The Optimist’s Guide To The Postseason

May 6th, 2019


When you wish upon a star …

It’s the beginning of May, rookie mini-camp is dead ahead, and Buc fans are entitled to dream a little dream. They have the right to assume the best for the roster taking shape at One Buc Place under Bruce Arians and a staff of thousands working behind the scenes.

They have stood by this forlorn franchise long enough to earn the right to play the “what if” game. The rules are simple: Whip up a bunch of positive scenarios for the 2019 Bucs, knowing you can’t always get what you want.

Start with the guy under center. He goes by the name of Jameis Lanaed Winston, but that name is mud in certain scattered parts of the Bay area.

Suppose the quarterback whisperer breathes sweet nothings into Winston’s ear and gets him to the next level?

That’s not far-fetched. Yes, Winston has thrown 58 interceptions and lost 18 fumbles as a pro, but he also averages 12.4 yards per completion, tops among all active quarterbacks.

His career average of 7.6 yards per pass attempt is tied with Drew Brees and ahead of Tom Brady and Matt Ryan.

There’s a lot to work with.

20 Hall of Fame QBs were more pick-prone than Jameis Winston

Many of Winston’s picks seem to come at the worst time, but here’s some perspective. His career interception rate of 3.0 percent seems high, until you realize it’s lower than Brett Favre, John Elway, Kurt Warner, Warren Moon, Jim Kelly, Roger Staubach, Fran Tarkenton, Dan Fouts, Bart Starr, Sonny Jurgensen, Johnny Unitas, Len Dawson, Bob Griese, Otto Graham, Terry Bradshaw, Y.A. Title, Joe Namath, Ken Stabler, Norm Van Brocklin and Bobby Layne.

That’s 20 Hall of Famers.

“Give him a running game, give him a defense and see how good he can be,” Arians says. “I think we can limit turnovers. Never get rid of them, there’s nobody that ever does it, but you can limit turnovers.”

Suppose Ronald Jones runs with some juice this fall?

That 1.9 average yards per carry as a rookie was absurd, lowest in the league for any back with at least 12 carries. That came after a preseason when he averaged less than a yard per carry.

He can’t be that bad. Work on his confidence, give him some better blocking and you just might have an effective change-of-pace option behind Peyton Barber.

“Ronald was very young,” says Jason Licht. “I don’t say immature in the sense of being a problem, just young, getting into the league at 20 years old. Lot of expectations on him. A lot of times throughout the preseason, it just seemed like every time we handed him the ball, there was somebody in the backfield. “Nobody’s given up on Ronald Jones. I expect Ronald Jones to have a big jump this year.”

Suppose O.J. Howard stays healthy?

This is a big man who has averaged 16.6 yards per catch in each of his first two NFL seasons. That’s a very good number for a speedy wide receiver and an extraordinary number for a tight end.

Howard’s problem has been staying on the field long enough to develop more of a rapport with Winston. He was targeted only 48 times all of last season, when his average of 11.8 yards per target ranked second in the NFL to Seattle wide receiver Tyler Lockett.

Travis Kelce was targeted 150 times. There were 136 footballs flung in the direction of George Kittle. If Howard gets 100 targets this fall, he’d be a good bet to reach the 1,000-yard mark.

Suppose Devin White is the real deal?

At least one Buc observer in the local media has White already ticketed for a bust in Canton. Slow down. How about some consideration for the Pro Bowl? That would be a big win for Tampa Bay.

If White registers 100 tackles, 4 sacks, 2 picks and a couple of forced fumbles, no Buc fan would complain about bypassing Josh Allen or Ed Oliver.

Suppose Mike Edwards makes an impact as a third-round defensive back? The 99th overall pick has an opportunity to win the job at slot corner or safety and showcase his skills in run support and as an effective blitzer.

Edwards has already made a strong impression on the coaching staff with his understanding of defensive schemes.

“The game comes easy to me,” Edwards says. “I’ve been playing football for a long time. I study the game and I love the game. It all just comes natural to me. I really love the game and I take pride in
how I play.”

This playoff drought has to end sometime.

