Kirwan: 8-8 Mark “Realistic”

July 7th, 2016
Noted NFL talking head expects improvement with Bucs.

Noted NFL talking head expects improvement.

Excitement is in the air.

The Bucs have a new coaching staff, a new defensive coordinator who believes in flexibility and putting players in position to succeed (imagine), a head coach who believes in scoring and, last but not least, America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston.

Folks all over Bucs fandom hunger if not expect more than just six wins this year. Playoffs? Well, that may be too much to bite.

Pat Kirwan, co-host of “Movin’ the Chains,” along with Jim Miller, arguably the best football radio show in the land, also believes the Bucs should be improved. But contending with the Stinking Panthers for the division title? May want to pump the brakes this season, Kirwan said last week while answering an e-mail from a Bucs-fan listener.

“The [Bucs] come out of the blocks on the road, at Atlanta and at Arizona. Pretty good test to see where they are at that point,” Kirwan said. “[I’m] optimistic. But I’m not going to jump on the bandwagon and say they are ready for primetime and all of that. I see these guys as an 8-8 or 9-7 team. I think by the second half of the season, this quarterback is going to start hurting defenses at a pretty nice rate.

“Like your team. Like where you are going. You are building a nice little defense. Now let’s see if you can go get something done here. I do think you have nudged closer to Carolina. But I am not saying you are there yet.

“They face just six teams with winning records. So they should be able to get themselves to 8-8. That should be a realistic goal. Now 9-7 would be great. They are coming off of 6-10. A three-game jump is a big piece of improvement in my opinion.”

Joe believes Kirwan’s caution has a lot of merit. Getting to .500 should be an initial goal. And with lot of luck involved, maybe that record is enough for a wild card berth. Surely, it would get the Bucs in the hunt for one.

Joe, vegging in Vegas, checked in with the sportsbook of his hotel. The wiseguys there have the over/under of the Bucs at 6.5 wins this season. Joe thinks six wins would be terribly disappointing, barring something horribly unforeseen happening.

52 Responses to “Kirwan: 8-8 Mark “Realistic””

  1. Buccfan37 Says:

    Vegas at 6.5 wins for the Bucs proves the gamblers are not very high on the home teams chances. The over at 7 wins seems like a winner to me. You have to be taking that bet Joe. Oh that’s right, you don’t gamble. That’s one way to not lose any money.

  2. Bucsfanman Says:

    It’s certainly not unrealistic to believe that 8-8 is achievable. I agree with you Joe, 6 wins would be very disappointing. 6 wins will not get you a whole lot of longevity with this team, that’s for sure.

  3. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    After a decade of downs and downs, not many will think we are capable of better than .500.

    It’s the acceptable mark for me, but personally, I am hoping for a winning season.

  4. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    The way I see it, had Kwon not been suspended last year, we would have gone 7-9 or 8-8 at least.

    So with Kwon back and knowing more about his position, and with the draft additions and hopefully FA additions, 8-8 or 9-7 is a fair prediction.

  5. Rrsrq Says:

    Race to 10…

  6. DemBoyzFromDaBay727 Says:

    Like Bonzai said, until we can start proving ppl otherwise, no one’s gonna give us the benifit of the doubt, why should they? We’ve been bottom dwellers for a decade now. But that was the old bucs, time for the new and improved Tampa Bay Bucs where offense rules with a up n coming defense to follow. We all know the offense will hold their own. The big question is can Mike Smith get his players to master his scheme and how long will it take for players to get acustomed to it. I like our odds. We are the future of the south.

  7. DemBoyzFromDaBay727 Says:

    There no reason why we shouldn’t finish above .500. 9-7 sounds like a fair assesment to me.

  8. Fred McNeil Says:

    The way I see it,
    Brinzda cost them two games all by himself.
    That’s why I’m so happy to have Aguyo.
    If the defense plays well 9 wins should be reachable, maybe ten.
    A little red zone proficiency would put them in the pink too.
    ASJ, Evans … you listening?

