A Playoff Team?

May 19th, 2013

Joe would love Gerald McCoy and the Bucs in the playoffs, but even with an improved secondary, there is much work to do for a playoff berth given how strong the NFC should be this fall.

With the revamped Bucs defensive backfield, the Bucs should have their strongest team since the flirtation with the playoffs in 2010, and quite possibly the Bucs could have their best team since Chucky roamed the sidelines and cursed at everyone.

Some national football types are smitten.

Saturday, beat writer eye-RAH! Kaufman of The Tampa Tribune noted some think the Bucs are a playoff team because of a suddenly stacked roster, so he said on “The End Zone,” co-hosted by Howard Balzer and Zig Fracassi, heard exclusively on SiriusXM NFL Radio.

eye-RAH! Kaufman: There are a lot of Bucs fans down here thinking that this is a playoff team. And you know what? I’m not so sure they are wrong right now.

Howard Balzer: Well the thing was Ira, last year, at whatever point of the season it was, they were in position to at least be there in the playoff hunt and then, I think, they lost five in a row and the bottom just fell out and then [Josh] Freeman had a couple of bad games, a couple of four-interception games and all of a sudden the season ended badly. Obviously, they showed something there that first half of the season to get themselves into that [playoff hunt] and now they just have to be able to finish and be consistent the whole season.

Kaufman: No question. Greg Schiano had his share, guys, of growing pains in Year 1 after 11 years in the college circuit at Rutgers. They were missing two Pro Bowl guards. They have nine players guys – nine! – on this roster that have made the Pro Bowl. Now, one of them is [wide receiver] Steve Smith from the Giants and he is probably not going to make an impact this year but the others, Carl Nicks, David Joseph, Vincent Jackson, Doug Martin, Gerald McCoy, [Dashon] Goldson, [Darrelle] Revis. There is talent here guys.

There is talent but Joe’s not talking playoffs. Not yet. Why? Just look at the NFC landscape.

The conference is as top-heavy and loaded as Joe can remember in this century. Only six teams qualify for the playoffs; four division winners and two wild cards.

San Francisco, Green Bay, Seattle, New York, Atlanta, Minnesota, Washington and New Orleans are teams Joe believes will be the strongest in the conference. Yes, the Bucs beat Minnesota last year, but it was the Vikings, not the Bucs, who played in January.

Then throw in a few teams with enough talent to challenge for a playoff spot, like Chicago, Dallas and Detroit (which has dangerous weapons), and it’s easy to see how the Bucs could be vastly improved but watching playoff games on the couch.

On paper, the Bucs sure are improved. But to expect a playoff berth, Joe isn’t going there. That’s too much of a leap to predict with the NFC so packed with strong teams.

34 Responses to “A Playoff Team?”

  1. Eric Says:

    I guess that is too lofty a goal five years into the rebuild. Rock on!

  2. Mr Lucky Says:

    Oh Eric you didn’t did you….SNAP

  3. BucFanForever Says:

    Atlanta: Peaked last year. Wheels are coming off this season.
    New Orleans: Will be a solid football team, but not great.
    Carolina – Work in progress.

    The Bucs have a very good chance to win the NFC South, which qualifies them as a playoff team.

    I do agree that it will be a tough fight for one of the two wild card spots this season.

  4. Mr Lucky Says:

    But seriously the Bucs look to have upgraded on defense ON PAPER but how they perform in real life is another issue – remember how the Eagles were thought to have the “Dream Team” and how THAT turned out?

    I have to question how much the Bucs have improved on offense, if any? Having the O-line intact for much of a season will vastly improve the running game (in theory at least) but which Freeman is going to appear for the 2013 season: The MJ wanna be or the ass kicking ball pounding runner from 2010? Who knows?

    Throw into the mix that the rookie QB will be getting most of the reps in the preseason and I’ve gotta believe that Freeman has the potential to pull a Mark Sanchez on the Bucs.

    Then you have to ask yourself what happens if Doug Martin goes down? Who’s next to carry the load?

  5. BucFanForever Says:

    And in addition to the 9 pro-bowl players, a few more players are worth mentioning:
    Mike Williams
    Lavonte David
    Mark Barron
    Mason Foster
    Josh Freeman

    Each of these players have shown they are very capable of playing at an extraordinary level, which makes the hunt for the NFC South crown a bit easier.

  6. rhenry Says:

    Well Joe I will go out on a limb for you. Minus the injury bug,the bucs will win the NFC South. They have a superior O line, running game, vastly improved defense and are a very well coached no nonsense team. Add to that Freeman should light it up this year. The stars are aligned — Super Bowl Bound Tampa Bay– just had to say it. : )

  7. DallasBuc Says:

    Everyone seems to forget how physical coach schiano had this team playing last year. This physicality and attitude kept us in games all the way to the end and helped us win the others. I think this is the edge that we have over most teams sans San Fran and seattle. With the secondary we have now the bucs easily make the post season last year. Lets also keep in mind that freeman is very young and very talented. Consider me a freeman fan. This guy is going to tear it up this year.

  8. bubashep Says:

    The NFL is in a constant state of flux…No one knows for sure who is going to be as good as they should be – or – as bad as you think.

  9. RCH Says:

    We will be playing in February this year Joe.

  10. McBuc Says:


  11. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    I think the Saints will be solid. Falcons are (currently) the strongest team in the NFC South. To say they peaked last year is deceptive to ones self.

    It’s also possible RGIII could have a sophomore slump. 49ers lost some guys as well (to our betterment). Eli has not been the same since Sully left.

