“This Organization Can’t Find It With GPS”

November 6th, 2019

Ira’s award-winning column pops three times a week. Click through here to shop now at BillCurrieFord.com.


The song remains the same.

Different coaching staff, same story. Different players, same story.

Different expectations, same story.

Need proof? Remember this post-game comment?

“I’m really, really proud of the way we battled. We overcame a lot, but we still can’t quite make enough plays to win.”

That sounds like Bruce Arians a few days ago, but it’s not. Those words of wisdom came from Dirk Koetter in December, 2017 after a 24-21 loss to Atlanta on Monday Night Football dropped the Bucs to 4-10.

At 2-6, these current Bucs can hardly expect an enthusiastic welcome home Sunday against the Cardinals. There has been too much polluted water under the bridge.

Tampa Bay’s past is haunting the franchise. This will be a 12th consecutive season without playoff football in a league that prides itself on upward mobility.

The Bucs haven’t gotten the message. No wonder apathy reigns supreme across a dwindling fan base. Thirty losses in the past 43 games will sap anyone’s support and test anyone’s loyalty.

This has been going on for far too long. Some Buc supporters are suggesting this season is all about providing a springboard for 2020, preferring to give this young team a pass.

Nonsense. You think Arians took this job figuring the 2019 season is a pre-test?

“We’re close, but close doesn’t count in this league. I think we’ve got the guys and the coaches to get through this, but we’re definitely being tested right now.”

Sounds like Lavonte David after the setback in Seattle, right?

Try Mason Foster in 2014, after a 19-13 loss to Minnesota plunged the Bucs to 1-6 during Lovie Smith’s initial season on the sidelines.

The Primary Culprit

However you want to describe the winning edge, this organization can’t find it with GPS. Meanwhile, the Buffalo Bills are closing in on their second playoff berth in the past three seasons.

Fortunes can change quickly in this league. Just ask the fans of John Lynch’s 49ers, the NFL’s only unbeaten club.

This is getting embarrassing. The Doug Williams curse covered 14 consecutive years of losing football. That hasn’t happened before or since in a league that is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

This putrid run isn’t much better.

Ira Kaufman points a finger at Bucs general managers of the past 11 seasons, Mark Dominik (left) and Jason Licht (right).

If the Falcons weren’t so wretched, the Bucs would be sitting in the NFC South basement for the eighth time in nine years. All this from a franchise that won its division three times in the first six years of re-alignment.

What happened?

MRSA, a revolving door of coaches, erratic quarterback play, poor clock management — name your poison.

My primary culprit has inflicted the most damage, by far: lousy drafting.

You can’t overcome so many blunders, covering so many seasons. That’s how you go 12 years without meaningful games in January. That’s how you break the hearts of Buc Nation.

If you don’t draft well over an extended period, you can’t compete.

You try to make up for your mistakes in free agency, where you are bound to overpay. It’s a vicious cycle and it shows no sign of abatement here in Tampa.

Yes, the Bucs have some very good football players, but not enough of ’em. Other teams have more. Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, JPP and David can play for any club in this league. It’s not enough. The rest of the roster isn’t good enough.

A play here or a play there and the whole narrative changes. How many times have Buc fans heard that sad refrain? The problem is the play here or there rarely comes from the guys in pewter.

Play It Again

The Bucs showed a lot of fortitude against the Seahawks. They matched Seattle’s physicality, no easy task on the road, and made their share of plays. The Seahawks made more, so now Tampa Bay has already matched the number of losses Arians endured in his first season in the desert.

And here comes Arizona to remind Arians of the good times, when he was lauded as one of the NFL’s best coaches. He thought he could change a losing culture in a hurry at One Buc Place, but he thought wrong.

So here we find ourselves in early November, with Buc fans already breaking down the 2020 draft. That’s the way of the world around these parts because the song remains the same.

Can’t your hear it?

A funeral dirge.

