Bucs Have Much To Prove

July 5th, 2015
Are the Bucs better off (yet) than they were under former commander Greg Schiano?

Are the Bucs better off (yet) than they were under former commander Greg Schiano?

Joe used to be in newspapers. Got out of it because, well, there is zero job security unless you are willing to pack up and move to places you have no desire to live.

Newspapers are dying a slow death, and it saddens Joe because there are a lot of good guys Joe has met and worked with along the way. In the current state of newspapers, once you have been there a while, established yourself with experience and credibility, you are suddenly a target for the beancounters because you earn too much.

Newspapers have become a place where experience and credibility have become a liability. No thank you.

Certain multimedia corporations also dip their toes into the ranks of reporting by the written word. Unfortunately, those gigs are hardly secure, either. FOX Sports every few years hires a bunch of writers and then unloads them all a couple of years later. Andrew Astleford was a recent victim.

Astleford wrote for Fox Sports Florida and worked his tail off covering three teams: Rays, Lightning and Bucs. In the spring, the guy rarely got a night off between the Rays and the Lightning Stanley Cup run, not to mention Bucs draft coverage.

In sort of a farewell, Astleford, one of the nicest guys you will ever meet, typed his thoughts on the sports scene in Tampa Bay. Astleford never was won over by “America’s Quarterback,” Jameis Winston, and remains perplexed by Lovie Smith’s personnel moves last year, which nosedived the franchise into the Gulf. He believes the Bucs have far more questions than answers.

When I arrived from St. Louis in January 2013, with sunscreen and thick shades in tow, Greg Schiano led the Bucs and Josh Freeman carried franchise-quarterback potential. …

I’d like to say the Bucs, with Lovie Smith and Jameis Winston, are better off now than when I met them. But I can’t. There are too many unknowns going into this crucial fall after the stench of 2-14.

Fair points. It’s hard to make a compelling argument that the franchise stands on firmer ground, or that former Bucs commander Greg Schiano was worse than Lovie. Schiano didn’t run the team into the ground. Schiano got a lot out of defenses with limited talent. Lovie can’t say that (yet).

And yes, the Bucs are banking on three rookies playing crucial roles for the offense. Lot of question marks there.

The Bucs were 2-14 for a reason. Holes were up and down the roster. There is scant depth.

Joe thinks Bucs are better. At least marginally. Jameis, for example, would have to be truly horrid to be worse than turnover-prone Josh McClown.

Joe is going to miss Astleford. Wherever he decides to go, Joe hopes he finds job security, a rare trait in media circles these days.

25 Responses to “Bucs Have Much To Prove”

  1. Dooley Says:

    Schiano was absolutely terrible

  2. SteveK Says:

    Schiano has don more than Lovie thus far.

  3. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Personally, I think free agency has been a disaster both years…and LICHT is at fault for that mostly.

    So far as the drafts, there has been at least one horrible, senseless pick in both drafts (Sims last year, the 2nd WR this year). Sims may turn out to be a good player…doesn’t matter. We needed offensive line (or could have gotten Carr earlier) and not taking one there (when Sims could have been had later) screwed our line for another year (by that I mean, picking one may have enabled it to be fixed by this year…now we’ll have to wait yet another year or more).

    The second WR this year (I forget his name) should not have been drafted at all. He is a habitual ball dropper…and yes, he has speed…but that speed only paid off as a TD for one punt his entire college career. When compared to his number of drops and fumbles, it’s wasn’t worth it.

    This year, that pick could have been another OL or DL for depth at least.

    Last year’s free agency sucked out loud. One good new signing. One. Tons of cash spent.

    This year, they spend less, but every new, pre-draft signing (so not counting the undrafted rookies) has an injury problem. EVERY ONE.

    We are heading for a disastrous, injury plagued season…and I blame it on Licht. He should have had more common sense last year, put his foot down. This year he shows he cannot make smart decisions in a free agency that he has confessed he is in control of.

    Much to prove? Tons. Will they? Not this year.

    I’m not sold on Winston either. Putting aside the eggshells we’ll feel underfoot for the first 5 seasons in regard to off field behavior, he has serious faults in his game that flatout scare me…and I was clear about it the entire off season.

    I’m hoping, praying he overcomes them.

    The Bucs DO have a lot to prove…and they need to do it fast because I, for one, and starting to care less and less.

    Case in point…I used to visit this site 5-7 times a day. Now I come maybe twice every 3 days…and occasionally go several days without bothering. I no longer listen to sports radio.

