August 4th, 2015

lovie 0804

Joe is well aware Bucs fans are nauseous in the pits their stomachs about the woeful status of their franchise.

Losers of 70 of the past 100 games, the Bucs are at the bottom of the NFL with the Jags in total losses since the Bucs jettisoned Chucky (and that factors in Raheem Morris’ stunning 10-6 season in 2010).

But stat geek Bill Barnwell, on the overhyped, overrated Grantland.com, makes a long, compelling case that the Bucs are this year’s Houston Texans. Two years ago the Texans were the Bucs, finishing 2-14, as well. In 2014(without a quarterback), Bill O’Brien turned in one of the best coaching jobs, nearly getting the Titans to the playoffs with a 9-7 mark.

Of course, being a numbers nerd, Barnwell throws out a bunch of statistical gibberish, but he does focus on one area where he claims the Bucs can quickly turn things around. He specifically cited all the close games the Bucs lost, much like the Texans.

Teams that miserable in one-score games almost always improve. The 19 previous teams to lose eight or more went 39-155 (.201) in games decided by seven points or fewer during their grotesque seasons. The following year, they were essentially league-average at 70-72 (.493). Overall, they improved by an average of 3.5 wins. You can slice up the league’s history into all kinds of groups, and you can occasionally find exceptions on teams with truly transcendent quarterbacks, but for the vast, vast majority of the league, there’s just no consistency to winning (or losing) close football games.

It’s also a good sign that the Bucs were able to take leads for meaningful chunks of game time, even if they didn’t necessarily hold on to them. That’s something else they had in common with the 2013 Texans, who blew a league-high six halftime leads. The 2014 Texans didn’t blow a single game they led at halftime.

The Bucs lost five games they led at halftime last season. That tied them for the league lead with the Rams and Titans. Twenty-two other teams since 1990 have blown five or more halftime leads in a season; the following year, they blew an average of two such leads and improved their overall win-loss record by an average of 3.4 games. The year-to-year correlation of a team’s blown halftime leads over that time frame is 0.04, meaning that what happened the first year has absolutely no predictive value; it’s better to just use the league average, which is 1.6 blown halftime leads.

While all of this sounds swell, Joe honestly cannot envision the Bucs winning more than six games. There are still way too many holes and questions on this team. Too many for Joe to swallow, especially on the defense. Can Alterraun Verner bounce back, for example? He ought to be paying Josh McClown, Ghost Johnson and Anthony Collins cash under the table because those guys were so miserable, folks didn’t notice that Verner wasn’t playing all that well.

Then there is the perpetual, gnawing question: Where the hell will the edge pass rush come from?

Throw in a rookie quarterback behind a shaky offensive line, and Joe is having trouble envisioning a Bucs playoff run.

Hope it happens, but just cannot see it this season.

24 Responses to “Hope”

  1. mike Says:

    Really good article by Barnwell. I agree with you Joe about our weaknesses too. Maybe we can have a repeat of 2010 where every jump ball goes our way and are opponents are very weak so we have a shot.

  2. The Buc Realist Says:

    Also throw in that there is no pressure to win!!! The bar has been lowered, The owner is just hoping to see “growth” and it sounds like many have already handed Lovie a bunch of passes for the upcoming seasons.

  3. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    Thank the football Gods we laid down so often after half time last season. I would be in mourning were it not for Jamies being a member of this team.

  4. The Buc Realist Says:


    and don’t forget when they laid down in those first half as well, And all those times they were just flat out manhandled!!!

  5. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    So the Colts go from a 2 and 14 (tank season for Luck)to 11 and 5 the year of his arrival. The Texans go from a 2 and 14 (I’ll leave out tank season,but it sure seem like that owner place pressure on O ‘Brien to draft Clowney and not a QB)to 9 and 7 with out Clowney or a QB the following season. But we will only improve 4 games with this roster. Boy stop. And Famous under center. Please.

  6. Jody Says:

    Did you see that report that Mariota has not thrown any interceptions? Man the if only the bucs were smart we could have turned it around.

  7. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    Realist!! Number one we were tanking you’ll see a distinct difference in play real soon. Number two we were suppose to get handled while learning a defensive scheme. I recall the 2013 cowboys giving up the most yards in NFL history in year one of said scheme. Last season they were respectable. Why?Because they knew what they were doing.

  8. The Buc Realist Says:


    Maybe its the fact that both of those Franchises you just listed fired and hired new head coaches and 1 GM. Its called being held “accountable” and no free passes when you lead a franchise to the worst team in the league!!!

  9. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    You mofos kill me with these occasional marita updates like anyone over here gives-a-chit about that kid. We’ll see what that int total looks like after week one homie.

  10. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    Realist!! You can shout that to the heavens. Both those owners wanted both of those first over all selections. They’re bosses they can place blame as they so choose.

  11. Buccfan37 Says:

    This stat guy is right up there with your six win outlook Joe. That probably is realistic given all the reasons you gave. Some agree with that number of wins, the majority think it will be more wins. So do I, the Bucs should be able to eke out one or two more wins to finish about .500. Yeah, that’s maybe wishful thinking, but hey 6 wins isn’t very exciting looking ahead.

