THE OPTIMIST: Busting Barriers

November 22nd, 2015

lovie 0810In 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.

Slowly but surely, the spigot of fuel for the “Fire Lovie” brigade is closing off.

More and more we see things like Jameis Winston becoming the emotional and spiritual leader of the Bucs, wins in the fourth quarter, a pair of cornerbacks capable of playing somewhat decent defense, and did I say wins?

But sometimes, things get overlooked, events people don’t really think about.

Raise your hand if you knew before anyone on FOX, ESPN, or any other acronym besides FBI, CIA, and ATF told you, that the Detroit Lions had not won a game in Lambeau Field since 1991? (Until last Sunday)

Old time Bucs fans get how long ago that was. Some of the players that had a hand in the Bucs defeating the Eagles that year?

Chris Chandler
Bruce Hill
Gary Anderson
Reggie Cobb
Mark Royals
Willy Drewery
Lawrence Dawsey
Ray Seals
Keith McCants
Broderick Thomas

Well, funny thing happening around One Buc Palace, our Tampa Bay Buccaneers under Lovie Smith have also smashed some long-standing barriers. The Bucs hadn’t beaten the New Orleans Saints since Raheem Morris beat them with Josh Freeman in October 2011. That was seven in a row.

Just last week, the Bucs finally beat the Dallas Cowboys after five straight losses going back to the season after Bucs won the Super Bowl! It includes games at Texas Stadium, the Thanksgiving disaster, and the 2011 “I know quit when I see it, and quit is not disguised tonight” game. The quote Deion Sanders made infamous to a national TV audience.

Last year, Lovie took a terrible Bucs team and did something John McKay couldn’t do twice, nor any other Bucs coach, and that’s win in Pittsburgh.In fact, it was only the second franchise win over the Steelers. Period. Tony Dungy got the only other one in 1998.

As bad as our offense was last ear, it was the first time Tampa Bay finished with two 1,000-yard receivers in the same season! (VJax and Mike Evans)

With every week, the offense under Jameis gets more experience and polish, even without key receivers. We could be on the brink of the best offensive rankings this team has ever seen.

The Bucs have never ranked higher than ninth in total offense, and it’s close after nine games this season.

So lets give some credit, not just blame, to Lovie Smith!

5 Responses to “THE OPTIMIST: Busting Barriers”

  1. Sumo Says:

    The team is turning the corner and if you can’t see it, you are not looking. I remember back in 1997 when we could see the team getting better and we realized the team would be good for a while. This looks the same way to me but this time, most of the improvement is on the offense. Once we get the D right, look out!

  2. Buccfan37 Says:

    To me optimism in the Eagles game feels kind of stale right about now. I’m usually highly optimistic approaching game time. A Bucs win will surprise the hell out of me.

  3. Clw JB Says:

    Would not be surprised, yet elated with a victory at Philly…what is more likely is a close loss in a typical season of developing a franchise QB, but have to agree with the esteemed writer, Bucs are getting better and have some solid building blocks in many positions….it’s been a while since we could confidently state that.

    We play better on the road with Lovie for some reason, let’s hope it continues today!

  4. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    We are clearly turning the corner. The speed with which we negotiate that turn does not please everyone here and I get that.

    But we are down to ONE of our projected targets for #3…VJAX will return today but how healthy?

    Our DLine has also been hit hard with injuries. Clinton McDonald was THE quiet leader in the locker room and on that DL. In addition his talent helped divert attention from GMC during games. I think it’s no mystery why GMC has not been dominant lately…his shoulder..perhaps..the abscence of McDonald for sure!

    We have a problem with edge rush and when Jack Smith went down that problem was just exacerbated.

    This team had potential for this year which is why I said 8-8 talent and predicted 10 wins. This team was NOT good enough to have the depth required of truly good to great teams. Our DL was only adequate to start the season…subtract McDonald and Jack Smith and we’re subpar. Our receivers seemed to be set at the start of the year…but subtract VJAX…Murphy and ASJ and all of the sudden we have an inferior receiving corps.

    We ARE turning the corner. We ARE NOT deep enough to be anywhere near having that corner turned.

  5. JAB83 Says:


    Nice post… Silver lining with the injury situation however is that it builds the very thing we lack… Depth… So its really really imcorragimg to not see the team digressing through the injury’s… In fact I would argue they are actually continuing to progress at a very acceptable rate… To me this says A LOT about the coaching and the heart of our team… Guys like GMC and LVD don’t have to shoulder all the emotional Tax of highs and lows…

    Bottom line… Your only ever as good as the worst players on the team… It seems like forever but really its amazing to see in less then two seasons Lovie and crew have cycled in and out a ton of talent. It really is starting to take shape… Can’t wait to see this team tweeked, stabilized and at 100% for years to come…