THE OPTIMIST: Bucs Were Competitive In ’09

July 14th, 2010

You’ve all read THE PESSIMIST, who spews his Bucs-related anger like no other. But Joe also wants you to get to know THE OPTIMIST

THE OPTIMIST is Nick Houllis, a Bucs fan and an accomplished writer whose steadfast allegiance to the team goes back to the 1970s. Houllis is the founder, creator and guru of BucStop.com, a place Joe goes to get lost in time via Houllis’ stunning video collection.

THE OPTIMIST will shine that positive light in your eyes. Some will love it. Some won’t. 

With only 2 1/2 weeks remaining the offseason, you’re going to start hearing increased chatter on all the sports networks near and far; football season is about to start.

And you know what that means Bucs fans; it’s time for the local media to start to advancing two myths you will hear about often.

Myth 1: The Bucs have a long way to go to be competitive in the strong NFC South.

Really? That’s funny, because last year’s 3-13 team played competitively in five of its six division games, if I remember correctly, and every pundit agrees the Bucs improved themselves dramatically this offseason in talent at the need positions.

In 2009 among division foes, only a visit by the New Orleans Saints resulted in a game that was out of reach entering the fourth quarter. The season finale against the Falcons at Raymond James ended up a 10-point loss, but it was tied with seven minutes to go in the fourth quarter, and only a field goal with 1:00 left sealed the victory for Atlanta.

The rest? Two games against the Carolina were so competitive they rank as some of the better games played in recent history. The Carolina at Tampa Bay game saw the Bucs score two touchdowns in a 10-minute span to tie the game, and only a late fourth-quarter drive secured a Panthers win. Josh Freeman’s five interceptions spoiled what was otherwise a dominant Buccaneer performance up in Charlotte.

The away games against the Falcons and Saints were special indeed, with the Atlanta game marking the return to play-calling for Raheem Morris. The Bucs played the Falcons down to the wire, where a controversial fake punt call was more the culprit for the loss than any lack of competitive nature. And the Bucs game at New Orleans was the highlight of the season, when a far less talented Bucs team beat the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints, IN THEIR HOME!

So next time you hear someone on the radio talk about the Bucs needing to wait some time before they can be competitive in the NFC South, please set them straight.

Myth 2: The Glazers wont spend any money on free agents.

Funny, Bucs fans are the most fickle of fanatics it would seem. Just a year ago we were complaining “how could the Bucs regime give Kellen Winslow Jr. an undeserving contract like that”and “they must be crazy to give Michael Clayton 25 Million dollars,” while at the same saying over and over that the Bucs are too cheap to spend money.

What was the 10 million dollar franchise Tag on Antonio Bryant? Maybe you didn’t like where the money was spent, or how. But the bottom line is the Bucs went out and got the best running back on the market (Derrick Ward), the best tight end (K2 via a trade), and one of the best kickers available to replace a fan favorite who could not nail a 50+ yard FG any more.

These same Bucs fans that were calling Antonio Bryant the next David Boston all of a sudden were calling for Bucs heads for letting him get away.

Keep in mind that in 1996, free agents were available then too for the Bucs’ holes on the team at safety and cornerback, and other positions. If free agents had been acquired, John Lynch and Donnie Abraham would have not gotten valuable playing time, which would have delayed the breakout year of 1997.

Regardless of any debt the Glazers have with Manchester United, the NFL TV Contracts supply NFL Owners with enough revenue to keep a team running smoothly on its financial side.

They may not have large amounts of cash to offer signing bonuses, but the Glazers can offer guaranteed contracts if they need to attract free agents. Similar strategies around the league by other NFL owners for some reason are conveniently being left off the local airwaves. 

Whether the facts amount to an improved record remains to be seen. But thankfully the season start is just around the corner.

46 Responses to “THE OPTIMIST: Bucs Were Competitive In ’09”

  1. thomas Says:

    This isn’t even believable if you take it from the perspective of the optimist.

    There is no John Lynch on this defense. The bucs went 1-5 in the division last year with their only win being after the Saints had clinched the division title but just the day before lost home field. They had NOTHING to play for, and I believe they had 3-4 key linemen out so as not to further injure them for the playoffs.

    The falcons were decimated by injuries last year, and the one close game on the road, I believe Ryan was out, Turner out, and two key linemen. The Panthers had matt Moore playing in his first start.

  2. Pawlowski Says:

    The title of this article made me laugh.

