My take on where the Bucs should go from here6 min read
One Buc should be commended.
Jason Licht, Bruce Arians, and the Glazers deserve a good old boy pat on the back. At every turn, regardless of the dollar amount, the brain trust never wavered. If it could help the team get over the top and win another Super Bowl, they pulled the trigger. However, if the cap numbers could be manipulated to make new additions via free agents or free up money to keep talent with the team, they did it. They were also well aware that there would be prices to pay for making these moves down the road. It was all-in for this organization: Win now! That is certainly what you want from ownership, the front office, and the head coach. Every calculated move they made got the Buccaneers that much closer to another NFL Championship until they were over the top in Brady’s first season in Tampa. Hats off to all involved.
Can we be realistic, please?
The Bucs got a Super Bowl win, out of Brady’s three seasons in Tampa — they should have gotten two. It’s hard to play the “what-ifs” because you never know, for sure, how things would have played out. For fits and giggles, let’s play out one scenario. “What-if” Todd Bowles doesn’t call a virtual “Jail Break” blitz in the conference championship against the Rams, leaving safety Antoine Winfield to cover the best receiver “on the planet” that season, Cooper Kupp. It wasn’t fair to #31, and dare I say to the fans, either? They were, on paper, at least, a better team in 2021 than the team was the Super Bowl year before. The Bucs should have had back-to-back Lombardi trophies, in my opinion. Bowles let that one get away with a bet it all on Red. That said, the powers that be set the team up for a very good run at three titles. The Bucs pulled out one: the best one, with it being the home win, of course. Yet, the organization left two of those chances on the table. Now, I am hearing that the team will try to sign Jimmy Garoppolo. The team wants to try and hold onto as much as they can, bring in Jimmy G., and stay competitive. Have there been any sightings of Willy Nelson or Snoop Dog recently at One Buc? The team backed into a losing record division title and a quick playoff exit with Tom Brady behind center this season. The team believes a cap-straddled team minus a possible Lavonte David and or other possible great Bucs’ players can be led to the promised land by Jimmy G. and his estimated 34 million a-season contract. (Quick story, Bruce Arians has made the comment since being in Tampa that the Forty-Niners would have more Super Bowl wins if Garoppolo could throw the deep ball. Apparently, Jimmy G. didn’t much appreciate the statement. Go figure. Bruce Arians is still with the organization, so it’s far from a given that Jimmy G. would even answer a Jason Licht phone call, much less actually sign here.)
Spending big money to be average or less?
It’s the Glazer’s money; they are certainly allowed to blow it any way they see fit. For the overall state of the salary cap, rebuilding, and the future of the team in the near and semi-distant future, it wouldn’t be prudent to blow 35 million a season for the team to be somebodies version of relevantly competitive. You don’t better a cap situation by signing high-priced free agents. You rebuild through the draft, and to get high selections; you have to stink for a while. No matter how you manipulate this or stretch that, you cannot change the fact that rebuilding means hard times and few wins. It especially must be done that way when you have a very bad cap situation, maxed out to win NOW! In my opinion, it is pure folly to worsen the cap situation by grasping at straws trying to hold onto some semblance of a competitive football team. For what, I ask? It is far-fetched to think the Bucs could make playoff appearances with a team built by flawed and unrealistic visions of grandeur. Rebuilding an NFL team can take years, even when all is geared to bring that about. How many years will the team waste trying to be mediocre?
Blow it all up and orchestrate a large rebuild with an emphasis on rebuilding to stay strong.
How is it that some teams, over the years, have been able to sustain a quality, above-average playoff team over a good number of years? Kansas City, Green Bay, and Pittsburgh have all done that. Those teams did not build up to a frenzy for one or two shots at winning it all. They were Super Bowl contenders for a number of seasons. The Buccaneers need to get better at developing talent. Their handling of the Kyle Trask situation since drafting him has been pitiful. Whether it be Tom Brady or Jesus Christ behind center for this team since drafting Trask in the second round, mop-up or blowout-time could have been found to insert a young quarterback in desperate need of regular-season experience. The future must always hold some grounds of importance while the now plays out. We all know the story of the foolish squirrel who refused to gather nuts for the winter: he ate Ramen noodles until the spring — something like that, anyway. Fans need to prepare for some painful goodbyes to some of their favorite players. To rebuild, you must tear down. Some popular players are bound to be part of rebuilding losses. You have to free up money, stockpile draft choices via trades, and then make the right calls in the draft. All this and more must be done to put the Bucs in a truly winning situation again —doing it while trying to hold onto this player, and that player is counter-productive to achieving the goal in the least amount of time. I would much rather watch a younger team learning to play together and find their path as opposed to a team with a handful of stars that don’t have enough help to do anything of worth.
Stay with the plan.
Kyle Trask was drafted to sit behind Brady and learn and then take over when Brady left. Now that we are in the post-Brady era, everyone is freaking out about a guy that hasn’t been allowed to throw a single regular season pass taking over. What did you expect, Bruce Arians and Jason Licht? Do you think a player can just sit on his rear end every Sunday for two years and magically step right in and be the man when called upon? Rebuilding has another positive aspect about it. You have time to give to a young quarterback or any other position to develop that player. There are no expectations of win-now. A player can take their lumps and learn from them. If it’s determined that a player cannot cut it or won’t make it, you go a different route and move on. I said shortly after he was drafted that Kyle Trask may very well leave Tampa for another team, never having taken the first regular season snap. That would truly be a shame and a wasted second-round draft choice. Give him the shot that he deserved when you drafted him. Let him become “the man” or a footnote. Just have the courage and dedication to follow the plan. Just half the courage that Trask must have to step out onto that field with his future in HIS hands. Give him the damn ball. Go Bucs