Bucs Could Be The “Sleeper Team” Of 2010

June 12th, 2010
It will be a stretch to expect Gerald McCoy and his three fellow rookies to be studs this season.

It will be a stretch to expect Gerald McCoy and his fellow rookie starters to be studs this season.

Joe knows NFL.com reporter Steve Wyche was recently in Tampa to attend a Bucs OTA session.

Joe also knows that it’s summer in Florida and for (current) California boys not used to the Florida summer since they moved away (Wyche once worked at the Miami Herald), it can cause a slight case of dementia.

In his recent rankings of NFL teams, Wyche ranks the Bucs among the bottom of the NFL, which is not surprising. However, Wyche qualified his ranking as claiming the Bucs could surprise a lot of people.

22. Buccaneers — Tampa Bay could be this season’s sleeper team — if the rookies all step up. That’s asking a lot. They should be a lot better, especially on offense, but not quite yet.

This suggests to Joe that Wyche may have been out in the sun a bit too long. While he is accurate in that expecting so many rookies to shine is asking a lot, that should have been the tip off right there for Wyche.

Nothing would make Joe happier than if Gerald McCoy, Brian Price, Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams all proved to be studs this season. Expecting four starting rookies to shine is, in Joe’s eyes, biting off more than one can chew.

21 Responses to “Bucs Could Be The “Sleeper Team” Of 2010”

  1. JimBuc Says:

    “but not quit yet.” Maybe the smartest part of his comment.

  2. YearOBucsfan Says:

    Maybe he meant they would play like they were asleep.

  3. jvato24 Says:

    Joe the Bucs beat the Saints last season when the Saints wanted to win like acid eating at their mouths. For everyone that thinks turnarounds take 5 yrs .. Well i just think they are goofy .. If the Falcons following the Bobby Petrino debacle and the Dolhins after going 1-15 can make the the playoffs the next season .. Is it really that hard to digest that Maybe .. just maybe the Bucs could be somewhat decent this season ??

  4. Matt Says:

    I don’t think anyone is thinking clearly about JUST HOW BAD the Bates disaster was. Our defense was atrocious. Let’s look back at the first ten games of last season and assume we were playing with the defensive scheme from the last six games of last season. How might each game play out?

    DAL 34 @ TB 21: Win? Maybe, especially since most of the scores were long plays, but Dallas is still the better team, so let’s say no. LOSS
    TB 20 @ BUF 33: Win? Yeah, I don’t see how that Buffalo team scores more than 20 on the Raheem D. WIN
    NYG 24 @ TB 0: Win? Uhh, no. LOSS
    TB 13 @ WAS 16: Win? Yeah, I think we could have held them to 10 or under with a decent scheme. WIN
    TB 14 @ PHI 33: Win? Uhh, no. LOSS
    CAR 28 @ TB 21: Win? Tough call, but I think we would have better limited their big plays and squeaked out a win. WIN
    NE 35 @ TB 7: Win? Uhh, no. LOSS
    GB 28 @ TB 38: Already won.
    TB 23 @ MIA 25: Well, we barely lost this one with the crap scheme. So yeah, WIN.
    NO 38 @ TB 7: Win? Uhh, no. LOSS

    I think it’s very conceivable that the 1-9 record could have easily been a 5-5 record if we had played with our old Tampa 2 scheme. Even assuming we don’t pull out the Carolina game, we’re still looking at 4-6.

    So all together, I think it’s CONCEIVABLE (no, not likely, but possible) that we would have had a record between 6-10 and 8-8 last year if we had just stayed with the Tampa 2. That, coupled with the fact that we most likely would have played better in the last six games of the season as well (because we wouldn’t have been changing schemes and players like Miller and Moore would have been at their appropriate weight) and you’re looking at a decent team (but certainly not a playoff team in any sense of the word).

    So, what’s my long and rambling point?

    1) The defense is going to be respectable this season. Top 15, maybe Top 10.
    2) Our schedule is a lot easier.
    3) Freeman will be a lot better.
    4) Our DTs are 1000% better.
    5) Our WRs are 1000% better.

    Do I think we are a playoff team in 2010? Uhh, no.

    But do I think we could be a 7-9 team in 2010? A team that is competitive in most games? Yes.

    And a ranking of 22nd is CERTAINLY within reason.

  5. Patrick Says:


    I agree with you that we for sure would’ve had 7 wins last year if we had stuck with the Tampa 2 from the opener. But also if we had started Freeman from the beginning that would’ve helped also. If we had been learning Olsen’s offense during camp and not going through the firing Jag drama, that would’ve helped. Take away Raheem’s coaching screw ups from last year and that would’ve gotten us an extra win or two maybe.

    Those are already the 3 differences between last year and this year. Like you, I’ll name the games we would’ve won last year if those 3 things had been in place from the start. You never finished your list:

    WEEK 2: TB 20 BUF 33: No brainer. I mean c’mon, the Bills were awful last year! Tampa 2 for sure would’ve helped. Freeman would’ve tore up the Bills I think. WIN.

