TAMPA – The Buccaneers fans who haven’t jumped ship already woke up on Monday morning looking for something, anything positive to take away from that disturbing 38-33 loss to the Cardinals the Bucs subjected them to in the desert on Sunday.
Well, as positives go, this one’s not much but it’s something: Right along with the Bucs, the Falcons and Panthers both lost this past week as well. Not as badly as the Bucs but hey, a loss is a loss and in this case, those were important losses.
While the Bucs loss dropped them to the bottom of the NFC South standings with a 2-3 record the Falcons fell to 3-2, same as the Saints, and the Panthers fell to 4-2.
That means the Bucs are just 1.5 games out of first place in the division with a game in hand as they say in the NHL against the division-leading Panthers, so all is not as lost.
That doesn’t mean the Bucs’ situation isn’t dire. It is. We’ve yet to see the offense rev its engines the way we thought it would and now it may have to play a game or two without quarterback Jameis Winston.
Cynics might consider that a positive given the way Winston has played at times this year, but let’s keep in mind that Winston is one of the biggest reasons the Bucs have two wins to their credit.
He’s only thrown an interception in one game so far, that in the loss to the Vikings, and when he went down on Sunday he was coming off three consecutive 300-plus-yard passing games.
The only other quarterbacks to have had three 300-yard passing games this year prior to Sunday were Tom Brady and Carson Palmer, who somehow managed to fall short of that number while helping the Cardinals rack up 38 points against the Bucs this past weekend.
One of the reasons for that, of course, is that the Bucs were unable to stop running back Adrian Peterson or the Cardinals running game, but prior to that the Bucs were allowing an average of just 87.3 rushing yards per game, eighth-best in the NFL.
So which is the anomaly? Peterson running for 134 yards and two touchdowns or the Bucs suddenly surrendering nearly twice as many rushing yards in one game than they previously had in two.
Look, we’re not trying to gloss over the fact the Bucs stunk up the field on Sunday. Coach Dirk Koetter called their first half the worst first half of football he’s seen in his life and he’s lived a long football life.
For whatever reason the Bucs came out listless and ill-prepared for that game. As inexcusable as that is, it happens and it usually happens to just about every team in the league at least once a season.
What the Bucs have to do is make sure this loss doesn’t define them or, worse define their season. If it does, then all will indeed be lost. That’s the kind of hole the Bucs have dug for themselves.
But keep in mind that the Bucs have yet to play their first division rival, and that’s a trio of teams that the Bucs went 4-2 against a year ago, including 2-1 on the road with wins at Atlanta and Carolina.
And as for the rest of the schedule, look at it objectively and find the game there that doesn’t look like a winnable for the Bucs, at least at this stage of the season.
Granted, the Bucs will have to play a lot better than they did against the Cardinals to win any game but that should be expected. After all, it’s doubtful that Cardinals game will become the norm for this squad.
It may not seem like it to some but there’s too much talent here for that to happen and while they have yet to show it, there’s a reason this team was pegged by so many to be a playoff contender before the season started.
The talent that made the Bucs such a chic playoff pick back then is still intact, and in an NFC seemingly devoid of an elite-level team there is still time for the Bucs to get back into the playoff race.
So there it is, Bucs fans, a positive culled from a negative, reason to believe. Granted, it’s much, but maybe we should all just let the season play out before we call it over after just five games.
Bucs coach Arians again non-committal Tuesday on QB Winston
It’s become increasingly apparent, that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are ready to move on from potential free agent quarterback Jameis Winston. And Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, coach Bruce Arians gave the latest example that he and the Buccaneers front office will look at the other options available first.
Arians spoke at a podium on numerous subjects, but the most prominent is what Tampa Bay will do in the coming days with Winston?
— Charlie Clifford (@cliffWISH8) February 25, 2020
Arians was asked directly about potential for a franchise tag for his starter a year ago and what the Bucs might proceed to do? But, he refused to endorse that option on the former number one overall pick Winston. And, the Bucs coach maintained that the team will possibly us the franchise tag for defensive end Shaq Barrett.