  9. The Other Side of the Coin Says:

    Too much coming together with this team. They’re actually going to play defense this year. A big upgrade in the defensive coaching staff. Players understanding their roles. Kwon not suspended and with experience. Defensive ends with energy. Cornerbacks with real talent playing to their strengths.

    A head coach that wants to attack, attack, attack. A defensive coordinator who wants to attack, attack, attack. A proven defensive line coach that knows how to get the best out of players.

    And then there is an offense, already good from last year even with a rookie quarterback, who just went through his first complete off season focused on football. A guy with an attitude towards greatness and developing leadership.

    This is the year it gets turned around. 10 and 6 or better.

  10. The Other Side of the Coin Says:

    I love the feel of optimism.

  11. Mike Johnson Says:

    Bucs need to beat ATL the 1st game. Arizona is gonna be tough in Arizona. They play well in their dome. 8-8 is acceptable for a new coaching staff. But I’m not confident we get there unless we get help from the..Injury Gods.

  12. Buc1987 Says:

    Been saying 8-8 for about 2 months now. I’m not moving off of it. I’m happy with 8-8 if they get there. Actually I agree with a lot of what Kirwan said. 8-8 or MAYBE 9-7 if the ball bounces the right way. 9-7 will have me doing cartwheels.

  13. The Buc Realist Says:

    @mike johnson

    does that mean for a new coach that 2 wins is unacceptable??? Because that is what your hero did in his first year!!! are you saying that the “Incompetent One” should have been canned at the end of 2014!!! that mark you say is “acceptable” is what coach my scheme accomplished in 2 years!!!

    This team is young, New coaches with new scheme’s!!! I am not guessing a bar of accomplishment when it is all unknown. I want to see the team competitive against the top echelon teams well into the 4th quarter!!!

  14. 813bucboi Says:

    licht didn’t fire lovie for a 2game improvement…hell lovie got fired after improving 2games…with all of lichts actions he’s suggesting this team is ready to compete this season and should win at least 10games….GO BUCS!!!

  15. Buc1987 Says:

    I was wondering where you were at Realist. I was starting to wonder. I thought BigHog took you out. You were gone and he was in jail for it. The 2 of you have been missing for over a week now. Very troubling. lol

  16. James Walker Says:

    If the Bucs continue to struggle with no pass, penalties, and drops 6-10. If they improve in those areas and maintain the same level of play in every other position I see 8-8 or 9-7.

  17. James Walker Says:

    I mean no pass rush.

  18. Buccfan37 Says:

    Welcome back Buc Realist. I thought you passed away and went to heaven, where the Bucs are big winners. No, I figured you were on vacation. I for one missed your input.

  19. The Buc Realist Says:


    No, Just spent the last 2 1/2 weeks out in Colorado!! Just flew in last night, so good to fell humidity again!!! I fell like a dried out raisin!! It was fun climbing mountains and slapping around bears and doing man stuff!!!! Good to be back though!!!!

    So I big hello to all the Buc fans, Joe and all the sheep!!! It is now time to start ramping up for Bucs Football and start getting “Real”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. BigMacAttack Says:

    I’m with Rrsrq on this. Race to 10.
    Always aim high

  21. 813bucboi Says:

    @realist….yeah 2 wins is unacceptable….with the additions we made we should make at least a 3 game improvement….by your statements the players won 6games while being coached by an incompetent man that didn’t put them in position to win….with the FA’s, draft and finally a coaching staff that is competent and willing to adjust their scheme to put players in position to win, surely they can win more than 8games this year….you, licht or this coaching staff has no excuses…GO BUCS!!!!

  22. The Buc Realist Says:

    “the players won 6games while being coached by an incompetent man that didn’t put them in position to win…” while playing the softest most pathetic schedule that the Bucs have ever seen!!!!!

    If the incompetent one was still here, 4 wins would be the prediction!!!! That is the cold hard truth, sheep!!!!

