Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2018 season will be far cry from Favorites they were in 2017.

Last year going into the 2017 NFL Season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the media’s darlings. That was coming off a 9-7 season and just missing the NFL playoffs by a tiebreaker. So the Bucs were chosen to be on HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’ program that shows the inner workings of an NFL franchise through training camp and preseason.  The NFL and its fans all watched the Bucs, and everyone predicted a winning season and playoff birth for 2017; and of course the Bucs listened to everyone tell them how great they were.

Fast forward to this year and judging by the early 2018-19 Super Bowl Odds on this site you’ll be able to hear a pin drop IF and when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are brought up in conversation. These Bucs are not only irrelevant, they 62-1 long shots to represent the NFC in Super Bowl 53.

Yet according to ProFootball Focus’ Mike Florio in this NBC.com video, the Buccaneers entire coaching staff will enter the 2018 season already on the hot seat in a ‘Playoffs of Bust’ attitude that Bucs GM Jason Licht readily acknowledges.

Time to face facts, these Bucs are not only  irrelevant right now, but that’s probably a good thing for players who admittedly were listening too much to all the hype last year and fed into it. Last year’s Buccaneers were simply too young of a team to be ‘given’ another winning season without having to work for it.

That’s not to say there isn’t a buzz about the Bucs this year, its just all local. Local Tampa Bay fans are very excited about what on paper could be the best defensive line and wide receiver depth in many years. Having grabbed rookie Vita Vea early in the first round of the draft, and penning Jason Pierre-Paul & Vinny Curry and others in free agency, the defense is getting attention deserving of a unit that finished dead last in many metrics. And on offense, the Bucs are also hoping to get ahead with a running game reminiscent of when their last top 40 Running Back draft pick was taken in 2012 and 2015, the last year Tampa Bay received rushing deserving of a high draft pick.

But with all this to excite up the local fan base, why are no outsiders buying? Because Tampa Bay is the only team in the NFL that just so happens to be in the same division with not 1, not 2, but three playoff teams from 2017.

A quick look on Bucpower.com, and they’ve finished in the cellar of same division 6 of the last 7 years; Considering this franchise fires its Head Coach every 2-3 season, its not hard to see where Jason Licht gets Idealism: 2018 is a Playoffs or Bust campaign for Bucs coaches, and training camp opens with all of them on the hot seat.

 

With James Winston & Mike Evan’s mention in Top 25 on PFF, true potential of Bucs offense is realized.

Vinny was given the weight of the world on his shoulders, and no supporting cast.

As I await my 40th Tampa Bay Buccaneers season as a die hard fan, I can’t help but think back to all the times the Bucs were ‘on the verge’ of great offense; drafting a top notch QB like Vinny Testaverde, or Trent Dilfer, Two Ultra high draft picks thought to be can’t

While not considered great, Dilfer’s NFL career includes a Super Bowl win, and magical 1997 Bucs turnaround season.

miss. Yet a few years later, the Bucs were right back into the same mess, muddled in with the rest of the pack at 28th or 26th ranked on offense.

With Pro Football Focus naming  two Bucs players in its Top 25 under 25, it reminds me that the recent trend toward offense the Bucs have been enjoying, is not going to come to an abrupt end.

Think about the Bucs foundation:

From the start, Evans has dominated as a Buccaneer WR, he’s a fantasy elite player.

The Bucs have tried since forever to get a real 1st class Wide Receiving threat. More often than naught they would turn out to be Alvin Harpers, or Burt Emanuels. They never dreamed they would find one like Mike Evans: for 4 years Evans has been a Buccaneer, signing his second Buccaneers contract; he has NEVER had less than a 1000 yard receiving season; and he’s under the age of 25! The future looks so bright….

…because Evans has someone to throw him the ball with even more promise. Only just turned 24, Winston is eligible for this list next year too, a testament to how young Jameis Winson truly is.

But just being young doesn’t do anything for turning the luck of a franchise around. This does:

James Winston started his career with two 4,000 yard passing

For any knock you can find against Winston, you’ll have to be reminded hes still only 24.

seasons, and even last year with Winston missing 3 games, he still finished with just over 3500 yards!

All the numbers are on the rise for Winston. He plays the game on a different level, his love for competition is only superceeded by his love for football.

With an Offensive line being built in front of him, and the Bucs drafting a serious home run threat of a running back behind him, the future is….as Jon Gruden once said in a press conference… “so Bright, you have to wear shades”.