“Peering Into The Abyss”

January 31st, 2023

Looking at the near-future.

Perhaps the greatest quote Joe ever heard from the great Custodian of Canton, Ira Kaufman, was when he said on his podcast some 11 months ago that without Tom Brady, Team Glazer and Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht are “peering into the abyss” and their chances of doing anything without a quarterback were beyond grim.

It seems a national NFL columnist agrees with Ira, only not quite a year later.

Mike Jones, typing for The Athletic, doesn’t buy into the notion that Brady will return to the Bucs. As a result, Jones believes the Bucs will plummet to the same depths the team swam through at the lowest levels of the Lost Decade.

Biggest reason for optimism: Eh, there really isn’t one. Brady didn’t sound like he was done with football, but he definitely sounded done with Tampa. And the Bucs are significantly over the cap, so a roster purge is likely. After three years on the big stage and one Super Bowl run, the Buccaneers seemingly are headed back to irrelevance for a spell.

Here is the thing: Bucs coach Todd Bowles likely knows Team Glazer isn’t patient with a head coach who loses often. The only guy to survive back-to-back losing seasons with the Bucs in the Team Glazer era was the same man who won them a Super Bowl and whose name they subsequently ripped down from the Ring of Honor. That would be Chucky.

Now the thing Bowles has going for him is that he did win a division title for the Bucs. Team Glazer is well aware and so too are their accountants following a home playoff game. The loss to the Cowboys was so embarrassing, though, did that balance out making the playoffs? Joe will say no, because no home playoff game would have meant a large chunk of absent revenue.

But that is just a guess. The way Joe looks at it, the best way for Bowles to gain job security is to #CollapseForCaleb. If winning isn’t expected, then it’s hard to get canned for not winning.

59 Responses to ““Peering Into The Abyss””

  1. ocala Says:

    If Brady does not come back, then the Bucs should’ve kept Leftwich. Between Leftwich and Bowles the Bucs would almost assuredly receive the top pick in the 2024 draft.

  2. zzbucs Says:


    The only reason on TB12 to come back, is if nobody wants him…..
    He should have some better choices than the Bucs out there…

    Over the cap
    Tons of FA
    No OL
    No running game
    Bad coaching

    No mystery here….

  3. Davenport Says:

    Anyone who thinks we can be competitive in 2023 is dreaming. Face facts: the championship window is closed. Gut the roster and build to be competitive in 2025 and beyond.

    Its been a great run but its over.

  4. DBS Says:

    They backed into the playoffs plain an simple. This team did not deserve to be there. They should have cleaned house and started fresh. Let the new HC bring his people in.

  5. Sailing away Says:

    Den of Depression open for business 2023. Free refills on fountain drinks and 1/2 price beers.

  6. beano Says:

    6′ Caleb will be a bust. But he will excite the woke fanbase and they’ll buy tickets.

  7. BoldDG Says:

    Bowles is there for the soul purpose of scuttling the ship. Why bring on a “keeper coach” when you need one to ride the ship down in order to pick up a top draft pick. Will it be a painful year? Yes, however sometimes a step back is needed to move forward. It will never be said, however greatly written about by the Joes and others, Bowles’ role is to win….a draft pick, one he will never coach.

  8. Goatfarmer Says:

    Toad Blowes, is the abyss.

  9. Fansince76 Says:

    #CollapseForCaleb if the team plans to have another lost half decade at least. get a good veteran QB and shed some of the high priced older talent to reduce salary cap. that is, if Brady goes which i hope he does not!

  10. SED14 Says:

    When I look down into the abyss I see low energy Todd Bowles typical Sunday sideline deer in the headlights emotionless expression looking right up at me. He is so massively uninspiring, over-matched, and under-prepared that I don’t know what else to say except we are a rudderless ship with him at the helm.

    As a 5 year season ticket holder, I implore the Glazers to rip the band aid off and let him go. He’s a sincerely nice man, but he shows no fire, no fight, no passion and most importantly no leadership. Our team and our fans deserve better.