    And when you throw injuries into the mix…there is always a chance for the Bucs to make it.

    In our division though, it will be a shootout. In years to come I foresee the Falcons and Bucs having a rivalry like the Patriots (Bucs) and Colts (Falcons). The Saints will be good enough…until Brees isn’t (he IS getting up there in age and they do not have a replacement). Panthers will be the bottom of the division until the bottom falls out from under the Saints.

    All my opinion, but I think that is how it will playout.

  12. Joc Says:

    So many things have to fall into place. We could win 12 but we could win 8. Joe what’s the vibe u get n demps playing?

  13. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    BucFanForever Says:
    “And in addition to the 9 pro-bowl players, a few more players are worth mentioning:
    Mike Williams
    Lavonte David
    Mark Barron
    Mason Foster
    Josh Freeman”

    Of those you mentioned, I predict Williams, Barron and Freeman having a shot at making the Pro Bowl this year.

  14. Terraj Says:

    Joe, is your prediction that the Bucs won’t make the playoffs suggesting that you don’t believe Freeman will be back with the team next year?

  15. Bobby Says:

    I didn’t even realize we had David Joseph on our team…..Davin will be thrilled that his cousin made the squad.

  16. 4everBucsFan Says:

    I think what it will all boil down to is whether we can remain healthy compared to other NFC teams. In fact, with so many improved teams I think the ones who make the playoffs will have stayed well intact or have a great amount of depth at all positions. If we hadn’t had so many key positions end up on IR last year we may have at least made it into the playoffs. JMO

  17. gotbbucs Says:

    I’m predicting 11-5 if we stay healthy and 8-8 if we don’t.
    If we stay healthy I see no reason why we wouldn’t be deep in the hunt in December. We don’t have any murderous stretches during the season where I could see us going on a skid like last year.

    I will be cautiously optomistic, as always.

  18. 4everBucsFan Says:

    Let me add to what I said,

    “If we hadn’t had so many key positions end up on IR last year or on suspension.”

    I had to add the suspensions because they also contributed to the collapse.

  19. stevek Says:

    LaVonte David might be the best OLB in the NFC South. Witherspoon from ATL, and Keuchly (if not in the middle) might have something to say about that.

    David is an outstanding player, I hope Johnthan Banks can be that great of a 2nd round pick.

  20. Ruggyup Says:

    I’m as big a Bucs fan as any, but history has a way of repeating that preseason hyperbole gone viral has, more often than not, come back to bite the tush that fed it. Don’t even bother to question my support for the Bucs, I’m just say’n.

  21. BamBamBuc Says:

    I predict that if we make the playoffs we’re gonna see a bunch of people on here screaming that it was only because of an “easy schedule”. And if we don’t make the playoffs, for whatever reason (injury bug, sophomore slumps, etc) many will be screaming for the heads of Schiano, Dom, Freeman, etc.

  22. J 2.0 Says:

    The site should be changed to JoeNegativeBucsObserver.com

  23. Jacko101 Says:

    Bam who would say we have an easy schedule when we play the Patriots falcons twice Seattle and San Fran?

  24. Nate Says:

    We go as far a GLennon will take us.. not freeman!

  25. Joe D. Says:

    @Joe I wouldnt call two teams that finished the season ONE game better than our Bucs “strong”(Washington & N.Y.). N.O. I can see improving from 7-9(our record after finishing the season 1-5) now withe Sean Payton back, but I believe we will make a wild card appearance over Dallas who has made very few, if any, moves that improve their roster. I predict the we win our division and earn a playoff berth.

  26. Joe D. Says:

    with* that*….

  27. JonBuc Says:


    I must agree with your cautious optimism. While watching NFL Network…the Bucs schedule scrolled the ” ticker” at the bottom and counted 8-8 in my mind. And I’ve been accused of being more of a Homer than the Home Depot mascot.

  28. Joe Says:

    Joe what’s the vibe u get n demps playing?

    Demps is “interested” in playing football in addition to running track, Joe was told by a Bucs’ suit. But Demps’ primary focus is a gold medal in the Olympics. Not sure how that meshes with Schiano’s goals. Don’t get the impression Schiano wants a guy who plays football as an “interested” hobby.

    So Joe’s vibe is, doubtful Demps wears a Bucs uniform.

  29. Joe Says:

    Joe, is your prediction that the Bucs won’t make the playoffs suggesting that you don’t believe Freeman will be back with the team next year?

    Joe is not predicting the Bucs won’t make the playoffs. Joe never wrote that.

    What Joe is predicting is that there will be some good teams watching football on TV in January. It’s going to be a damn tough road to hoe to make the playoffs.

  30. Joe Says:

    The site should be changed to JoeNegativeBucsObserver.com

    Joe chooses to live in reality, not in the cloudy world of hope. Joe cannot remember a time since Bill Walsh, Joe Gibbs and Bill Parcells roamed the sidelines at the same time that the NFC was this strong.

    If you think the Bucs are a lock to make the playoffs, what Joe would like to know is, how much cash in Vegas do you have on the line that the Bucs are playing in January?

  31. Joe Says:


    And if we don’t make the playoffs, for whatever reason (injury bug, sophomore slumps, etc) many will be screaming for the heads of Schiano, Dom, Freeman, etc.

    Sadly, you are correct.

  32. loung Says:

    josh freeman bring the best game he play for this year … if don!t we sorry josh .

  33. loung Says:

    i am pick buccaneers win the NFC … see me the end in the year

  34. loung Says: