Bucs Will Finish 8-8

July 27th, 2010

Two things Joe enjoys about sports are strategy and athletic ability. Also, the fact sports by and large is devoid of algebraic formulas also helps.

That’s what has saddened Joe about baseball, which Joe is also fond of. In the past decade or so, the calculator crowd has tried to take over the game. Why, if you don’t subscribe to their convoluted, made up stats like OBGYN or some such tripe, you are some ignorant neanderthal.

Yet, if the spreadsheeters actually knew as much about baseball as they would have people believe/conned, they’d all be drunk on their private beach in the Caymans with a harem of babes after having rendered Vegas bankrupt and broken.

In short, these guys suck the life out of baseball.

That’s why Joe is leery at times of the good guys at FootballOutsiders.com. They do some good stuff but tend to lean too heavily on made up stats.

Football, like baseball, is played on the field, not on Excel software. So Joe was dubious when he read a piece from Woody Cummings of the Tampa Tribune citing FootballOutsiders.com’s 2010 almanac, in which they claim the Bucs will finish with a .500 record.

The folks who put together Football Outsiders Almanac, a highly-detailed and well-researched volume that some NFL teams refer to regularly, have the unheralded Bucs winning eight games this year.

They base their conclusion on a number of factors, including a relatively soft schedule, the development of players and up down the roster and the belief that quarterback Josh Freeman will throw fewer interceptions.

This is where Joe has to do a Mike North and yell, “Time out… time out… time… !”

Exactly how is Josh Freeman supposed to make leaps and bounds when he has no running game to speak of and limited targets? Those targets will become thinner if Kellen Winslow’s knee can’t hold up for the full season, not an unlikely proposition.

At least last year Freeman had Antonio Bryant to throw to.

Softer schedule? OK, Joe buys that. And Joe also agrees the rest of the young Bucs will develop, but not in the 2010 season; not yet.

51 Responses to “Bucs Will Finish 8-8”

  1. Not A Rocket Surgeon :P Says:

    .500 is certainly do-able in my mind.

    Anything less is questions the ability of this team to move forward in the rebuilding process, anything less than 6 wins (100% improvement over last year) equals time for a new regime.

    No excuses.

    This is going to be a pretty damned interesting season IMO.

  2. BigMacAttack Says:

    I agree with the Almanac, and not with Joe. Joe has been very pessimistic lately. The question is which Joe is the Pessimist. Both??? Nah. We’ll soon see if Joe is right or wrong.

  3. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    I really don’t think losing AB is that big of a deal to Freeman, since he really wasn’t a factor in a huge majority of the games last year, including the 3 wins. Granted he was hurt most of the year, but it’s not like Freeman is losing someone who was a huge contributor last year. For whatever reason they never really got on the same page. I think the receivers we brought in will out perform the receivers we had last year, although they obviously will be nowhere near elite.

  4. BucnJim Says:

    I agree with your assessment of the offense because not matter how optimistic you are; they’ll have growing pains for sure. Our success really depends more on how the defense plays more than anything. Even in the Bucs glory days the offense was always set up with a short field or handed a score from a turnover. They’ve never been a team that drives the length of the field on a consistant basis. That is why it is so important to get our run defense back on track and get some 3 & outs. The offense will really have no chance if the D continues to give other teams a two to one time of posession advantage. The hardest thing to watch this past year and a half has been a once proud Defense getting physically man handled. If Sean Jones can bring a physical force to the secondary and the Defensive line can stop the run then the Bucs will have some success this year.

  5. eric Says:

    Steelers, at Bengals, at Ravens, at Cards, at Niners is easy?

    Not to mention the Super Bowl Champs twice, and the Falcons/Panthers who we were 0-4 against last year.

    Seems pretty tough to me.

