Offseason Regrade

January 16th, 2019

Nearly an F.

The heck with grading, let’s regrade!

Mike Sando of BSPN decided to look back and see how the four-letter graded every NFL team for its  after the Eagles won their first Super Bowl.

Of course, the Bucs were among them. And Sando slapped the Bucs with a C-.

Re-grade: C- | Offseason grade: B

The Buccaneers made moves designed to improve their defense, only to play so poorly on that side of the ball that coordinator Mike Smith lost his job after five games. The defense improved statistically over the final 11 games, but not enough for the Buccaneers to do better than 5-11.

Key moves Tampa Bay made — re-signing Mike Evans and Cameron Brate, adding Jason Pierre-Paul and drafting Vita Vea — were not disastrous. They simply were not enough, and in some cases, they were moves designed to address short-term problems more than fulfill a long-term vision.

The Bucs heard about not drafting Derwin James on draft day and will likely continue to hear about it. In trading down from the seventh to 12th overall slot, the Buccaneers watched Minkah Fitzpatrick come off the board while adding picks that helped them land cornerback M.J. Stewart, cornerback Carlton Davis and safety Jordan Whitehead.

The decision to bring back Brent Grimes on a one-year, $7 million deal backfired. Vea emerged as a solid player, and Whitehead showed promise, but a team that needed immediate impact from defensive newcomers didn’t get enough of it. Getting more from second-round running back Ronald Jones also would have helped.

Joe thinks Sando’s regrade is very generous. After seriously considering giving the Bucs an F, Joe reconsidered and thanks to the turnaround of rookie defensive tackle Vita Vea, Joe will only give the Bucs a D-.

Just about every move made backfired and the one they should have made napalmed not just a season, but in the end, quite a few jobs and perhaps careers.

Former Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith, who had the worst defense in the NFL in 2017, never should have been brought back. As a guy walking around with a white can could see, Smith got Bucs coach Dirk Koetter canned after it was all over.

Every draft pick made virtually no impact. But not Vea. No, Vea turned things around — after he had a private chat with Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht. Think about that for a moment. The defensive coaching staff did not turn Vea around, it was a suit!

Ronald Jones, unless Bucco Bruce Arians is a miracle worker, it one of the all-time busts in Bucs history. Corner M.J. Stewart was a non-factor, both as a corner and after coaches deemed he was a better (?) nickel corner. Fellow rookie corner Carlton Davis showed some promise as did safety Jordan Whitehead.

Throw in the fact the Bucs painted themselves in a corner by not getting a veteran corner (besides Brent Grimes) and refusing to add a running back off the street (C.J. Anderson, anyone?), looking back it was a total train wreck of an offseason.

Not even a steal of JPP for a third round pick could save the offseason.

You could make a fair argument the Bucs had an F-like offseason in 2018. Licht’s pep talk with Vea saved the Bucs a full-out embarrassment.

23 Responses to “Offseason Regrade”

  1. Mike Says:

    JPP raises this discussion a whole letter grade by himself! Very impressed with him.

  2. Joeypoppems Says:

    Every move they made in the offseason was a “good” move, but in typical Bucs fashion it flamed out.

    Having a coach that knows how to coach will help turn things around. At least on paper it will anyway.

  3. Todd Says:

    With Boy Wonder (Boy Loser) now coaching the Cardinals, I wonder if he’d be smart (stupid) enough to trade DB Peterson for shiny object (malcontent) Jackson?

    I’d be sporting wood if that trade happened!

    Boy Loser needs a Born Loser to throw the deep ball to after selecting Tyler Murray as the this year’s first selection in the draft to improve the lot of candidates for the Arab Goat Herd to choose from at #5!

  4. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Licht should lose another letter grade for signing Mitch Ulrein, who already lost games due to a concussion in 2017. Beau Allen and Vinny Currrie turned out to
    2 nd tier free agents much like most of Licht’s free agent signings. Seems like the only way we get quality veterans is if another team gifts us through a trade.

  5. Todd Says:

    “Arian” Goat Herd. 😂

  6. Sumo Says:

    I don’t agree with you at all on this one Joe. Whitehead, Vea, both corners are all good picks in time. This draft will end up being a good draft but we all know Ronald Jones is a bust. I believe Koetter wanted him because he liked smallish backs. Hard to blame that one on Licht.

  7. BucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Licht brain gets no pass from me on Jones and a huge F- on not picking up Dominique Rodgers Cromartie , who was available . Jones could not get on the field due to his inability to learn the playbook – this shortcoming is all on Licht brain , not the coaching staff. If you want to become a top tier organization , FIRE LICHT.

  8. Todd Says:


    How did you arrive at the conclusion Jones didn’t get playing time b/c he couldn’t learn the playbook. I thought it was more of a pass blocking issue. No? Is he really that stupid or was USC’s playbook really that dumbed down? I submit Arians will figure out how to use Jones in the “just right” way. I wouldn’t declare him a bust…unless he really is that stupid. But I just don’t believe that b/c he played so well at USC. I could be wrong though.

  9. Defense Rules Says:

    Oh wow Joe, that’s the most damning piece on Bucs’ personnel management that I can remember you ever writing (actually Bucs’ MIS-management might be a more apt description). You credit Licht for turning Vea around on the one hand, yet he’s the very same GM who made all of those bad drafting & FA moves (and non-moves when bringing in veteran CB & RB was warranted).