  23. LakeLandBuc Says:

    2 teams were worst than the Bucs defense on 3rd down, Bucs were ranked 30th last season. They were at 45%, offense couldn’t score on some of the worst defenses in the NFL. Everyone is bragging about the GREAT JOB that Jason Licht has done, but we’re 8-24 during his tenure. 8-8 will put him at 16-32, but he’s done a NICE JOB. He should be in the HALL OF FAME according to most Bucs fans.

  24. 813bucboi Says:

    @realist…if it aint one excuse its another….no worries…you and others will run out of them come august….

    @lakelandbuc…..I agree….so does out rookie hc and dc….GO BUCS!!!!

  25. MadMax Says:

    Im sticking with my conservative 6-7 wins. Next season is where 10 and playoffs is possible.

  26. Buc1987 Says:

    813…what excuses? I’ve only seen those come from Lovie’s Lovers.

    Koetter gets at least 2 years like everyone else…in my book anyways.

    I have no worries what-so-ever. I have all the confidence in the world in Jameis Winston. Jameis is going to make this team WIN not Koetter, Licht or Mike Smith.

    Not worried at all.

  27. Buccaneers Says:

    Lakeland-I don’t think it’s a null point that Licht inherited a very bad team that needed to be rebuilt. He completely rebuilt our offensive line in one offseason and that is actually quite an accomplishment. If he had done the same with our secondary this year then we will really have something cooking.

    3/4 of the way through the season last year we were in the playoff hunt. I don’t think that happens without contributions from drafted players. Now we gotta take it a step further this year,………..I’m not saying Licht is great or anything because your right, he needs to win to be considered nice or good or great. But I think it’s easy to see that the team is being built properly and on the rise, which is good enough for me given the heartache of the last decade.

  28. Cobraboy Says:

    The Bucs could easily have been 8-8 last year with that septic tank coaching staff on defense. Hell, Brindza lost two games by himself.

    8-8 should be the minimum acceptable record.

  29. Buccaneers Says:

    Think it’s gonna take more then Winston to win…………last year should be proof of that.

  30. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    There are way too many unknowns with this team for me to predict a win total, or even know what win total will satisfy me and make me feel good about the future. I can foresee a 8-8 season where I am satisfied, or a 8-8 season where I feel awful. We don’t know if Koetter can be a good NFL coach. We don’t know if our problems on defense in the past is personnel or coaching. We don’t know if our receivers are going to stay healthy (because we have nada after V-Jax and Evans). We don’t know if any of our TE’s are any good. We don’t know our safeties. Like, I bet 90% of the fans can’t even tell you their names. We don’t know about Ayers and Spence and if they are going to be good pass rushers. We don’t know if Doug can stay healthy and hungry for two consecutive years. Most importantly, we don’t know if Jameis can continue to take the massive hits he took last year. If we lose him, it’s curtains. If everything works out well, I think 8-8 should be the floor. However, I can’t remember the last time things worked out well for this organization. Let’s hope it all changes this year.

  31. DB55 Says:

    10 wins thanks to our second round draft pick. Maybe 11.

  32. 813bucboi Says:

    @1987….the excuses are its going to take some time to coach the lovie out of players….or this years schedule is 10x tougher so the number of wins should be 8….or give players time to adjust to mike smith’s defense….those are excuses that people like @realist are loading up with….

    defense should improve because smith will put players in position to win…so he says…last year we played 4 teams that went to the playoffs…this year we face 6…that’s not to huge jump in competition…

    I think jameis made dirk look a lot better than he really was….ive said plenty of time jameis would’ve made marcus arroyo look like a promising oc….I agree with you dirk deserves 2 years but if we only win 5 or 6 games this year all bets are off and licht maybe out the door….GO BUCS!!!

  33. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    813bucboi Says
    “…yeah 2 wins is unacceptable…with the additions we made we should make at least a 3 game improvement…”

    I would say it depends on how we lose. If the team plays well and shows steady improvement, even 7-9 would probably keep Koetter his job. If they are ugly losses and the team is not doing well, then he might be on the hot seat.

    You also have to keep in mind that even though we filled holes in the draft, those players still have to get their sea legs under them. That might take a few games…and that will bring our season wins down.