“I’ve seen this town light up for football,” says quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen, a former member of Tony Dungy’s staff in Tampa. “I’ve seen that stadium light up and I’ve seen some big games in that stadium. We’re going to do it again. It’s pretty neat stuff to be a part of that.”

Derrick Brooks Explains He Was “Surprised” By Bucs Draft; That & More On A New TAMPA TWO!

Sage columnist Ira Kaufman joins Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks on this new TAMPA TWO presented by Caldeco Air Conditioning and Heating.

In a classic exchange, Brooks says, “I’m just going to keep my mouth shut about that pick.” Great stuff from The Identity Tampa Bay and JoeBucsFan. Enjoy!!

21 Responses to “The Optimist’s Guide To The Postseason”

  1. NOSBOS Says:

    Then we’ll be 95 southin it come the first of 2020. And we’ll be winning that b$&@.

  2. D-Rome Says:

    C’mon Ira! You can’t compare the era Jay-Miss is playing in to previous eras. The rules and the way the game is played are very different than when those 20 hall of famers played.

    Jay-Miss never has been a top 10 players and he’ll never be a Hall of Famer.

  3. NOSBOS Says:

    “Give him a defense and a running game”. BA easily see peep the problem. This will be some of yoots last offseason talking ish bout #3.

  4. DB55 Says:

    His career average of 7.6 yards per pass attempt is tied with Drew Brees and ahead of Tom Brady and Matt Ryan.
    Does this mean is he NOT the 4th best QB in the division. Oddly all these guys have a running game and defense to rely on. Hmmm

  5. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Agree with all your “what ifs” Ira and they’re not that far fetched.

    Obviously JW is the major “what if” but I think you left out an important “what if”. What if our kicker is the real deal. What if he wins a couple of games with FG’s of over 50 yards late in the game?

    That could be the difference between 8-8 and 10-6 and the playoffs.

  6. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I have even lower expectations that may lead to some of these successes….

    Watford, Cappa, Benenoch…….just one of them breaking out would help.
    Nassib continuing to improve……and one of the three CBs…..Davis, Bunting, Dean….being effective…

    And the number one hope Beckwith returns…..and we have few injuries.

  7. tmaxcon Says:

    optimism for a buc fan simply translates to delusional optimist. glazers have not even attempted to filed a competitive product so to hope or think otherwise is pure delusions.

    And the number one hope Beckwith returns…..and we have few injuries.

    lol, absolutely delusional to think that an unproven lb and yes he is UNPROVEN a few good plays during one season does not make him a proven nfl player. potential maybe but proven not by any definition of the word. but a unproven lb that has not played in a year is going to save the day for one of the worst defensive units in NFL HISTORY… this is why bucfans are the laughing stock of the league just like the franchise. NOT A SINGLE DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR IN THE LEAGUE HAS LOST ONE WINK OF SLEEP OVER BECKWITH…. he has not played in over a year and never was established in the first place but he is the answer to woes the worst franchise on earth…. lol this is why no one can take bucs serious statements like that. keep in mind beckwith was also on the field while cancer93 and his girls were setting WORST of NFL records not for the season but the in the HISTORY of nfl.

  8. Defense Rules Says:

    Ira, I’m excited to see you playing Yes-We-Can Cop to Joe’s Whiny Cop. I was beginning to think that everyone at JoeBucsFan had already transitioned to JoeBucsManic. I was particularly impressed that you included Mike Edwards in the Gang of Five. I’m thinking that he may very well be the true ‘diamond in the rough’ in this whole Bucs’ draft class.

    TBBF … Good insight on additional guys who will help IF just a couple of them ‘break out’ this year. Personally I’m not hanging any hopes on Beckwith returning, but I’d love for him to make it back. Davis, Bunting & yes, Dean, will all contribute significantly I’m convinced. I’m just not sure how fast that’ll happen (this is a new system to them & it appears to be very demanding of the Secondary … in our case).

  9. Terrell1 Says:

    You guys piss me off! When they go out and spend tons of money in FA you ding em, when they don’t have money and don’t win in FA you ding em… WTF!!

