The Culture-Changer

December 15th, 2019

Joe must hand it to Bucco Bruce Arians.

The guy managed to walk into one of the worst-performing organizations in professional sports history and spray some damn good air freshener on the stench of losing.

Yeah, the stink is still lingers. The Bucs (7-7) got off to such a horrendous start to this season that fans never got to see the team perform in truly high-pressure, post-Thanksgiving situations. But, man, Joe will not hesitate to type that Arians has changed the culture.

Things aren’t what they used to be around here when Team Glazer dropped a bag of loot in Arians’ lap 11 months ago.

The head coach managed to dismiss a bag full of dead-weight players and lead the team to an improbable second-half turnaround that shows the team believes in its coaches. It’s a unified group.

No, it’s not perfect, and Arians and friends made critical screw-ups in personnel decisions before and during this season. And some of those possibly cost the Bucs a playoff berth. But Joe’s going to give Arians the benefit of the doubt overall.

The Bucs look a lot better and it all just feels a lot better.

There’s also lots of salary cap flexibility to get things right in the offseason before the annual gamble that is the NFL Draft, something Arians hasn’t been very good at through his head-coaching career.

Joe thought Arians might have lost his fastball after bad decision-making at the close of games in Weeks 2 and 3. But hey, maybe Arians needed to shake off coaching rust and get a better feel for his club.

The Bucs’ 2019 Super Bowl is Saturday against the Texans in Tampa. It’s set up perfectly. In comes Houston with a 9-5 record and in need of a victory in a nationally televised game with the Bucs on a four-game winning streak.

 Yeah, you can compete and lose the Super Bowl and still have a solid season.

Joe just hopes Arians finds a way to get his team to peak Saturday and let everyone at the Den of Depression leave with the feeling the Bucs laid it on the line for every snap. Win or lose, Joe has a good feeling that will happen if Arians has truly changed the culture as much as Joe thinks he has.

45 Responses to “The Culture-Changer”

  1. Tbbucs3 Says:

    Season Position Grades

    QB= B-
    RB= D
    OL= C-
    WR= A
    TE= D

    DL= C+
    LB= C+
    DB= D-

    GM= D
    Coaching= C+

    Gotta clean up our weak links and we’ll be fine.

  2. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Agreed. We need our team leaders back for next year (Shaq, JPP, Jameis, etc.) but I think all of them want to play in Tampa.

  3. westernbuc Says:

    Great, let’s beat a playoff team

  4. 541BucsFan Says:

    Five in a row will be tough without Evans and Godwin, but I believe it may be possible with the new desire to win. I wouldn’t have thought that in a long time.

    Arians deserves a lot of credit but so do Lavonte David, Davin White, Ali Marpet and the other vocal leaders of the team.

    Kudos to the team. Hopefully we can carry this over to next season.

  5. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Better than playing for the draft…..wouldn’t you agree, Joe?
    It’s a great question. What gets lost in the shuffle is that Joe doesn’t say roll over and try to lose. Joe writes about making hard decisions to get guys playing time because you care more about development than winning. Those are two different things. When the whistle blows, Joe wants effort and a victory, but yeah, Joe likes the idea of taking the approach of playing to develop when the season is lost. When the draft rolls around, nobody cares that you went 8-8 or 9-7, they care about making the team better. –Joe

  6. DB55 Says:

    Stats don’t matter, the only thing that matters is WINS unless it’s 4 wins in a row against sub .500 teams then that doesn’t count either!!!! – JayMiss Haters

  7. Ghost of Darrell Henderson Says:

    To all of the loyal Buc fans who bet against the Vegas Bookmakers who thought the Bucs could not surpass 6.5 wins for the season.


    You can cash your winning tickets now!

  8. Buccfan37 Says:

    Bucs will make an even keel fan out of you lickity split.

  9. ElioT Says:

    That comment by one of the Joes (we all know who) is just hilarious.

    You get lost in the shuffle dude!

    Seems to me that the Bucs are developing a good portion of this roster that was overturned this past year as well as letting some veteran players work through the adversity.

    Oh and they’re winning at the same time.

