5 Reasons This Isn’t The 2011 Bucs

July 3rd, 2017


Six years ago, your favorite football team pulled the old switcheroo.

Coming off a 10-6 season that fell just short of a playoff berth, the 2011 Bucs started off 4-2 before a tsunami washed ashore along Dale Mabry.

Nobody who was here in Tampa will ever forget the 10-game losing streak that gave the Glazers little choice but to jettison Raheem Morris.

But in that summer of 2011, Buc fans were excited. They thought they had themselves a franchise quarterback. So did the Glazers.

“Josh Freeman is a stud,” Ronde Barber said after the Bucs closed out that 2010 season with a 23-13 victory at New Orleans. “The guy is awesome. It’s a pleasure to be around a guy like that. It hasn’t been that way here, ever.”

OK, so Ronde isn’t perfect. Even a five-time Pro Bowler can blow a coverage once in awhile.

The point is that same feeling of hype and anticipation surrounds the 2017 Bucs, who went 6-2 after the bye week last year. The Stick Carriers are geeked, as you can see for yourself Aug. 5 at training camp. Hard Knocks can’t wait to give a national audience an inside look at a young, dynamic club on the rise.

But if this turns out to be just another mirage, another one-year wonder, there will be shattered sticks from Pinellas Park to Panama City.

Barring a major injury to Jameis Winston, I don’t see this franchise going backwards this fall. Here are five reasons to believe this won’t be 2011 all over again.

First, the man under center

“I don’t compare this team to 2010 — and anybody who does is crazy,” says right tackle Demar Dotson, the longest-tenured Buccaneer. “Let’s start with the quarterback. I don’t think Jameis is a guy who will get complacent. He’s always hungry, always coming out here and working hard. He’s just a born leader. He’s not taking any plays off and he’s not going to take a step back.

“It starts with that. He’s doing the right thing in the locker room, the way he treats people in the facility and the way he approaches practice. He’s so young, but you can’t help but to follow him.”

Winston exudes leadership. He’s into football … Freeman was into snakes.

No. 2: Overall talent level

The 2010 Bucs engineered five comeback wins in overtime and the fourth quarter. Half their victories were by three points or less. Until that Week 17 triumph at the Superdome, Tampa Bay hadn’t beaten an opponent with a winning record.

The 2016 Bucs ended Kansas City’s 10-game home winning streak. They physically whipped the Seahawks and Saints at home before raucous crowds.

This current team has better players. A lot better.

Mike Williams led a second-rate crew

The receiving corps for Freeman was Mike Williams, Arrelious Benn, Sammie Stroughter, Maurice Stovall and Micheal Spurlock, with tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. his primary target.

Are you kidding me?

The starting linebackers in 2010 were Quincy Black, Barrett Ruud and Geno Hayes.

Enough said.

Somehow, Freeman found a way.

“It’s always difficult to see another young quarterback develop right in front of your eyes in your division,” said Saints coach Sean Payton. “Now, it’s Josh Freeman.”

Those Bucs relied on Freeman because they didn’t have much else. Everyone in the organization, especially the head coach, knew the score.

“Everything we do,” Morris said, “we have to think, ‘How does this affect Josh Freeman?’ “

No.3: Offseason approach

Once the Bucs finished their race to 10, they relaxed and watched the rest of the division pass them by. Their big free-agent addition? Punter Michael Koenen.

He wasn’t a bad punter, but c’mon, man.

The draft wasn’t much better, with Tampa Bay selecting Adrian Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers with the first two picks. One guy couldn’t stay healthy, the other guy couldn’t play.

This year’s haul includes O.J. Howard, DeSean Jackson and Chris Baker.

No. 4: Coaching staff

Dirk Koetter is no Greg Olson

By late in the 2009 season, Morris dumped Jim Bates and took control of the defense himself, even though he had never been an NFL defensive coordinator.

Overseeing the attack was Greg Olson, who has served five franchises as offensive coordinator without much distinction. Koetter is an adept playcaller while Mike Smith worked wonders with Tampa Bay’s defense during a five-game winning streak that briefly gave the Bucs control of their playoff destiny.

No. 5: Veteran presence

When the wheels came flying off in 2011, Barber, Donald Penn and Jeff Faine couldn’t prevent a crash landing. There’s no more distasteful word in sports than “quit,” but that team quit on Morris, and it was one ugly sight.

This Buc roster is stocked with veteran leaders like Gerald McCoy, Robert Ayers, Brent Grimes and Joe Hawley. Ayers has already proven he doesn’t mind getting in a teammate’s grill.