    Some JBFers continue to blame it all on poor coaching, and that was certainly a huge factor (and lest we forget, coaches don’t hire themselves). But coaches have to be supplied with some decent resources (talent?) to work with, and we’ve seen far too much weak talent here over the years. Bucs have desperately needed ‘an adult in the room’ this past decade to get this ship pointed in the right direction, and in my eyes that’s the job of ownership & management. Like Dr Phil used to say, “And how’s that working out for you?” (Your D- grade answers that question IMO).

    Despite all that, it’s a new year & a new beginning (in Bucsville it’s ALWAYS a new beginning each year). In my eyes, it seems very apparent that Coach Arians was hired to be that ‘adult in the room’. It’s HIS vision that will resurrect the Bucs, hopefully sooner than later. There’s a big TRUST factor involved, but he’s ‘been there, done that’ and that counts for a bunch IMO. Bucs fans will hopefully get solidly behind him while he rebuilds this train wreck.

  10. Tom S. Says:

    One of the worst drafts in Jason Licht’s 5th season. A blind person can see he should’ve been fired well before taking this team to 27-53.

    Cartlon Davis looks to be the only second round pick out of three that should even make an NFL roster next year let alone play.

  11. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Ultimately, this draft may come down to the progress of Alex Cappa and Justin Watson……neither received much play due to their backup status.

    Vea, Davis & Whitehead showed promise.

    The jury is still out on MJ Stewart…..and Rojo’s future is more than questionable.

  12. Bculaw Says:

    I’m down on ROJO for obvious reasons, but let’s not write him off just yet. Koetter has never been fond of young RBs, and IMO values dependability more than explosiveness out of the run game. I also feel like I recall JONES was a slow starter at USC before getting rid of the jitters and being productive. The step up is a big one. I’m hoping the best for Jones still now that he’s had a red shirt season.

    Of course, the product he put on film last year bears no resemblance to the explosive running he displayed in college, so he could be a huge bust.

  13. TexBuc Says:

    Similar situation at Atlanta the year Devante Freeman was drafted and Dirk would not play him for various reasons. The following Dirk leaves for Tampa and Freeman turns into an All-Pro. Hope Ronald Jones is the same this year. Jones was tremendous running between the tackles at USC.

  14. 813bucboi Says:

    i thought we “won the offseason” last year?…lol….


  15. Hodad Says:

    Texbuc I agree. Dirk just doesn’t trust rookie backs his history shows that. The playbook? You don’t have to be a genius to take a hand off, and run through one of the gaps in the O line. If the line can actually open a hole for the back it would be that much easier, rarely did that happen. Benenoch, and Cappa might be the real busts.

  16. stpetebucsfan Says:

    This is the second or third time I’ve read that ROJO had trouble learning the playbook. Really?

    Remember when the Boise State bust…so bad I can’t even remember his name…Snoops guy… was tagged with the same charge…couldn’t learn the playbook.

    That is simply unacceptable for a running back. It’s one of the easiest positions on the field as far as playbook responsibility. I get that many young backs struggle early with learning pass blocking…didn’t do it that much in college and very few NFL rushing talents in college.

    But learning the playbook? QB’s perhaps…WR’s struggling with learning precise routes…but RB is the EASIEST position on the team mentally…this is why SOOOOOO many hot rookies come into the league as RB’s and contribute immediately, sometimes in a big way.

    If an RB can’t even get on the field because of playbook problems he’s a freaking cement head!!!! What kind of scouting is Licht doing…just watching tape? Don’t they know the lame brains from the smart ones.

    BTW IF ROJO learned the playbook properly and didn’t really struggle my apologies for continuing JBF speculation unfairly.

  17. joestang Says:

    cant go into next season hoping jones turns it around, we need a running back, cut your losses with this guy and draft or trade for a solid back.

  18. rrsrq Says:

    How do you consistently sign a free agent that gets paid not to play

  19. D-Rome Says:

    Head coaches don’t make off season moves. General Managers do.

    So someone tell my why Backstabbin’ Jason Licht is still here? This team could have hired Arians without him.

    Worse than Mark Dominick.

  20. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Barber and Rodgers both had about 55 carries for 220 yards their rookie years.
    Were they busts?
    Jones may be a bust, but he’s a 2nd round pick and he’s not going anywhere and continuing to declare him a bust is negative not productive.
    We know Koetter and OLine coaches and running back coaches were busts.
    Let’s see what Ariens and staff can do.

  21. Brandon Says:

    Davis, JPP, Vea, Nassib, and Whitehead were very valuable additions moving forward.

  22. D1 Says:


    You mention Rojo and Freeman and the situation being similar. Agree.
    In fact, I think the similarities don’t end there . The one big thing that you didn’t include is the line play with both teams. The Dirk doesn’t like rookie running backs is lazy.

    Dirk hasn’t played rookies because the olines combined with the size and style of Freeman aND Rojo creates problems. A bigger stronger RB who can run thru tackles would have been a much better match for the situation.

    Not saying that there isn’t more to it, just that it’s better to start with the obvious before attempting to read someone’s mind or divine their intentions thru “other” alternative methods.

  23. Rod Munch Says:

    CJ Anderson on the Bucs would have averaged less than Martin did last year – I mean he was cut by the Panthers. It’s like saying if you put a scrub behind that Dallas o-line of a few years ago and they looked good, that you should sign them to a big deal to run behind your line that isn’t good in an offense where every run is telegraphed before the play.