A Year To Improve

May 18th, 2019

No immediate expectations.

With a defense that, on paper, appears to be nearly as bad of a nightmare as it was under Mike Smith, one national writer believes Bucco Bruce Arians has a year to skate.

In a list of first-year coaches feeling the most heat to win, Connor Orr of theMMQB.com believes Arians is under the least amount of pressure because folks in the know are aware that even Bill Parcells would struggle with the current Bucs roster.

I think Tampa Bay will be so pleased with a whiff of personality and style that Arians could go 5-11 and still coast into the 2020 offseason without a care in the world. He’s got a trial year with Jameis Winston, and a roster that is universally accepted as subpar. He’ll get time. He’s got an excellent coaching staff and he’s the king of cool. Maybe the only person in the NFL who could never feel the heat—even in Tampa.

Orr sort of has a point. The offense is still one-dimensional (when your returning second-leading rusher is a pocket-passing quarterback who only started 11 games, that is embarrassing) and the defense is filled in the secondary with rookies and young players who have been, at best, inconsistent, along with a front line that looks as if it lost 21 sacks from the previous season.

How can any reasonable person believe the Bucs can win in maybe the best division in football without addressing some of these issues?

And that’s not even factoring in how the team is jammed by the salary cap.

So if you side with Orr, Arians has such a monumental task ahead of him, that he basically has a season-long mulligan to turn things around and shoot for success in 2020.

39 Responses to “A Year To Improve”

  1. SteveK Says:

    Licht has been ham for five years. Bad drafts and horrific FA has led this team to a subpar roster with no cap space. Inexcusable.

    5-11 for three years in a row, and we better get a new GM and QB.

  2. BucAllNight Says:

    @Joe: Please stop writing and trying to Pin Rosen’s FAILURE on Leftwich. He was vastly OVERRATED coming into last year and got EXPOSED at the next level. Leftwich took over mid-season in and offense that wasn’t his and EXCELLED & got promoted. Rosen will fall on his face in Miami and either be relegated to career backup or out of league in 3 years ala Jake Locker.

    Go Bucs!!!

  3. DB55 Says:

    Orr sort of has a point. The offense is still one-dimensional (when your returning second-leading rusher is a pocket-passing quarterback who only started 11 games, that is embarrassing) and the defense is filled in the secondary with rookies and young players who have been, at best, inconsistent, along with a front line that looks as if it lost 21 sacks from the previous season, how can any reasonable person believe the Bucs can win in maybe the best division in football?
    Wow! Too much truth in the paragraph. “They” are not going to like the excuses, negativity or facts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Joe Says:

    Please stop writing and trying to Pin Rosen’s FAILURE on Leftwich.

    Not suggesting Leftwich is the sole reason why the Cardinals gave up on Rosen. But you can’t say Leftwich is blameless is Rosen’s failure to develop.

    If Jameis improves and the Bucs keep him, then whatever did or didn’t happen with Rosen and Leftwich is swept under the rug. If Jameis goes south, that’s going to look really bad for Leftwich that two first-round quarterbacks imploded under him in back-to-back seasons.

  5. Tbbucs3 Says:

    Agree Bucallnight, I had no idea where any of the Josh Rosen hype came from and for some reason is still going on. There’s a reason Arizona moved on from this guy so fast. Can’t blame Leftwhich for having a mediocre QB. Goodluck with that Miami.

    Oh and same with Sam Darnold. Both very overrated and Jameis is 10x better than those guys.

  6. PriMech54 Says:

    I’m going to post a couple quotes here from an article on the Jet’s sb nation site, and you tell me if this sounds like a Mike Smith defensive approach

    “When the Cardinals played the Dallas Cowboys, Bowles switched from a predominately 3-4 scheme to a 4-3, simply because it was a better matchup. They won that game 28-17, and ended DeMarco Murray’s streak of 100-yard games.”

