Already “On the Clock” themselves, HC Dirk Koetter and GM Jason Licht begin 2018 on a HOT SEAT; and drafted accordingly

Jason Licht probably had every Running Back, DL and DB lined up in order in his head well before the draft even started. Dirk Koetter and Licht both knew their respected positions in the TEAMS  future just the same: Starting the season in the hottest position possible after having been given a reprieve from their anti-climatic 9-7 to 5-11 free fall when franchise expectations were at the highest in years.

It was a given, there would be no trading up and giving up picks to get a kicker, not even close. For the record, the picking of Agquayo wasn’t completely without merit. He was the most accurate kicker in the history of NCAA football, for a major program in a conference that sends many players to the NFL, for a team with a history of losing games because of a bad kicker.

But the biggest problem with the move was the Bucs were more than just a Kicker away from turning their cellar dwelling around.  Far more than just one player at ANY position.

So Licht and Koetter deserve even more credit for this draft, because they could have played it SUPER SAFE and just took what they had available: #7, and #38… then the 4th round where you can still sometimes land a starter if your good.

Instead of staying put, they put their coaching lives on the line and gave up No. 7 to Buffalo who was ready to invest in a QB, exactly what the Bucs were hoping for, a desperate QB hungry team with extra picks to spare.

Now armed with 53 and 56 as well as 38, the Bucs took their prized RB, got a Corner they coveted and entered the 3rd round to get an offensive lineman they can groom. Looking at the draft, the talk for the Bucs was how to get a DL, RB, CB, or OL.

They got them all.

For Licht it makes up for a few mistakes made here and there, but overall Jason Licht has been a solid GM for Tampa Bay. Even the immortal Rich McKay made mistakes; more of a talent finder, less of a Dollars $ cents guy; Licht is more compared to his predecessor who was fired along with HC Raheem Morris.

But Morris wasn’t the problem, the Bucs failed Morris, Raheem did not fail Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers immediately went out and spent money in Free Agency as soon as Raheem was replaced, the GM who did the hiring and drafting and cut ties with Doug Williams, perhaps for the last time with the Tampa Bay organization…Mark Dominik held onto draft picks and free agency mistakes FAR, FAR too long.

Give credit where its due.. this regime cuts ties with players who are a wrong fits. And while it will be years before anyone can grade this 2018 draft.. the immediate effects are positive from Round 1 on.

Jason Licht’s 1st Round NFL Draft trade was greatest value swap of the day for Tampa Bay Buccaneer GM

It made up for the ‘moving up to draft a kicker’ fiasco that almost cost Jason Licht his job. Instead, Licht took an offer from the Bills to move down from 7 to 12 after the 3 best impact players Tampa Bay were interested in were all gone. For the 5 spots Buffalo moved up, it paid dearly, two prime 2nd round picks at NO. 53 and 56, giving the Bucs 4 potential starters for next year.

Here are some players taken aproximately between no. 50 to 70 over the last decade:

Alvin Kamara RB New Orleans, Ali Marpet OL Bucs, Tyler Lockett WR

Imagine getting a free Ali Marpet for getting the same player you wanted anyways

Seattle, Yanick Ngakoue DE Jacksonville (probowl) over the last 3 years.

 

In 2014 with time to develop, three WR were taken from 53-63; Devante Adams Green Bay, Allen Robinson KC, and Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins. In 2013 Travis

Of course it all relies on your GM finding a GEM. If todays pick turns out to be a Le’veon Belll

Kelce was taken with the 63rd pick in the 2nd round, the ultimate steal may be pick #48 Pittsburgh Steeler RB Le’veon Bell.

The NFL has a value system to the draft, and there are different ways of weighing that value. One of the most down to earth approaches is the money value system   that Chase Stewart created for Football Perspective. As reported by Tampa Bay Times staff writer Thomas Bassinger, the Bucs gave up $1.00 and got back $1.67, more value than any other draft drade on draft day #1.

Going back farther: Lavante David, Randall Cobb, Carlos Dunlap, Sean Lee, Golden Tate, LeSean McCoy, Calais Campbell. Or of course, it could turn into another Roberto “Oh No” Aguayo; Lets hope not for Jason Licht’s sake

PFF Mock Draft 5 could be silliest yet for Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Make no mistake, secondary help is high on the Bucs needs and wants, but its not as high as some people think it is, and Ill go on record as saying the current group of Bucs DBs have not been given a fair test yet, and Ill tell you why.

