Faith, Faith & More Faith

March 15th, 2019


Coach ’em up, fellas.

That’s the overarching theme at One Buc Place a few weeks before players start trickling in to showcase their skills to a new staff.

What else do Buc fans have to generate optimism heading into the 2019 season? They’ve got the pedigree of Bruce Arians and a group of teachers intent on maximizing the talent on this roster.

The first wave of free agency has crashed, leaving euphoria in Cleveland, excitement in Oakland and yawns in Tampa.

Surely Buc fans aren’t rushing out to buy season tickets because of the additions of Deone Bucannon, Breshad Perriman and Bradley Pinion.

No, it’s the hope that a new staff can develop young players who are already here. It’s the belief that Arians will have this franchise ready to play competitively on the road, where Tampa Bay has gone 1-7 in each of the past two years.

It’s the knowledge that Arians made an immediate impact in the desert in 2013, when he inherited a 5-11 Arizona team and promptly went 34-14 in the following three seasons.

It’s the faith that Arians can unlock Jameis Winston’s potential in Year 5, erasing the worry lines on the former face of the franchise.

Carson Palmer, who flourished under the tutelage of Arians in Arizona, shares that faith.

“They’re going to be great together,” Palmer says. “It’s probably the best thing that could’ve happen to Jameis at this point in his career — getting a guy like B.A. to come in and clean up some things technically. And really installing what he does best, and that’s push the ball down the field.”

The Bucs didn’t have enough salary-cap space to make much of a splash in free agency, so Jason Licht had to approach the marketplace more strategically.

Pain In Prudence

Some Tampa Bay fans are distraught about this prudent approach. Have they forgotten this organization’s legacy of March madness?

The keys to success for the 2019 Bucs are young players who haven’t developed because of injuries, poor coaching or a lack of sufficient talent.

Let’s see what this new staff can do with Justin Evans, who appeared lost far too often last fall. Can Noah Spence be resurrected with a new scheme installed by Todd Bowles?

Donovan Smith, who just got paid like a big-time left tackle, needs to play like one every week. Winston needs to repay Arians for all the love by proving he’s a winner on the pro level.

In the final year of his rookie contract, Vernon Hargreaves has to be coached up effectively to avoid the 2016 draft being labeled one of the worst hauls in Buc history.

That’s a mouthful.

Big Team, Big Job

The Bucs may add a helpful rookie class next month, but the bulk of this potential turnaround must come from the returning players. Arians says this reclamation project pales in comparison to the challenge he faced with the Cardinals.

We’ll see.

Despite the departures of DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries, there’s plenty to work with through the air.

“His passing game, his vertical passing game is just different,” says Palmer. “It’s hard to defend. You don’t see it throughout the league. Every team doesn’t do what he does. That combined with the way that Jameis can throw the ball down the field with accuracy, I think it’s a great tandem.”

While Don Shula, Bill Belichick and Bill Walsh never made a tackle or a sack from the sidelines, coaching matters in the NFL – probably more so than any of the other major sports. Look what Sean McVay has done with the Rams and the void Kyle Shanahan’s departure created in Atlanta.

Arians has cobbled together a big staff of assistants at One Buc Place, and that’s OK. They’ve got a big job to do.

Ira Kaufman began covering the NFL as a New York Giants beat writer in 1979. He arrived on the Buccaneers beat in 1985, and the corporate leash finally was removed from his neck when he joined in July 2016. The award-winning Ira Kaufman Podcast fires twice per week, and Ira’s columns appear thrice weekly, except when Ira is on special assignment. Tampa Bay’s only Hall of Fame voter also is a popular guest on various national radio and on local TV. He’s also co-host of TAMPA TWO at The Identity Tampa Bay, which returns to its regular format in March.

42 Responses to “Faith, Faith & More Faith”

  1. Nate Says:

    It’s not about going crazy in March Madness like we did prior ….

    But it’s the fact of look at the level of those players (minus DeSean) and the level of players this year we cant sign

    Just call it as it is….Licht was scared str8 to be fired so he shot his shot too early n signed all those scrub-a-dubs instead of bonafide agents in the new year

  2. BucDan Says:

    Does coaching matter? Of course.