  34. Lord Cornelius Says:

    “I have no worries what-so-ever. I have all the confidence in the world in Jameis Winston”

    Same here. Still a dream come true feeling that we have this guy.

  35. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    813bucboi Says
    “I think jameis made dirk look a lot better than he really was…”

    “….I agree with you dirk deserves 2 years but if we only win 5 or 6 games this year all bets are off and Licht maybe out the door…”

    Addressing the first point, that’s bull. Jameis is not THAT good yet. Koetter has an established record with both passing and mobile QBs. As Bucs fans, we’ve seen how bad coaches can screw up promising young QBs. Koetter knows how to get these guys going in the right direction and the pace to do it.

    I could just as easily argue that Dirk did such a good job that it helped WINSTON look good.

    In truth, it was likely a combination of both.

    As to your second point…

    I think I’m pretty well established around here as NOT being a Jason Licht guy. Anyone want to contest that statement? No?

    Then hear me…firing Jason Licht would be a huge…HUGE…mistake. We’ve gone too long without the ability to draft well. GMs that draft well are more rare than you realize. He may (thus far) suck at free agency, but we can live with that because good teams build through the draft…which is why this team has not been good in a while.

    The Bucs are one good draft away from being a premiere team. We can win right now…but we’re not ready to dominate the division. On more year and time to develop those picks and we will be.

    All because of Jason Licht. On that…I give him props.

    You, and fans like you, insisting that people be fired without having hte time to build something good is exactly why we are in the bind we have been in for a decade.

    Why don’t you try something new and give it a little time. I realize losing sucks, and it may feel like the Bucs have had plenty of time…but the coaches and GM have not. Licht has proven himself good enough to remain. Koetter has at least a couple years. Instead of predicting gloom and doom, show a little confidence.

  36. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Hawaiian Buc Says:
    “There are way too many unknowns with this team for me to predict a win total, or even know what win total will satisfy me and make me feel good about the future. I can foresee a 8-8 season where I am satisfied, or a 8-8 season where I feel awful.”

    I agree 1000 percent.

    How they attain their record, whatever it may be, is what will matter.

  37. 813bucboi Says:

    @bonsai say,…”I would say it depends on how we lose.”….I disagree….an “L” is a “L” in my book no matter and I think licht would agree….doesn’t matter if you lose 10games by 1 or lose 10games by 35…moral victories don’t count for anything because each week brings a different challenge, as does each season….you cant say we lost to the broncos by 1 so we should feel good about ourselves….you play to win the game….so if 7-9 with steady improvement gets dirk another year what does 8-8 with 4 blow outs and a slight regression get him?….GO BUCS!!!!

  38. Pickgrin Says:

    Even with new coaching staff (sort of), new defensive scheme, harder schedule, etc – 8-8 would be kind of disappointing IMO.

    The Bucs offense is capable of Big things. The defense has to be better – it just HAS to be. There’s almost no way the defense shouldn’t be better.

    An offense similar to last year’s with some TDs added – coupled with a middle of the pack Defense should be good for at least 9 or 10 wins.

  39. Buccfan37 Says:

    No crystal ball but I’m thinking Koetter will be coaching the Bucs for more than two years.

  40. 813bucboi Says:

    @bonzai….confidence is earned not given….im not the one doing the hiring and firing some don’t blame me or people like me, blame the front office….blame licht….this is a what have you done for me lately league….sure he has drafted well, but has that produced wins….no!….when will it happen?….once players like jameis, marpet, d.smith,kwon are all in the final year of their contract?…..

    to say jameis was not that good yet is BS….its actually horsesh!t…..he set rookie qb records, improved week after week, became a true leader and made the pro bowl….dirk wasn’t on anyones oc radar let alone hc radar until jameis stepped in….he’s a decent oc…atl was known for getting punched in the mouth offensively and defensively in the playoffs when it really counted….

    I have all the faith and confidence in the world that the young players like jameis and kwon will change the culture and start winning some games because they produced on the field and gained players respect….GO BUCS!!!