As Great as Ronde Barber and Donnie Abraham/Brian Kelly were at corner, great as John Lynch and Dexter Jackson/Damien Robinson were at Safety; They may all have the nickname “Toast” applied to their names if not for Warren SAPP, Simeon RICE, Booger MCFARLAND and a host of other pass rushers that set an NFL record for consecutive games with a sack (it went on for seasons).

An edge rusher to go along with the return of a healthy Noah Spence could make all the difference in the Bucs secondary.

Those Bucs teams had opposing QBs with QB Ratings down in a barely usable level; because if the opposing QB was getting sacked, he was being hurried which caused more turnovers. It wasn’t a gimmick, it was fundamental football. No corner, not even a Reavis in his prime, can cover a WR for 6 seconds; The WR knows what he’s doing, the DB has to guess.

PFF has the Bucs taking Florida State Safety Kerwin James, who no doubt is going to have an electric career in the NFL. But in taking James the Bucs pass on Pressure from the outside in Bradley Chub, and RB Saquon Barkley. Notre Dame Guard Quenton Nelson goes 2 spots prior in this imaginary take.

Its been proven time and time again, drafting for need results in a future when people look back 5 years later (sometimes not that long) and say “wow, we could have had him” … and it was a player even  5 years prior everyone knew was going to be a stud.

The Bucs cannot afford to pass on one player that not a single poor word has been said about him; thats Guard Quenton Nelson. This is a chance for the Buccaneers to finally have an elite offensive line with two all pro guards, a stud at Center, a LT the team is sold on and a replacement for RT away from that dream.

Imagine Marpet and Nelson in a Bucs nasty interior Line that could rival any in the NFL.

Being 4 deep at Wide Receiver is impressive, have two unstoppable Tight Ends going out in routs is an amazing advantage. But having these and a QB who is given all day to stand in the pocket to make his choices, is the difference between a 9-7 team, and a potential Super Bowl  one.

The Bucs have addressed the deficiency on the Defensive Line by bringing in several free agent linemen, and Noah Spence returns to the fold. But add in Bradley Chubb to the opposite edge of Spence could make the Bucs current secondary players into household names like the list of Tony Dungy’s guys.

3 Signs Tampa Bay Bucs will do good in 2018; 3 reasons they might not

The 2018 Tampa Bay Buccaneers season will be my 40th consecutive year following the Bucs as a diehard Bucs fan. And while one year may have little effect on another in the grand scheme of things, history repeats itself, and trends can give a lot of information if you look for it.

Here are three reasons why the Bucs can become a winning, in the playoff race in December football team in 2018…

…and 3 signs they may not.

NEGATIVE FIRST: 3 signs Bucs not ready to do what it takes in 2018

CLEVELAND SOUTH: Going into 2017 the Rams (32) and Jaguars were two of four teams with worst record over the last decade combined. Now its the Bucs and Brows, as the other two made the playoffs leaving the Buffalo Bills as NFL team with greatest Playoff drought. (not to forget the Bucs have gone 10-6 {2010} and 9-7 {2016} and missed tiebreakers each year.
Draft Party? Bucs have history of Draft Hangovers

Tampa Bay has only one starter left from the draft only 4 years ago. At a

Kenny Bell, one example of poor drafting done at one Buc over time.

time when a player should be becoming an NFL stud on pro bowl breakout player, the Bucs only have Mike Evans to show for 2014 draft. Charles Simms is on the bubble each year. 2016’s top pick Vernon Hargraves on shaky ground, and Noah Spence will hopefully be a repeat of Gerald McCoy who ended his first two seasons on IR but healthy ever since. Neither is a starter, and kicker Aquayo is out of the NFL. Bucs hope Ryan Smith or 2017’s Justin Evans will pan out as future secondary stars. Bucs need to hope 2018 draft will be a repeat of 2016 where Rd 1-4 are stars/starters.

HOME SOUR HOME- Bucs dont win where they’re supposed to.

Tampa Bay was 4-4 last year in home games, and after starting 0-4 in 2016 they ended up 4-4  then too. Going back three years they were 3-4 in Koetter’s first year as OC. The NFL standard is to go 6-2 at home, and break even on the road, which will put you at 10-6. Of course before the last three years the Bucs were 0-8 (2014), 3-5 (2013), 3-5 (2012) so they’re heading in the right direction, barely.

THEY GOT THE RIGHT STUFF BABY… 3 signs that point to WINS in 2018

Overall, its a positive 4 year trend for Dirk Koetter

2-14 in 2014 gives Bucs the No.1  pick and they take the single biggest player pick up in the last decade.

6-10 in 2015 wasn’t enough to save Lovie Smith’s job, but it saved Dirk Koetter as Offensive Coordinator to Head Coach.

