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.