  6. CharlieB Says:

    Eric, no games in the NFL are predictably easy. However, playing the Steelers without Roethlisberger, the Cards without Boldin or Warner, and the Niners in general are games that are reasonably winnable. Unfortunately we’re not at the point where all games are reasonably winnable, but I’d say that we have maybe 10 games this year that we can reasonably win. Realistically I think we’ll win 6-8.

  7. Gary Says:

    Sure its tough still Eric, but not worse than last year. Last year, everything in the world was against us. This year we will push to be close to .500, I truly believe that.

    I honestly think we will fall a little short of that, but if some bounces go our way it surely possible.

    Joe, all else equal how can Freeman throw same (or more INTs) this year? He has been working his tail off, and most of his mistakes last year were mental mistakes. Those can be fixed with preparation. And really all else is equal since the RB group is the same, D will be a little better, O will be a little better.

  8. bucfanjeff Says:

    I think Joe not being optimistic is a defense mechanism. Why can’t we be 8-8 or better? Wasn’t it the Falcons, two years ago that went from suck-ass team to playoff team in 1 year? Any given Sunday Joe, any given Sunday.

  9. Capt.Tim Says:

    Ok, I’m putting it in print. 8-8 is what I’ve already bet on in my buddy’s preseason pool. I believe that’s where we land. I think this years D will remind you of Kiffin’s, with a little more Blitzing. I think Freeman to Graham is going to be a passing combo on the flats, that will re-establish Graham, and scare opposing defenses. The Combo of Winslow and Stevens is going to be murder together in the middle of the field. That’s going to get Caddy some Running room. Then Josh is going to show just how strong that arm is, and the occasional deep game to Williams is going to remind you of Bradshaw and Swann- who the two of them have similar talents with. Benn will be taking 5 yd sideline passes 5 yds futher up the field. McCoy is going to be standing in the offensive backfield a lot, and that’s going to prove disruptive this year, devastating next year.Miller and Price are going to be string enough to hold their spot at DT. Poor hovan could barely walk last year, and Sims was a blocking Dummy. Quincy Black is going to be up on the line, both blitzing and blowing up the Run- he will be your “breakout ” player this year. Hayes will use his speed much better, reminding you of another back side pursuit LB we all know and love! Jackson and Aqib will become elite. Barber will hold it down one more year, and gather a few INTs, cementing his place in the Hall of Fame. Our O-line will be better, and Vincent will seal up the gaping hole at LG. Penn will play like he is in a contract year- ’cause he is! Youth and depth will cause us to lose a few we could win. Lack of depth will be the biggest problem- any injuries drop our talent level! But management has decided to sign some depth at O-Lone and DT. The more aggressive Tampa 2 will again become a defense to fear. Olsen’s hybrid west coast offense will incorporate elements of Mike Martz offense- and that, for the first time ever, will give Tampa an offense that is fun to watch. Print this out if you want! I’m gonna stand by it. A few key injuries could make me look stupid, but I believe it’s gonna go this way. I’m only gonna leave myself one safety net- if Freeman gets hurt- it doesn’t go this way at all! Ok- fire away- I’m ready!

  10. bucsrthebest Says:

    I can see that happening, but i would be shocked. Half of our games are against teams who were .500 or below last season, and 5 of those games are at home.

  11. CharlieB Says:

    That’s too much sunshine for one morning, even for an optimist.

  12. Mr. Lucky Says:

    I have to admit that if the Bucs go 8-8 I’ll stop the Raheem bashing

    Will this happen with these players – possibly. I really think it comes down to coaching of the rookies and play calling on the offense.

  13. Mr. Lucky Says:

    Step 1. sign McCoy

    step 2. Sign Penn

  14. BigMacAttack Says:

    I had the Niners as one of our Losses. The Niners should be good and will win the NFC West, IMO. I think we will about split our Division, because the Saints always find a way to lose to the Bucs in N.O. I think we beat Carolina twice and split ATL. My plan is for the Bucs to start 3-0, and I hope they stick to my plan, LOL. I also think they can beat the Rams, Cards, Lions & Seahawks. I see 10, possibly 11 wins and Playoffs from a young team that everyone will underestimate and not see coming.