    But name me a winning coach that didn’t have great players or Hall of Famers on his team.

    The Great Ones get into the Hall and always reflect on the coaches and personnel that helped them achieve greatness, but do not think for one minute that physical AND mental attributes of the players themselves are not the main drivers of what makes a great player and a good team. Do not @ me about the Rams and Jeff Fisher.

    We have not been able to consistently find “it” in the players that we draft and especially not in the players that we bring in through free agency.

    The NFL almost hands the reigns to bad teams to allow them to become better. Last place finishers have the top picks every year. Bad teams always pick the wrong players. Sign the wrong players. Keep the wrong players. These are all linked to front office decisions – head coach and GM.

    Have we done it again this year? Time will tell.

  3. Dirks Great Granpappy Says:

    So is it B.A. or leftwitch running the offense?

  4. miken Says:

    A lot of confidence in the guys on the roster. I’d like to see a list of player that looked below average just to have todd bowles come along and turn them in to pro bowlers. BA is a damn good coach but dotson, benoch and rojo will be the same. Sure Carson played great under BA, but Carson played at a pro bowl level before. Ba will be great for jw but we have a lot of holes.

  5. Jamaal Stanley Says:

    Well you asked Dan so I’ll give you Belichess. Man seems to win the Super Bowl every year wit a bunch nobodies. Then once they a name for themselves in his system he quick to ship they @$$ right on out the door. You folks round here funny. Man takes over the team says “theirs more talent here than when he took over the zona gig” and assume you bright lights figure him to lying.

  6. Jamaal Stanley Says:

    Roster loaded,just needs polishing by a chief who’s winning percentage says he’s more than capable of doing so.

  7. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I think we have an improved player evaluation team on board……you best believe that if you make this roster, there is no question that you have been checked out thoroughly.
    Hopefully, we are getting rid of $2mil players and getting a $1mil player that is better in return.
    Like I said before, I think Perriman will perform better than Djax & we saved $6mil to spend elsewhere.

  8. Not there yet Says:

    That’s what I believe will happen, we can lose a bunch of key players on a bad team and still do better than 5-11. Just how pathetic of a coaching staff that was assembled under dork Koetter

  9. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Bucs signed Shaq Barret.

    That’s my favorite singing so far and a guy I’ve been monitoring.

    1 year 5 mill.

    Denver has loved him as a rotational OLB/DE off the bench. He wasn’t as effective last year but neither was their entire D, and they were giving him less snaps after selecting Bradley Chubb.

    In 2017 he graded out very well by PFF with like 40-50 pressures on 320 something snaps. His 82 grade that year was better than any of our front 7 players last year including Lavonte David.

    These are the types of signings I expected. Short term cheap contracts on guys to help transition to a 3-4 and provide depth. They could be potential long term solutions, or if they pan out and we can’t afford them then we may get comp picks for them in 2021 (lmao sorry). Worst case they don’t cost us long term if they don’t pan out.

  10. Mike Evans Goat Says:

    LOVE this signing. He’s not the flashy 10 sack guy. But if he’s a starter he can give u 8 sacks. Also a GREAT run defender

  11. Lord Cornelius Says:

    I also LOVE that we are for sure going 3-4

    One thing I definitely agreed with Realist on – is that it would be a good idea just to give the division a different look.

    The team was just 2-3 years behind that thought process lol. I don’t think Mike Smith had any thought process.

  12. D-Rome Says:

    We’ll know in the fall whether or not Backstabbin’ Jason Licht’s five year reign of terror and failure was due to coaching or due to the players he acquired.

  13. GhostofSchiano Says:

    Still like to see us sign a couple of serviceable O linemen

  14. jmarkbuc Says:

    ” That combined with the way that Jameis can throw the ball down the field with accuracy, I think it’s a great tandem.””


  15. EvolvingBucsfan Says:

    I would much rather be underwhelmed/worried in the off season and be pleasantly surprised in the regular season than being pleasantly surprised in the off season and underwhelmed/worried in the regular season, lol, like the years prior.

