Still A Playoff Team

September 22nd, 2016
Legendary NFL executive has faith.

Legendary NFL executive has faith.

Boy, Joe doesn’t even want to think how this fanbase of the Bucs will freak out with a loss to the Rams on Sunday.

Starting the season 1-4? Haven’t we reached our fill of talking NFL draft before Columbus Day year after friggin’ year?

Bucs fans are still down in the dumps over last week’s debacle in the desert. But don’t be too sad, Bucs fans. Gil Brandt will cheer you up.

Despite last week’s horror show, Brandt, the former mastermind of the Cowboys dynasties of the 1960s and 1970s, still has faith the Bucs will snap their eight-year playoff drought this winter.

The Bucs took a step back Sunday after an impressive opening to the season, but I still ultimately feel improved play by quarterback Jameis Winston in Year 2 and better coaching by new head man Dirk Koetter will get this squad over the hump. Despite how 2015 ended, the Bucs were not terrible, ranking fifth in offense and 10th in defense, with a four-game collapse undoing an otherwise promising 6-6 start. Winston looked great in the preseason, and he continued to show those improvements in Week 1 (71.9 percent completion rate, 281 yards, four touchdowns against one pick and a 125.1 passer rating) before stumbling quite badly in Week 2 (51.9 percent completion rate for 243 yards, one touchdown against four picks, a fumble, three sacks and a 39.2 passer rating). Of course, some of that can be chalked up to a young player struggling on the road.

It’s obviously never good to lose by 33 points. But for what it’s worth, Sunday’s debacle came against one of the best teams in the league in Arizona, with running back Doug Martin exiting early due to a hamstring injury. The Week 1 win, meanwhile, came against Atlanta — and beating a divisional foe in hostile territory is practically like winning two games. Of course, losing Martin — who will be out at least three weeks — hurts, but the bottom line is, the Bucs are 1-0 in the NFC South. With Koetter — who is really good at coaching quarterbacks — coaxing a big year out of Winston, Tampa Bay should still be on track to nab a wild-card spot.

Brandt makes a solid point. It was just one loss. It happens.

Yes, it does happen. Who doesn’t remember the year the Bucs got to the NFC title game in 1999? That season the Bucs traveled to Oakland where they were throttled by Chucky and the Raiders 45-0.

No, Joe is not suggesting this year’s Bucs are heading to the NFC title game. But if a team one play away from a Super Bowl can get alley-beaten by 45 points, then this year’s squad should be allowed a mulligan.

26 Responses to “Still A Playoff Team”

  1. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    I am not overly concerned by one blow out loss where the majority of our players seemed to simply have a bad day. What does concern me are the injuries to key players. Ayers appears that he will be out for a while. Martin has a hamstring injury which is an injury that often lingers for an entire season and may hamper him whenever he does return. Those losses along with J Smith being out for the season are very worrisome. While Licht has done a great job with his early round picks, he has been horrible in the later rounds. Outside of Pamphile, not one player picked after round 4 has even made it a regular season game with the Bucs. Repeatedly missing with picks 4-7 for 3 straight years is one way to ensure that the team doesn’t have good depth. Licht has added some very solid starters during his tenure, but there is nobody behind them to fill the void when they go down. I hope these guys can get back on the field soon and be at full strength when they do.

  2. Waterboy Says:

    Playoffs are great to talk and dream about but I still this as an 8-8 team. If 8-8 will get into the playoffs they might make it but as of now they’re still missing too many pieces but the arrows are pointing up for the future.

  3. Clodhopper Says:

    I’m sorry but this loss deflated my spirits, and no words can lift it up again. It’s just words until they can win a few games.

    I’d rather use more recent history. Take these phrases for example. “Just one loss” “The sky isn’t falling” “We got alley beaten, now we’ll be motivated to play hard the next game” We’ve said these phrases for 4+ years straight now, but this time its different?

    Still playing with no sense of urgency. Getting our doors blown off is a tradition that refuses to stop.

    No the sky is not falling. It fell long ago and never came back up yet. Same old same old. If history tells us anything, its this loss deflated the team just as much as some of us, and they’ve already mailed in the season. I know it seems stupid to say that this early, but what is different? Nothing is different except the name plate on the HC’s office door.