    The draft is the draft, stop complaining about the fact that a Pass rusher or RB wasn’t selected, let it play out. Please offer some insight from meeting with coaches and being at the facility that’s valuable.

  10. Lord Cornelius Says:

    My semi-realistic hope for this season. #1 & #2 being the biggest keys to 2019 IMO:

    1. Our O-line is average or better in both pass pro and run blocking which leads to Winston’s best year + an at least average run game again. RG/RT are not the sieve we are worried about, as either Cappa or Warford holds down RG well, and Dotson gives us one more good year and/or Benecoch or Liedke or whoever step up.

    2. Our secondary goes from worst in the NFL to average or better. We don’t even need everyone to pan out for this to happen. At corner we need 2 outside CBs to emerge from VHIII/Davis/Bunting/Dean. At nickle/S we need 2 starters to emerge out of Stewart/Whitehead/Edwards/Evans. The rest are improved depth over the last few years.

    3. Our special teams go from worst in the league to average/adequate. FG kicker is in the top 15 of kickers. We cover our punts/kicks better and actually flip the field a few times or score with a legit return guy.

    4. Our front 7 pass rush is adequate under the new scheme, and guys like JPP/Vea/etc mostly stay healthy.

    God help us


  11. Pickgrin Says:

    Its our time of year! The offseason – where hope springs eternal. LOL

    Yea – Hopefully Bruce and Co. have the answers to turn this thing around and make football in Tampa Bay FUN again… Its been way too long since all the Buccaneers long suffering fans were actually able to walk out of RayJay feeling great about their team….

  12. NOSBOS Says:

    So Mike Edwards killin the whiteboard huh,great find Jason Licht and outstanding 3rd round selection especially considering how highly his former teammates speak of him.

  13. NOSBOS Says:

    Couple his football talent with his clear understanding of NFL defenses I think it’s safe to pencil inn Mike Edwards as day 1 starter. That makes at least 3 in my mind from this class with a strong potential of 2 more. Bunting and Dean merely have to not look like deer in the headlights and you can include them too. This will go down as Jason Lichts best draft class. Bank on it.

  14. NOSBOS Says:

    This Mike Edwards news is fantastic man. Todd Bowles said he also want a QB in the secondary. Mike already being able to conceptualize this defense put him ahead of the curve. He’ll play fast week 1 with less thinking.

  15. NOSBOS Says:

    Jsonn Licht saying M.J Stewart the first day of the combine was a ploy to hide Mike Edwards. M.J another potential starter is perfectly suited for this schemes nickle. If you watch his NC highlights you clearly see the next physicality and blitzing they say they want out of this schemes nickle.

  16. NPRSageBoy Says:

    Did they legalize cannabis in Tampa? That scenario The Sage outlined sure sounds like a pipe dream…..

  17. Steven007 Says:

    Trollmax, are you off your meds? What’s with the long screed about Beckwith? He was not mentioned even one time in Ira’s article. But then neither was GMC so what’s new? As I predicted earlier today, clearly you cashed your social security check and hit the liquor store. Seemingly finishing one bottle already. Carry on.

  18. Billy_43 Says:

    @ Steven a poster mentioned Beckwith not IRA.
    @ D Rome, real poetic considering you could draw a name out of a hat and have a 98% chance of them not making the Hall of Fame.

    I love ALL the posts but especially the optimistic ones.
    Remember we are 2 years removed from 9-7 and a lot better with competent coaching.

    “Don’t tell me what they CANT do, tell me what they can do and build around that”.

    Applies to 2/3 of the Bucs team.

  19. NOSBOS Says:

    What you said Billy.

  20. RODNEY ALLEN Says:

    StPete no doubt bro if he is the answer to our kick woes our oline improves that means better running n less pressure on JW Then theres a good chance we become relevant again

  21. RODNEY ALLEN Says:

    I get not getting ur Hope’s up as a bucs fan I really do but d@mn tmax realist n a few others remind me of Oscar The Grouch 🤦‍♂️🤷‍♂️😏😂💯