    WEEK 4. TB 13 WAS 16: Yeah, I remember that Raheem decided to kick a field goal when he was only 2 yards away from the goal line. Touchdown would’ve
    gotten us a win. WIN.

    WEEK 6. CAR 28 TB 21: WIN.

    WEEK 10. TB 23 MIA 25: Freeman and the O had a great rally in the 4th. But our defense could not hold up for the last minute and Raheem was already celebrating on
    the sideline. WIN.

    4 wins right there. Now I’ll name the games you didn’t mention.

    WEEK 12. TB 17 ATL 20: Freeman played very well in this one. We ahead until the falcons threw a TD pass with 10 sec. left. This was with the Tampa 2, but before they got the ball, Raheem had the option to go for it on 4th & short or kick a 51 yd FG. Raheem chose the field goal and we missed it. We were in a good part of the field, and O could’ve converted. WIN.

    WEEK 13. TB 16 CAR 6: In this one, Freeman threw for over 300 yards. This one should’ve been a blowout since he moved the offense into the redzone like 5 times. But his 5 interceptions blew the many chances we had. Even if we didn’t get touchdowns, field goals would’ve done it for us, as our defense only surrendered 16 points. WIN.

    Being realistic, let’s say they would’ve won 4 of those games. You’re looking at a 7-9 record, but 6 those games i mentioned are ones they could’ve won.

    Take that, add in the talent we brought in this offseason (Sean Jones, McCoy, Benn, M. Williams, etc..). Freeman is getting a lot more preparation this year as our starting QB than he did last year. Don’t forget that we have a very easy schedule next year unlike last year. Take all that, and we could have a 9-7 or 10-6 record.

    I’m not being unrealistic. I think this is possible. If we finish with a freaking 6-10 record like everyone is expecting, i’m sorry, but that is unacceptable. If that’s what happens, then I have huge concerns for this team. Especially when you have the Lions, Browns, Rams, and Seahawks on your roster.

  6. Patrick Says:

    mistake: on my last sentence i meant *schedule*, not roster.

  7. Mauha Deeb Says:

    @Patrick: Bump

  8. JimBuc Says:

    Good stuff Matt and Patrick

  9. RustyRhino Says:

    Great ideas and posts good information and projections.
    Talk don’t cook rice though!
    When our team gets on the field and is working at getting “all ” on the same page we again will be a difficult team to get a win against.

    unfortunately this takes the most important thing you can ever spend


  10. Matt Says:

    I’m actually very surprised I didn’t get lambasted by the regular negative nancys around here. Maybe they just took the weekend off.

    I don’t want to come across as a homer, but I am an optimist. I do think the Bucs can surprise a lot of people this year IFF Freeman improves and the new DTs make our run at least average. With those two things, we’re back to decent.

  11. Mauha Deeb Says:

    @Matt: I am not an optimist but I am a realist who understands the idea of “any given Sunday”. The Bucs had the players last year worthy of a better record. Unfortunately we had a terribly new coaching staff (rookie offensive play caller and rookie head coach/defensive play caller.) This off season is absent of firings, insta-promotions and rookie coaches. All of which lead me to believe this year will definitely be better than the last and that is as real as it gets.

  12. thomas Says:

    Matt and Pat:

    You guys are bafoons. You could take every horrible team in nfl history, even the 0-16 lions and take the schedule game by game and argue that if “the system were different” or “things fell a different way” that we would have won more games.

    The nfl is an 8-8 league, it is set up for teams to be even so of course some games are close. This horrific team was 1-7 at home – that is hard to do in a designed to be balanced league. If you think that this team even “has a chance to win” 6-7 games you are lost, dumb and clueless. No team improves dramatically on the backs of 4-6 rookie starters in the first year. The 1-15 dolphins supplemented their draft with a bunch of fa’s including pennington and joey porter.

    Truth is – you can say exactly the same thing for every win. The saints win was due to them having starters out and going ultra-conservative in the second half. The saints were not interested at all in that game having just found out that home-field was not possible and they had already clinched everything else.

    This team was much closer 0-16 than 6-10.

  13. Matt Says:

    Thanks thomas, I was getting worried!

    No point in arguing now. We’ll just have to wait a few months 😉

  14. thomas Says:

    What? No point in arguing – this is a blog! A web forum for opinions – and contrary to what many of you sheep think – both positive and negative (or unrealistic and realistic) opinions are welcome and given equal weight.

    I want you giddy optimistic girls to keep posting your rose-colored beliefs – I would not have anyone to whack around if all of you were honest with yourselves and started admitting just how much of a sad state this org is in. You should be yearning for the eighties. I actually find myself begging for Ray Perkins or Leeman Bennett, I would take Richard Williamson right now for Rah and also give up our next 3 first rounders.