Those revolting memories of 2011 remain fresh around these parts, but Koetter’s crew isn’t intimidated by what went down. These gentlemen intend to make history of their own.

Ira Kaufman, the most beloved and esteemed Buccaneers columnist in town, has hung his hat at JoeBucsFan.com world headquarters since July 2016. Tampa Bay’s only Pro Football Hall of Fame voter, Ira busts out his columns here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and his award winning podcasts fire Tuesdays and Thursdays.

19 Responses to “5 Reasons This Isn’t The 2011 Bucs”

  1. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I think other teams will blitz the chit out of us this year, I mean, what else can they do. We have way too much firepower for them to allow our guys the time to get open, or allow Jameis the time he needs to find them.
    It will be our offensive line this year that will determine our success or failure, IMHO.
    Blitz pickup will be crucial, because we will surely face so many, especially if we go with Marpet, an inexperienced NFL Center.

  2. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Agree Ira we are about to watch history this year. I can’t wait to see just how historic. Minnesota or bust!!!

  3. tmaxcon Says:

    nice spin IRA you forgot to mention the face of the franchise and the leader of the quitters on that 2011 team was none other than cancer93 the current leader of the losing culture… IRA calling GMC a leader is as laughable as dungy being in the hall of fame with a career losing playoff record. remember gmc is the same loser that bragged that his least favorite season was his only winning season…

  4. tmaxcon Says:

    the curse of cancer93 is real licht understands this and will handle it.

  5. rayjay1122 Says:

    TMAX the troll regurgitation of nonsense again. You should answer my last response because if you can’t, as far as I am concerned, you ate just trolling and are a fan of the Panthers or Eagles or maybe you ate just one of those fans that jump around to whoever won the SB, so I guess that makes you a Patriot fan and Brady’s personal ball deflator.

  6. MagicMarpet Says:

    The curse of tmax is real and will never go away

  7. BadHombre Says:

    Veteran presence is an important part of a playoff winning system and can only be evidenced by retrospective actions. And we’ve seen our vet guys being good leaders the last couple of years.

  8. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    Must be a pathetic life when the only thing you are capable of doing is anonymously posting the same stuff over and over and over again. I truly hope you get the help you so desperately need.

  9. Mike Johnson Says:

    Great article as usual there IRA. But being a fan since Buc inception back in the 70’s and having gone thru countless emotional roller coaster rides with our Bucs, I’ll just remain cautiously optimistic. After a while..you just accept what the Bucs give you. I’m not gloom and doom here. Its just my Bucs have…hardened me! One superbowl in 40 yrs is not enough. Course, A lot of these NewBuc fans really have no idea. And I realize thats what our Bucs truly need, new fans.

  10. Bucsfanman Says:

    This team does seem to be doing all the right things. When looking at 2010 and 2011 and comparing it to this year, there is no comparison.

  11. JonBuc Says:

    Of course the thought of a repeat of 2011 makes me more nervous than riding in a rental car with Steve on the 101, 202, 51, I-17 and of course McDowell Rd. 🙂

    I don’t think it will happen either but I continue to worry about the strength of the NFC South.

  12. '74 Bucs fan Says:

    Tmax the parrot – “GMC sucks, GMC sucks – squawk”!

    How are you today Tmax? “GMC sucks, GMC sucks – squawk!”

  13. Howard Cosell Says:

    Let them blitz.
    It’s like blitzing the Spartan phalanx.
    Good luck with that.

  14. unbelievable Says:


    Jameis has been one of the best in the league against the blitz. Bring it on!

  15. Pickgrin Says:

    It all sounds reasonable Ira.

    A fast start without our best RB would go a long ways towards setting this team up for 2017 success. The schedule is friendlyish that way as well. Then we get Martin back for the important 4th and 5th games vs the Giants and Patriots.

    I smell a 4-1 start.

  16. tnew Says:

    What unbelievable said. I don’t know how you stop this team offensively. I kind of disagree about the blitz tho. The only way to stop it will be a pass rush that consistently get home rushing only 4, a veteran defense that runs complicated schemes, or run the ball to keep Jameis out of rhythm and on the sidelines. That’s it. Call me crazy but I see the Bucs being very effective in the run game as well.

  17. Bucfan Says:

    Tmax should be banned until he starts making some sense.
    I just won’t read his comments anymore because he provides nothing of value anyway’s.

  18. Nole on Sat- Bucc on Sun Says:

    Fameis the best in the league when being blitzed. Go right ahead NFL Be.My.Guess..

  19. Steven007 Says:

    Aww, Trollmax came out to play, how cute! Good job bending her over guys.