  3. bucfanjeff Says:

    You guys kill me, “The sky is falling, the sky is falling…”.

  4. Kyle Says:

    Joe, you should be the guy running FOX news, then they’d really be fair and balanced. Keep at it Optimist ..”F” the naysayers

  5. Matt Says:

    The Bucs were competitive in the last 6 games of 2009 (plus the GB game, obvioulsy). (Minus maybe the Jets game…)

    They didn’t have a chance in the other games with the Bates led defense.

    Logically, we should then be competitive with that defense in ’10.

    But we’re only going to win a good number of games (~>5) if Freeman progresses and leads us to some wins late.

  6. Matt Says:

    @thomas “with their only win being after the Saints had clinched the division title but just the day before lost home field. They had NOTHING to play for”

    Don’t spew lies. The Saints needed to win one more game to clinch homefield advantage. Turns out the Vikings ended up losing a game later that night, so they didn’t end up needing to win another game afterall.

    But AT KICKOFF, the Saints knew they needed to win one more game (either vs. Tampa or Carolina in week 17) to clinch homefield advantage.

    If you want to say the Saints were coming off a letdown because they had just lost their perfect season the week before, okay, I’ll accept that. But you’re just lying if you say they had nothing to play for.

  7. tampa2 Says:

    That was a great coulda, woulda, shoulda story. But the bottom line is that the Bucs record under Raheem the Dream is 3-13! And this band of rookies and amateur coaches do not show any signs of being better this year! As for Optimism, my optimism left when they replaced Gruden with Raheem. And I took my season ticket money with me. As did thousands of others!

  8. BamBamBuc Says:

    Competitive means nothing to the naysayers here. Winning is all that matters. And I can’t argue that winning isn’t the most important thing.

    However, if a team is losing, the level of competitiveness is important. When we lost to the Giants last year and couldn’t even get a first down until midway through the 3rd quarter, we weren’t competitive and that was hard to watch. If that were the team that played all year, I’d be right there with the others here, saying we have no chance this year either. But when we were actually competitive, had a chance to win, many of the games in the last part of the season, it is reason for hope. This team may surprise many doubters. If they can take those Giants games and just make them competitive and take those competitive games and eek out a win or two, we should see marked improvement.

  9. lightningbuc Says:

    It’s the NFL and the players are paid – it’s supposed to be competitive. This article was laughable. The Bucs sucked, but at least they were competitive while sucking? I know, I know – I’m a hater.

  10. Gary Says:

    Why isn’t anyone allowed to be even remotely positive around here? Why does everything come down to how bad we suck? Yea, we lost a lot of games last year, but most were infact competitive, and thats a good sign. Thats all the optimist was trying to say.

  11. Gary Says:

    Some of you make the pessimist look like the optimist

  12. Ish Says:

    The article doesn’t claim we had a winning record. The article claims we had a chance for more wins last year in several games. This year we will be better because we improved on several weak spots. That’s what the article states. No more, no less.

    Why are some of you so against this team that you refuse to accept that they have a chance to win games? If they had pulled out 2 of those 5 division losses, finished the year at 5-11, would you still say they have no chance? This article points out that the Bucs could have been 8-8 last year with just a few plays different.

    As for coulda, woulda, shoulda, what sort of person looks at this team and says they’ve shown no improvement? That is just wrong. Sad and wrong.

  13. Louie the HATER! Says:

    The Saints win last year was huge. New Orleans should have been able to beat the Bucs with their eyes closed, both hands tied behind their back and with only one leg. On top of that the Bucs had beaten Seattle on the west coast the prior week. I was hoping they had turned the corner, but they layed an egg at home against a very average Atlanta team. If they had really turned the corner, they would have won that game and gone into the off-season when momentum and a lot of optimism. So, as far as I’m concerned, it’s back to square one this season.

    To me, being competitive is having meaningful games in December. It’s kind of hard to say you’re competitive when you’ve been eliminated from the playoffs by November.

  14. Louie the HATER! Says:

    @Ish: “…the Bucs could have been 8-8 last year with just a few plays different.”

    Agreed…if we had a decent head coach. So much for those who said nobody could have won with that team.

  15. Chargedcbh Says:

    This proves my point, I’ve been saying for years the Bucs fans are STUPID… Just read the comments…. You people have NO IDEA what your talking about…..

  16. eric Says:

    What kind of person looks at this team and sees no improvement? One that watched the 2009 season!