    You are correct about one thing: we will see in about 2.5 months, but you better buy a ticket as home games wont be televised b/c from what I am hearing we are looking at 5-6 blackouts. But the good news is – tickets will be available – just like the eighties where you get them for free on the windshields of cars as you were walking into the games!

  15. RastaMon Says:

    Sleeper team…….second half naps for long time Buc fans……real games start @ 4PM

  16. Eric S Says:

    You just can’t assume that the Bucs would win these games under the Tampa 2. Some of these teams could have played better against the Tampa 2. Ever think about that? You basically have to assume that everything positive would go TB’s way. That is just plain silly. Here are the facts that I go by. Morris himself probably cost the Bucs 2 or 3 victories. And this is the real world with real decisions. Incorrect substitutions, not going for TDs, silly penalties against the head coach, etc etc etc.

    The Bucs still went 2-4 with the “new” D down the stretch. During this stretch they lost to teams QB by perennial All-Pro Chris Redman, Hall of Famer Matt Moore and world beater Kellen Clemons. All of these players will never come close to the Pro Bowl much less be considered for it. These losses all came in real life in real situations with real players with our real defense playing those games.

    Another poster was exactly right. All losing teams can pick and choose games and say if this or that thing happened they would have won several more games. The only thing that matters is scoreboard. I do think a competent head coach with a competent defensive scheme would have won more games. Instead we have a buffoon for a head coach who hired an OC and DC that did not mesh with his style. That is simple Head Coaching 101 that Morris failed miserably.

    I am interested to see what Morris does in the 2nd year under real life situations instead of fantasy land. They have to win the first game against Cleveland. They truly should go at least 2-1 in the first 3 games. And after this offseason, a lot of these “easy” have gotten a lot harder. St. Louis should still be a victory for TB, but Detroit, Seattle and Wash got much better with their moves.

    On a side note, the Colts signed RFA A. Belthea to a 4 year contract. Oh imagine that!!!!!! I am glad that Justin P. agrees with me about Penn. They should give him a long term deal. It is so tough to find a decent LT. But some of you people want to defend the Glazers until the day you die. I don’t get it.

  17. drdneast Says:

    Interesting observation, Matt. To bad we didn’t play the Giants at the end of the season rather than at the beginning. But such is reality in the NFL. After the Giants game, everyone was ready to crown NY the conference championship. Then some savvy coach figured out their weakness and exploted them and itheir season came to a screeching halt. Of course we have our coaches (Rah) who can’t figure out with 1:26 left in the Miami game that the game isn’t over just because we finally went ahead.

  18. drdneast Says:

    Although I expect the Bucs to improve this year (they couldn’t get worse, could they?) just because we have added two No.1’s to the defensive line doesn’t omprove them overnight. They are still rookies. See Warren Sapp as a rookie if you need a further explanation. The Bucs must run, run and run some more on offense if they expect to win. Olson needs to quit calling plays like he’s the second coming of Mike Martz. Offensive line needs to find a blocking scheme that fits thier style of play and stick with it. We have three good solid runningbacks, the Bucs need to use them.

  19. drdneast Says:

    Eric, you sound like some of these moronic hacks who work for the local papers when you cite who the QB’s were when the Bucs played against them. At some time during the season, most teams will see the other teams second stringer at QB and other positions as well. If the Bucs had played and beaten Minnesota without them having Adrian Peterson, would that mean the game hadn’t counted. Do we only count the games when every team is perfectly healthy. Stupid.

  20. Matt Says:

    @thomas I meant there was no point in arguing further since both of our points had been made and there was no way we could come to any sort of conclusion for a number of months. So yeah, no point in arguing.

    And yearning for the 80s? Now you sound like an absolute moron. Let me tell you something: After the Bucs go around decade or so without a playoff win and are almost always picking within the Top 5 for that decade, then you can talk about how things are worse than the 80s. THIS WAS ONE SEASON. Remember ’06? 4-12? You were probably saying the same things then. All I know is that we have HOPE with a potential franchise QB (for the first time since (bleh) Dilfer) and just had a draft where we absolutely shored up the two obvious weakest positions on our roster.

    And don’t go painting me as a complete homer. I don’t think we’re a playoff team in 2010. I don’t even think we’ll have a winning record. But I DO think we’ll be a heck of a lot better than we were in 2009, I DO think Freeman will make some great strides this year, and I DO think the two Achilles heels of the defense last year (scheme and run D) have been fixed and dramatically improved, respectively.

    And what the hell does attendance have to do with it? I doesn’t strength your point by saying that losing teams from the previous year don’t sell out. That happens throughout the league, not just here. The number of fans in the stands have little to no impact on how the team will do next year.

    @Eric You’re right in that it’s a flawed comparison: Absolutely, teams could have played better against the Tampa 2. But if you just look at the numbers (29.4 ppg versus 17.7 ppg), you’d be an idiot to ignore the fact that the scheme made a HUGE difference.

  21. Michael Says:

    Hey Thomas,
    The Bucs already won 7 games this season. Who’s dumb and clueless?