    Frankly…I have found myself happier thru avoidance.

  4. Dean Says:

    In the first year of the L & L regime, the Bucs tried to make a giant splash and immediately be relevant. Instead, they pooped their pants and ended up as the worst team in the league and those high priced players they dramatically brought in to change their fortunes, ended up dropping the crystal ball and the fortune teller committed suicide.

    This year, it appears the Bucs have taken a much more reasonable approach. They drafted well, added much needed depth and seem intent on building over the next couple of years, rather than with one big bang (that became a quiet plop).

    If they can hit on these high draft picks and develop some solid players they added, we may just be seeing a team that is destined for the playoffs in 2 or 3 years.

  5. Tampa Tony Says:

    When it comes to wins and losses as a Buc coach Schiano is clearly better unless Lovie wins 9 games this year.

    Giving Lovie say in personnel was a bad choice as his past showed he failed at building a o line and went thru offensive coordinators like a Buc fan going thru pepto while watching Josh McClown.

    Until this team drafts well consistently and gets good coaching in the trenches we will be a laughing stock. Not sure Jameis’s greatness can overcome Lovie’s ineptitude

  6. ndog Says:

    Those people on this board and this writer that are worried about jameis, espically acting like Freeman is even comparable, is laughable. Bonzai all those worries about on the field play are just like the off the field stuff, overblown! Trust me I am a huge FSU fan and Jameis worried me a lot a first but look at the games where they needed him to play his best and not take chances he didn’t. The Georgia Tech game for example the defense was horrible and he needed to be perfect and was. The national title game versus auburn he needed to be great and was. All this worrying is insane and if I remember correctly Bonzai you wanted the surfer trying to get paid to play football part time.

  7. Buccfan37 Says:

    I don’t see why Schiano was so bad, the criticism escapes me. His good outweighed his bad, it seemed to me. As far as newspapers becoming irrelevant and cheapskates to boot, what employer isn’t today. It is the obvious wave of the future. If you were a sports writer that seems like it would be a cool job, unlike say national and world news reporting, which to me is mostly BS. I’m happy for you that you found your specialty and enjoy success. Keep up the good work keeping Buc fans happy. And Bonzai, you are just depressed because it is the slow part of waiting for the real action to begin. You won’t be able to withhold your two cents.

  8. Buccfan37 Says:

    At least the fans here are most all Buc fans and not the types who will change favorite teams to be associated with a winner. This place has dyed in the wool Buc fans who take the mostly bad and wait patiently for the occasional good that makes it all worthwhile.

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:


    I agree with FA choices last year being horrible…..this year….too soon to tell. There are many players who come back from injuries and do quite well….we will see.
    As far as Sims & Clay….again….way too soon to tell if they are busted picks.
    And…Clay was a 6th round pick…..
    This year’s draft success will depend on the 2 second round picks and Kwon Alexander….perhaps Bell doing well…..if we bust in the 6th & 7th….that won’t be a surprise or that disasterous.

  10. Hawk Says:

    @ BuccaneerBonzai
    We must be twins, separated at birth. I cannot disagree with anything you said. I, too, have ‘hope’ that this year’s team will be much better, in EVERY aspect, than I expect (EVERY year seems to be the same ‘hope’). As to why we visit less, with the departure of MariotaJoe, and his ilk, the site has lost it’s whimsical charm (and humor). :^)

  11. Abdominal Snowman Says:

    I think Schiano was a very good d coordinator. He got the most out of what he had. The problem wasn’t the x’s and o’s butt how he handled his men. I believe he was a part of the new wave of coaches (harbaugh,Kelly, Carroll) who use sports science and ddiet and nutrition to gain any competitive advantage. That wasnt his downfall though, it was failing to stray from his college coaching ways and treat his players like men. He lost this locker room worse than raheem ever did. I wanted Him out so bad and was glad to get Lovie as I’ve always respected the guy and still believe he could be the guy to tuurn is around. But I could see Schiano learning from his mistakes and becoming a good coach in theNFL one day.

  12. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Ahahahahahahaha = my reaction to schiano praise


  13. ChessMaster Says:

    You can’t win in the NFL without an Offensive Coordinator.

  14. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    That’s a brain dead conclusion by this guy. There are too many unknowns?

    Yes unknowns indeed. Can a player picked as can’t miss really be a better QB than a QB who we KNOW was totally overrated. Josh Freeman could truck LB’s, he could throw a ball through the brick wall…IF HE COULD HIT THE FREAKING WALL. He couldn’t even develop enough skill or touch to hit an RB on a simple swing route.

