Bucs Aren’t That Far From Winners

January 4th, 2012

With no coaching staff in place, a 10-game losing streak to end last season in a grotesque manner, perhaps the worst linebacker play in the NFL, and maybe losing its two starting cornerbacks in 2012, it’s difficult on face value to see the Bucs making the playoffs in the near future.

Don’t count Don Banks along with the naysayers.

The former Bucs beat writer for the then-St. Petersburg Times has been a popular NFL columnist for Sports Illustrated for some time now. He recently typed a piece where he believes the Bucs and the Lambs are much easier franchises to turn into winners than what many suggest.

Spagnuolo and Morris won’t reap the benefits, but an objective assessment shows the Rams and Bucs are in better position today than they were when they hired those two men in early 2009.

In the NFL, the teams without hope are the teams without a long-term answer at quarterback. On that front, the Bucs and Rams remain in decent shape. Tampa Bay’s Josh Freeman and St. Louis’ Sam Bradford both regressed this season and suffered setbacks in their development as first-round, franchise-type quarterbacks. Nothing came easily to either passer, and their first real blast of adversity in the NFL tested their wills and challenged their confidence levels.

But the things that ailed Freeman and Bradford are fixable, and their experiences this year were rather common for young quarterbacks who find themselves caught up in a season that spirals out of control. Yes, they struggled mightily at times, but that does not necessarily doom them to more of the same in the future.

Banks goes on to write that he believes the investments the Bucs have made on the defensive line should pay off and that will help turn the defense around quicker than most.

Banks has a point. But first thing first: Fix Freeman.

25 Responses to “Bucs Aren’t That Far From Winners”

  1. Bucfan34 Says:

    I thought Franchise Quarterbacks fix problems. Josh needs to be fixed?

  2. jfgobucs Says:

    I’d say about 5 more games…

  3. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    I agree the team is not as far away as Raheem’s poor performance would lead one to believe. Qualified coaches, a good draft and a few good free agents should get us back above .500 this coming season.

  4. Tye Says:

    Hopefully the Bucs and the new HC will deal with the QB issues this offseason by aquiring a QB that could be depended upon IF Freeman continues to blow the 1st few games of this next season…

  5. Jim Says:

    Drafting RG3, if he falls to us, would get Josh going.

  6. flmike Says:

    Sometime in the upcoming off-season I think it will come out that Freeman’s thumb was either severally sprained or had ligament and or tendon damage throughout the whole season. I watched every game, and not once did I ever see Freeman grip the ball anywhere near where he would have control over it. I know he has huge hands but he gripped the ball with only his right pinky finger anywhere near the laces, which seem to allow for his thumb to barely be touching the very end of the ball, and if you watch his trajectory, the ball came out nose down on a large majority of his passes, nose down-ball down as the saying goes, then it seemed he was trying to compensate for that by throwing floaters off his back foot which did exactly that, floated right over the receiver. Coach him back up and the offense will thrive.

  7. TampaRob Says:

    Jim- you’re right it would– but wouldn’t you rather see a WR, LB, CB, or S picked at that slot?
    As for Banks’ opinion- I think he’s right on target. When Wyche was fired he had a good defensive core of underperforming draft picks… you might remember them as Brooks, Sapp, and Lynch. It took the right person (Dungy) and the right scheme (Kiffin’s Tampa 2) and the right teacher (Marinelli, Lovie Smith, and Herm Edwards) to make it click. This team is in the same position with Bowers, Claiborne, Price, and maybe Grimm if the last 2 can stay healthy. Just need the right leader, scheme, and teacher. THAT is the tough part. All 3 must be in synch for it to work.

  8. Hillbilly Heaven Says:

    I think we’d all see a much better Free if:

    – we played enough defense to keep the score close
    – he had a real RB behind him
    – he had a legitimate #1 receiver

    Just a season filled with bad decisions and an intention to try and do it all himself. In my book, he gets a pass on 2011.

  9. Bucfan34 Says:

    @Hillbilly, he gets a pass but Blount and Williams don’t?

  10. Hillbilly Heaven Says:

    The article was about Freeman, so I stayed on topic

    Blount was/is not a consideration for me, not a fan.
    He’s not shifty at all, great when a hole breaks open, but comes almost to a dead stop when is doesn’t. And he fumbles. Worse yet, his attitude is suspect (allegedly).

