Playoffs Not A Guarantee

July 20th, 2014
There are a lot of questions on offense that need to be answered to expect the Lovie Smith to lead the Bucs to be a playoff berth this season.

A lot of questions on offense must be answered to expect Lovie Smith to be a playoff head coach this season.

It is almost hard to believe the Bucs haven’t won a playoff game since Chucky hoisted the Vince Lombardi Trophy aloft in victory in San Diego. If the Bucs don’t make the playoffs, much less not win a playoff game this year, then that will make it 12 years. Incredible.

In the current age of NFL parity, not winning a playoff game in 12 years is extraordinary. And Joe isn’t ready to buy playoff tickets this year, not as we currently stand in July.

Many Bucs fans believe that just the hire of Lovie Smith all but guaranteed a playoff berth. Pat Yasinskas of ESPN doesn’t actually believe that is a fait accompli.

The arrival of coach Lovie Smith makes the Buccaneers an instant playoff team.

Our take: Fiction.

Justify it: There’s little doubt Smith will be better than predecessor Greg Schiano. Smith is a proven winner in the NFL. Players like working for him and he commands respect. All that being said, Smith still faces a tough job. This team was 4-12 last season. The Bucs were very aggressive in free agency and that will help. But turning this team completely around might be more than a one-year project.

For Joe, the defense will be just fine but the question marks on offense are just too many to start making plans for meaningful football games in January.

Can Josh McCown recreate his magic of five games last year? Can Carl Nicks answer the bell and actually play 16 games? Can Jeff Tedford’s offense hack it in the NFL? Can Anthony Collins play a full season? Can Mike Evans play at a near-Pro Bowl level despite being a rookie? Who are the special teams standouts?

In Joe’s eyes, those are way too many questions to ask about a team that will be in the playoffs. At least in late July.

Not saying the Bucs won’t make the playoffs. They will certainly be improved and very well could double their win total from last season, which by any measure is a nice turnaround. Just as of now, it seems making the playoffs is a tall order.

25 Responses to “Playoffs Not A Guarantee”

  1. Destinjohnny Says:

    One thing we do know – we will find out soon enough

  2. Mumbles Says:

    Just like there are lots of questions, there’s room for lots of excuses. But the Bucs are making none. They believe they can win now!

    I say shoot for the moon and land among the stars! Go Bucs!

  3. Buccfan37 Says:

    Just play better and get more wins. Give the fans something to cheer about. Bring some pride back to the organization. That’s enough to show the team is improving. Playoffs would be the cherry on top. Go Bucs!

  4. Eric Says:

    If the Bucs don’t make or win a playoff game that will make it 12 years?

    Division Champs 2005 and 2007.

    I know, didn’t win in the playoff but winning the division is an excellent accomplishment in my book.

    Only during the dom era did we manage to avoid any success whatsoever.

    Unfair to lump those two division title teams into that disaster IMO.

  5. The_Buc_Realist Says:

    I agree with Eric, if the Panthers did not tank it in 2010. Dominick would have 5 straight last places in the division. Total Failure!!!

  6. Ryan Says:

    You dun goofed, Joe. You’re up too early, lol. Guarantee*

    Anyways, I’m so tired of the speculation, the season needs to start and it needs to start now. I will admit though, it always warms my heart to see ESPN contributors predict us to do poorly, or in this case not do entirely well. I don’t see anything factually wrong with what Yasinskas said, but I’m perfectly happy to ride it out under the radar.

  7. OB Says:


    Five days and the speculation is over, we will begin to see what we have and don’t have, but hope always springs eternal.

    And still Matty Ice was the QB of the last place team in the Division last year.

  8. fritz50 Says:

    I, too like what we have on the “D”, and have a strong feeling it will be much improved. BUT, as we all know, it has to be proven on the field. I’m pretty sure most of felt the Bucs were lined up for years of Plaoff success after the S.B. ! Who knew they’d fall apart, like they did ? Well, at the least, I didn’t . Every year I was s ‘sure’ we’d go deep into the offseason that year. So right now I’m ‘cautiously hopeful ‘ and I’ll be there to see what happens.

  9. The_Buc_Realist Says:

    I see more of a trying to gel the team in the first half of the season, then love will see who can really play in the last part of the season.

  10. SAMCRO Says:

    Nor should we even expect them to make the playoffs this year.

  11. Brandon Says:

    GUARANTEE, not guarentee, Joe.

  12. Danati74 Says:

    We are a better team overall. Better coaches. Fans can come out of hiding. Pe proud to wear your Bucs gear. Anything is better than the last couple of years. I can’t wait. tic tok.

  13. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    Like everybody I share concern about our Oline. But I can imagine how that might turn out OK.

    What concerns me just as much is our special team play. We lost quite a few performers there and that unit will be totally different by the time the stinking Panthers roll around.

    At least we can feel good about our kickers. But our coverage teams?