  11. Rod Munch Says:

    It is odd that Bowles got to fire Leftwich since the team should want to lose, and Leftwich gave you the best chance of doing that. But I guess the Glazers have to claim to have given Bowles everything he needs to win, so when they fire him after 2023, I guess they think the fake news sports media will give the Glazers an easier time. That, of course, won’t happen, and despite the fact the Glazers have hired more black headcoaches than any other team in NFL history, the fake news sports ‘reporters’ will still call the Glazers racists.

    Which is a disservice to Bowles, because regardless of how bad he is as a head coach, he’s not a mindless woke idiot. He destroyed the idiot sports ‘reporter’ earlier in the lead up to the Steelers game when a white reporter tried to make the game about two black headcoaches. Bowles crushed that race obsessed idiot asking the question. Shockingly it got very little play outside of conservative media.

  12. YucsBall Says:

    anything coming out of the Athletic is absolute trash

  13. NEfan Says:

    BoldDG@ didn’t the Bucs try this for like 10 years and it didn’t work?

  14. Marine Buc Says:

    The Philly Eagles won a Super Bowl in 2018… Then they tore it all down, fired the head coach and staff, drafted a QB in the 2nd round, rebuilt their defense and are now back in another Super Bowl…

    If they pulled it off so can the Bucs.

  15. SED14 Says:

    @ Joe – why wasn’t my comment posted? Was something innappropriate?

  16. sasquatch Says:

    Every time J03 mentions “collapse” he looks more and more idiotic. It’s loser talk. I don’t care how good that kid looks, it’s no guarantee of success. So, collapse for any college kid? Hell to the NO.


  17. DingleBerry Says:

    The fact that Bowles managed to win the division with a paltry 8-9 record with Tom Brady at QB and the level of talent on this roster should not be considered a positive.

  18. BoldDG Says:

    NEfan: yes and how many times did they attempt to run the ball up the middle on first down this year? So maybe there are two things that we CAN count on and those are that ownership is rich and they tolerate stubbornness.

  19. Redeemer Says:

    Rod, my question is what the goals are. If it’s winning the putrid south, I think they can with a Jimmy G. Type. I agree that they are giving Bowles basically carte blanche next season. If the goal is the south and getting blown out in the wildcard, I say that’s stupid. Unless you’re competing for championships you’re treading water. Maybe team glazer is happy with doing that..like Joe said, home playoff games are valuable commodities. Who knows

  20. Bill in Seminole Says:

    I won’t disagree with the “Lost Decade” comment; I was a season ticket holder during that time and sat through many agonizing games. However, I will disagree with the “irrelevant” comment. We’ve won two Super Bowls; here are the teams that have never won a SB: Cardinals, Falcons, Bills, Panthers, Bengals, Browns, Lions, Texans, Jaguars, Chargers, Vikings, and Titans.

    Also, the Browns, Lions, Texans and Jaguars have never played in a SB.

  21. Goatfarmer Says:

    Marine — we can’t rebuild successfully because it’s the Buccaneers.

    It took 24 years to do two rebuilds. I don’t care what Philadelphia did. I don’t have that long to wait.

  22. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    The worst thing we can do is half-a$$ rebuild…..

    If Brady doesn’t return, take that opportunity to get much younger.

    Brady, Rudolph, Jones, Bernard, Brate, Hicks, Ryan, Gholston, LVD, Succop….all older players and all FAs…..just let them go (as much as it hurts)

    Go with Trask….draft another mid-round QB to compete…..suck it up and do your best….(Sorry Todd, you had your chance and failed)

  23. NEfan Says:

    Marine Buc@ Peterson was the coach that won the SB and eventually played Hurts. He got in trouble for sitting hurts the final game of the season causing Eagles to lose, his tank cost Joe Judge a playoff spot. Big controversy. If not for BA the Bucs could of had Peterson and all these BS conversations over that last few months would have been far different. Thanks AGAIN BA, enjoy the ROH.

  24. stpetebucfan Says:


    Forgive my ignorance but I’m honestly curious. What does “the woke fanbase” mean? Could you translate for me?

  25. DJB Says:

    Bill in Seminole: I agree, and the Bucs along with the Ravens are the only teams to go undefeated in multiple Superbowl appearances. The Bucs have made it to the NFC Championship game 5 times. Those accomplishments are sometimes overlooked given the putrid play over so many other seasons.