    Williams is not a really a #1 but he’s a keeper.

  11. jarrett Says:

    Tamparob do not confuse bowers price, clayborn, or grimm to any of those greats its not close or fair. Grimm does not start for any team in the league, for that matter none of those guys do. clayborn has a motor and heart, but no special gifts that the bucs greats do. We need defensive linemen still,and thats all we drafted the last two years.

  12. Dave Says:


    I agree. He pressed and tried to do too much and the WRs didn’t help as much but I think he was hurt more than they let on.

    I agree with Banks though.
    With Freeman and Williams and the glimpses of Stocker, I think they have a good foundation. They need speed at WR and RB

    On defense, I think the front 4 and Foster our the foundation. I see them becoming real good in another year or 2, depending on the coaching and the other LBs they bring in or draft.

    LB is THE number 1 priority as far as I am concerned but I really want Justin Blackmon at pick 5. He looks like a dominant type, big WR with hands and speed. The entire WR corps would improve drastically with him

  13. jarrett Says:

    Also joe sorry i know this is off topic but how come everyone can say what they want about shawn king, about how he sucked and is dumb, but noone can call out steve duemig or 620 guys. Steve duemig deserves the critisism for his horrible takes. Are you affiliated with 620wdae?

  14. K2theSoldier Says:

    I think everybody would improve with Justin Blackmon on the team. It would finally give Josh a guy that is a lock to get 1000 yards year in and year out.
    We already have a top 10 tight end in Kellen, a serviceable offensive line and Mike Williams could look real nice with less double teams. Preston Parker, Briscoe and Benn all would provide nice depth. If Josh couldn’t perform under those circumstances then we need to find another QB. Next year is the year for Josh.

  15. Mitsurugi Says:

    RB is what we need. A game changer!!! Trent Richardson!!!! RB and Defense…to keep Cam, The Falcons, and Brees off the field!!!

  16. stimpy Says:

    I think we have a good core of players. With the right staff and coaching they should be serviceable.

  17. bucfanjeff Says:

    Freeman isn’t broken. Surround the dude with some talent and put him in a good offense.

  18. Joe Says:


    Your question went to spam. Joe dug it out.

    Simply put, Joe has a marketing contract with Clear Channel and one of the stipulations is that we cannot allow people to unload on on-air personalities. They have no problem being critical — but not personal. Sadly, there is one on-air personality that people completely lose their minds over. Joe got tired of editing each and every comment about said person so those comments if not the commenters themselves are simply banned because people cannot behave.

    Joe has never hidden from the fact he has a partnership with Clear Channel.

  19. bucfanlostiniowa Says:

    yeah let’s fix freeman , if he can be fixed, but how about in the future, never, ever, draft a qb from the big 12 again

  20. Bobby Says:

    @bucfanlostiniowa….WOW! What an intelligent post!!! You’d be lost anywhere you live dude……

  21. bucfanlostiniowa Says:

    @bobby, screen name is an inside joke sorry you’re too stupid to get it. By the way how old are you, 16 or 17 , I hope you are not a grown man who calls himself bobby, cause that is just sad. Vince Young, Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy. Josh Freeman yeah those are some awesome qb’s the big 12 really knows how to churn em out!

  22. Brian Says:


    I remember when you posted something a few months ago about not responding to every comment made here. Rambunctious fans keep goating you into commenting on idiocy.

  23. TampaRob Says:

    Jarret- Sapp was a raw talent that dropped to the Bucs due to personal off the field issues, and Lynch was going to be a pitcher for the Marlins until Wyche talked him out of it… then he was drafted 82nd overall. Check it out. He was very raw and needed the right teacher, system, and leader to thrive.

  24. jarrett Says:

    joe thanks for answering that, i was not trying to goat anything, just noticed people killing shawn king. Keep up the good work, ill keep coming daily.

  25. Dave Says:


    Sorry, but I agree with @bobby on this. You can’t discount a whole conference because of Vince Young.
    As far as Bradford and Freeman… why would you discount them? They both regressed in their 3rd year, just like almost every QB does. McCoy… the jury is out, his team is horrible.

    Regardless if they all “bust” to discount an entire conference is just ignorant.

    Should they only take WRs from Mississippi Valley State University because jerry Rice went there? That is the same type of logic.