A Very Different Offseason

March 30th, 2018


Great expectations? I think not.

The Bucs are flying so low under the radar, they might crash into the Browns.

That’s alright, because NFL history has taught us that teams who come out of March free agency looking like lions are often devoured in September.

There was plenty of local media sitting with Dirk Koetter in Orlando during the annual coaches breakfast, but ESPN and NFL Network reporters remained at a distance — like our table had MRSA.

The Adam Schefters of the world were too busy trying to get tasty sound bites out of Bill Belichick and Jon Gruden. With the Rams seemingly intent on making news every other day, Sean McVay was swarmed over.

In case you haven’t noticed, we are in the midst of a very different offseason for the Buccaneers. There won’t be any Hard Knocks cameras around One Buc Place this summer, following Swaggy Baker to the nearest tree and checking out Ali Marpet’s skills on the ukulele.

This time around, Tampa Bay isn’t coming off a 9-7 season that promised so much more, spawning a Stick Carrier movement that was so eager to embrace this franchise. Now, things are so quiet heading into the draft, you can hear that humongous flag flapping in the breeze outside the team facility.

That’s one of the reasons why Koetter is smiling so broadly these days. This organization is following his directive to speak softly. Soon, we will see about that big stick.

This is the lowest profile the Bucs have generated in many years.

Historic Quiet

Let’s take a quick look back.

Starting with Tony Dungy’s arrival in 1996, the Bucs featured studs like Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks. The team was good and Hall of Famers led the way.

Gruden provided his own spotlight for seven years and in 2009, new coach Raheem Morris drew considerable attention.

The following offseason was marked by the addition of Gerald McCoy and excitement about a new starting quarterback by the name of Josh Freeman.

In 2011, Buc fans and ownership were stoked about a 10-6 season that came out of nowhere. New coach Greg Schiano arrived from the college ranks to provide intrigue during the spring of 2012.

Dirk Koetter

A 7-9 finish offered hope for the 2013 offseason and another new coach came along in 2014, with Lovie Smith expected to bring back the glory days.

Despite a 2-14 mark, the Bucs garnered a lot of national attention after selecting Jameis Winston first overall. In 2016, Tampa Bay made yet another coaching change as Koetter finally got his shot calling the shots.

So here we are, with the Bucs largely ignored by the national media.

Selecting guard Quenton Nelson at No. 7 won’t move that needle, even if it’s the smart way to go.

Joel Glazer could care less whether Jay Glazer is talking about the Bucs in the offseason. If this team is lurking in the shadows right now, it will make it that much sweeter if the Bucs make some noise under the bright lights of RayJay.

Ira Kaufman is the most revered sports personality and writer in town. He 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 columns here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and his award winning podcasts fire Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can also hear Ira on SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio Wednesdays during football season, and see him now on Mondays at 10:30 p.m. on Spectrum Sports 360 (aka BayNews 9). Ira also is part of the FOX-13 Tailgate Sunday and enjoys beet salads, Riesling, Chiefs victories and needling Joe.

16 Responses to “A Very Different Offseason”

  1. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I like it better this way….last year I had very high expectations…..all the hype around “weapons for Winston”…etc.

    This year….not expectations….well, just a little….I simply want us to get better….and if we get better we will win more games…..we need an average defense, a kicking game, a decent running game….and we need a coach that will open it up.

  2. Roy T. Buford Says:

    In short, this is a good thing this year because the Bucs control the narrative, not Had Knocks, et al. I’m not saying Hard Knocks caused anything that happened last year, but it didn’t help what would have, could have happened. The one factor remaining that affects how the Bucs do this year is what happens with Winston. So I hope the young man has spilled his guts to the NFL and to his team, and that it’s all good.

  3. darin Says:

    We all should like it better this way. Way too many people whining every year the bucs dont get any national pub. They got it last year. Did it make ya happy? I’ve never cared about anything except wins. They seem to come when the team isnt getting any love. I hope Dirk gets his team prepared this year. Gona be much easier without all the outside noise. Get to work boys.