Further, Arians gave a pointed specific answer on Winston’s poor play last December as the team finished 7-9 and that has the team looking at other options,
Arians on Winston and why it’s still uncertain: “December wasn’t what I wanted to see.”
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) February 25, 2020
Arians has consistently refused back Winston since the off-season began. This included at an NFL coaching seminar earlier this month in Tampa. He said to the media at that time:
“Really nothing has changed,” Arians said. “What’s Door No. 2? You know? Can we make the one we have better? All those things you go through right now.”
“You’re just sitting there waiting to see is there someone available? … Is he a better option?
The Buccaneers faltered in the middle of the season to drop to 3-7 and then, Winston and Co. blew its final two games to finish 7 – 9 with Winston throwing a career-high 30 interceptions.
After their final loss at home to Atlanta in overtime, where Winston threw the game losing “pick six,” Arians was candid after the final game by saying about Winston’s play that it would have to be evaluated pass by pass and game by game in the off-season. Further, he told the media then, that there “was some great and some terrible…. and you have to decide, if the great outweighs the terrible.”
While Winston did throw for a career-high 5000 + yards in 2019, his interceptions and total turnovers continued to be his downfall throughout the season. The Buccaneers finished 1 – 6 in games against teams with winning records and Winston had 17 total turnovers in those seven games. He finished with the 30 picks that included 10 of them in the Bucs final four games.
Tampa Bay obviously will have the opportunity to go after a free agent quarterback or two, as there is much speculation about the likes of Tom Brady with the Patriots. Plus, Philip Rivers will not be re-signed by the Chargers and is available come March. And, now that Drew Brees has announced he wants to play at least one more year for the Saints, their backup Teddy Bridgewater will be in demand on the market.
The Bucs are also continuing the evaluating the QB class for the Draft the next few days in Indy, which could have some interesting names still available in the second and third rounds and beyond.
Bucs confirmed Monday they will have new uniforms in 2020
On Monday, the Bucs confirmed what they have been hinting at, they will have new uniforms in 2020. But the real question is: what does “new” mean in this instance?
We heard you!
New uniforms coming April 2020. pic.twitter.com/e7qNUsNWZb
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) February 24, 2020
The Bucs also released a statement through their website confirming that April will be the unveiling of the new uniforms, as well as, potential new color scheme, logo, etc. and had these comments from co – owner, Ed Glazer:
“We have heard the feedback from our fans loud and clear and have been working with the NFL and our league partners at Nike to usher in a new look as we enter this next decade of Buccaneers football. We look forward to revealing more details in the near future about our official unveiling event which will take place later this spring.”
As we wrote earlier this month, the Buccaneers have been hinting at trying to enhance their uniforms and there is some belief there will be more orange, the original color of the franchise. There is also educated speculation that the team may go back to a white helmet, which will enable them to have “throwback uniform games” that they’ve not been able to have for the last seven seasons.
This is because under league concussion protocol, players must have the same helmet all season and the Bucs primary one has been pewter in color since their chance in colors and logo in 1997,
The Bucs last altered their uniforms in 2014 by brightening the color red and slightly changing the logo and making it bigger on their pewter helmet. Teammates Ryan Jensen and Mike Evans are shown in the current color scheme, etc. above.
NFL teams have to submit changes in their colors and logos a year in advance. So obviously, this has been in the works for the Glazer family that owns the team for some time.
It should be noted that the Buccaneers NFC South Rivals, the Atlanta Falcons, have already made mention that they are changing their uniforms and color scheme. And, it’s believed that they will go back in 2020 to their original base color of red including possibly red helmets and potentially, primarily gray pants that they wore for over twenty years.
The Falcons have had black helmets for the better part of 30 years going back to Jerry Glanville changing the color scheme to primarily black jerseys in his days at the Falcons coach in the early 1990s.
Back to the Bucs. There is no other team in the NFL that has orange as their primary jersey color. The Bengals Broncos and Browns have occasionally worn orange “alternate jerseys” but not full time.
So, if the Glazers are again embracing a change to mostly orange jerseys, it will be unique. The video Monday showed a red jersey on a sewing machine, which could be a clue or could be misdirection of what the team actually intends to unveil in April.