  15. Capt.Tim Says:

    BigMac- agree, niners are looking good this year. Contender for NFC crown. Singletary has worked miracles out there!

  16. Not A Rocket Surgeon :P Says:

    Agree with Lucky.

    Get ’em signed.

    As much as I hate to say it, Barber is going to be a weak spot in our D this year… Coach Morris and Lake are going to have to slide coverages over him to make up for a.) Barber’s age and b.) Offenses attacking that side of the field to stay away from Talib.

    I just hope one of the young CB’s gets ready and is able to step in quickly.

  17. Matt Says:

    8-8 is a stretch goal in my mind. But I think 6-10 or 7-9 are very possible.

  18. eric Says:

    Ill agree that 8-8 would be very good and Mr. Morris would be deserving of a new contract and apologies from some, including me.

    However, I am still expecting the moving van to be backing up to one buc place before the end of the year.

  19. Blackmagic00 Says:

    The Niners should be very good. Pitt, Car once, Atl once NO once, Ari, Sea, Cle, and StL are all must wins in my oppinion. Det should be a must win, but I’m not sure what to think of them anymore. Was the same as Det. I think 8-8.

  20. oar Says:

    CaptTim, I see you survived your three hour tour in your little ship!
    What makes you think Olsen is going to mix in incorporate Mike Martz’s offense into his? Just wondering, since they never coached/worked together.
    BTW your “put in print” sounds very overzealous, which is ok for a drinking man. But, the way it is written, it sounds like we would end up 14-2, not 8-8. Sure you don’t want to change your mind?

  21. Blackmagic00 Says:

    Sorry that Was at the end refers to Washington.

  22. Louie the HATER! Says:

    My prediction: 16-0 and lose in the first playoff game at home!

  23. oar Says:

    oops …”mix in or incorpoprate”…damn fingers!!

  24. Javier n Wimauma Says:

    @Everyone who thinks we will be 8-8

    Who will we beat? where will those 8 wins come from?


  25. Patrick Says:

    I have the number to U-Haul moving vans on my fridge, just in case!!!

  26. Capt.Tim Says:

    No oar, my prediction stands- what’s your’s ? Put yer money where your mouth is! Javier- the eight wins will come from the sixteen games we play.

  27. Sander Says:

    Joe: the reason ‘statheads’ aren’t making a bajillion dollars in betting on those games is that Vegas uses those exact same stats (and the way people are betting on teams) to determine their own line.

    The constant whining about stats from your side gets on my nerves. Why am I not allowed to analyse the game in a way that goes beyond vague statements, into a territory where you can factually back up what you’re saying? Stats actually make it easier to understand strategic decisions. Moreover, it’s another tool to understand the game: why would you ever blatantly ignore information on this game if you love it? Moreover, I’d expect a journalist whose job is to cover this sport to understand the stats even better, because it’s his job to informed about this game.

    All this doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the athleticism and it certainly doesn’t mean I don’t get emotionally involved when the Bucs play. But it does mean that after the game is over I have another way of looking at the game that only makes me more informed about it.

  28. Sander Says:

    Also, most pro sport betters will rely on stats in one way or another to get their edge.

    By the way, do you have a similar distaste for stats such as ‘completion percentage’ or ‘yards per carry’ or ‘QB rating’? Because there’s no fundamental difference between those stats and the stats Football Outsiders uses.

  29. oar Says:

    CaptTim, No. No money in this mouth, thanks anyways. I’ll let you “professor positives” stick to the predicting of things.
    BTW You never did answer my question about the Olsen throwing Martz’s offense into his theory? Scott Linehan is who I think you meant.

  30. Joe Says:

    The constant whining about stats from your side gets on my nerves.

    Too bad. This is Joe’s site and statistical fellatio is ungodly boring. Joe’s into athletics, not mathmatics.