    Am I wrong?

    What players would Joe like to see developed, who would be more important that doing EVERYTHING POSSIBLE to establish winning culture?

    Who do you want to see developed?

    Develop Ryan Griffiin vs. Jameis setting records (while winning) and learning how to work without Evans, Godwin or a Running Game?

    Do you read what you write?

  10. Defense Rules Says:

    Solid win today, although I admittedly did get a bit concerned when the Lions closed it to 24-17 with plenty of time left & the Bucs seemingly doing their best turtle impression. But the defense shut ’em down after that, and the Pick-6 & 3rd TD to Perriman provided some needed breathing room. That’s what good teams do though, they don’t let their opponents claw their way back in. Bucs got it done when they needed to git er done.

    Offense has actually been quite consistent all season when it comes to scoring … 28.8 PPG scored for the 1st 8 games, and now 31.0 PPG for these last 6 games. It’s the defense that’s really made major strides lately … 31.5 PPG allowed for the 1st 8 games, and now 24.3 PPG allowed for these last 6 games. That despite the fact that giveaways/game actually INCREASED from 2.25 average per game in the 1st 8 games to 2.5 for these last 6 games. Leads me to believe that this defense has really come into its own in this 2nd half of the season, thanks largely I think to our Secondary maturing AND to an improved pass rush. Bodes well for the future PROVIDING we can keep the defensive ‘gang’ together & improve in a couple of areas. Kudos to Todd Bowles & his coaching staff.

  11. Buczilla Says:

    I have confidence in Arians again and a 4 game winning streak is not easy to do in the NFL even if it came against 3 sorry teams and one average team. The Texans are a good (not great) team and I’m excited as hell to see how we do against them. Next week would be the time for Jameis to lay an egg, so we’ll get a better idea if he is truly turning the corner (I can’t believe I just typed that, but facts are facts and he is making less misakes).

  12. ElioT Says:

    “You’re either playing for the playoffs or the draft!”

    Says a loser who has never been part of a winning organization, yet alone one which revolves around the physical and mental toughness it takes in a contact sport at the highest level.

  13. LuxuryLuggageDelivery4Less Says:

    I think the best thing he did was releasr VHIII. He seemed to have deeloped a sense of entitlement. It set an example that if a 1st rounder can get cut, anyone can get cut. AND!!!! It gave those youngry DB’s more playing time.

  14. Dreambig Says:

    DB55 are you saying 5 out of 6 wins doesn’t matter? I respectfully disagree. Turn arounds have to start somewhere. This team is becoming impressive and fun to watch again. NFL screwed the new Bucs staff with its early schedule. I’ll take this all day long. This team feels like it has turned the corner. Better to beat less than .5oo teams than to lose to them. That in itself is different.

  15. Tampabaybucfan Says:


    I totally agree with developing players….& think we made mistakes last year with Rojo & Cappa…..perhaps you shouldn’t call it “playing for the draft”… it “development time”….

    For me, I root for other teams in front of us in the draft position to win….but always root for us to win.

  16. DaBux Says:

    Pay the good players, get rid of the bums. Trade draft picks if that’s what it takes to protect Jameis. Getting rid of that idiot VH3 was the best move of the season as our secondary turned around shortly after that move.

  17. JP_09 Says:

    You can’t deny the fact the Bucs are a fun team to watch. Yes they’re not perfect but the D flys around and the O is the most prolific in the league. This team will be in the playoffs next season!!!!

    Here’s to 9-7 finish strong, go Bucs!!

  18. Says:


    I think we are developing players whether we want to or not, with all these injuries all of a sudden.

  19. Oneilbucs Says:

    I don’t care about what team we beat. The last time I checked the lions was a NFL team.

  20. JimmyJack Says:

    Well if you gonna recgonize culture change that don’t happen if your trying to lose football games to move up draft slots.

    Then there are other pitfalls to losing on purpose that also go completely unacknowledged. So what? We bench JPP and Barrett to help us lose games? Yeah, them guys probably got incentives they trying to hit…..let alone that they care about winning.