    “To quote Dockett, “This defense is based on guys and what their ability allows them to be good at. What they were drafted for.” When Bowles found that he didn’t have an elite pass rusher, he balanced it out by adding more safeties… sometimes up to four on the field on any given down. This allowed him to cover athletic tight ends for longer, and had the added benefit of confusing offenses. Bowles doesn’t force a round peg into a square hole… ”

    These guys are real teachers of the game and understand the philosophy behind it deeply. They are simply on another level than what the Bucs experienced under Dirk. Mind you that the Cardinals were on a pretty heavy post-superbowl slump that lasted years and were 5-11 the year before this coaching staff moved in. They traded for a burnt out, middling Carson Palmer that was basically at the end of his career in Oakland and took a lot of flak for it but they took off immediately. Because BA looked at the film and said “Nah, I can win with that because I can correct this, this and this.” That’s how they approach the game, by coaching guys up and maximizing. Trust me they are going to punch people in the mouth regardless of what type of talent you think is or isn’t on the roster. Why and how? because they understand stylistic matchups and aren’t out there just calling plays. That’s what wins in the NFL. Ask the Patriots. Just wait and see.

  7. Jean Lafitte Says:

    I don’t think you can blame Leftwich if Jameis has a bad season because of Jameis himself. He’s been playing erratic since he was drafted four seasons ago, and if he continues that trend there should be no way anyone could pin that on Leftwich. Jameis’s slide will be because of Jameis. No one else. Now, if Jameis comes out and plays smart solid football then Leftwich should get the accolades because he was able to get Jameis to that point.

  8. macabee Says:

    I am going to level set my expectations for the Bucs in 2019. First let me make an all-encompassing statement by saying that I like what they have done and I like where they are going.

    I like the new coaching staff, I like the new defensive scheme, I like the secondary improvements and I love the offensive skills positions. We have a football team. But we are not there yet and we will not get there (playoffs and beyond) until we have the offensive line that allows us to be the offensive tour de force that we are poised to be. With the issues going on with JPP and McCoy coupled with a practically new secondary, it will take both luck and a miracle for the Bucs to go from worst to first.

    I have spent the off season watching Jameis Winston highlights for the specific purpose of evaluating guard and tackle play. OT Donavan Smith may become that LT that would allow QB Tom Brady to stand in place, go through his reads and deliver the ball. But to this point, he has not been that blind side protector that provides the QB assurance of time to throw the ball. The Right guard play has not provided a RB the adequate time or space to get out of the backfield. The right tackle play is decent in pass protection, but lacks the downfield push for an effective run game.

    Take Byron Leftwich out of the equation. Jameis Winston’s regression or progression will depend primarily on the QB whisperer himself, Bruce Arians. The obvious analogy here is Rome wasn’t built in a day! I acknowledge that ancient wisdom, but before we can become that team and consistently win football games, a lot of things have to fall in place. I am not saying they can’t make the playoffs this year. I hope they do. I am saying that it is not my expectation and I’m not going to set my hair on fire and call for regime change if they don’t.

    I do not project win/loss games. I simply see some of the apparent deficiencies that could prevent a winning season. I am not even going to mention the kicking game which the Bucs acknowledge needed to improve by drafting a kicker in the 5th round. Therefore, I expect the Bucs to make substantial defensive improvements this year, but will not maximize offensive effectiveness until the O-Line issues are addressed and improved. Please allow me to come back 1 week before the regular season starts to adjust my perspective. Go Bucs!

  9. Clean House Says:

    Fire Licht today, have some balls like the jets

  10. RODNEY ALLEN Says:

    The same thing was said about Arizona in 2013 they had Pat Peterson Fitzgerald that was it for known ballers. Carson was not thought to highly of at the time during 2012 or the beginning of training camp in 2013. Ppl thought he’d be gone at the end of the year🤷‍♂️💯

  11. Joe in Michigan Says:

    “You’re not being negative if you’re being accurate”. Wouldn’t this story be inaccurate because nothing has happened yet, good or bad? Or is the story accurate until proven inaccurate?