  16. martinii Says:

    I haven’t weighed in on this free agency yet because it was and is obvious that the price of players has moved way beyond their value. Year after year we see big payrolls yield poor results. Look at the Patriots, other than Tom Brady most of the players are mid-range talent coached-up to champion level performers. The underlying catalyst is coaching and being unpredictable year end and year out. For some crazy reasons management has decided that the more expensive players are the better your team is. Hows that working for the Browns. Well coached Teams win championships, not rich free Agents. Like always you build through the draft, hire coaches that can take draft picks to the next level, and if necessary wave goodbye to the players when their price scuttles the overall quality of the team. Put your faith in Good coaches and not expensive players whose carreer can end on any given play.

  17. stpetebucsfan Says:

    John Romano had a great article in the Times this morning.

    This season is all about JW. If he is the real deal, as many here believe and most importantly as BA believes, we have a lot of hope. If he continues to struggle with consistency then we have problems.

    This off seasons has revealed one thing in particular. We are pushing all our chips in on Jameis. We signed our left tackle to protect him. We signed the QB whisperer to coach him along with Leftwich. JW goes from roughly 8 million to 20 million this year. That 12 million could have purchased some more players but JW is the man now.

    The ONE certain thing about 2019…either JW performs like many of us (including me) believe he can…or he and Licht will have to hit the highway. Both JW’s career and Lichts job as GM are all on the line.

    I’m the optimist so I believe BA and Leftwich can pull it off. I’m also encouraged by JW”s final six games last year when he actually turned and tossed the ball into the cheap seats when there was no play instead of trying to force another miracle.

    After all he’s been through both on an off the field I think JW has finally matured.

  18. 813bucboi Says:

    love the shaq signing….

    no need to turnover the entire roster….fill in a few gaps with quality low cost vets and develop the young players…..

    talent has been there….coaching hasnt….


  19. BucDan Says:


    The Patriots do not select only late round picks. There are no nobodies in round 1-4.

    The guys he lets go already had a name for themselves as high round picks before they joined the Patriots aka Richard Seymour, Ty Law, Asaunte Samuel, Drew Bledsoe, Adam Vinatieri, Trey Flowers, Nate Solder, Chandler Jones, Jamie Collins, etc the list goes on.

    The GM acumen of the Patriots is more important than the coach decisions at that point. This is further proven by the pick ups in free agency that the Patriots make: Randy Moss, Martellus Bennett, Rob Ninkovich, Jaball Sheard, Dion Lewis, Kyle Van Noy, LG Blount, Stephen Gilmore, Darrell Revis, etc the list goes on.

    Players play and coaches coach. Players that are better with worse coaching will beat worse players with better coaching. This is not a simple mind game. There are bodies involved.

    I don’t get paid to scout for the Bucs and I have no experience doing so. However, as a fan and season ticket holder, I hold the front office staff fully accountable for the players that are drafted and signed.

    More Mike Evans-es, Chris Godwins, Lavonte Davids on the team will make the job easier for whomever is coaching. The front office needs to come through.

  20. Bucsfanman Says:

    Nice signing in Barrett.

  21. tickrdr Says:


    Two excellent posts!
    Well done!


  22. BucEmUp 7 Says:

    5 and 11 record with the previous coaching staff. Better special teams and field goal kicking should equate to one extra win. An above-average defense coached by bowels should equate to two extra wins. A real head coach with a winning pedigree should also equate to two extra wins. I see a 10 winning team with proper coaching and development. Fans are always saying that players are the ones that make it happen on the field but neglect to consider that the players on the field are doing exactly what the coaches tell them to and not tell them to. Just shut up and be happy that we finally have a staff that knows what they’re doing

  23. Lord Cornelius Says:


    IMO it’s both/equal.

    The Patriots don’t put square pegs in round holes which means their personnel philosophy/coaching is always aligned.

    Pats are notorious for game planning very differently week to week. Every year they seem to figure out how to stop teams no one else can. Denver radio dudes were talking this morning for a while about what they did to the Rams schematically in the super bowl and how other teams are going to mimic it.