Ira Kaufman launched his professional NFL coverage in 1979, back when Earl Campbell was the toast of the league and Lee Roy Selmon was defensive player of the year. After a lifetime at The Tampa Tribune, “The Sage of Tampa Bay Sports” joined JoeBucsFan.com in July of 2016. His twice-weekly podcast and three columns per week appear here year-round and are presented by Bill Currie Ford. Tampa Bay’s only Hall of Fame voter is a regular on SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio and a part of the FOX-13 Tailgate Sunday show, in addition to his other appearances. You can hang out with Ira during every Bucs road games at Buffalo Wild Wings. His schedule is linked here.

52 Responses to ““This Organization Can’t Find It With GPS””

  1. Sirclicksalot Says:

    Say it ain’t so.

  2. MadMax Says:

    We find ways to lose….cant help it

    Draft whoever, get this coach whoever, sign this FA whoever….at the end of the day, we lose.

    Here and now is our chance to win at something though, the draft! Burrow @#4 or move up to get him.

  3. BuccYa Says:

    I would love to sit down with HC’s of this team for the past decade and ask them all the same question. “What’s wrong in Tampa?” I feel there’s consensus answer they would have. Of course I don’t have the clout and connections you do Ira.

  4. Bucfan1988 Says:

    Yeah Burrow is quite impressive…
    His pocket presence & poise are apparent.
    Watching him play this season, I swear he moves like Tom Brady 2.0 but he’s a much better athlete though.

    This kid could be a star in the making…

  5. DB55 Says:

    the Buffalo Bills are closing in on their second playoff berth in the past three seasons.
    So you guys want to claim that Josh Allen with his 10 TDs and 10 TOs is a better QB than the GREATEST QUARTERBACK IN THE HISTORY OF THE BUCCANEERS AND the QB with the 5th most TDs and 7th most yards in the NFL?

    What does Buffalo have that TB doesn’t? A running game and a defense that doesn’t give up 30+ ppg?

    Top 5 in TDs
    Top 7 in yards
    2 Top 10 receivers in yards and TDs

    The Bucs top RB Jones is ranked 30th and Barber 45th in the league
    The Bucs def ranked 31st in points allowed behind MIA who literally traded away all their talent.

    Oh yea TOs!!! The Bucs have a -16 TO differential and the eagles have a -14 TO differential, guess who is in first place in their division? Not the Bucs.

    This is not opinion, this is 100% Joe Friday.

  6. Jonathan Limpchimpi Says:

    Boy that picture of the garbage GMs the Bucs have trotted out for over a decade leaves a mark ( dominik ). Licht Weight with his moobs and boiler under a Hefty bag. Pathetic…

  7. DB55 Says:

    Today I was talking to a jameis hater who obviously can only talk about “but he turns the ball over so much”. So I tell him about Phillys turnover differential vs the Bucs and their first place standing. This dude asks me what’s a turnover differential? At which point I shook my head and walked away.

    Most these critics have zero clue, never played any sports yet want to scream at the top of their lungs bc they have no facts.

    As of last week Jimmy G had a 1:1 TD/TO ratio and they’re undefeated! WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!!!

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

    Need a Quarterback…simple as that…everyone needs to pull their collective heads out of the sand and face reality !…Yes it needs to happen again !

  9. Brown813 Says:

    I like Ira at times. Get rid of Winston! Let’s draft an unknown commodity and sign someone else trash as a bridge when. Beginning to think they pick topics that will get the fan base riled up. They don’t care if it’s accurate, it’s about clicks. Will not waste my time pointing out the obvious.

  10. Defense Rules Says:

    Oh Sage, you’ve gone over to the Dark Side. The Legion of Doom at JBF Headquarters has gotten to you. Lines like ‘there has been too much polluted water under the bridge’ tell me that you’ve lost all HOPE. Say hello to Joe & tmaxcon under that bridge for me.

    Bucs have been here before as you well know. Bucs had a winning season in 1982 when I first started following them (they went 5-4 in a shortened season), BUT … then lost for 13 straight seasons. But then NEW OWNER Malcolm Glazer, on GM Rich McKay’s advice, hired Tony Dungy as his new HC in 1996. And Tony rewarded their confidence in him with yet another losing season, 6-10 in 1996, an even worse record than they’d finished with in 1995 (7-9) under HC Sam Wyche.