  12. Defense Rules Says:

    Almost totally agree with Connor Orr. This is a honeymoon year for BA & his staff in terms of W-L record. Heck, even most JBFers seem to expect a losing record. But there’s no honeymoon when it comes to EXPECTATIONS of improved performance on the field. I for one EXPECT an improved defense. I also EXPECT improved performance by our Special Teams. And yes, I EXPECT improved performance from Jameis … and that focuses primarily on his being more CONSISTENT on the field. Fewer turnovers, better decision-making, and especially improved LEADERSHIP.

    Found your opinion interesting Joe that “folks in the know are aware that even Bill Parcells would struggle with the current Bucs roster.” Parcells became Patriots HC in 1993 and promptly went 5-11 that year with a rookie QB named Drew Bledsoe. He stayed with the Pats through 1996 (when they lost in the SB), and Pete Carroll took over the HC reins in 1997, staying through 1999 … 2 winning seasons, then an 8-8 season and Bye-Bye Pete. Some guy named Belicheck took over as HC in 2000 … and promptly went 5-11 that year, with that same Drew Bledsoe as his starting QB. Bledsoe started the first 2 games of 2001, and the Pats lost BOTH of them. He was replaced in Game 3 by some QB named Tom Brady … Pats ended the year at 11-5 AND WON THE SUPER BOWL. The rest is history as everyone knows … Belicheck has never had a losing season since that first year with the Pats. And amazingly he STILL has the same QB. I wonder what his record would’ve been if he’d stuck it out with Bledsoe.

  13. Todd Says:


    “Nah, I can win with that because I can correct this, this and this.“


    Yours was a GREAT post. Really appreciate your reasoned points. Post more…PLEASE! Other than @DefenseRules, you are now my favorite contributor!

    Our team is now being led by professional adults, not Peter Principled dolts. COACHING is the primary reason we’ve sucked for over a decade. Toss the GM’s in there too.

    We WILL go 10-6 this year and make the playoffs. Hell, I’m betting $100 in Vegas we’re going to win the Super Bowl. (Now it’s VERY fair for @joe to belly laugh over me burning $100… it what else should I do with that money? Buy Ira a dozen beet salads?!).

  14. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I agree that BA is not on the hot seat……the one exception would be the development of Winston….I think he is on a different timetable with Winston than he is with the overall team improvement.
    Sure, Bucs could franchise Winston if they are unsure….but what sort of statement is that making…..and if you can’t give him a longer term contract, do you draft a QB in 2020?
    I think it would be unlikely that if we have an improved Winston that we wouldn’t have an improved W-L record.

  15. Defense Rules Says:

    BTW Joe, forgot to add … Drew Bledsoe was the #1 pick in the 1993 draft by the Pats (after they went 2-14 in 1992). Big pocket passer (6’5″ & 238 lbs). INCONSISTENT with the Pats from 1993-2001. In 1994 he threw 27 INTs & fumbled 9 times … but threw for over 4,500 yards that same year. In another year, 1999, he was sacked 55 times for a 9.3 sack% … WOW. In his 9 yrs with New England he about broke even, 98-95 W-L record, but it was a roller-coaster ride. Pretty much the same thing in his 5 yrs with Buffalo & Dallas after that. Very talented, but inconsistent … even with 3 strong HCs in Parcells, Carroll & Belicheck.

    Lots of similarities to Jameis IMO. Similar size (6’4″ & 231 lbs), primarily a pocket passer, #1 pick in the 2015 draft (after Bucs went 2-14 in 2014). Bledsoe wasn’t a bad QB by any stretch of the imagination; he just couldn’t ‘carry a team on his shoulders’ like Brady has shown that he can. Here’s hoping that Jameis takes more after Tom Brady from this point forward than he does Drew Bledsoe.