  4. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Just f*cking win.

  5. ClwJB Says:

    Small market teams that continually fail to meet expectations become afterthoughts in the national media

    With very low expectations and what appears to be a pretty formidable slate of opponents this year, let’s hope we fill the holes in the secondary, rb, and G with top level talent in the draft

    DK needs to fix his red-zone play calling and commit to running the ball more a la 2015

    am happy with the Dline additions thus far, if you would have told me prior to FA that our new ends are Curry/JPP i would have been ecstatic -Jensen is a solid signing, there are several safeties with starter experience in FA still -Reid/Boston are SS fits, Murray still out there at RB(why not give it a shot and draft a young RB) so even if we don’t hit at every open spot, there are some FA left to plug in with for a year

    a later round DT and DE cant hurt

  6. Bucsfanman Says:

    Good! We NEED to stay off the radar until we start winning games. Best place to be, IMO.
    Now, if we can somehow catch the league with a knock-out body-blow, that would be the icing on the cake!

  7. LostinPa Says:

    I think it’s better to be overlooked and unhyped. Litch is quietly putting together a winning team. So far he has filled the needs of the DLine, Kicker and got us respectable with the O-line (although i’d Like to get a true left guard so Marpet could go back to right guard). As I see it we still have the need at CB, RB and Strong Safety. If we had to play Sunday tomorrow the only place we would be embarrassed would likely be CB. Luckily this draft is deep at CB, RB and Strong safety. Basically, it’s super weak at WR, TE and OT where we are either strong or in the case of OT not desperate. After the D-line fixes we now can let the draft come to us.

  8. Mike Johnson Says:

    Good article here Ira. And you are right. We are flying under that NFL radar. Nobody expect these Bucs to do much. Maybe 8-8 at best. But we are looking better on the Defensive side. And our D stuck out like a sore thumb last season. Nelson is going to be good. Make no mistake about it. But..this team needs Defensive prowness in a big way. And I give Licht credit, he is trying this year. Nationally when NFL fans think of the Bucs, they think of that great Defense which brought us a championship. They don’t think Jameis. At least not yet. So its great to see us try to get back to what our bread and butter was from the jump..Great Defense! The rest will take care of itself.

  9. Not there yet Says:

    The bucs don’t deserve attention in the off-season after going 5-11. So something during the regular season and maybe someone will be more curious but right now this teams makes moves every off-season that makes no difference when the season starts

  10. StPeteBucsFan Says:


    Like everybody here I enjoy your work but this was great today. Sportswriters have to report but sometimes things slow a bit and you’re free to be a creative writer and not just stuck on facts, figures and names.

    I thought this was just very well written. Football stuff aside I like how you put this together.

    “The Bucs are flying so low under the radar, they might crash into the Browns.”

    And that will be the line of the day for sure. LMAO

  11. Rod Munch Says:

    The Jersey Trash ™ Greg Schiano getting hired after Brain Kelly backed out of the job… it will go down as one of the darkest of many dark hours for this franchise. The Bucs are, by far, it’s not even close, the most losing (%) franchise in the history of the NFL, yet the Jersey Trash stands out. What a disaster Schiano was.

  12. Horse Liver Says:

    Good one Ira.

  13. Destinjohnny Says:


  14. Sausage King Of Chicago Says:

    “Couldn’t” care less.

  15. Crockett69 Says:

    That’s right Ira! Good post and to the point. Let’s just lay back and watch what unfolds this year. I really got a sneakin’ suspicion that this is going to be a no bs season. You know what I mean………….. No Excuses North, South, East or West. Dem Nasty Doggies in the Trenches be turnin’ rabid soon. That’s what this team needed.

  16. 1sparkybuc Says:

    Not really on topic, but I’d like to see Blount signed as a a rotational back Schiano misused him. Love to see him be the only player in NFL history to win 3 consecutive SBs with 3 different teams.