  4. Kobe Faker Says:

    I agree with the 8-8

    This team needs better players to get to the next level…its men against boys

    The better defenses have enough tape/formula to beat jameis and the tampa offense

    We need playmakers to help jameis and not a kicker

  5. Louis Friend Says:

    The Rams are highly likely to beat the Bucs on Sunday. Their defense is good enough to force a few turnovers and keep the pressure on Winston, just like the Cards did. All the Rams offense needs to do is kick field goals when the Bucs screw something up, which they probably will.

    Rams will win 13-10

  6. Pit Says:

    Let’s put it like this if we lose to the Rams it just means we still haven’t found our franchise QB.

  7. The Buc Realist Says:

    That whipping in Arizona was what the Bucs needed!!! And I am glad that they are playing an extremely hard schedule!!! And the Bucs are going to take more lumps along the way this year!!! But they needed to play with the Big Boys!!! You think they are going to get better with just wins against Jacksonville in overtime in their own house???? The Bucs are on schedule!!! And the coaches will coach them to fight thru it!! But it might take all year!!!

    And for all ones crying its the same ole Bucs, they hung in a bit for 1 and 3/4 quarters of the game with most likely a team that will be in the NFC Championship game again, with the offense floundering!!! IT was not like they got lovied by the worst team in the NFL and the game was over in the first 5 minutes!!!!

  8. Cannon Says:

    The Bucs win if Jameis is on his A-Game.

    If he plays like he did in Arizona, we will lose.

  9. rayjay1122 Says:

    I am reserving my judgement on this team and the season until the bye week. If we beat the Rams and lose to the Panthers and Broncos in close competitive games, then I will feel like we may be a fringe playoff contending team. More blow outs by playoff caliber teams and can we say which WR is worthy of a top 5 pick in 2017 draft? :-/

  10. DallasBuc Says:

    Expect winning Bucs fans. Don’t be afraid to hold Licht and the coaches responsible.
    This sht has gone on long enough.

  11. Tampa Tony Says:

    Depends on what version of Jameis shows up

    But playoffs is a joke, 7 or 8 wins for this squad is all I can see.

  12. Pit Says:

    Bring back Marc Dominik so at least Joe will be happy. :p

  13. Bucthis Says:

    The funny thing is we were never expected to win that game. Every prediction before the season had us losing week 2. That happened (albeit in spectacular fashion) and everybody has given up on the season. Let’s sit back and enjoy some football. If a month from naw we are 1-4 then start worrying about the draft!! Get a grip people! GO BUCS,!!!

  14. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    There has been a big over reaction to what was an expected loss. I think the injuries and lack of depth though should cause some concern about the future of this season. Losing you #1 back and #1 DE is a very serious blow!

  15. Stpetebucsfan Says:


    You’ve worked the posters as well as “The Donald” at a rally and I mean that in a good way! You’ve lead us through Kubler Ross’s famous five stages of grief!
    Don’t mean to compare a single football loss to death but the reaction is similar.

    1.)Denial- People believe the diagnosis is wrong. That would be my good bud
    NOS-BOS who believes that the game was rigged by the NFL

    2.)Anger – They accept the result but ask why me…or in Buc’s fans…why us?
    That covers far too many posters to name including me!

    3.) Bargaining – This is where people try to avoid the cause of grief. That’s been me big time after AZ. We hope to avoid the cause of grief. It was just ONE game. lol

    4.) Depression – It’s sooo sad why bother even trying to do anything. These are the posters here who hate me and my positive pointers. Not trying to lecture just give a point of view…but I generally skip right past depression to #5

    5.) Acceptance – This is where Joe is taking us today to complete the five steps and get over our grief. It’s a calm retrospective point of view and a stable condition of emotions. Thank you Gil Brandt!

  16. Negative Jeff Says:

    I remember that Raiders game in 1999. Gruden’s two back attack crushed Kiffins Cover 2 scheme. Brooks could not cover Garner out of the backfield. The team will start 1-4. The Rams D-Line is even better than what AZ has. I just don’t see the Bucs winning this game. 23-10 and JW has three more picks. Bucs fans should be very concerned about the 1-4 start that is looming and even more concerned about Winston’s ongoing accuracy issues.

  17. Clodhopper Says:


    That’s another oldie but goodie. We “overreacted” to early over the years. Those “over reactions” we’re before these records. 4-12 2-14 6-10.