  16. The Buc Realist Says:

    What happened to all the “no excuses”?????? Where is the “hold them accountable”????? What happened to the “I think we have the core here to win quickly,” Arians said????????? The “EXCUSES” are starting to come out already!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    But here is the TRUTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    These coaches and front office got exactly the roster they wanted to get!!!!!!!! Is anyone trying to suggest that ole stale biscuit did not know the D-line was old and overpriced??????? They could have done any number of moves in free-agency or the draft, and they did exactly what they wanted!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO EXCUSES!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And it does not matter how they were the most injured defense last year, or how JPP slapped around she-mc for the crown!!!!!!!!!! They can pick thru all the garbage and dumpster dive through all the cut-down days and call those rejects the heart and soul of toilet Bolwes’s defense!!!!!!!!!

    How long????? Not Long!!!!!!!!! Because what you reap!!!!! Is what you SOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2019 will reveal answers to the sheep, that the “real” fans already know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    GO Bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Alanbucsfan Says:

    It was a different era, but rookies have taken a team to Super Bowl in the past…


  18. Pickgrin Says:

    Bucs don’t have a talented roster eh?

    Bruce Arians says thats a bunch of BULLSPIT! (Big Dog nod) – and so do I

  19. Bucsfanman Says:

    Defense Rules- I agree. The expectations, above all, should be a better product ON the field. I believe we have the right coach in place to turn this thing around.
    Interesting comparison to Bledsoe, BTW. I think you hit the nail on the head! “Ultra-talented but highly inconsistent” sure does sound familiar!

  20. Bucnjim Says:

    We won’t know crap about THIS team until week one. The Bucs running game or lack of has been a failure obviously but the answer why has a lot to do with a DECADE of slow starts. Once you are down by more than a touchdown (which has happened a lot) the running game has to be limited or completely set aside in order to have any chance of coming back from those deficits. I’m looking forward to a team that comes out swinging and takes early leads or at least keeps games close.

  21. Bucsfanman Says:

    Pickgrin- As a Bucs fan, I dare say that most of us wouldn’t know what a “talented roster” looks like in the first place! LOL!
    What we have today is something different. There’s been a lot of kvetching over the draft and FA moves but there is a plan. People that fell asleep after we skipped ‘player X’ or ‘player Y’ missed the fact that we got really, really fast on defense. We stocked up on players and positions that needed to be addressed. Fans didn’t ‘love’ the picks because they weren’t who WE wanted. Well, I’d ask how that has worked out for us over the years?!
    Now, about that GM…..

  22. '79 Defense Says:

    How could Arians ever feel the heat here? Seriously, it’s not like he has a career ahead of him after this stop. Even if he did a Leeman Bennett (back to back 2-14 seasons and then done), then he leaves as a 70 year old man, maybe back into TV or anything else that he wants to do.

    I suppose the only ‘heat” he might feel is from within- as in the need to leave this final stop with solid results and not have it be an embarrassing mark on his resume.

    Longtime fans know the odds are against him. Good luck, Bruce.

  23. topcoach_78 Says:

    It’s a Bucs life! #sadface

  24. AlteredEgo Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    Talent > coaching %90 of the time….thin and questionable roster….injuries have not even appeared….without addressing the trenches in a serious way this team is relying on coaching to some how make a difference in the end of the year W-L showing…..as I said Talent > Coaching

  25. The Buc Realist Says:

    So the roster stinks, and it does not matter who the coaches are????? Are you going to file this under ” What The Buc Realist told everyone last year”???????????

    OMG!!!!!!! ITs the much requested!!!!!!!! Much loved!!!!!!!! “Realist Repost”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The Buc Realist Says:
    August 30th, 2018 at 4:47 pm
    The “real” fans keep hearing the local media say how talented this team is!!!! Then they only compare the current roster to past Buc rosters!!!!!!!!!!

    When are we going to hear how the Buc’s roster stacks up against the other teams in the NFC South’s roster!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    years as a Buc

    curry- 0
    MJ- 0

    Looks like a lot of new guys!!!!!!!! Hard to say that NFL GM licht did his job and the coaches ” screwed him over”!!!!!!!! If you do not agree with the “real” fans, then you don’t agree with the Buc’s GM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    #trust the coaches!!!!! Fix the “real” problem, the roster!!!!!!!!!!!

