“The Ability To Make Great Teams Average”

December 6th, 2010

Former Bucs guard Ian Beckles (1990-1996), co-host of The Ron and Ian Show on WDAE-AM 620, likes what he sees from the Buccaneers, but he cautions fans that the team may not progress beyond this point.

“We have the ability to make great teams average,” Beckles said of Sunday’s performance of the 10-2 Falcons. “Same thing against the Ravens. The Bucs are good enough to beat anyone but they’re not closing.”

“But they might not get better next year. None of this means they’ll be better next year. Some teams don’t figure it out.”

Joe thinks this is a wise point. 

Until the Bucs next beat a top NFL team, uncertainity will be around One Buc Palace and across the fan base and beyond. Heck, last year the Bucs beat two elite teams — Green Bay and New Orleans.

It’s going to be a torturous offseason if the Bucs can’t win in New Orleans in January or win a playoff game.

28 Responses to ““The Ability To Make Great Teams Average””

  1. BamBamBuc Says:

    Under most circumstances I could agree with this. However, the 2010 Bucs are not “most circumstances”.

    Most teams have players in their 3rd to 5th seasons, they’re gonna lose some to FA, they’re gonna bring in some new guys, whether they improve or decline is based upon whether young veterans can still improve more than they already have (from rookie to that point) and what changes are made to the team.

    In the Bucs case, they’re starting 7 of 22 players that are rookies. They have backups to starters that are also rookies. The most improvement for players is in the first 2-3 years. Sure, there will be some busts, and some that excel, and some that turn out to be decent, but not great. When you have so many young players, the improvement should be more pronounced in the first year or two.

    Of course, none of us can see the future. They may regress. The schedule will be more difficult next year, we may beat +.500 teams, but still lose enough to miss out on the playoffs. And everyone will still say the Bucs are horrible because we can’t win enough games. Improvement is shown in so many ways. Sometimes it’s just winning games you’re supposed to. Sometimes it’s beating good teams. Usually it’s in making the playoffs or Super Bowl.

    Playoffs or not this year, it looks as though Josh Freeman is committed to working hard in the off-season to become elite. He’ll bring in the young WRs Williams and Benn and Stroughter to work with, making them better. LeGarrett Blount will have a full off-season of work and a healthy O-line (maybe even with better talent next year). McCoy took half the season to “get it”, and sure seems like the type of guy that will only work harder to improve his game. Grimm played well before the injury and will be back. Talib and Barber have done well, but even bigger than that, Biggers and Lewis have done extremely well for a 2nd year 7th round draft choice and a rookie.

    If you could ask each and every player on the team if they can beat teams like the Ravens and Falcons after their performances this year, they’d all say they can, they have the ability and the confidence to win against them. Even in a loss, these guys are gaining confidence, knowledge and ability.

  2. bucfanjeff Says:

    Beckles doesn’t like the Bucs, it’s obvious in his constant remarks about us. Yes we lost, but that was the “best” team in the NFL – and I’m still not impressed. The Falcons will lose in the playoffs, you heard it hear first. The Bucs have a good, young team and this experience will only serve us well. The injuries are piling up, but we’ll see what we are made of the final 4 weeks.

  3. bucfanjeff Says:

    @bambam – exactly.

  4. Dew Says:

    It was a great game we lost. Nothing more. I’m excited the way the Bucs are coming along. Still a chance to make the playoff and at the beginning of the season that was beyond belief. I’m happy.


    @bucfanjeff, Just because someone speaks their mind, doesn’t mean they “don’t like the team”. That’s a very infantile perspective. It’s the guy’s job to criticize. He could very well say, “Don’t get too satisfied with Mike Williams, he could be the next Michael Clayton”. While as pessimistic as that may sound, it’s also very realistic.

    He complimented them on one hand, while pointing out their faults on the other. What more do you want? I’ve criticized Beckles before (mostly for guaranteeing that the Glazers would trade out of the 3rd spot instead of drafting McCoy), but I don’t see anything wrong with what the guy said.

    But, I do totally agree with BamBamBuc. This team is poised to dominate the NFC South for the near future. We’re showing consistent improvement. It doesn’t happen over night. How bout giving the Bucs credit for “Beating teams that they should beat”. You know, something that the Colts, Patriots and Saints have all, at one time or another, failed to do this season? (against Cowboys, Browns and Niners respectively)

  6. Buc You Says:

    According to JBF if the Bucs don’t win the last 4 or beat New Orleans the fans will have their beef all off season. Well, Joe, it sounds to me that this failure to beat adversity will suit your business model well. You will be able to play on both the die hards and the haters, all off season.

  7. Thomas 2.1 Says:

    This season will be known as ” opher 2010.”
    Zero wins vs teams with winning records or solid qbs misleads the sheep that substantial progress has been made beyond the improvement of free.

    Free has improved this team, dom gets credit for that. Otherwise, this is a bottom half team. With a more difficult schedule they would have a bad record.

