THE OPTIMIST: Trust The Plan And The Drafting

October 18th, 2014

lovie smith 0511In these unsettled times of devastating Bucs losses, constant change and growing pains, Joe thought it would be wise to bring back THE OPTIMIST.

THE OPTIMIST is Nick Houllis, a Bucs fan and an accomplished writer whose steadfast allegiance to the Buccaneers goes back to the 1970s. Houllis is the founder, creator and guru of, a place Joe goes to get lost in time via Houllis’ stunning video collection.

THE OPTIMIST will shine that positive light in your eyes. Some will love it. Some won’t. … Of course, THE OPTIMIST’s opinions are his alone and are not influenced by Joe.

The last Bucs game started on a positive note: a penalty on Baltimore made it 1st-and-15, Bucs fans were going wild!

Hey! You try and do an optimist column after that hot mess, the worst home performance in 39 years.

No one is blameless, certainly not Lovie Smith and Jason Licht. But first, there is nothing wrong with the defensive system. It worked two years ago (fifth-ranked in Chicago). Did you see the Dallas Cowboys, who just beat Seattle with a defense laughed at last year? They got rid of one All-World linebacker who was a bad fit, added guys who DID FIT, and let everyone else buy into the system.

That last interception by the Cowboys illustrated how a middle linebacker is supposed to drop back when coached by Rod Marinelli, Lovie’s former right hand assistant coach, and Monte Kiffin up in the booth.

So if there is nothing wrong with Lovie’s system, then it’s got to be Lovie, right?

Building through Lovie and the draft

Well, that’s right; to an extent. It was understood that Lovie Smith would be the last word with the Bucs, that he would be the one who got the groceries.

I think we all get Darrelle Revis, that his 16 million dollars could have been better spent across several areas. But there is an inherent problem with trying to build a side with free agency; you get free agents – guys who had success with another organization and changed teams for a better paycheck. That’s a different make up from the guy you draft who comes into the league learning your way of doing things.

Free agents are necessary, but too many free agents during a turnover can sometimes turn ugly.

You can’t blame the Bucs management, it wasn’t a defensive draft. Lovie probably felt he could build the offense so Bucs fans would be happy scoring points, and coach up veterans to play respectably.

If that was the plan, it backfired, because the free agents for the most part have not mattered, on either side of the ball. Other than Gerald McCoy, there is no one with a motor on the defensive line. That MUST be addressed as Job 1 next year.

But can we trust this group to make the choices for 2015?

Yes, this regime seems to have drafted well, unlike the last regime. And there are signs they can shore up the defense next year through that medium.

Rookies are thriving

Mike Evans is the real deal. Austin Seferian-Jenkins is a big, quick tight end showing signs he will be something special, and is a valuable weapon already.

Wide receiver Robert Herron had issues with catching the ball early on but seems to have sorted that out. He has the speed variation the offense needs. Expect Charles Sims to start as soon as he is ready to come back from his injury, but all indications are he will be a name Bucs fans will hear a lot in the coming years.

So the draft was positive, and that’s a major plus, because this organization is wrecked because of poor drafting. When Gerald McCoy is your oldest drafted player, and that’s only four years ago, and the 2011 class will all be gone after 10 more games, there’s your trouble.

It was wrong for Bucs management to sell this team as NON-rebuilding. You tore down the roster and shuffled an incredible number of players. Some were a few too many offensive linemen, and maybe special teams players that wouldn’t require you to “punt high.”

On offense, these youngsters will progress while the Bucs spend a year or two addressing both lines and adding talent to a talent-challenged roster, which is largely the fault of the Bucs’ past management. It’s not as much on the present team. So don’t change them, too.

31 Responses to “THE OPTIMIST: Trust The Plan And The Drafting”

  1. meh Says:

    Evans looks promising, but as a top 10 pick he’d better look promising. ASJ and Herron drop way too many balls. The only thing I know about Sims is that he should have been a guard. And speaking of that, our 5th round linemen haven’t shown up.

    At least the draft went better than the free agent signing though. Those are the real train wreck.

  2. Harry Says:

    You are on point with everything you said. I could not have said it any better.

  3. Tom Edrington Says:

    The guy writing this article, Nick whathisname, is forgetting the major truth regarding trust and that is:


    What has this regime done to earn anyone’s trust?


    Answer that question and the entire article is one of those blind assertions.

  4. DB55 Says:


    The obvious difference on defense is rod marinelli. Bears fans have been screaming from the rooftops since April that Lovies success was a direct result of rod m n ron Rivera. Leslie frazier is no marinelli. Proof is in the pudding. plus, rod played some man to man and blitzed some too. Lovie had a chance to pick up Milton and peppers and Tillman but decided to take major wright instead who’s fault is that? Read something yesterday where both fletcher n lansana stopped covering the seam at 10 yards. If both are doing the same thing then it’s probably being coached that way.