    NFL games are usually close. The 76 team played a lot of close games. The Rams lost a lot of close games, as did the lions. Finding solace in close losses is a losers pardadigm

    Im sorry, but to acknowledge improvement, it takes more than supposition. The actual record is what measures it.

    With the softer schedule, absence of Mr. Bates, and alleged roster upgrades, 9-7 should be the standard and the expectation. After all, they coulda won 8 last year, according to the optimist. If they get that record, then they sufficiently improved. This is the NFl, close doesn’t cut it.

    Personally, I am expecting 3-13 with lots of close games and “mighta” losses. But, we shall see!

  17. Louie the HATER! Says:

    @Chargedcbh, thank you for contributing absolutely nothing to the conversation. How 3rd grade.

    Chargedcbh: “You’re STUPID!”.

    Chargedcbh classmate: “Why am I stupid?”

    Chargedcbh: “Just because!”

  18. Ish Says:

    Eric, please explain to me what “record” the Bucs could possibly produce in the off-season? You go on to list several improvements after saying that you see no improvement because you watched the team last year. WHAT?!?

    I’m not saying last year was good. Duh, it wasn’t! I’m saying that they made several steps that appear to be improvements.

    Also, I’m not finding solace in close losses. I’m saying “we were close, we improved, we should win some more next year.”

    Why is hoping for a good season so hard for some people?

  19. Steve From Oregon Says:

    Wow…I normally wouldn’t get involved in this back and forth, but today I felt complelled.

    Last year wasn’t good. We had the youngest team in the league, from the players to the Coach and we played like it; however, once Raheem took over the playcalling, our defense improved quite a bit. For those of you that don’t remember, Josh didn’t get “ANY” of the first team snaps in the offseason or practice.

    To say that we are not going to be improved this season is absurd. What did we lose this offseason? Other then Antonio and Hovan…who was hurt for most of last season…and who just didn’t have anything left in the tank?

    With Raheem installing his defense for a full offseason, with Olsen installing his offense with Josh for a full offeason, it would be ignorant to not think that the team will not be better this year.

    I understand there is no way to know how many wins this amounts to; however, with our schedule, and a little faith and support from our fans, I truly believe that we will be able to have an impact on our division and at the very least play spoiler.

  20. d-money Says:

    lightningbuc and others…

    THe point of the article wasn’t to say that it is ok to lose if you’re competitive it was to point out that they might not be as far from a winning record in 2010 as some might suggest.

  21. RahDomDaBest Says:

    Their is so much parity in the NFL that practically all teams with losing records have 8-8 potential.

    What sets you apart?

    Coaching for one. And that is a category that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were dead last in the entire NFL… hands down.

  22. Capt.Tim Says:

    No, the category the Bucs finish dead last in, is fan base. That’s to losers like some of the Bozos that post here. They couldn’t play poorly enough to be the team you deserve! I am starting to agree with the NFL Brain trust, this fan base doesn’t deserve a team. Moving them to LA looks like the right move

  23. lightningbuc Says:

    Capt Tim,

    A quick internet search reveals many articles talking of Los Angeles getting an NFL team and which teams may be possibilities for relocating there. At least seven teams are speculated upon as possibilities, NONE of which are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. So, if you want to be taken seriously (which you’re not) then reveal your “source” who is providing you this nonsense. Otherwise, go back to the beach and hunt for some tar balls.

  24. ac3 Says:

    I don’t get how people claim to be fans of the 70’s and 80’s and after one losing season people blast our rookie head coach and incredibly young team. Spoiled much? So you can make through a decade of losing but one 3-13 year and all hell breaks lose? If you don’t think this team improved then that puts you are ignoring facts and bashing the team for last year’s inexperience instead of looking forward to this year. Gruden’s gone, Raheem’s the coach…you lost, deal with it. The article is right, a substantial amount of money was spent last year acquiring talent and it got us nowhere, so when the glazers want to save money during a recession and with cba issues glooming, they are the worst owners ever? What kind of short sighted ignorance is that? I know wins and losses will be the only way to see if the team has improved, but if you take the FACT that they have a full offseason of stability, more experience, a weaker schedule blah blah blah, you can’t SUBJECTIVELY expect a 3-13 season. We had one bad year, won’t be the last either…get over yourself, even Tampa doesn’t have a playoff contender every year.

  25. Chargedcbh Says:

    Ok Louie name me a coach that would’ve done better with the players Raheem had? To answer your question “why are you stupid” just read your comment. That’s why! Answer this question IF you can, why isn’t Raheem a decent coach? Please give me 5 GOOD reasons.