    Moreover, it’s another tool to understand the game: why would you ever blatantly ignore information on this game if you love it? Moreover, I’d expect a journalist whose job is to cover this sport to understand the stats even better, because it’s his job to informed about this game.

    A journalist’s job is to inform, not bore nor spin. As Joe learned in high school long before anyone ever heard of the night watchman Bill James, people can find numbers and twist figures to back up whatever they want to spin. There’s no need to invent the wheel.

    Numbers have nothing to do with proper fundamentals, footwork, hand placement, using leverage, reading formations, recognizing how a linebacker might be overplaying a specific way on certain downs, boxing out a cornerback/receiver to get to a ball, etc.

    Not saying stats don’t help but are too many growing examples, it’s way, way, way overblown and in some cases is reaching idiotic levels.

    If Joe wanted to hear non-stop statistical diarhea, he’d go hire an algebra teacher to drone for two hours. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

    Numbers and statistical graffitti might be great for fantasy football. As Joe has written many times, Joe’s fantasty is Rachel Watson and a tropical local. Joe’s not into fantasy sports.

  31. eric Says:

    I am willing to load and drive the moving van! Right on back to K-State.

  32. Joe Says:

    By the way, do you have a similar distaste for stats such as ‘completion percentage’ or ‘yards per carry’ or ‘QB rating’? Because there’s no fundamental difference between those stats and the stats Football Outsiders uses.

    Joe uses some numbers for insight. Some. Yards per carry is a good one.

    Don’t get Joe started on quarterback ratings! LOL That’s one of the most bogus concoctions there is.

  33. Capt.Tim Says:

    What’s up, Oar? Big talk, small balls? You know your “Doom and Gloom” gonna make ya look bad! Don’t believe what yer preaching? Throw one out there! Talk is cheap- let’s see if ya got the cajones to stand by what YOU say?

  34. Sander Says:

    Joe: you’re right, stats don’t measure whether someone is using a proper technique or how he’s recognising blitzes or specific game situations. Stats try to measure a very different thing: overall effectiveness. Advanced statistics give you a better insight into a lot of things. For instance, while by traditional statistics (yards per game) the Saints had the 26th best pass defense last season, advanced statistics like the ones that Football Outsiders uses show that they were the 9th best pass defense. Why the big difference? Because their offense scored very quickly and forced teams to pass to play catch-up. That allowed the Saints’ opponents to rack up a lot of passing yards because they simply got forced to pass at every opportunity.

    Now of course, not all statistic are created equal and people can try to spin statistics in any way. But people can spin strategic discussions a lot more easily, as people can claim whatever they want without the need to back anything up. Still, you should always approach statistics with a skeptical mind and try to think about them independently. If you do that, then there’s not a whole lot you can do wrong using statistics.

  35. Fish Says:

    I love Capt. Tim’s assessment… but that’s if everything goes right, which rarely happens.

    For those of you saying “which teams will they beat? I don’t see 8 wins based on the schedule.” Did you see us beating the Packers and Saints last year when we were much worse than we are now? It’s football, teams win games they’re “not supposed to.”

    I also agree with Joe about the stats and numbers idea. You to incorporate context when looking at these numbers, you can’t just take them off the page and go with it.

    Btw, Freeman will definitely cut down on the pics. I stick by the fact that Bryant really did cause a few while he was pouting in the middle of a game. You add that our entire team was a sloppy mess last year and he should definitely reduce the int’s (who remembers that bogus interception called after Clayton rolled on the ground in Miami???).

    Fun Fact: which game was Freeman’s best last year? The Packers game… Who missed that game? Our media-proclaimed No. 1 WR, Antonio Bryant.

  36. oar Says:

    CaptTim, You drinking early again? Never mind. I Thought I could catch you sober, so forget I even posted you question or comment.

