Bucs Can Contend In The NFC SouthJuly 23rd, 2012
The acid reflux Joe gets from remembering last season, particularly the grotesque 10-game losing streak to end the season, is enough to render him prone on a leather couch groping a bottle of Bushmills.
To think how horrid the team played in the final weeks of the season, it seems a playoff run is seasons away.
But hold up, writes Woody Cummings of the Tampa Tribune. Given the topsy-turvy history of the NFC South, don’t take anything for granted, so Cummings explained in a TBO Bucs Q&A.
Q: Being a 20-year Bucs fan I’m never too excited about a new year until after Week 4 and we see what they really have. Having said that, can they possibly compete for a division crown with two legit contenders and the up and coming Panthers in a tough NFC south?
Greg Minnick, Daytona Beach, FL
A: Of course they can. In my mind, the Bucs were never quite as bad as their 4-12 record and 10-game losing streak indicated last year and never quite as good as the 10-6 record in 2010 indicated. To me they are somewhere in the middle, which mean they’re about a seven-win team. Give or take a couple of wins and they could push for nine wins and a playoff spot. This is a far more talented team than it was a year ago at this time. If Greg Schiano can get them to play up to their potential and eliminated stupid mistakes, they have a chance to surprise some people.
— Woody Cummings
The key for Schiano will be getting the defense to play sound, fundamental football. Last year, in particular the final two months of the season, the Bucs defense played anything but fundamentally sound.
To contend for a playoff spot, the Bucs realistically would have to leapfrog at least two NFC South foes. Joe’s not confident that can happen, unless the Saints totally free fall amid their bounty mess, and Cam Newton comes back down to earth for the Panthers in his second NFL season.