    I think my biggest takeaway from the cowboy Seattle game is that the Cowboys had a “no-name” def out there and went into Seattle and stunned the defending champs. Yet, we complain that we don’t have the right talent w four or more probowl level (former pb) players on the roster. We have more than enough talent I just need you to find me better coaching/coaches.

    Welcome back bucstop I thought you ran away after Sunday’s debacle.

  5. Buccfan37 Says:

    The Optimist does’nt come accross as very optimistic, but who really can be when the reality looks this bleak.

  6. DB55 Says:

    ve not mattered, on either side of the ball. Other than Gerald McCoy, there is no one with a motor on the defensive line. That MUST be addressed as Job 1 next year.
    Respectfully disagree! The tape shows McDonald, gholston and Soloman with the best motors on the line, oddly enough. Mccoy hasn’t played as well as one would imagine. Check OT in N’orlens and the first big run last week. Not to mention a total of 5 tackles and 0 sacks in two games. Put the bottle down bucstop mccoy deserve little credit for his recent play. Unless by motor you mean who many people he can help up off the ground.

  7. Joseph Mamma Says:

    I think this regime probably hit on a few draft picks but it seems like every single free agent signing was terrible so far. This team has to show some kind of life to them and some improvement anywhere for anyone to have optimism for it I believe. The last two regimes drafted terribly and the roster is bottom of the barrel so this win right away crap that was sold to us really backfired for Lovie and Licht.

  8. DB55 Says:

    On offense, these youngsters will progress while the Bucs spend a year or two addressing both lines and adding talent to a talent-challenged roster

    Translation= the bucs will be the worst team in football again for another two to three years but keep spending your time and money on them/us. And remember to stay positive. Lovie is the greatest coach of all time, even if he cant win more than three games this year and losses each game by an avg of 30 points. Be positive as You see tv crews panning over to our opponents bench as they laugh hysterically when their 4th string QB scores on our starters. Remember guys, It’s all schiano and glennon’s fault.

  9. JJV Says:

    I used to be such an “Optimist” too as a Bucs fan since 1976. So many times we embraced the positives only to be overwhelmed by massive negatives and failures. Especially this year there is just a bad aura over this team. The players, coaches, bad luck, you name it. There is little hope currently that you can grasp onto to feel like we can win. It leaves the fans moral hopelessly shattered. What bothers me the most t is hearing players/coaches/analysts say it take time to learn the Tampa 2. The current results speak for themselves on where we are in learning the defense. The coaches and players have had a complete off season, training camps, preseason, now 6 games-literally 10 months to study and learn it. You don’t expect them to master it but at least be competitive and not keep making fundamental mistakes over and over. Lovie even basically suggested that they may still need different players to be effective running the Tampa 2. Let’s say they get them next off season it will be another time consuming period for them to learn as well unless he gets Bears players that have been in the defense for years. Although, I question that with an example being Major Wright not being so effective. Right now, I would beg all the ex-Bucs to return for a season(Sapp, Lynch, Brooks, Barber, etc.) to show them how it is done. Even at their age, they would dominate the current roster. It’s never going to happen, but a fun thought.

  10. lightningbuc Says:

    The Bucs are 1-5 with a couple of horrific blowouts, and the Optimist is declaring the draft a success after only those 6 games? Seriously?

  11. billy buckaroo Says:

    you can’t sugarcoat this situation
    its a mess and not a small mess

  12. Kalind Says:

    The draft seems to be ok. Having seen what they passed on in the third round, I’m reserving judgement until I see Sims perform (well).

    As for the free agents…talk about a rush to judgement. Sheesh. 6 games in and you want to bury these guys? Like its Johnson’s fault the scheme blows? Or it’s Verner’s fault the safeties stink? Come on. A little perspective here please.

  13. DB55 Says:

    All I’m saying is that Tim wright is playing better than asj and Meyers. He’s almost playing better than both of them combined. Zuttah, Joseph and penn are playing way better than their replacements. Kelvin Benjamin playing better than evans so is aaron Donald for that matter. Charles Simms = matt Forte 2.0 we can only wish. Forte has missed something like 9 games in 6 years and is the 2nd best rusher in the league as of today. Sims not so much.

    But to be optimistic at least we won’t lose a game tomorrow. Yet, I wouldn’t be surprised if we do something utterly stupid by next Sunday. Oy vey!!

  14. Tye Says:

    If the Owners ever want their team to have true home field advantage through fan support, they might want to do some research now on who to hire for their next HC, even if Lovie is kept a few seasons for financial reasons… If they start now they may avoid another plunder at HC!

    With every game that passes it is looking more and more like Lovie’s resume {which really isn’t all that impressive} is more reflective of the success of those who were around him and not his on…. If he had a legacy, he is torching it now!

  15. Buc1987 Says:

    It’s been said before rookie 1st round WR’s rarely have great rookie seasons. So those expecting more from Evans, just aren’t going to get it this season.

