THE OPTIMIST: Positives Plentiful

December 13th, 2014

Jacquies smith 1119In 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.

It’s not all bad if you look for the silver lining!

Sure, there are no playoffs for the Bucs this year, but Tampa fans got to enjoy a playoff-chasing atmosphere all the way until December, thanks to the NFC South!

Nothing like playing meaningful football around Thanksgiving!

Seriously, though, just imagine if only three of those tough losses had not gotten away from the Bucs?

Plentiful Positives

Believe it or not, there are some things to still look forward to this season. For the first time ever, Tampa Bay Buccaneers could have two, not one, two 1,000-yard receivers in the same season, in spite of having one of the worst offenses in Bucs history. That’s how good Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans are — with Josh McCown and Mike Glennon quarterbacking.

The Bucs have discovered two solid players on defense in Danny Lansanah and Jacquies Smith. Few fans knew who those players were, and now we’re hearing about them every week as the defense continues to improve and play at a higher level.

Lavonte David is third in the NFL in tackles, while Gerald McCoy is 15th with his 8.5 sacks. We may see the first double-digit sacker since 2005. Smith also is only four away from the same goal.

Johnthan Banks quietly ranked fifth in the league in interceptions with four, two behind Tashaun Gipson of Cleveland.

Remember the whitewashing this defense took at the hands of Baltimore and Atanta? The defense is playing quite different. Even though Detroit put up good numbers, the Bucs defense did some good things. You get the feeling going into the next season the Bucs defense will be ready to play.

Expect the offense to get retooled, but if V-Jax returns with Mike Evans, that’s one part of the mix you won’t have to worry about showing up.

19 Responses to “THE OPTIMIST: Positives Plentiful”

  1. Soggy Says:

    Nice short story.. Hope the draft goes well under lovies mindset..

  2. BucsfaninChina Says:

    Throw in a new qb and a competent line and we may have something here.

  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Sometimes you just have to focus on the positives to get you through tough times. That’s what being a fan means to me. It doesn’t mean I like what I see or agree with moves that are made….it’s that I really can’t control them.
    Positives for me are:

    No serious injuries to top players
    Mike Evans
    Good draft position and full complement of picks
    Competitive landscape in division looks good going forward

    And…..the most important….Joe hasn’t kicked me off JBF

  4. Dean Says:

    There are positives if you REALLY, REALLY turn over every rock and ignore every bad statistic, player, lack of offense, defensive toughness and ability.
    Could things change next year? Yes. But only if things CHANGE next year. Change coaches on OL, DB’s, QB, and, of course, Offensive and Defensive coordinators. We need a complete revamping of the offensive line, QB’s, DE’s, MLB, safety and punter. About 9 positions need a complete makeover.
    In other words, all that was accomplished this year was finding out just how really talentless the Bucs were and that throwing free agents at the problem doesn’t help.
    Unfortunately, you can’t draft 9 winners in one year. Only about 3 per year. So the remaining 6 replacements have to come from free agency or trades.
    So get ready fans……..more of the same. Actually, the one thing I loved about Mark Dominic was he was a wheeler dealer. Trade up, trade down. I’d love to see JL do the same as GM. Let’s be AGGRESSIVE!!!!

  5. biff barker Says:

    Two 1000 yards WR’s isn’t surprising since we can’t run the ball.



  6. lightningbuc Says:

    A positive for me this season is I’ve been able to get a lot more done around the house on most Sunday afternoons. #ITSABUCSLIFE

  7. OB Says:

    Whoever is picked as the OC will tell us where Lovie and the team is going, we have the foundation, we just need a structure.

    The foundation are the receivers, RBs, LBs, and some DL and DBs, plus the FG kicker.

  8. Broy34 Says:

    How in the name of Vinny Testaverde is nobody rooting for a 2 win team to lose. Been watching more and more of Mariota. His footwork is fantastic and Trent Dilfer is a moron saying he’s a first read and run QB. Keep gushing over dimes and don’t watch his highlights Trent. This guys mind processes FAST. He’s constsnly looking left to right in highlights and knows EXACTLY when to run. He’s not gnna pull a Barkley or Locker and lose 10 million dollars going back for his senior year. Especially since they’re competing for a title this year. And winston is NOT coming out. Especially when he can be a sure thing first overall next year once the stats fix themselves

  9. StPeteBucsFan Says:


    I agree with your post on several of your topics. First…yes Trent Dilfer sometimes offers opinions as strong as his play for the Bucs when he was here. I’ve heard other QB experts gush over Mariotta.