  12. Harry Says:

    I somewhat agree with your take. The Cowboys shined because their Oline totally controlled their games – the Cowboys D did not have to be on the field long. We don’t have that luxury. But compared to last year, we now have a real NFL OC, and a better (but still a rookie) QB with some good weapons.

    Unlike Realist, I think Lovie can coach – his record in CHI proves that no matter what anyone thinks. However, as I have said before, Lovie’s personnel decisions terrify me. And worse, those have lasting impact on a team. One can dismiss some mistakes as simple bad luck, like the horrible return on investment that his FA decisions gave us. But what L&L did with our Oline last year, the average fan can pick apart, and that’s really bad.

  13. DallasBuc Says:

    Tampa Bay, where mediocrity is treated as success and anyone who dares to expect more from their favorite football team is deemed unrealistic and a hater. Only a lovable incompetent like Lovie Smith could get such an easy pass where you are revered regardless of ability to win football games or acquire talent.
    Hey hey Tampa Bay the Bucs know how to shine…a turd!

  14. tmaxcon Says:


    and please don’t leave off Tampa Bay – Where it’s more important to be familiar with an outdated passive scheme than have the ability to stay healthy and actually play football…

    Free pass lovie.

    Any bucs article titled “hope” should list the following

    Hope – That the injury prone prove it deal defenders stay healthy

    Hope – that a mlb who has never played a full season at mlb stays healthy and actually can play mlb.

    Hope – That mankins knee holds up

    Hope – EDS learns how to play center

    Hope – ASJ can stay healthy

    Hope – a division 3 guard that was drafted too high works out

    Hope – the best player on the team gmc plays the entire season

    Hope – A mediocre coach learns how to coach to win versus coaching not to lose

    Hope – Having the first waiver wire claim results in 3 to 4 starters which were not good enough to make other teams rosters.

    Lots of hope going on at one buc place…

  15. NaplesBucFan Says:

    “Joe honestly cannot envision the Bucs winning more than six games. There are still way too many holes and questions on this team.”

    Sure, 6 wins is a realistic projection, but a ceiling? Come on! This is the NFL and anything can happen on any given Sunday. No team is perfect. Every team has holes and questions and injuries can happen to anyone. Yes, we only got 2 wins (plus the last NO game) last year, but one of them was against a playoff caliber team, in their own house and with our backup QB! Who predicted that?

    “The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we hit it.”
    ~ Michelangelo

  16. tmaxcon Says:


    The difference is Michel Angelo had talent. Lovies team and staff does not.

  17. Idontwannahearitanymore Says:

    “While all of this sounds swell, Joe honestly cannot envision the Bucs winning more than six games.”

    Although you may not like the statistics, Joe, adding 3.5 wins (close games) to the 2 wins last year supports your prediction of 6 wins (OK, 5.5).

  18. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    10-6 baby!!! It’s a crappy division! Brees lost his top target and the N.O. defense was three spots WORSE than us last year. Carolina is competitive but not great. Atlanta is like us…lots and lots of questions.

    We’ve improved at QB!!! We finally have an NFL OC!!! Chances are pretty good we’ll have an improved OL…how much is the question. We have a solid receiving corps and if ASJ and Sims stay healthy our offense could become explosive.

    Our defense was improving last year and all of our FA’s are solid not splash signings with experience in our defense.

    And so we are worried about our OL…perhaps the backend of our D could have more depth…but Banks seems to really be coming on and Verner was hurt this time last year and missed almost all of the instruction in what for him was a new defense.

    Fameis is Fameis. Yeah some growing pains but he freaking went from high school to a National Title and a Heisman trophy in one short year. He’s a quick study who absolutely is a prime time player. The bright lights will not intimidate him. He’ll make some mistakes but he’s also going to make some plays…something that hasn’t happened from the QB position for us.

  19. Pickgrin Says:

    Hope springs eternal every summer. A fresh start with an 0-0 record means that anything can happen.

    Optimists dream of a potentially great and exciting season.

    Pessimists predict the doom and gloom of Stinkville and harp on players they think suck and coaches they don’t like.

    Since this is a Quarterback driven league – where the teams that consistently make the playoffs and are able to advance almost always have a good QB – I would say the optimists are in pretty good shape for the next 10+ preseasons.


  20. Buc'n Enough Says:

    And toss in the Ugly Ass Uni’s and we sucked

  21. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    It’s like Lovie said about Winston. If Mariota isn’t throwing INTs it’s because the defense isn’t playing well.

  22. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    This would make me feel better…except we heard the SAME THING last year. Look how that turned out.

  23. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    I do believe the team is going to improve throughout this year. I just don’t think it will be that good before next year.

    Winning 3 more games isn’t unbelievable though.

  24. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    I believe it all comes down to offensive line and defensive injuries.

    So far as the line, obviously Evans is still a weak spot that can cost games.