    GO Bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    TampaBayBucsFan – Jameis has led the team to 7 or 8 fourth quarter comebacks only to watch as the defense let the other team march down the field and score. While JW hasn’t been perfect, the team would have had a much better record if he had even a mediocre defense that was able to make an occasional stop. All of the guys that hate him will ignore all that and just blame one guy for the losses. This team is going to suck next year but I for one will not blame JW if he is playing well but the team loses because of the lack of talent on defense.

  27. Chris Simms 2020 GM Says:

    Another excuse for mediocrity is the crazy schedule. It’s a disaster waiting to happen.

    I don’t think I can stand another year of this Gumpster Fire.

  28. Ndog Says:

    So many of you are going to look so ridiculous this year when this team is so much better under a real coaching staff. Especially the ALWAYS negative Joe.

  29. Todd Says:


    Please DON’T stand another year. Be fine already you negative POS!

  30. Todd Says:


  31. Tampabaybucfan Says:


    Don’t hate Winston at all…..for years, I have been saying “give him a running game and an average defense and he will win games”

    All I am saying is that BA has a different timetable for improving Winston than he does with the rest of the team…..mainly because there is a question about a long-term contract that will come up this year.

  32. rrsrq Says:

    JoeBucs is one of my most favorite reading websites all things Bucs even when I am confused when things like blaming Leftwich for the Rosen experiment (a completely different coaching staff came in and preferred a different style QB in Murray) or saying the defense got better after Kwon got hurt, even though they replaced the defensive coordinator at the same time or that it is true that the team may lose 20+ sacks without JPP/GMC but do we even know how effective they would be with a new scheme. We all believe that coaching was deplorable (even Skip Bayless said it the year of “hard knocks” but we dismissed it. Most have hope that it was the coaching and the new staff will make a difference. This team may not have that superstar, but if they play together, play physical, play fast and smart which has cost us past games, there will be improvements. I’m hoping they all come in with a chip on their shoulder and something to prove…, somebody needs to say like Sapp told Brooks, this **** stops now

  33. Succaneers Says:

    you people have way free time on your hands then to post about football in May, LMAO Get hobby, a life, meet a girl, I know that is prob hard for some of you hermits but their is a great big world out there, go explore

  34. Todd Says:


    During your downtime (I presume you won’t return and post until September), will you be going to summer school? If you are, I say, “Good for you!”

    They’ll teach you to capitalize sentences and end them with a period or an exclamation point…if, of course, you don’t want to continue to come across as an uneducated illiterate.

    So I applaud you if indeed you put in the class time.

    I imagine it’s not been easy being raised by your mom (you know, your dad’s sister) without any focus on education. I get it. Happens sometimes.

    But YOU CAN DO IT!

    See you back in September.

  35. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    @ Todd

    Anyone with a moniker like “Succanners” deserves whatever they get on this site…..Bravo!!!

  36. ROFOBuc Says:

    It’s May. No one knows what is going to happen, especially the so called ‘experts’. The roster will be changing throughout the Summer so making any predictions now on what will happen this coming season is a waste of time.

  37. Oneyed buc Says:

    The more I look into our new coaches track record the more I’ve become a skeptic. One example, Todd Bowles defensive coordinator, his Jets defensive finished 25th last year 2 ahead of the bucs. Keeping in mind with JPP and Mccoy may both be gone I do not see a very good defense at all. You have David, Vita and White and that’s about it. This means the bucs will be playing from behind most of the time. Jameis playing from behind all the time is not good and a recipe for disaster. Any quarterback is going to make mistakes when playing from behind.

  38. Bucsfanman Says:

    Buccaneers- you’re the reason I am lobbying Congress to do away with crosswalks during summer school. Call it “Darwinism” !

  39. Alvin Scissors Harper Says:

    I certainly wouldn’t run off Arians after a 4-12 season, as long as he realizes Jay Miss is not the answer.