  26. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    So…let’s think this through…

    Jason Licht has somehow managed to keep the team competitive for years. 2022 was a horrible year, absolutely loaded down with injuries that wrecked the team.

    This year, 2023, there are a bunch of contracts to deal with and some serious cap issues.

    On top of that, we have no OC, no one who wants the job, and a (thus far) mediocre coach.

    And finally…Tom Brady, who wants to take his time deciding if he is retiring or not…and if he doesn’t he may not even play for the Bucs.

    Did I miss anything?

    So…what would it take to actually have a successful season this year?

    • the offensive line will have to stay healthy
    • Jason Licht will need to fill any holes on the offensive line
    • Jason Licht will either have to re-sign Defensive Line guys and they’ll have to get healthy
    • Jason Licht will need to keep our best pass catchers and runners

    • We will need to clarify the QB situation. This might mean bringing back Brady or rolling with Trask or someone else, but with the lines fixed, it could still work out.
    Even if Trask is not great, behind the right OL and having good pass catchers and a run game will help him avoid mistakes, and the defense can possible do the hard work.

    So…I suppose it’s possible. But if Brady doesn’t return, the cap issues are going to be huge…for a year.

    If Brady goes to another team, does that team assume the cap debt on him? If so, that could be our solution.

  27. beano Says:

    Marine Buc Says: “The Philly Eagles won a Super Bowl in 2018. Then they tore it all down, fired the head coach and staff, drafted a QB in the 2nd round, rebuilt their defense and are now back in another Super Bowl.”

    Yes, but the Eagles played their second round QB, and kept playing him despite a terrible rookie season with a quarterback RTG of 33.8, and he improved his second season and third season (in the Super Bowl).

    The Eagles didn’t have idiots for fans who don’t want their own second round QB even playing with the first team to see what he has. They just know he sucks from the day he was drafted, and have the gospel word of Quarterback Whisperer Joe, who wanted the Bucs to draft Johnny “Vegas” Manziel and loved the Jameis “INT” Winston draft pick.

    I don’t know who is more dysfunctional, the Bucs or the Bucs fans?

  28. unbelievable Says:

    If Brady isn’t back, just move on from Bowles too.

    The guy coaches scared 99.9% of the time.

    And the other 0.1% of the time he coaches stupid.

  29. HC Grover Says:

    Bucs are already in the abyss looking up.

  30. NEfan Says:

    Bonzai, yes no matter what Brady does the Bucs absorb the cap hit.

  31. Bucsfan13 Says:

    Lenny deleted all but one photo on his IG. The one post he left was a video of him and Brady. Interesting…

  32. Jerry Says:

    Everyone keeps saying to blow it up and rebuild. We did that from 2009 to 2019. We drafted 2 QBs in the first round (one was first overall), burned through 4 head coaches, 2 GMs, and had 2 winning seasons, 0 playoff appearances.

    I don’t know if tanking and blowing up is the solution you all think it is.

    We don’t draft good. And we have been bad at drafting QBs for more than 2 decades. Licht did have a few good drafts, but the last few years have been very underwhelming. You want to tank for a high draft pick to get a QB. There is no guarantee that QB will amount to anything. And do you trust the regime we have to make the right choice?

  33. Jerseybuc Says:

    Even if Brady doesn’t come back there def is QB options this year n the Bucs need to move fast on them.

    Jimmy. G
    Rodgers via trade
    With a solid D n any kind of ground game carr n jimmy will be find.

    Hire monk!

  34. McBucky Says:

    The Bowles-Arians experiment. What a disaster. In looking forward:
    The 49ers will land Brady. He ends his career on a positive, up beat note and the Bucs… well their time came and went.

  35. BoldDG Says:

    A parallel to this thread, why are the Bucs sitting on their hands and other team are making decisions about their coaching staff? Do they think hiring a coach is like the draft, and we pick 32nd?

  36. sasquatch Says:

    BoldDG Says:
    January 31st, 2023 at 4:40 pm

    A parallel to this thread, why are the Bucs sitting on their hands and other team are making decisions about their coaching staff?