  26. ac3 Says:

    then you are*

  27. eric Says:

    I am subjectively expecting 3-13………………………1-7 at the halfway mark.

  28. eric Says:

    One coach who would have done better?

    Jon Gruden………………………with Rah as DC.

  29. ac3 Says:

    no eric…try and keep up now, subjective means on its own individual basis, all your rants and random comments and bad jokes are based on last year…which is not subjective, if you just look at roster improvements, an offseason with the same DC and OC and personel, Freeman getting starting reps, early draft pick applied to our two weakest positions, and a weaker schedule…then the bucs should not be 3-13…

  30. eric Says:

    Any prediction is inherently subjective.

    Ask Vegas!

  31. ac3 Says:

    and if they are…then fire raheem! that is another issue i have, the only difference between raheem supporters and raheem haters is one year! if raheem is as atrocious this year as he was last year, he should be fired…but if he improves, he should get another year, its not that hard…only the reasonable fans know you can’t judge a coach who was thrust into the position based on one year

  32. eric Says:

    All your reasons they should be better are subjective. Objective will occur AFTER the coming 3-13 season.

  33. ac3 Says:

    glad you said that eric…so the saints were 8-8 the year before last, would you have predicted a super bowl for them?

  34. eric Says:

    It isn’t Raheem’s fault. He has been given mission impossible. I agree.

  35. eric Says:

    Predicting football team records is very difficult, and I am always surprised every year.

    Obviously, I could be totally wrong and the bucs could go 10-6. I’m only stating an opinion!

    But, conversely, you could be wrong about their improvement due to roster additions. No guarrantees there either.

  36. ac3 Says:

    100% agree…but just the improvement seen in the defense the last part of the year alone would lead me to suggest a better record this year, no?

  37. eric Says:

    I am unimpressed with play during the mop up period at the end of last year. If they carry it over to this year, then good for them. That last game vs. Atlanta was not good, with the third string RB going for approx 150 yards.

    Over the years, I have seen that trick before. Kinda like the guy who hits .300 in baseball the last month when teams are bringing pitchers up from the minors.

    But, I hope you are right. Id like to see some good football.

  38. Louie the HATER! Says:

    @Chargedcbh, “…why isn’t Raheem a decent coach? Please give me 5 GOOD reasons.”

    This is a no-brainer:

    1) No head coaching expericence at ANY level.
    2) Hired an OC, then fired him a week before the season.
    3) Hired an DC, then relieved him mid-season.
    4) Allowed QB competition fiasco between McCown & Leftwich to drag on way too long. Competition was rigged so Leftwich would win. Leftwich lasted all of 3 games.
    5) And the biggie: he masterminded a 3-13 season.

    I’m sure you will say those aren’t GOOD reasons.

  39. Chargedcbh Says:

    THANK YOU FOR THE PROVE

    So b/c he never had Head Coaching experience, he’s not a decent coach.

    He masterminded a 3-13 season, plenty of Hall of Fame Coaches had a bad season.

    SOMETIMES IT’S BEST TO BE SILENT AND BE THOUGHT A FOOL
    THAN TO SPEAK AND ERASE ALL DOUBT

  40. Louie the HATER! Says:

    The Dream’s job is head coach. So far, he as been dreadful at that job. He would make a fine DC and has already proven to be a great position coach.

    @Chargedcbh, if you want to play word games, fine have it your way. The only thing that makes me stupid is conversing with you — a mistake I won’t make in the future.

  41. oar Says:

    1) abandoned the Tampa-2
    2) Hired an OC, then fired him a week before the season.
    3) Hired an DC, then relieved him mid-season(see #2).
    4) Jermaine Philips experiment at linebacker, Really????
    5) QB fiasco
    6) FG kicker fiasco
    7) Chest Bumps
    8) When he speaks “take off big boy diapers and put your face on someone”, etc, etc

  42. oar Says:

    That was #9 not a smiley face. I don’t even know how I did that? Damn those smiley faces.

  43. BigMacAttack Says:

    Somehow I think Kevin Bacon is involved in this.

  44. BigMacAttack Says:

    Now Louie is The Mad-Hater.

  45. BigMacAttack Says:

    It looks like since Joe started the message boards that we lost JimBuc.
    Yea!!! ding ding ding ding!!!

  46. mr. bob Says:

    ditto to myth 2 for those who say the glazers don’t / won’t spend money–
    this wasn’t chump change—-give this a rest—–