    He is the real deal though. I promise you that.

  16. Buc1987 Says:

    DB55…I started Wright in FF on Thursday night, because I needed a TE in a spot. He did nothing in that game at all. Not even 1 catch. I’m dropping him next week.

  17. DB55 Says:


    You know you are not allowed to contradict me in public. Com’on man! I’ll tell you what, some dumbass dropped Brady after week 3 or 4 because he wasn’t doing anything. Last two weeks he’s shined. Needless to say when I saw Brady on the wire I added him and dropped cousins who had a pro bowl game week 1. My point? Be patient, NE is building that 2 TE set again and it will be featured in the 2nd half of the season. Wrights stats are better than asj n Meyers that you can’t dispute, or can you?

  18. abdominal snowman Says:

    Their 2 TE set isn’t going to be near what it used to be. It has worked in the past because of the threat of the run. They haven’t been able to run the ball very consistently this season and their best run blocker is now a buccaneer. Ridley being injured doesn’t help either.
    The ironic thing is you say be patient for the Patriots yet you’ve already lost faith with your Bucs, Lovie, and this scheme. I’ve been saying only time will tell if this all works out but I’m not ready to cast final judgement after 6 weeks of a new regime.

  19. Espo Says:

    Some fans were begging for Lovie as soon as he became available. Many more joined the party during last year’s terrible start. It still had nothing to do with the fans. If Team Glazer starts letting the fans make decisions this franchise is in much more trouble than it already.

  20. DB55 Says:


    Uhmmm, Lovie vs belicheat. Nuff said.

  21. DB55 Says:

    Actually let me add to that. Daniels vs arroyo. Brady vs mclown/glennon. Nuff said

  22. Bucco bruce Says:

    love the rookies, Evans n Austin…offensive hope….concerned with coaching staff….fan since 70’s….never seen 2 uglier games in short stretch, atl n Balt…stop trading draft choices…build in the lines, depth and defence=consistent winner 🙂

  23. Touch_Down_Tampa_Bay Says:

    The defense will show a heartbeat by the 3rd quarter of the season. Patience people.

    The biggest mistake on Lovie was to sell being relevant this year. The scheme is not one to be learn in a couple of months.

    Schiano was a nightmare this is just what is expected from this Tampa 2 scheme the way Dungy and Lovie run it.

    We will be fine next year. In Lovie I TRUST!!!

  24. Buc1987 Says:

    Here’s a rather pessimistic thought for ya….The Glazers could offer all remaining seats for every home game the rest of the season at half price and no one would buy them.

    I’m sorry season ticket holders…it must really suck.

  25. Buc1987 Says:

    Hell maybe even offer up 75% off tickets….

  26. Andres Says:

    So sims will start when he’s back healthy O.o!?

  27. BuccDeez Says:

    We SUCK AGAIN!!!!!

  28. Brent Says:

    Like young offensive potential with Glennon, asj, Evans. As for Simms, who knows he hasn’t played a down. Hope so? OI would draft 3 offensive linemen with top 5 picks next year. optimist explain how you go from 15 defense to historically worst. The talent obviously fit the previous scheme. If there is no talent on d why did every magazine talk show I heard say we had a good young defense? Not saying this defensive scheme can’t work but 90% of the league doesn’t use it anymore. Why change something to get worse and have to change personnel again plus waste a year of fans time.

  29. robb Says:

    Well, if we are being real optimistic, the top team in the division is 3-3… we may have sucked the first 7 games (really were im position to win 2 or 3 of those 6 losses), but we are only 3 games behind 1st place, with 9 games left, you never know… the real problem is the front 7 and offensive play calling… tampa 2 doesnt work with a stagnent dline and garbage MLB… i say trade/cut Johnson, he isnt worth half of what we paid him… plenty of trades we could make if we wanted to pull a cowboy/viking type of trade… id be willing to trade VJax, doug, goldson… Maybe even Lavonte, not sure if he fits as well as it seems he should in the system

  30. Nick Says:

    Lightning bug…I siad the draft was positive. If you want to change that to ” a success you can but I don’t agree with you.

    Tye…loves resume is not impressive? Really? It’s sure not shabby.

    Bucco Bruce….you got the formula

    Brent…90% of NFL does not have a tampa two package? Maybe the opposite. The “system doesn’t work” has been disproven by so many people I won’t even bother anymore.
    Also, the Bucs were 15th after 16 games. There’s a game coming up in 7 days.. I think Carolina fans are probably calling for a new defense after that loss to Packers today. Let the season play out, then we’ll see where we’re at.

  31. RealBuCSenseDrew Says:

    @buc1987 HOW BOUT YOU GO YOU KNOW WHAT. YOU ARE NOT A BUC FAN. TO GO AT BUC SEASON TICKET HOLDERS? THE TRUE BUC FANS. Dude you are far from a guy who even has a say in anything, go throw yourself off the sunshine skyway, nobody will miss you.