaughn. L. Perine of UF and DeeJay Dallas of the Canes, were better selections, and were there. So you Bucs fans better hope Jones stays healthy all season this year, and next year, and the one after that. Heaven forbid what if Mr. Brady gets hurt? Will we have any player at all that can step in and continue the charge with a reasonable dropoff in talent?If he goes down, as things stand now, everything else they have done is in very serious jeapordy if that occurs. I don’t understand that way of thinking in the least.Vaughn does not fit our needs at the position, and leaves us vulnerable from injury to Jones. Although not as devistating as a serious Brady injury. It’s something that so far isn’t being addressed with any draft selections. Very poor choice for how I believe they should have been thinking.

Brady obviously is a huge key to all the Bucs are trying to do

My final thought may be the most important one. The team is in a very unique, and valuable position with Tom Brady here for two seasons. The Bucs have a chance to have a rookie quarterback sit and learn from the greatest of all time. How special is that? There is a quarterback out there, and could have been had in the fourth round. A quarterback that I believe by his output and play at Washington State isn’t that far off of the number one overall selection Joe Burrow. Anthony Gordon last season was ahead of Burrow in most passing categories  until Burrow made his late season/post season push into the history books. At seasons end Anthony Gordon still held the passing yards per game lead, and was right behind Burrow in a few others. He is widely under-rated and will be a steal for whoever gets him. The chance to have him be tutored by Brady for two seasons is a situation that the Bucs are wasting. Who will take over in two seasons when Brady is gone? At that stage of things, will we be right back on our way to being bottom dwellers again? Not if the team handles things right. Both goals were within their realm of doing, the now, and the later. It looks like they have just decided to ignore what happens Post Brady. That is unfortunate when both could have been done. Go Bucs!!

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