    Here is the stat that will have coaches drooling. Yes all the offensive production but TWO FREAKING INTERCEPTIONS all season!!! That less than Jameis put up in a half! Football coaches are notoriously conservative, Lovie and Dungy just being the most conservative of a very conservative group. When they view QB’s they look at it like physicians…first do no harm. PROTECT the football. Jameis interception fever could cost him in their eyes especially when Mariotta only has two all season long.

    Second I’m also tempted to agree with you that Jameis might stay in school.
    He’s the only guy in recent memory who I truly believe will actually make more money by staying.

    He needs to put his juvenile behavior behind him. He needs to come back and have slick media advisors taking him out to the Tallahassee Boys Club like Mariotta does in Oregon. Jameis can visit hospitals and underprivileged kids.
    Who knows it would not only help clean up his reputation it might make him stop taking his own good fortune for granted.

    And lastly, although I agree that at least at the margin he can make himself an even better player and cut down on the interceptions. It’s freaking FSU and Jimbo Fisher. Yeah his offensive line will turn over but there’s a strong chance that the young guys behind them might be even better. See their freshman running back this year for an example. WR requires more skill than brains or experience and the Noles will have plenty of NFL caliber talent to develop.

    So Jameis gets the obligatory insurance policy from LLoyds of London and he also has his baseball career to fall back on if he gets hurt his junior year.

    Stay in school Jameis! Grow up! And then I might join my Nole buddies in calling to draft you in 2016.

  10. Espo Says:


    Don’t watch his highlights? I guess you did some YouTube scouting then. How is nobody rooting for this team to lose? Pay attention, a lot of people are. I use the term “people” loosely, as I do not think very highly of anyone who wants their own team to tank. If they do it on purpose, there is no coming back from that.

  11. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    Positives? How important is the kicking game in the NFL. How frequently are the games close enough to be decided by FG’s?

    We have found a real keeper in Murray. At least we enter next year with a critical component in house already.

    The OL has been a disaster for several years. But actually it could get turned around pretty quickly.

    RT-Demar Dotson is acceptable and improving. Remember he was a basketball player not a football player. I believe he still has upside. Not pro bowl but certainly no Kenyatta Walker.

    RG- See if Anthony Collins could produce at least as well as Dotson.

    C – EDS needs to step it up but he’s smart and competent.

    That leaves the left side, the most important side for most teams because of the QB’s blind side.

    LG- I think Mankins has a couple more good years in him. But I’d certainly like to see some younger guys begin to challenge him for the position. Edwards or Pamphile or perhaps a draft pick

    LT- HERE IS THE REAL HOLE- Plug it with 6-7 315 pound Andrus Peat. He’s athletic and his 300 pounds are not squat on a 6-3 body like pudgeball Richie the scumbag but stretched out over 6-7. He runs close to a 5 flat 40. His dad played in the NFL for 6 years. It’s in his genes.

    Meanwhile we have a trio of TE’s to go with that group who are not bad and one of them ASF shows some real potential as a receiver and Stocker has turned into a good blocker and competent receiver.

    And so there it is Buc fans. You could fix that OL with a top pick in the First Round. Andrus Peat. Or pick your QB and go another direction.

    Another plus to Peat is that Walter Football had him going in the 6th spot after the Bucs take Mariotta and the Titans taking Jameis second.

    Walter has replaced Andrus with Stanley from Notre Dame because they fear Andrus will return to school.

    BTW another plus for either Andrus or Stanley is that they come from schools with actual academic requirements unlike Bama and the SEC schools and so they will also be smart players.

    At any rate if the Bucs went this route they could dump that #1 pick and gain at least one more first or second round pick by trading down. Depend on how good Licht is. If he’s as good as the Lightning’s Steve Yzerman he’d get more that pick.

    For those of you who demand we select a QB this year. I get your point and do not necessarily disagree. But I feel the same way about those who advocate fixing the OL first. I respect both sides of this debate.

    Whether we go QB or OL with our first selection, I’m more concerned that we come away with a Mike Evans caliber player and not a Gaines Adams.

  12. Fort Myers Dave Says:

    If those 3-4 losses the “Optimist” talks about (probably Vikes, Bengals, Saints and Rams) became W then yeah we’d be in the playoff hunt but more likely just having another bad year with the same untalented team that would be drafting at 10th to 12th with a 6-10 record instead of the top 3 with the 2 or 3 win season that L&L have ineptly crafted. I am optimistic that the close losses will ensure the firing of almost all the coaching staff on Special Teams and Offense and the replacements have to be better as what the Bucs have right now is rock bottom. I guess that is something to be optimistic about…. Optimistic pickups: the kicker Murray and Evans, everything else not so good….