9-7 Tampa Bay finally does it, and behind leadership of Jameis Winston has a winning season, missing playoffs by tie breakers.

OF course we know last year the Bucs fell to 5-11, but franchise QB Winston
missed 5 games with injury, which could have been less as the idea he was returned too soon has been discussed. Rather than hype the numerous close games the Bucs lost, its more important to look at the reasons they lost them, and how they’ve addressed them… so far.

KICKING- Single handedly cost Bucs the Patriots game and chance to go 3-1.

DEFENSIVE LINE- Bucs haven’t had a double digit sacker since Simeon Rice. Noah Spence may be healthy, but Bucs went out and got an endless motor in Jean Pierre Paul, and perhaps new blood in the draft.

OFFENSIVE LINE- Considered their strength (the Bucs won games with 3 of 5 starters on IR) but with a STUD at Center, Marpet back at guard, the Bucs may go over the top with another  STUD at Guard in the draft from Notre Dame.

James Winston  trending right direction.

Even though he missed 5 games, Winston continues to brake franchise records, taking over the Bucs media guide one page at a time. Prior to 2017, 4 was the most 300 yard games a Bucs QB had in a season. Vinny Testaverde did it twice (88,89) so did Doug Williams (80,81). Brad Johnson was the most recent with 4 in 2003. But Winston set the Bucs franchise record with  6x 300yd games, in spite of only playing in 11 (or 10 really).

The fact that Winston is only 24 years old, and already OWNS the NFL record for most TDs before the age of 24, is enough for me call him the greatest Buccaneer QB since Doug Williams, and he will probably surpass him soon. Its more than ability, and yes he has a way to go still;

  • calm down the passion during games so he doesn’t lose his head and hurt the team.
  • increase accuracy on deep balls

Winston is not fake, he really lives and breathes NFL Football; he is the undisputed leader of this football team, and over the next few years, the Bucs will go how Jameis Winston goes.

BAD YEAR ALWAYS FOLLOWS THE BREAKOUT SEASON, and comes before the real deal!

Its very common in sports to see a team come out of nowhere and have a great season… only to fall the next year causing many to question the legitimacy to begin with! But the good teams, they get over that poor year, learn from it, and come out better than ever in the 3rd season.

This has happened to the Bucs not once, but twice in their franchise history.

WORST TO FIRST: The NFL knew no losers like the 76-78 Buccaneers. But in 1979 the Bucs started out 5-0 and won their first division championship. They went to the playoffs, and won their first playoff game against Philadelphia Eagles, going to the NFC championship game in only their 4th year of existence. The next year they went 5-10-1, and the defense was a shell of the ’79 team. Still, coach John McKay saw the NFL going to a passing league, and adjusted his defense accordingly. The Bucs went 9-7 in 1981 and won the NFC Central division championship for 2nd of 3 years, and Bucs went to the playoffs 3 of 4 seasons.

Drafted #1 and #2 in 1995, perhaps the best draft in Bucs history to date. Will 2015 be remembered that way too?

DUNGY RESTORES LOST ART: after 14 double digit losing seasons, the Bucs new ownership hired  Tony Dungy to coach the Bucs. Concentrating on fundamentals and overcoming years of losing mentality wasnt easy, but in the second season, first in new PEWTER uniforms, Tampa Bay started out 5-0 in 1997 (same numbers as 1979!) and went 10-6 and a wild card birth, including a HOME PLAYOFF WIN over Detroit Lions for the first time since that 1979 playoff win. But the next season the Bucs started 3-4 and ended up going 8-8, the worst record under Tony Dungy.  The following year however, the team came back with a vengeance: 1999 was the year the Bucs won 6 games in a row, won the Division for the first time since 1981, and went to the NFC Championship where they shocked the greatest offense the NFL had ever seen, the St. Louis Rams holding them to one TD, scored with only 4 minutes to go ending Bucs season.

Both times, the Bucs were a YOUNG team, and were not able to handle the pressure of the expectations. Not only brought on by the fans who expected not only the SAME, but better; but by the media who called the Bucs the next best thing.

Sound familiar? Last year the Bucs heard about how great they were going to be every time they tuned a radio or TV station in. HBO put them on Hard Knocks, and the talk was, the Bucs were going to continue from their 9-7 record and get even better.   Clearly, it was too much to handle for a young team still learning how to win; But last year when the Bucs cost themselves a win vs Caroina due to a stupid offsides penalty by a player laughing it up after the game, the Bucs found their leadership in the locker room. Is it enough to get the team focused back on winning?

The draft is coming up.