    This team has the talent to go to the playoffs. It does not have the mettle.

  18. cmurda Says:

    I have the Broncos game circled. That team is very beatable. Their offense doesn’t scare me like the Cards did. Their defense does but that’s why these guys are big boys.

  19. Buccfan37 Says:

    I hope it’s hot Sunday. That way the Bucs can use their fabled heat advantage in their favor. lol

  20. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    Wow Cmurda…I thought I was the blog optimist. Denver a very beatable team.

    The team that won the SB with an ancient Peyton a fraction of his youthful great self. Arguable the best defense in the league.

    I see all teams as beatable but I can’t make myself believe that the Broncos here and the Panthers on the road…last year’s two SB teams are going to be “very” beatable.

    LA has a great defense with little offense. They are like the old Bucs and somebody has already compared Donald to Sapp. But Case Keenum is not Brad Johnson. Todd Gurley is excellent but he not the combo of WD and Alstott.

    LA IS a winnable game at home. Sadly as much as I love and believe in this year’s Bucs I do not see any games as “easily” or “very” winnable for us. We need to plan on a dogfight EVERY Sunday. We’re not good enough to take anybody for granted.

  21. Mike Johnson Says:

    PLAYOFFS? You kiddin Me..Playoffs? (classic Jim Mora) Nope..No mulligan Joe. You either do you don’ will or you won’t! Winning is the only thing that said the Late Great Lombardi. Our problem has always been..Ohhh, its just one game. Well its a loss. Don’t say we are gonna look at the tape and correct our mistakes. Hell..Correct them!!

  22. 813bucboi Says:

    @realist….wow….the bucs needed to get blown out….now if lovie was still coaching you would be saying he’s incompetent…all off season you stated you wanted to see progress meaning better defensive play, less penalties no more blow outs…well, the team isn’t getting penalized as often as last year i’ll give dirk and smitty that but everything else looks and feels the same….pass defense is still shaky, hasn’t caused any turnovers, offense seems to have taking a step back and most importantly we’re still getting blown out….what the bucs needed was a “w” against a good team….dirk failed to prepare them and smitty failed to create a defensive game plan and adjust once his plan wasn’t working….dirk has no excuses….he has his qb, his players and defensive coaches….produce a better product….GO BUCS!!!

  23. Mike Johnson Says:

    Careful there 813boi… you speak a lot of truth. And a lot of these haters don’t wanna hear..the truth!

  24. BigStinky Says:

    I think everyone is worried because Jameis was SO inaccurate, he didn’t even have that much pressure on him. Usually he settles in and gets better as the game goes on, but it didn’t happen against Arizona. He was still throwing high balls in the 4th quarter. Is he really that inaccurate, or was it just nerves that NEVER went away? Sure hope he plays better against the Rams. Will he be off every time he plays a good defense this year? Guess we just have to wait and see. I don’t want to see a 2nd year slump after how good he was in Atlanta. I am NOT getting my hopes up anymore this season though. Go BUCS!

  25. unbelievable Says:

    Not concerned about the loss, but definitely concerned about the injuries…

  26. godzilla13 Says:

    I had the Arizona game circled as our most difficult game of the season. They are the best team in the NFC with a great accurate QB, big receivers, solid Offensive Line, can run the ball and a stout defense with an exceptional secondary. Without the turnovers and one big play the Bucs could hang with them. On the positive side I am liking the improvement with penalties. The few that we are getting called on should be easy to fix. Error free football and we are on our way. The Rams got rolled by the Niners in week one then rebounded against one of the leagues best, the Seahawks last week. The Rams have yet to score a TD and have only scored 9 total points, however their defense has allowed only 409 yards through the air and giving up only 6.1 yards per attempt, fourth best in the league. Their secondary has some new players after allowing cornerback Janoris Jenkins and safety Rodney McLeod to part in FA. Unlike last year we will have to deal with not only Aaron Donald but Robert Quinn as well. Keep Winston upright and do not give Case Keenum time to throw. Of the 34 pass attempts Keenum made last week he was blitzed 11 times and his completion percentage fell to 40%. When he was pressured it fell even lower to 33.1%. With no blitz he was 70%. No pressure 63%. Mike Smith’s defense needs to find ways to pressure and blitz Keenum which will be key to winning.