    StPeteBucsFan why Peat over Scherff; both seem to be the top of the trench class but does one have upside over the other? I feel both would be a great acquisition with the top 2 pick I expect….

  13. Buccfan37 Says:

    How can anyone be a fan of any team and not be optimistic that team will be a contender. Optimism, it’s what keeps us alive.

  14. MGM4Life Says:

    The work the team has put in so far in learning the tampa 2 and running it as Lovie / Leslie want (Which has shown in some recent games), if they had come up to speed sooner I think they could have doubled or even tripled their win total. I think with the right O-line coach our current players could play better.

  15. Tye Says:

    The only positive I’ve found in the Bucs being so horrific is I have been able to watch the Broncos games and witness the latter part of the career of 1 of the best QBs to ever play football… Whether it be his last few games or 1 -2 years left…

    It is Lovie’s putrid decision after putrid decision that got the Bucs to this point of 2-11… He brought in several players he picked and they proved to be bad choices further confirming Lovie can not pick a truly talented player….
    Lovie as HC is a huge part of the problem NOT the solution!

  16. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    @FM Dave

    I’m like you. I’d be happy with Scherff as well as the Notre Dame tackle…not at number one of course but in the first round. I tend to lean towards Peat because of the athleticism with that 6-7 315 size but I wouldn’t be upset with Scherff at all.

    Here’s an idea draftniks. What if the Bucs pick in the top two and go either Jameis or Marcus, and then package some more draft picks to move up into the first to get either Scherff, or Peat or the guy from N.D. An awesome tackle could be had in the middle of the first round. Yeah that totally wipes out the massive infusion of talent but if you can find a franchise QB and a franchise LT in the same draft we can plug the rest of the holes with gems in the rough like Smith and Lansana on Defense on Murray the kicker.

    Imagine the concept or pairing a stud LT with a franchise QB for the next decade!

  17. Wilder32 Says:

    Leading the league in penalties has been a major killer in itself this season. Getting beat off the ball or on the trenches is one thing, but shooting yourself in the foot every game with stupid penalties over and over again is another altogether. For the number of close games the Bucs have been in this year, surely two or three more games could’ve gone their way had they simply played better fundamental football. Sure, we need an infusion of talent, but I don’t agree that a wholesale flushing is in order again. A strong draft and a couple smart free agent signings could mean playing .500 football next season.

  18. ddneast Says:

    Thanx Nick. Agree with your points of course.
    Actually I don’t think the offensive line would be this horrible if we had an offensive coordinator. The same with McCown.
    This season would have been completely different if we had a competent OC.
    Is that Lovie’s fault, yes. But he did’t have a crystal ball when it came to Tedford’s heart and lack thereof.
    Something tells me Tedford won’t be spending any more time in Lovie’s basement unless he wants to get cut up into tiny pieces.

  19. Pickgrin Says:

    We need a lot more help than 1 new OTackle up front. From what I’ve seen – Dotson and Mankins are the only 2 of our current starters that should be on the field opening day next year. And neither has played all that well this year. Collins is not good enough period – Omameh not good either and we shouldn’t just hope that he will improve with experience. And although EDS sounds “competent” when you hear him talk – his play this year has been anything but. In fact – EDS stinks as the Bucs center and has all year. Maybe better OL coaching would make a difference – but I think we need to find solid if not better replacements for LT, C and RG.

    Yes we have some talent at a few positions mentioned on Defense and the skill positions (minus QB) on Offense – but even the areas that are strengths need some help as well. We need a good CB to complement the 2 decent ones we have. We need a great MLB even though the overall talent at LB position is strong. We seem to have 2 decent DL players (McDonald and J. Smith) to go along with all pro McCoy. But realistically 3 out of the 4 DL positions need to be upgraded to be a dominant defensive front which is what Lovies Defense needs to excel. Safety is not a position of strength and we could use 2 upgrades there although they do seem high on the new guy’s upside.

    That’s a lot of needs and preferred upgrades to realistically accomplish in 1 year.

    To keep it realistic – If via draft or FA, we can get one of the 2 top QB prospects – 2 very good new OLinemen and a good DE along with a few minor other plug -ins – this team will be in so much better shape heading into next year