  41. Buccaneers Says:

    This is a ridiculous thread……Koetter hasn’t even held a clipboard and y’all are talking like he’s on the hotseat…….Same with Licht, he hasn’t been the head decision maker til this year.

    When they fired Lovie they didn’t tear apart the future intentions and start over………. There’s absolutely no way they going to give Licht/Koetter one season then decide to start over from scratch. Some of y’all are out of you minds. I realize the Glazers are kneejerk owners but jeeez.

  42. D-Rome Says:

    8-8 isn’t good enough unless a key player goes down with an injury. Bucs could have been 8-8 if Kwon Alexander wasn’t suspended for four games.

  43. Brent bull/buc Says:

    @hawaain great post, I agree. Only difference my cieling is 8 wins. Hard to give an unproven team with a horrible recent history more than 8. A lot of you who are real optimistic will be going crazy the most if things go south. Like threatening to boycott games sell tickets lol..

  44. Mike Johnson Says:

    Buc Realist..what I’m sayin is if the Bucs don’t win at least 4 of their 1st 8 games? They are hit! They will struggle to win 8 if they don’t finish at least 4-4 by midpoint.

  45. Buc1987 Says:

    Bonzai talking about hotseats for Koetter and the season hasn’t even started yet.

    LMAO…stop it already…ha ha ha

  46. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    I’m still sticking with 6-10. I know the schedule doesn’t mean much now, but if it plays out the way it looks we’ve got a tough road. We do have a new defensive staff, but other teams now have a full season of tape on Winston to find his weaknesses and tendencies. We could have improvement and still see 6-10. One more draft and free agent haul. Playoffs 2017 season.

  47. Dreambig Says:

    I love prognosticators! “They face just 6 teams with winning records”. How does he know? That was last year. If you could predict this years results based on last years records, why even play the games? We already know where everyone stands. What a load of complete BS!

  48. tmaxcon Says:

    9 – 7 Winston blows up and obviously the defense is better. It can’t be worse. 9 wins also another first time head for loser lovie to look up at on the bucs all time win list. Pray for those poor fighting illini they need it….

  49. Bob in Valrico Says:

    did not approve Bonzai message but agree with his assessment.Koetter gave jameis enough of the playbook to be to be successful and he improved a lot.
    most of us think he will improve a lot more.i watched the mike evans -Jameis highlights of week 17 with Carolina.heres what I saw 4 very good passes completed for 99 yards.1 overthrow to the wrong side.1 overthrow to josh Norman who dropped it.I pass that should never have been thrown,two defenders right in front of Evans.and the 4 th incompletion was thrown as he
    was falling or on his backfoot and went incomplete.Just as koetter and winston can make each other better so can Winston and Evans make each other what does he have to work on a little bit of accuracy and how to handle aggressive defenses ,which he will see plenty of.To Winstons credit he completed
    148 yards of passes to Evans with VJAX out in the previous week against the rams defense.
    Love that Winston is like a sponge soaking up all the knowledge he can.

  50. gambelero Says:

    I see BetOnline at 7 with over favored, Bovada has us at 7.5 with under favored. Just for comparison, Cleveland is at 4.5; Tennessee 5.5, Atlanta 7.5 under, New Orleans 7.0 flat, Carolina 10.5 flat.

  51. feelthepewterpower Says:

    96′ we were 6-10…97′ went 10-6..flipped it around and had the packers on the ropes in the divisional round in their place. Let’s get this mentality that we can’t compete with the Panthers and the division out of our head. Most prognostications I saw last year didn’t even have the Panthers winning the division after Benjamin went down to injury…Buccs are greatly improved, and the Panthers are weaker (still good on defense but not dominant like last season) with an inexperience secondary. They stayed healthy last season where as the Buccs limped into the last game vs. them without their WR, Slot WR, TE, MLB, etc.

  52. McBuc Says:

    I think Carolina takes a step backwards this year. No scientific reason, just a gut feeling. Not too many teams can keep that pace going. Remember, their schedule is harder his year too.