  14. Touch_Down_Tampa_Bay Says:

    The past two coaches showed us two different ways a coach can loose their players.

    We went from lack of leadership with Raheem to lack of respect Schiano.

    Lovie brings Leadership and Respect. We are past the turnaround period.

    We will see Game Plans & Game adjustments that will keep us engaged not enRaged.

    Go Bucs!!!

  15. KeithInTampa Says:

    Like Ryan above, I too am perfectly happy to ride it out “under the radar”; but there’s no question that this 2014 Team will be a better product than anything that “Rah” or “Schiano” put on the field in the last five years. I am cautiously optimistic that the Bucs will be fighting for the NFC South title this year!

  16. biff barker Says:

    “For Joe, the defense will be just fine but the question marks on offense are just too many to start making plans for meaningful football games in January.”

    I’m not certain the defense will be just fine because there are many elements that need to come together. Just like the offense. Here’s a few…..

    1) Can we generate a pass rush? Johnson, Clayborn, Bowers and Goldson are all question marks.

    2) MLB needs to cover deep and call the defense too. Neither were previously required from that position.

    3) Monte’s bend but don’t break, eliminate the big play mentality allowed teams to sustain drives. The result was a gassed D in the 4th Q. What’s changed in Lovie’s scheme.

    4) The secondary… read the pass rush comment again. Banks is still young, Goldson and Barron are more cracking heads types than crack cover guys.

    5) New scheme… lot’s of mistakes early on.

    6) Depth. Injuries are a fact of life in this league. Everyone knows a backup player in a new scheme can be painful.

    7) Continuity. Seahawks. It took them three years to build and be dominant. Just like it took the 1999 Bucs.

    We’re counting the parts and anticipating the sum. Bad move IMO.

    I’ll say this, I’m an optimistic sort but grounded in reality. It takes time to build a castle.

  17. Couch Fan Says:

    I am going to hold Lovie to the same standards that were set for Schiano. This is a good team, they should be competitive in every game and I expect playoffs. Anything less is a loser mentality

  18. buc4lyfe Says:

    Who goes into a season without question marks like this one? Patriots and rob gronkowsky, Denver offensive line and weaklings aka mental midgets, legion of boom lost a lot of pieces and the age thing no one is saying marshawn lynch is a year older. All 32 teams have question marks, Detroit new head coach but he makes them better but not us? And seriously for people to think our offensive line is so bad, I happen to remember a starter on Atlanta team named after a TV show getting replaced by a guy who played one year of football in his life. They’re offensive line is still bad and much worse than ours but no one says it I can’t wait for this season to start

  19. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    The_Buc_Realist Says
    “I see more of a trying to gel the team in the first half of the season, then love will see who can really play in the last part of the season.”

    I think that may end up being fair.

    I mean, we won’t really know until we see more in Preseason, but off hand, with what we do know, I think that’s fair.

    I still have questions about the free agent signings. Many fans are talking about how the team was a good team last year that just had things go wrong. I agree. But Lovie blew up the team roster, so we have a lot of new faces this year.

    I honestly do not see how ANY accurate predictions can be made before we know what we have in talent, see the offense, and see how the secondary performs.

    If all do well, it would be fair to expect a Superbowl trip at best. If all goes bad? It will be UGLY!

    I hope Lovie is a long term solution to the coaching though, because its been getting silly since Gruden left. No more musical coaches!

  20. Louis Friend Says:

    This team could easily start 0-5 and still finish 8-8. Whatever happens, don’t bail on Lovie or this team based on the first month of the season. I’ve said this for the last 2 months on here: they face a murderer’s row the first 5 games and none of them are walks in the park. We could lose them all and turn it around the rest of the season. In fact I think something just like that will happen.

  21. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    Yasinkas seems to always be terrible to us. I was glad to see him leave Tampa. I never liked him back then, and like him even less now.

  22. Joe Says:

    I was glad to see him leave Tampa.

    He hasn’t left.

  23. Owlykat Says:

    Yes we have a new system on Offence but Josh had to deal with a new offensive system and Trestman as a new head coach and he still performed well enough to earn a starting position here. He has already mastered it and taught it to the rest of the offense. Therefore, I expect we will take those first five teams by total surprise. Just like pirates boarding an enemy vessel we should give them all they can stand and then some. I see a bright future this year! L & L will have our stadium ROCKING!!!

  24. phil Says:

    Two areas of concern are quarterback & offensive line. If those positions play well we could make the playoffs. If not it will be another long year.

  25. ToesOnTheLine Says:

    @ Louis Friend
    “This team could easily start 0-5 and still finish 8-8. Whatever happens, don’t bail on Lovie or this team based on the first month of the season.”

    I’m all for supporting Lovie and am more reserved in my expectations for this season than some, but that said if this team goes 0-5 I believe everyone should be riding Lovie’s ass as hard as they did Schiano’s. Lovie is a good coach, but if he can’t get a winning team in two seasons he absolutely should be shown the door just like his predecessor was