  37. Capt.Tim Says:

    Oar- I know from a different source, but there is a June 15(1:30) interview with Scot Reynolds- posted at Pewter report, where Olsen states” it’s an offense based on several different schemes I’ve worked with. It’s primarily a hybrid west coast offense, with a sprinkling of the Mike Martz/ St. Louis Rams Down field Strech, you’ll see elements of both in this offense”! Tada

  38. Capt.Tim Says:

    Now, Oar, where’s that prediction? Still looking for yer balls? Lay it out there! I believe in what I say- don’t you? Or are you just running that pie hole, without a clue if you are right or not? I’m calling you out ! Surprise me with a show of Backbone!

  39. oar Says:

    CaptTim, Wow, I know that had to take some balls and/or cajones to answer my question. It wasn’t that hard, was it? Olsen never worked with Martz, that’s why I asked.
    BTW Don’t worry, I’m sure Joe doesn’t mind you wondering over to other sites from time to time. No need to shy form it.

  40. Capt.Tim Says:

    Fish- thanks, and it’s gonna go that way,too! But depth is what will derail the train. Good thing is, they have decided to sign some FAs, as teams cut down their squads. After reviewing the tapes of the team this year, management thinks this team has enough talent to be competitive now! Which is a little earlier than they thought! So they have decided to adress depth with some Vets, and see what happens! Neo Freeman might be better than expected!

  41. Capt.Tim Says:

    Was, was that a prediction? Or more BS? You STILL looking?

  42. oar Says:

    CaptTim, Pre-dick-tion, you say? How about 4-12? I’m not sure, since I can’t find my balls. I didn’t realize you needed those things on a daily/hourly basis or in normal conversations? My bad. I know from now on I’ll bring my balls to CaptTim conversations. That should make you happy. You must love those hairy things? What, with having mentioned them 3 or 4 times today alone.
    “Or are you just running that pie hole, without a clue if you are right or not?” We are talking predictions here, right? Just want to make sure.

  43. Jonny Says:

    Last year’s Bucs were capable of beating the Saints when Saints were playing full team fighting for home-field advantage over Minny in playoffs. Current Bucs will be better than Last year’s Bucs. Current Bucs are well capable of an 8-8 season, because we will easily face 14 teams that are not as talented as 09 Saints.

  44. eric Says:

    The bucs were soundly defeated by the Falsons in their last game, and gave up over 150 yards to a third string running back.

    Since most of the bucs opponents this year are as good or better than the falcons, they have no chance at 8-8.

  45. Not A Rocket Surgeon :P Says:

    Soundly… for sure…

    Check out the stats sheet.

    The Dline got chewed up… (I hope they now have the solution – or it’s going to be a looooooong year.)


    Your summary eric, is flawed on a couple different levels. It’s an opinion, based on an opinion, supported by an opinion. See what I did there?

  46. Not A Rocket Surgeon :P Says:

    Damn – and 13 missed tackles that game too… ouch.

    Hayes missed 4, Jackson and Piscatelli missed 2 each.

  47. eric Says:

    Wow, thos stats were worse than I remembered.

    24 first downs to 13

    183 rushing yards to 40.

    And this was AFTER the big Rah turn around?

  48. Not A Rocket Surgeon :P Says:

    Just imagine if we were still two gapping… hello 300.

  49. Capt.Tim Says:

    Ok, Eric- your prediction? I know you foresee a moving Van at One Buc Place, what horrible collapse and horrific record will bring us to that lowly state? Oh, by the way, Olsen is also running a” west coast”offense,and never worked with Bill Walsh, either! How is all this possible? It must be another conspiracy or something! At least you can play with yer hairy balls, while you try to figure it out!!

  50. BigMacAttack Says:

    So T.O. agreed to terms with Cincinnatti. Hmmm, what’s up with AB? Ocho is Number 1. Yep, word is they are concerned about AB. I hate to say I told you so. Nah, I don’t hate to say that.

  51. Radio Mushmouth Says:

    I hate to say I told you so also, bigmac….

    AB is a bum.