    Them guys will tell the team to kiss there asses during free agency and go play for a team that is serious. How about other free agents? Don’t think they’ll be lining up to help this team win. Nope they will be lining up to cash checks and nothing more.

    Or how about your franchise QB. You think that guy cares about winning? Yeah we start tanking and he might be wise to say he ain’t signing and he’s holding out if they try the tag. He might just wanna get the heck out of this team that loses on purpose and is ruining his resume.

    You tank and you are playing with fire. You might just be left with nothing but losers who don’t care about winning. One rookie ain’t gonna change that either. Tanking could very well hurt the team more then help……..And it’s wrong to say otherwise without acknowledging and of the pitfalls. Doesn’t sound like a bad idea if it’s Madden and it robots but these are actually people on the team you gotta deal with…….Maybe I’m way off base but I do believe some of these guys actually care if they win or lose.

    Better yet go back in time and tell Dungy to tank in 1996 instead of building the momentum & confidence we built down the stretch that year……….I think you’d be niave to say it’s not possible Warren Sapp may have tooken great offense to that and walked out the door as soon as he could get out of here………I could quite literally make a case that tanking could have cost us a Super Bowl title.

  21. JimmyJack Says:

    ***END RANT***

  22. Jean Lafitte Says:

    How do you know if your team is getting better if it is your premise that they should be tanking for the draft? You just wrote a scathing article on Vea because he wasn’t superman in the win today. The level of exaggeration is extraordinary. Scathing? Superman? You realize this also is about Suh and their contrasting performances.–Joe Can you imagine the really negatively charged articles if we were actually tanking like you wanted to do 4 games ago? Again, tanking and playing lots of young players for development are often confused. Joe has never advocated to not play hard with what you put on the field. A good culture can handle a backup in the game to help the team as a whole down the road.–Joe

    By trying to win, it has done 3 major things,

    #1 changes the culture
    #2 saves Licht’s job
    #3 guarantees Jameis’s return

  23. TampaTown Says:

    I think announcer Matt Schlereth is good luck

  24. Says:

    Tanking does a disservice to the player’s and the fans. I hate going to games when I know we are going to lose. I don’t want to have to smack a (insert opposing team name here) fan who is gloating about beating us…

  25. JimmyJack Says:

    Jean well said and I would add a #4.

    That it gives us a real good chance to resign our own guys that we wanna keep. (JPP, Suh, Barrett, ect). Could see them wanting to move on if this franchise looked like it was heading down the toilet………Also makes the team very appealing to many perspective free agents that otherwise might not consider TB.

  26. JimmyJack Says:

    Joe I can see the difference between tanking and developing young players but you have made your case quite clear that your goal is to improve you draft position. Yes, when your season is toast. You can still be a good coach building a good culture and mix in developing players. You don’t play to lose when the whistle blows or in game-planning. Don’t you think letting Ronald Jones play on third down and get more reps overall would benefit the team down the road in its evaluation and/or decision-making. Maybe, just maybe, if that happened last year, the Bucs would have made a different decision at RB this year, or Jones would have had more to offer. One play can change a game. If Cappa and Jones got the final 3 games last year, for example, maybe the Bucs beat the Giants behind a play they combine to make. –Joe That’s only done with losing so yeah you are losing on purpose which is basically a round about form of tanking

    In the end you made it clear that your trying to lose on purpose…….unless there is some other way you can improve your draft slot without losing. I’m unaware of that.

  27. unbelievable Says:

    J0e do you know if all 3 games next week will be watchable for everyone across the country, or only if you have nfl network?
    You don’t need NFL network. MOR TV in Tampa. –Joe

  28. JP_09 Says:

    ”Again, tanking and playing lots of young players for development are often confused.“

    Lol wtf are you talking about, you play the best players on your roster every week, if not your “tanking” aka quitting. That sounds nice, but you don’t know what you have until the lights come on for some players. Players themselves will tell you that live reps late in a season go a long, long way to help their following season. –Joe
    9-7 Go Bucs

  29. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    The term “playing for the draft” is quite clear to me….it means not being concerned about wins because you get the loser’s consolation prize…..a better draft pick.