    Talent matters but the Pats were no where near being one of the most talented teams in the league last year.

  24. D-Rome Says:

    Kareem Hunt gets an 8 game suspension. It would have been worth it to have him for half a season at the price the Browns paid to acquire him.

  25. Bird Says:

    Shaq Barrett

    I like it. Bargain shopping. He was behind miller and Chubb so did not get to many chances.
    Got good grades from PFF

    Solid against run and good pass rush. More qb hits then actual take downs.
    His expected deal was 7.5 per year.
    He got 4 with potential of 5 mil if he meets escalators

  26. First Down Tampa Bay Says:

    The talent is there. We’ve seen flashes from just about every player on the roster. Now that we have some competent coaches for the first time since Gruden, maybe we’ll see the flashes become consistent and start translating into wins.

  27. catcard202 Says:

    The NFL is built for “Worst to First” teams to show up every yr…The Bucs could be that team in the NFC South in 2019.

    Sometimes change for changes sake, isn’t the best path forward.
    FA is a roll of the dice, as much as the draft is…Id rather roll the dice on Rookie Contracts! We have all seen how quickly the NFL gets caught up overpaying tier 2 FA’s like they are Top3 talents….So, I’m not sold on the fact that the Bucs should have bet the farm & cleared the roster, to sign another team’s “Cap Casualty” castoff…. (Teams always seem to find cap space to keep the useful players they WANT!)

  28. Jamaal Stanley Says:

    Thanks Lord C you see where I’m coming from. A cat I know that hose by NOSBOS wanted me to say what’s up to you homie.

  29. BucDan Says:


    I also agree that it is both. My opinion on scale would be 60/40 for the players because their skill on the field will have more weight on the outcome of the game.

    Equal players with one better coach than the other -> Better coached team wins

    Better players with better coach -> Better players and better coach win

    Better players with lesser coach -> Can make good argument that this team beats a team of lesser players with a better coach

    Not saying the Pats were the most talented in the league, just pointing out to another poster that the teams isn’t filled with a bunch of ‘what’s his name-s’.

    I will say that they have the best front office in the league as far as talent acquisition as a whole goes.

    Also, “their personnel philosophy/coaching is always aligned” because they are the same guy! But you already know that! 😉

  30. Jamaal Stanley Says:

    Dan you took “nobodies” a little too literally my friend. Also this latest signing leads me to believe this 3/4 base is more likely than not. If that’s the case you DE hungry posters might wanna rethink your desire. Linebackers are the backbone of a 3/4 scheme. Gives me even more confidence Devin White on his way Tampa.

  31. Jamaal Stanley Says:

    Khalen Saunders round 2. Played in 3/4 scheme Northen Illinois. You know the one DT doing back flips after practice which can be seen on YouTube.

  32. richbucsfan Says:

    I do have faith, but not in the Bucs. Take a glance at the rosters of playoff teams. Their OLines are huge. Their defense is aggressive. With the current OLine, Winston will get injured. The defense is still the joke of the NFL. Faith? Are you kidding me???

  33. BucDan Says:


    “Well you asked Dan so I’ll give you Belichess. Man seems to win the Super Bowl every year wit a bunch nobodies. Then once they a name for themselves in his system he quick to ship they @$$ right on out the door. ”

    I read what you wrote and interpreted it as such.

    I now understand that you do not actually mean nobodies, but are referring to the top picks, all-pros and pro bowlers that the Patriots release before signing them to a second or third contract.

    How could I be so dense!

  34. gotbbucs Says:

    I wont be happy until Big Charmin GMC is gone. This team cant truly turn the page until that defensive room can be looked over by guys like JPP rather than GMC.

    I hope Licht is just holding out hope that a trade dance partner emerges from the corner before the party is over.

  35. catcard202 Says:

    The difference between the PATS & rest of the league…PATS grab as many smart guys/college grads they can get & then game plan to win every game, regardless of what they need to do to win that individual game.