    Despite the inaugural losing season, that team went on to 4 winning seasons & 1 break-even season in 5 more years under Tony. But it couldn’t get past the Eagles (twice) in WC playoff games, and Malcolm made what must’ve been a very tough (and very costly) decision to replace defense-minded Tony Dungy with offense-focused Jon Gruden. And Chucky rewarded Malcolm for that decision by coaching the Bucs to our first, and only, Super Bowl win. Ironically that very same Jon Gruden was replaced as HC after the 2008 season because … he couldn’t win playoff games.

    So now we’re likely headed for our 11th straight losing season, this time under new (but old) HC Bruce Arians. Deja vu all over again? Maybe. Bucs turned it around starting in the SECOND HALF of 1996 with DEFENSE. The front end of our defense isn’t the major problem right now; just like in 1996, it’s the back end that takes the longest to gel.

    I just HOPE that these youngsters have the good sense to NOT READ JBF.com. Instead of looking for progress, all they’ll find is whining. These youngsters have TALENT. What they don’t have is EXPERIENCE, and gaining that can be costly as we’re seeing. By next year this’ll be a Top-15 defense IF we focus on it. John Lynch showed us all what can result if you make building a defense a priority. But if we continue to focus our resources on our offense (twice the cost of our defense?), we’ll continue to get the same results we’ve been getting.

    Todd Bowles saved Bruce Arians’ bacon in 2013 & 2014 with his #7 & #5 defenses, but he had a more experienced defense to build on in Arizona than he does here so it happened quicker. But it will happen because he’s an excellent defensive coach. And the Bucs’ DEFENSE will lead the return to winning ways, just like it did under Tony Dungy. Please Sage, don’t let Joe & the rest of the whiners drag you down into their Pit of Despair with them.

  11. Defense Rules Says:

    Yup, figured that’d land me in the dungeon Joe. So will this.

  12. BA Redzone Says:

    here we go, with the JW3 #BLAMEJAMEIS posters.

    JW3 Fumble, was not his fault. those 3 pts, were not on JW3. and did not cost Bucs the game.

    JW3 put up 34 PTs… Come on, give me a break! 30+Points should WIN a GAME in NFL, this league…

    Bucs D – gives up 30+ per game. JW3 has to score at least 30+ points/game, to have any chance of win.

    For all who desire a new rookie QB – get used to 10+ points per game. or less.

    JW3 is not the problem, people! Our D is the issue!!!!!

  13. D-Rome Says:

    There are three teams that haven’t played on wild card weekend since 2010. The Browns, the Bucs, and the Patriots.

    Keep choking on those W’s!

  14. Pete I Says:

    Jameis “meaningless stats” Winston America’s QB isn’t the only problem or cause of all the losing but the losing thread goes directly through his inconsistent play and 23-39 record. As it goes through many parts of this dysfunctional organization.

    But the spool of the thread are the Glazer kids, they are the one constant in all 12 years of failure. Man U fans think the same thing.

    The narrative on the Buc’s and their inconsitent turnover prone QB is already written and it will take a big effort to change them, if even possible.

    Can Bruce “lack of preparation H – I didn’t miss coaching but why not” Arians do it? Unlikely.

    Winston most meaningful stats : His next interception will be his 71st since 2015 the most in the NFL. His next lost Fumble will be his 23rd since 2015, the most in the NFL.

  15. buc up Says:

    I gave up my season tickets after 41 years. Wise move on my part. Only mistake was waiting so long to give up on the Bucs.

  16. BucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Fired Jon Gruden after he made the playoffs? Raiders look pretty good right about now. Horrible decision making at the ownership level results in horrible decision making at the GM spot. If you cant build through the draft and free agency after 12 losing seasons , then you most assuredly suck at evaluating talent and player personnel. FIRE LICHT BRAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Buc'n Enough Says:

    The only stooge missing from that photo is Moe…

  18. Joseph Mamma Says:

    Sounds like this article is suggesting we need a whole new front office at least minimally. And who can really argue otherwise at this point.