    And so it’s the unknowns….a QB drafted #1 with the recommendation of 90% of league experts versus JFro the head case, Mr Inconsistency! It’s a coach Lovie who has been to the Super Bowl compared to a coach who couldn’t win big games at tiny Rutgers!!! Much less in the NFL.

    The defense is better. The OL should be able to regain the former Schiano “Glory”. Is Dotson better than Trublood? Can the rookies be as good as those they are replacing.

    And so fundamentally we are talking about a team that COULD be very good but there are UNKNOWNS…versus a team we KNEW wasn’t really that good.

    And unknown team that could suck or may surprise compared to a team the clearly sucked with a head case QB and a head case coach who thought he was coaching a high school team at a military school. He thought he should be able to say jump and have the players obediently chime back…how high master?

  15. I know why Says:

    Schiano was better and is a better coach, Glazers panicked again (see Gruden) and fired him too soon. Its a shame that happened and if we would have kept Schiano for 2014 season and it didn’t work, I’d rather have Quinn, Ryan, Bowles etc over Lovie Smith.

  16. tickrdr Says:

    Schiano went 4-12 with a rookie QB against the toughest schedule in the league. Lovie went 2-14 with his handpicked free agent QB against the easiest schedule in the league last year, and went winless against the historically weak NFC South, and winless at home. Devin Hester was “like a son to him”, but decided to go sign with Atlanta rather than with Lovie? And I still cannot think of a single player who had a better year in 2014 than in 2013, even though Lovie and crew are thought to be better than Schiano. The fact he gifted the starting QB job to McCown is unbelievable to me, and then decided to finish the season without an experienced OC is also ridiculous. SMH.


  17. pete Says:

    Was EDS better than Zuttah?
    Was Collins better than Penn?
    Was Omameh better than Joseph?
    Was Gilkey better than Larsen?

  18. tickrdr Says:


    Yet all were released or traded before training camp????


  19. bucsbedabest Says:

    I thought we all agreed Lovie inc. tanked last year to get the #1 pick? I am sick of continuing to relive the past. Yea.. the past sucks, Schiano sucks, Raheem sucks, yes we can continue to question the mistakes made in FA last year and question the draft picks and Lovie as a head coach. All I know is that I love this team and I have not been this excited about a season since the Alstott days. We have a QB, we have a really good OC, we have two new additions to our OL, a stud receiver and the best DT and LB in this leauge. I can;t wait.

  20. ToesOnTheLine! Says:

    @ I Know Why

    Your post echoes my opinion perfectly. It’s a shame that the MRSA crap and QB meltdown happened all in one season, I honestly don’t think Lovie would have been able to have squeaked out 4 wins if he had been dealt that same hand to work with. All we can do now is hope for the best.

  21. loggedontosay Says:

    The man wrote for Fox; he has a whole mountain to move before I consider thinking that he has credibility worth noting.

  22. LargoBuc Says:

    Schiano hasn’t proven anything in the NFL. Nothing. Zero. Lovie has. He coached in a superbowl. You cant take Sxhiano’s two years and compare it to Lovies one year and conclude that Schiano is definitively better than Lovie! Its ridiculous! 2014 wasn’t the be all end all career definition for Lovie Smith! It wasn’t! Lets hold Lovie accountable for his first season. Im all for that. He deserves a very warm seat for 2014! He deserves no pass! But as disapointed as I am/was at Lovie, I can not say that Schiano is better than Lovie. Lovie’s career spans much more than 2014. Schiano’s pro resume pales in comparison to that of Lovie. One man coached in a super bowl, the other has never finished at .500! And dont tell me that spit about Ron Rivera taking Lovie there. Lovie was head coach. It was Lovies team. By that same logic, then you cant blame Lovie for how sorry our defense was last year.

  23. Buccfan37 Says:

    Following the Bucs for decades has been great, win or lose mostly. I can’t wait for the next super sized serving of a dose of reality coming my way, or something different.

  24. LakelandBuc Says:

    Schiano was the worst hire in Bucs history, he didn’t judge players by their play, he judge them by who he like. He turned the entire league against the Bucs by ordering his players to bullrush the QB on a kneel down. The players had no input on nothing, he banned all of the former Greats from coming to Bucs practice. He was terrible, horrible no players wanted to play for him, he treated grown men like children.

  25. BuccoBill Says:

    Give Astleford a job Joe’s. He could be the third Joe!