  8. DreadedBuc Says:

    I don’t understand, why is everyone all “gloom and doom!” today. We lost to Atlanta, the only 10-2 team in the NFL, who has gone all season coming back in the 4th qtr, yet they struggled to beat us. At the beginning of the season all everyone wanted to see was improvement. Well we have seen significant improvement. I would like this team to go to the playoffs like anyone else, but I am not going to overlook their accomplishments. We have rookies who are still hurting, an O-line that is still growing, a average D-line, and key injuries. We are not an elite team yet but a lot of you fans have elite team expectations. Chill out people. Here is the bottom line. We have Washington, Detroit, Seattle. If we beat those teams we are 10-5. NO has St. Louis, Atlanta, and Baltimore. If Atlanta and Baltimore can beat NO then we would both be 10-5 for the final game. We could move up to 11-5,probably make the playoffs, and beat an elite team at the same time, so every thing is not all “gloom and doom!”

  9. lightningbuc Says:

    Joe said:

    “It’s going to be a torturous offseason if the Bucs can’t win in New Orleans in January or win a playoff game.”

    Really? I’ve got to admit that I’m a bit surprised with the “the sky is falling” vibe on here today. I’m usually a pretty pessimistic guy, especially regarding the Bucs, but have we really gone from thinking they’d be lucky to win 3 games to now feeling “tortured” if they don’t win a playoff game. Sure, I’ll be disappointed if they don’t make the playoffs, but I won’t be tortured in the offseason, especially if they end up a respectable 10-6.

  10. Kevin Says:

    I personally like and enjoy Mr.Beckles, that being said I clearly remember the torture I endured during his playing years. This team is head and shoulders above the Bucs of old. To quote an old Buccaneer coach, “The future is so bright around here I need shades”. Great job Bucs, learn from your mistakes and keep applying what you learn each week to what you are already doing.

  11. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    @LightningBuc – No Sky is Falling, but it will be hard to deal with over the offseason with if the Bucs finish 0-6 or worse against winning teams. The doubt will be there. It won’t take away from their winning record if they have one, but it’ll be the elephant in the room.

  12. Joe Says:

    I don’t understand, why is everyone all “gloom and doom!” today.

    Uuuhhh… you had a chance to virtually punch a ticket to a playoff berth, finally beat a team with a winning record and stay in contention for a division crown.

    Instead, the Bucs blow a two-score lead in the fourth quarter at home, kiss goodbye any shot at a division crown and very much put a playoff berth in doubt.

    Yep. It’s time to uncork the champagne bottles. Let’s celebrate! Yay, choke!

  13. DreadedBuc Says:

    @ Joe

    No one is saying to celebrate, but it’s not the end of the world either. We still have a chance to make the playoffs. Yes we had a chance to put the game away and people made mistakes that cost us the game, but I cannot for the life of me understand how people are THIS upset with four games remaining in the season with a very unpredictable NFC. Like I said we are not an elite team but fans have elite team expectations. Even if we don’t make the playoffs I will still be popping the champange because last year we were 3-13 and everyone was “gloom and doom!” . Now we are 7-5 and everyone is still “gloom and doom!” There is no satisfying some Tampa fans. But if we do manage to make the playoffs I will be sure to rub it in the “gloom and doomers” faces 🙂

  14. BamBamBuc Says:

    No celebration, no popping champagne. Being a realist isn’t synonymous with being pessimistic. After the Steelers and Saints beatings, and predictions of 3-13 season, just making a good show against the Falcons twice and the Ravens is a realistic sign of improvement. The D is playing better… run D, pass rush, coverage. The offense is finding balance despite mass injuries to the O-line. Expectations have already been exceeded and there is a realistic chance this team will be competitive for the playoffs and more next year. Of course that’s only a chance, just look at the Colts this year to see how realistic chances can be dashed by injury and other circumstances.

  15. Joe Says:


    Let Joe get this straight: The Bucs blow a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, going from damned near a playoff lock to an also-ran and people are not supposed to be upset???

    It doesn’t matter one iota what people expected this team to be, the fact is the team was banging on the door and yesterday had that door slammed in their face. Fans should be upset.

    If a “fan” is not upset or bummed out at yesterday’s game, Joe wonders if that person really is a fan? In Joe’s eyes, fans care about making the playoffs, not the simple foreplay irrational justification of “well, no one expected us to win seven games.”

    Yeah, Joe understands about rebuilding, but when you go 7-3, “rebuilding” is past tense. The foundation is built.

    Now get the job done.

  16. passthebuc Says:

    if they go 10-5, and neither win against a team with a positive record nor make the playoff’s, it is still a very successful season and one to build on. To think that they will never beat a team at the top is without merit. Why is it we continue to look back at history to formulate an opinion when in fact the key is to focus on what we have and how to use it to the best advantage. History is always 20/20.

  17. Joe Says:

    Why is it we continue to look back at history to formulate an opinion.

    Well, it’s rather difficult to form an opinion based on the future.

    There’s a rather lucrative cottage industry based on taking advantage of those who form an opinion on the future located in Nevada.