    Instead of focusing on their preferred system/playing style or individual coaching philosophy…They do whatever gives them the best chance to win…If they need to run the triple-option, they’ll do it. If they need to throw 70x, they’ll do it. Bltz 50x – Check! Bug visitor coaching box/locker room…Whatever gives them the edge, they do.

    That and they have had Belicheat & Brady together for the duration…Which cannot be understated.

    No one knows if “THE PATRIOT WAY” will have the same level of success, once Tommy Boy shows his mortality or retires… No one knows when the next HOF Single Team Career Franchise QB is going to fall off the turnip truck…(it doesn’t happen all that often)… But what we do know is that 40+ yr old QB’s success rate does fall off a cliff & fast!

    (Call me conspiracy theorist if you like.. But as a middle aged guy…I sure as hell can tell you that diet & workout commitment can only do so much..IMO, if Brady & Brees weren’t on low level HGH & Testosterone regiments…They would have dropped anchor on NFL retirement a long time ago!)

  36. Jamaal Stanley Says:

    gotbucs if BA can motivate 93 his body type actually suits being a 3/4 DE well. That along with his exceptional “get off” maybe just maybe he’ll find solace in being on the end of los away from those bodies and ball like we hope he will.

  37. D1QB Says:

    Lord Corn,

    Did they mention on the Denver show that The second string QB basically went to school on the Rams. Watched everything possible, hard knocks, games, interviews, read everything , watched everything possible. What He learned was the Rams playbook, calls including audibles. The Patriots knew what the Rams had done up to the Superbowl and the Rams played perfectly into that ultra detailed preparation by not changing anything.

    That is an example of how Billichek outcoaches his opponents. Preparation that sees nothing as unimportant or trivial. Add that to being confident enough to go against wisdom completely non conventional

  38. D1QB Says:

    Lord Corn,

    Did they mention on the Denver show that The second string QB basically went to school on the Rams. Watched everything possible, hard knocks, games, interviews, read everything , watched everything possible. What He learned was the Rams playbook, calls including audibles. The Patriots knew what the Rams had done up to the Superbowl and the Rams played perfectly into that ultra detailed preparation by not changing anything.

    That is an example of how Billichek outcoaches his opponents. Preparation that sees nothing as unimportant or trivial. Add that to being confident enough to go against conventional wisdom and come up with game plans that are counter intuitive by NFL standards but prove to successful again and again.

  39. D1QB Says:


    Excellent points on the Patriots ability to be flexible with the one exception, smart players. This allows the team to change or add plays, make adjustments on the fly often with no time to practice the changes.

    As far as Billichek having success post Brady I think that the games Brady has missed and the team was able to win no matter who played QB is a good indicator that Billichek will continue to win when Tom decides to hang it up.

    The HGH and Testosterone treatment which you allude to is possible. I think it’s naive to categorically deny the possibility. I don’t believe you’re correct but it’s not because of the idea but rather the choice of HGH and Test. No question some Athletes, uninformed or novice, still use these drugs to increase their performance but they’re no where near cutting edge. Players like Brady would be 2 generations ahead of the herd when it comes to that. HGH and Test are a generation ago. If they did supplement, it wouldn’t be those two.

  40. DooshLaRue Says:

    @Jamaal Stanley

    You couldn’t stay away could you NOSBOS.
    You jumped ship for the Jags last year and now you’re back.

    The big tip-off is the wanna-be gansta talk……. and the inference that you actually have a friend.

    Welcome back………. the off-season is always funnier with you!


  41. donuts Says:

    Trenches…..trenches…..trenches….no LB at pick #5 TYVM.

  42. SenileSenior Says:

    Lord Cornelius Says:
    March 15th, 2019 at 2:36 pm
    I also LOVE that we are for sure going 3-4.

    I loved the fact that Licht drafted Vita Vea last year. One of the factors was that he could play in the 4-3 as a DT but he just might shine as a NT if we were ever to convert to a 3-4 base in some future year. The future is now!

    Oh! Wait! Licht is an idiot for passing on Denzel Ward. I forgot. Stupid me.
    Go Bucs!!!!!!