    Jeezus ph0ueking kreiste, settle down. They had several interviews last week, another one today, and at least one more we’ve heard about (Tierney), and they might also be interviewing Patullo from the Eagles. They’re being thorough. I would anticipate they hire someone by the end of the week, unless they’re waiting on Patullo.

    Take a friggin xanax ferkreissake. We’re all anxious to hear, but there is a process.

  37. Bucnjim Says:

    Just a thought but isn’t Bowles part of the entire game plan for the week both offense and defense? I know Arians at least was involved in all aspects of the planning stage. If the head coach isn’t good enough then what does it matter who we hire to run the offensive side of the ball? Even though Gruden was barely involved with the defense he knew and understood what was going on.

  38. Redeemer Says:

    Bonzai. Brady’s cap implications as I understand them. If he retires, he could do the bucs a solid by signing a one year base deal. Then the bucs cut him post June 1. That would spread the hit over 23 and 24. If he leaves for another outfit, the hit is all incurred in 23. I believe if he signs and stays, it’s essentially the same as retirement. They can spread the hit into future years. Not exactly positive on the last part.

  39. Redeemer Says:

    Whatever the case, they can figure it out. The Saints cleared almost 60 million to get into to Watson sweepstakes. It’s all dependant on what ownership wants to do. It’s basically fake accounting anyway. If they really want to, the cap is hardly ever an obstacle to winning. Of course it’s a business like any other. They need to decide

  40. #99 the Big fella Says:

    My wife asked me why do I read so much when I come home from work I said babe, I can’t wait to see all the crying and complaining every day on Joe bucs fan.. Jeez can’t we wait until the oc is picked,free agency is over , the Draft is completed?

  41. Defense Rules Says:

    Unbelievable … ‘The guy (Todd Bowles) coaches scared 99.9% of the time.’

    I’m assuming by that you mean that he’s ultra-conservative? Afraid to take chances? Am I getting close?

    Bucs blitzed MORE than any team in the NFL in 2021 (45.4%). They were 2nd in 2019 (43.4%) and 5th in 2020 (39.0%). Pretty consistent numbers, and unless I’m mistaken, blitzing is kind of a risky proposition. The next to last play of the 2021 playoff game against the Rams comes to mind. Not sure a scaredy-cat would be blitzing that much. Quite the opposite.

    Or maybe on offense should look at which team goes for it the most on 4th down? Bucs went for it 27 times last season (tied for 8th place) and made it 55.6% of the time (ranked 7th).

    In comparison BTW, BA only went for it on 4th down 16 times in 2021 (ranked 30th) and 14 times in 2020 (ranked 30th again). So does Todd Bowles get the biscuit on that one since he ‘risked it’ more?

  42. #99 the Big fella Says:

    Defense Rules, love your posts! You are someone who can actually back up what you say.. Not like most of these guys.

  43. Bucnjim Says:

    Yes I agree Defense Rules uses great thought and a lot of common sense in his posts.

    Just curious though did we go for it more on 4th down because we were behind late in games? When we were scoring 31 points a game the chances of us being down were far less.

  44. NEfan Says:

    Yes he blitzed one too many times in 2021 costing a potential 3rd SB.

  45. ChiBuc Says:

    DR, I like your post but going fir it on 4th down doesn’t really paint a complete picture. Your metric for Bowles’ 2022 bravery vs BA’s 2021 does not speak to the fact that the bucs were often playing from behind with a failing offense in 2022 and often had to rely on desperate 4th down attempts to stay competitive in games, while BA could trust his team to consistently score 30 pts/game.

  46. Alanbucsfan Says:

    The Cowboys scored 5 TD’s vds Bucs in playoffs because the Bucs’ DLine stinks.
    The Oline will be better because Jensen will be back and Hainsey and Goedeke will be better, especially if Goedeke is moved to Tackle where he belongs. The off season focus should be lasered in on DLine upgrades and that doesn’t mean 2nd or 3rd round rookies.
    As for tanking- that’s loser mentality and Bowles would never buy into that and if the Glazers have learned anything since Daddy passed away they shouldn’t either.
    The Bucs would be lucky to get 40,000 at Rayjay for several years.

  47. