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Playoff conversation?

Florida Football Insiders

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Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

With five weeks remaining in the NFL season, there are some teams that are virtual locks to be in the playoffs (See: Saints, Rams, Patriots, Chiefs Etc.). And, there are teams that are virtual locks to miss out (See: Raiders, Jets, 49ers, Cardinals).

And then, there are a whole bunch of teams vying to get in either as a division winner outright or snag one of the two conference wild-card spots.

And, despite a four-game losing streak that put them at 3 and 7 two weeks ago, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could play their way into playoff relevancy starting with a win this week over NFC South rival Carolina.

Before you snicker at that last sentence, consider the case and what’s at stake Sunday at 1 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium:

After their 27-9 win over the 49ers last week put them at 4 – 7, the Bucs are now within two games of Carolina, Seattle, Dallas, Minnesota and Washington (all with 6 wins) in the win column, for the two wild-card spots that will be up for grabs in the NFC.

Since beating the Bucs badly in Charlotte in early November to go 6-2, the Panthers have proceeded to lose three straight games to drop to 6-5. So, obviously with a Buccaneer defeat Sunday, they would be amazingly back to .500 at  6 – 6.

More importantly for Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers would pull within a game of the Panthers with the December stretch run coming.

Now some realities:

The Redskins, who are at the moment two games in front of the Bucs, also have the head-to-head tiebreaker after their November win at Raymond James Stadium 16 – 3.

Another reality is the Seahawks, who beat the Panthers last week in Carolina, will play the same lowly 49ers at the Bucs beat last week at home and will likely get a seventh victory Sunday afternoon.

Further, teams like Philadelphia Green Bay and Atlanta are also lurking with either 4 or 5 wins going into this weekend and hoping to do the same thing the Tampa Bay can do and that’s get to nine victories at the end of the year. Philly can win 10-the most Falcons and Packers can now win is 9 games.

Another point to make is: there are several NFC teams vying for division win or wild-card spot that can still get to ten victories with 5 remaining and the Buccaneers obviously cannot reach 10.

Still, the Buccaneers have hope at the moment.

If they play better and beat the Panthers, they are at least in the conversation heading into the third of three straight home games with the first place Saints coming Sunday December 9th.

And yes, the Bucs do have two difficult road games back to back at Baltimore, who will be vying for an AFC wild-card spot and then at the Cowboys, who will be battling for a division win or a wild card spot themselves, right after playing New Orleans.

However, if you want to be a playoff team, you’re going to have to prove it by winning out under the current circumstance, anyway.

That starts with Sunday and a rematch with Cam Newton and Co.

A win and Tampa Bay is still in the NFC playoff conversation for another week

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs confirmed Monday they will have new uniforms in 2020

Florida Football Insiders

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

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?

First, the team released another video with clues about them intending to change their uniform and potentially alter their logo:

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.

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Bucs will put former defensive coordinator Kiffin in Ring of Honor

Florida Football Insiders

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Bucs are looking forward to their future with a second year under new coach Bruce Arians, but on Friday night, they reached back to their past to honor one of their top assistant coaches in franchise history. And. this fall they will put him in their “Ring of Honor.”

Monte Kiffin, who along with coach Tony Dungy were the architects of the Buccaneers “Tampa 2” defense will become the team’s 14th member of their Ring of Honor in the 2020 season:

The Buccaneers made the announcement Friday night as Kiffin was being honored by the organization, his former players, friends and family, as part of his 80th birthday celebration.

Kiffin who came with Dungy in 1996 to the Bucs and led the defense for 13 seasons, helped Tampa Bay’s defense become one of the youngest fastest and fiercest in all of the NFL in just a few short seasons.

Led by now Hall of Famers, Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp, plus Hall of Fame finalists John Lynch and Ronde Barber, the Bucs defense rose to the number one in the NFL in 1999 and again, in 2002. That season, led by new coach Jon Gruden in his first year and Kiffin’s defense, Tampa Bay won their first and only World Championship cementing Kiffin’s legacy.

Kiffin left the Bucs to go coach at the University of Tennessee, when his son Lane became the head coach for one season in 2009. He then left Knoxville after that season when Lane Kiffin took the USC  job. He has spent recent years, as a defensive coach/consultant with the Cowboys and also the Jaguars.

The last couple of seasons he had been with Lane Kiffin in an advisory role at Florida Atlantic.

The Bucs have put 13 previous former players, coaches and even owner Malcolm Glazer, in their Ring of Honor. And, that list includes Sapp, Brooks Lynch and Barber, who was inducted a year ago. Kiffin will be the first assistant coach to be honored. Previously, Gruden (2017) and Dungy (2018) have also both been put in as head coaches, with the architect of the original Buccaneers, John McKay also being inducted also back in 2010.

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