    And, since we are the second youngest team and have 4 rookies and 2 second year players on defense…..and now with injuries are giving Watson & Miller more reps…..we are automatically developing players without even trying.

  30. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Only one thing changes a losing culture……Winning…..

  31. Old Sombreo Says:

    The coaching rust is definitely shaken off. Hope we can bring back this defense next year.
    Bring the Beer Garden back this Saturday please Team Glazer.

  32. JP_09 Says:

    That sounds nice, but you don’t know what you have until the lights come on for some players. Players themselves will tell you that live reps late in a season go a long, long way to help their following season. –Joe

    Is week 6 late in the season and whom would you bench so these “young players” could play. Our entire D is fairly young minus Suh, JPP and David. What about benching Evans, Godwin, or Winston….. like most of us say “you play to win the game”

  33. ocala Says:

    I don’t think Joe’s crazy for saying the team should play for the draft(intentionally loose). However, it is my opinion that it is far more valuable for this team to learn how to play winning football than to loose games on purpose by not playing the best players.

  34. JimmyJack Says:

    Joe it’s a good point about RoJo. Getting him more touches last year would have been a good idea. Though Dirk was still playing for his job so that decision would probably have to come from over his head.

    Right now? No I don’t want him in there missing blocks. Somebody could get hurt that way. The TD to Miller probably doesn’t happen if RoJo is in instead of Barber. Winston likely takes a hard sack on that play.

  35. SB Says:

    So much arguing after a Four game win streak.
    No wonder people laugh at us as fans.

  36. Buccernutter Says:

    Establishing a mentality of not tolerating losing far outweighs drafting any single player imo. Unless you’re someone that truly believes they’ll win the lottery one day.

  37. Buccernutter Says:

    So they should be playing younger players and losing today to hopefully win with those guys later on?

    Got it 👍

  38. JohnBoy Says:

    Reminds me of the 1996 Bucs, which finished strong after an 0-5 start.

  39. T REX Says:

    No reason to scoff at 7-7.

    But we need wins in Sept and Oct.

    This late season crap is getting old. Either win early or it doesn’t matter.

  40. Rod Munch Says:

    This was a game the Bucs ALWAYS lose, ALWAYS. A bad Lions team, on the road, the Bucs ALWAYS lose this game.

    But they didn’t.

    It gives a lot of hope for next year. If the Bucs can just win winnable games, and then break even on everything else, they’re an 11-5 team next year.

  41. Silent_Partner Says:

    Told you guys at the beginning of this season. I saw his work first hand when he was out here in Arizona, but that team’s core had been to the Super Bowl. The Bucs have been a joke for 15 years. Even when they were in that losing streak, you could see where he was going and how he had them in almost every game down to the end. B. A. can coach.

  42. gambelero Says:

    On tanking and draft slots. Another thing about winning at the end of the season is that you’re much more likely to get the owners to buy in. You see what misery owners get you in this league. A coach has to give owners hope that things are getting better. Otherwise they’re not going to want to invest for the future. And it’s not just getting a high profile free agent or two (though that would help). There’s a lot of other things that can be upgraded, scouting, analytics, facilities, sports science, video technology to name just a few.

  43. Gooch Says:

    I just want Tampa to win out.. i honestly don’t care about draft position. we have had a variety of draft spots over the years and it’s a crap shoot most of the time. To me, what’s more important is this new culture of winning, or more specifically HATING to lose. I trust the direction BA is taking us and oh yeah, sign Jameis to long term deal!

  44. orlbucfan Says:

    This team has a lot of pride now, and most of them are young. They’re focused on winning the last two games at home for themselves and us fans. We need O and D linemen and that’s hopefully what BA/Licht will choose. I’m more interested in 9-7 than the draft. That’s how Dungy’s team developed, and he had a lot less talent in his first year here.

  45. doolnutts Says:

    I think cutting Hargraves sent a clear message. If I am not mistaken I think we flipped a switch shortly there after. The DB’s have made mistakes but are playing light years better. Our most experienced starter at corner has what 2 seasons under his belt? If these players continue to develop we will be very young and very good in the secondary.