  19. donuts Says:

    Over the past 12 years, there is one commonality….the Glazers. Leadership starts at the top and trickles down in the NFL. I know there is no way to fire ownership but the Glazer family needs to do something for this town and give someone else a chance to own this franchise. They had their chance and have not done anything with it. Im tired of losing and having absent ownership. Its like adding salt to the womb.

  20. Defense Rules Says:

    BucsFanSince1976 … Chucky has the Raiders at 4-4 right now, which is a lot nicer than being 2-6 like the Bucs are I agree. And what’s amazing to me is that the Oakland offense has only scored 182 points in 8 games … not even 23 PPG. Surely it must be their defense that’s turned the tide. Oh wait, their defense is ranked #26 & has given up 216 points already … 27 PPG. Admittedly that’s somewhat better than our #31 defense that’s given up 252 points. Well unless you subtract the 3 Pick-6s & 1 Safety that our offense has contributed to our defense’s points total; then they’re more comparable. Something’s surely amiss here though.

    Neither defense is setting the world on fire right now, so eliminate that for starters. And our offense has scored 230 pts versus Oakland’s 182 pts; that’s a major difference IMO. They must be doing something better. Maybe they’re doing better rushing the ball. Uhhh, definitely. We’ve run it 211 times for 794 yds (3.8 YPC). Oakland’s run it 228 times for 1091 yds (4.8 YPC). That helps for sure.

    Maybe their QB is performing better. Uhhh, definitely there also. Derek Carr has completed 180 of 253 passes (71.2%) for 1984 yds & 14 TDs, with only 4 INTs (Raiders have 8 TOs total). He’s also only been sacked 9 times, roughly once a game. Jameis on the other hand has completed 182 of 307 passes (59.3%) for 2407 yds & 16 TDs, with 12 INTs (Bucs have 18 TOs total). He’s also been sacked 30 times now, almost 4 times per game average.

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that NOT turning over the football kinda helps. It also helps if your OLine can protect your QB. And oh ya, if your running game can actually RUN. But hey, in Joe’s World all you really need to know is that the Bucs’ defense sucks.

  21. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    @DB55, you keep preaching it!!! I so agree. The Bucs D is so bad, we would have to score 100 points to win a game by 1 point.

    Ira, you are ALMOST on the money with your Dominick/Licht finger pointing. When one looks at the lousy drafting of the Bucs, HOW do the Glazers give Licht a 5 year extension?!?! In what business is that ever done? When BA said to the Glazers that LIcht is a great GM and he wants Licht to have a 5 year extension, right then the Glazers should say, ‘maybe your not the coach for the Bucs’!

    This is why the Bucs are so bad; this is why the Bucs have gone thru coach after coach. The Glazers, sans Malcom, just do not have a clue.

  22. Bucnjim Says:

    It’s funny half the fans blame Winston and the other half blame the Defense. You know after looking it up it’s literally 50/50. What I mean by this is Winston has had his chances to win the game and so has the D and NEITHER has shown up. So Winston Lovers and Haters should unite in the fact that BOTH are to blame equally. The problem now though is value. Is Winston a $25 Million QB Like what we saw from Russell Wilson? No right now it’s not even close. With the Offense taking up 2/3 of the salary cap I just expect more out of this veteran group then I do the defense.

  23. Bucsfanman Says:

    Years of bad leadership and drafting, in a nutshell. I’d throw poor roster management as well. You don’t let decent football players walk out the door like Donald Penn, Aqib Talib, LeGarrette Blount, Michael Bennett, and Bradley McDougald. Those type of players are cornerstones, players you don’t worry about when it comes time to draft. We’ve been looking for each one of those guys since they left. Think about it.

  24. Jim Says:

    Not all losses are equal. When it’s close is when winning teams really buckle down and get it done. The Bucs don’t…

  25. DBS Says:

    People have a forgetful memory about Penn. He came to camp fat and out of shape. He was also getting beaten like a base drum that year.

  26. miken Says:

    Ira hit the nail on the head… Why do we stink??? Bad drafting!
    Time to blow it all up and start over. The problem is, We got a 67 year old coach and a gm on his last leg so they won’t do it. They will franchise the qb and try again next year and the results will be simmilar.

  27. tickrdr Says:

    I believe Ronald Reagan famously said, “You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.”

    The Bucs turnover differential is -5.
    The Eagles turnover differential is -1.

    Here are the six worst teams at giveaways:
    Giants 22
    Bucs 18
    Browns 17
    Dolphins 17
    Jets 17
    Falcons 15
    Bengals 15
    ALL of these teams are at 2 – 6 or worse.

    Here are the top teams at turnover differential.
    Patriots 17
    Steelers 11
    Packers 7
    Seahawks 7
    Panthers 6
    Titans 5
    Vikings 4
    49er’s 4
    BTW, those are ALL positive differentials.
    The ONLY losing record among them belongs to the Titans at 4 – 5.

    BTW#2: So, how come the Bucs are only at -5 for their differential?
    That ‘s because our “terrible, rotten, no good” defense has generated 13 takeaways, tied for 10th BEST in the league.
    So, yeah, turnovers don’t matter at all. Right???

  28. Bucs Fan Since ‘76 (the original) Says:

    Ira is getting close. The common denominator is the Glazer family. If they won’t sell the team then at least bring in a consulting firm to perform a top down analysis of the organization and recommend changes to structure and personnel. We are not a RB, QB, OL, or CB away from being competitive. Clearly Licht has failed as a GM and needs to be replaced. If the Glazers remain in charge, however, there is a 90% chance they will make the wrong hire-again. Unless and until they look themselves in the mirror and reach that same conclusion, history will continue to repeat itself and the Gruden Curse will make the Williams curse look like a weekend holiday.

  29. Bucs Fan Since ‘76 Says:

    Ira is getting close. The common denominator is the Glazer family. If they won’t sell the team then at least bring in a consulting firm to perform a top down analysis of the organization and recommend changes to structure and personnel. We are not a RB, QB, OL, or CB away from being competitive. Clearly Licht has failed as a GM and needs to be replaced. If the Glazers remain in charge, however, there is a 90% chance they will make the wrong hire-again. Unless and until they look themselves in the mirror and reach that same conclusion, history will continue to repeat itself and the Gruden Curse will make the Williams curse look like a weekend holiday.

  30. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Bucs could easily be 4-4 or 5-3.
    The Steelers beat the Colts Sunday on a pick 6, dropped safety kick and missed fg.
    Bucs have been beating themselves with mistakes. – mostly Jameis turnovers.-Losing football.
    Focus should be on developing winning play habits.
    Let’s see if that improves 2nd half

  31. Bosch Says:

    The common denominator through all this ineptness is the owners. Yet they continue to profit handsomely off of the fans’ broken hearts. We can stop this. Why do we keep letting them do this?

  32. Buczilla Says:

    Awesome article that sums it up nicely. Licht must go yesterday in order to give some little hope for the future.

  33. Pewter power Says:

    Not sure how Winston is still getting blame for the losses but you can’t even understand how dumb you sound. Literally saying go out and draft a rookie and start him on the 2nd youngest team in the nfl yea I’m sure that will work out just fine. Look at the corners and our secondary players and people are actually surprised the pass defense is bad lol really? BA doesn’t really care what you guys are talking about, his record with the bucs is 2-6 and he has nothing to do with the last decade but go on with the comparisons if it makes you feel better. Gonna be even more upset next year when Winston is the starting quarterback. BA blaming everyone except him for most of his interceptions and your thinking Winston is gone ok

  34. Bucnjim Says:

    Pewter Power you do know there is a Salary cap right? You do also know that the offense is taking up almost 70% of that without a new Winston contract right? The offense has blown just as many games as the D and that is a simple fact.

  35. tickrdr Says:

    “Not sure how Winston is still getting blame for the losses”
    He played well in Seattle, but was clearly OUTPLAYED by a true franchise QB.

    In the two prior games:
    Panther drives started at the TAM 29, TAM36, TAM8, and TAM17 yard lines.
    Titans drives started at the TAM 10, TAM 6, and TAM 36 yard lines.
    THREE pick 6’s this year where the defense never even got a chance to get on the field!

    Boy, does our defense suck! Can’t even stop them from the 6 yard line.
    Too bad the defense couldn’t go on the field during the THREE pick 6’s.

    AKA “clueless fan”.

  36. Troy Says:

    Still love how people are on the Jameis love train. He’s got to go, along with the entire management and staff at OBP. Most of the players have to go as well. This team is not built to win.
    And for all of you saying “if Jameis only had a defense” nonsense, the Panthers and Titans games are both LOSES no matter what defense is playing. I don’t care if the 2002 Bucs D is on the field. That type of play is inexcusable from a 5 year starting QB in this league.

  37. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Tickdr and D.R.

    Great posting as always.

    When are we going to get over the legend of Jon Gruden here?

    Yes he finally got us over the hump that Tony missed for two years after that SB AGAIN…what did Gruden do?

    45-51 He got fired not for losing playoff games…although he certainly did in both attempts…but for not even making the playoffs in 4 of those six years after the SB.

    Gruden’s career record 102-97…a whopping five games over .500. Can we start dispensing with the mythology that has grown because we were thrilled to win the SB.

    Chucky got fired because it was clear according to NUMEROUS reports that he lost his players. They viewed him as two faced and untrustworthy.

  38. Mike Johnson Says:

    You’re right Ira, With all our losses in recent yrs, its a wonder we still have signs of a support base. its why I got to get snockered to watch my Bucs. I line up my shots and beers prior to kickoff and for good measure, have 2 just before kickoff to..dull my senses and pain for the upcoming loss! So here we go again. Ok, let beats Arizona. Mind you now, This kid Murray is better than Jameis. And he has the ability to make game winning plays. Say it ain’t so? Bucs by 7.

  39. NPRSageBoy Says:

    As usual, spot on Ira.

    Peace, out

  40. DB55 Says:


    Here the link I got the information from. Full transparency my friend.


  41. Bucamania Says:

    ALWAYS starts and ends at the top. The only constant is the clueless Glazer boys.

  42. 813bucboi Says:


    even with a defense, JW would still be a TO machine….lol….

    he’d still give the opposing teams extra possessions….

    but yeah, lets resign or franchise him…wtfdik…..lol….

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  43. D-Rome Says:

    People have a forgetful memory about Penn. He came to camp fat and out of shape. He was also getting beaten like a base drum that year.

    It wasn’t only Penn. That entire offensive line was overpaid and they under performed. Lovie Smith was right to blow it up.

  44. Buc1987 Says:

    Ira…you’re correct.

    The draft.

    The Bucs have missed on so many HIGH picks.

    From Dom to now Licht. Someone should put together a list.

    Go Bucs! (where I have no idea)

  45. Bucsfanman Says:

    Penn was the modern-day Donovan Smith. Only on gameday, comparatively when it counted, he was a superior LT.
    Which really wasn’t my point anyway. Having Penn, a serviceable LT, negated the NEED to draft a LT or chase one in FA. Thus, freeing the team to focus on other areas. Take Penn out and it’s still mismanagement.
    And being “overpaid” is subjective. Are we not “overpaying” an entire football team?! I’d say 2-6 says so!

  46. tickrdr Says:


    Sorry to say, but when I clicked your link, you are absolutely correct about the Bucs and Eagles #’s.

    But when I clicked your link, it ALSO said the year for those numbers was 2011.


  47. Mister Negative Nancy Says:

    If you are going to sell your soul to bring in scumbags like Jerramy Stevens, Winston, and Ndamkong Suh, you BETTER be winning. They can’t even get that right.

  48. DB55 Says:


    Fml, well I’ve never called you dumb. Lol

  49. DB55 Says:

    Chargers at -3 are 4-5. 🤷🏽‍♂️

  50. Crack3rK Says:

    Alas…if the Bucs only gave up 19 points per game…

    “Try Mason Foster in 2014, after a 19-13 loss to Minnesota…”

  51. tickrdr Says:

    It’s all good, and I am NOT calling you dumb!


  52. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Ira has given up like a bunch of other people.

    I haven’t!