  18. Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    I have to side with Joe here guys, we blew it yesterday. We were 2 scores up, at home, with under 10 minutes left, and we blew it. One fan at another blog suggested Raheem play his backups as much as possible, to see what he really has for next season. This one is over, as far as making the Playoffs goes.
    I do think Chicago will cream Atlanta in the playoffs. Philly was the hottest team in football, and Chicago smashed them. It is funny, Steve White picked Chicago to win the NFC North, I thought he was crazy. Steve was right, and the Bears just may wind up being the NFC Champions.

  19. lightningbuc Says:

    Joe said:

    “Yeah, Joe understands about rebuilding, but when you go 7-3, “rebuilding” is past tense. The foundation is built.”

    But you’ve been the one harping that the seven wins have come against losing teams, so has the foundation really been built? And please don’t question me as a fan just because I’m not all bent out of shape over losing to a team that is better than us at this time – I was where a lot of fans were yesterday, the stadium, making noise in the hopes of the Bucs winning – something the fans watching at a Ft Myers restaurant weren’t able to do.

  20. Joe Says:


    Let Joe be clear. He’s not upset the Bucs lost to the best team in the NFC. He’s hacked off because, once again, the Bucs blew a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, a game that damned near would have sealed a playoff berth.

    Sadly, right now until the Bucs can prove otherwise, after that game yesterday, the Bucs are (arguably) the best average team in the NFC.

  21. bucfanjeff Says:

    “Yep. It’s time to uncork the champagne bottles. Let’s celebrate! Yay, choke!”

    Let’s keep in mind how the Bucs were SUPPOSED to look this year as so many “professionals” and fans predicted – especially Joe. Then tell me again how upset we can really be losing a 15 round decision to the best record in the NFL. Disappointing yes, but standing toe to toe with the Ravens and Falcons two weeks in a row is hardly sour grapes for this, essentially, 2nd year team.

  22. Joe Says:


    As Joe detailed previously a couple of times already, what the Bucs were supposed to do is past tense once they got out to a 7-3 start. You win seven of your first 10 games, rebuilding is history. Foundation is already built if you do that. Mark Dominik even changed his philosophy as a result when he tried to pick up Shawn Merriman.

    No way Joe can rationalize choking away a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter and perhaps a playoff berth by the fact only the blind loyalists thought the Bucs would have seven wins before the season started.

  23. DreadedBuc Says:

    @ Joe

    Let me make myself clear. I am not content with my team just making the playoffs, I want to win superbowls. However I am a realist and I realize that probably won’t happen this year. Am I disappointed? Yes I am. Am I upset that we gave up a 10 point lead? yes I am. I wanted to beat the punk azz falcons just as much as anyone else. It crushed me that we lost, but I still have enough patience and faith in my team not to give up on them. Disappointment is a part of life. I can either be mad and whine and pout or I can be optimistic and support my team. I choose the latter because I love my team, win or lose, but I refuse to dwell on a game that I cannot change. Especially when my team for the most part has played well this year and wouldn’t even be in this position if they hadn’t. I was a fan of the Bucs long before JoeBucsfan.com ever existed so don’t question my fanhood dude.

  24. bucfanjeff Says:

    @Joe – I’ll agree to disagree. The REASONS we were predicted to suck this year still hold true. Just because we are playing better than anticipated does not remove the youth and inexperience. We are still learning to play and gaining experience – that doesn’t change for this young team.

    There are lots of reasons we can point towards the loss, most notably the kick return TD and converting 3rd and 20, but the reality is dumb mistakes at the wrong time, due to youth and inexperience.

  25. McBuc Says:

    All and all it was one hell of a game to watch. These teams went at it! The NFC South is truning into one heck of a devision. I cannot wait to meet the Falcons as they age over the next year or so, of course they are suing the Pats method just like we are, so they may reload with youth soon. Great game…would have been better if we won, but it was a fun game to watch.

  26. Fish Says:

    Weren’t we the ultimate closers in the first half of the season? Did Beckles forget that that was ALL they were saying about us? And now, we’re better than that team in the first half of the season – thanks to Blount and our resurging D.

    Maybe we struggle against great teams because we aren’t great yet. Honestly, I’m content with that. We beat bad, average, and other good teams. Why are we panicking? We did make one of the best teams in the league look average… TWICE.

    Chins up, fellas. Lots of season left.

  27. Fish Says:

    P.S. We really are a fluky kick return away from all of this BS talk going away and turning into league-wide praise and excitement.

    We’re easily the youngest team in the league with easily the cheapest payroll. We are loaded with some of the most promising young players in the league and most people would have been pleasantly surprised with 5 or 6 wins this year. We’re nitpicking at this point and it’s kind of annoying.

  28. Pete 422 Says:

    As HGO said, Ian predicted the Bucs would trade out of the third spot instead of drafting McCoy. Last year, I also remember Ian stating that Josh Freeman wasn’t ready to start during his rookie year. After Freeman got his start & did well, Ian questioned why the Bucs didn’t start Freeman from day one.

    So, folks consider the source. Ian Beckles is usually wrong. Ron and Ian are entertaining and have a good show, but take their analysis seriously? No.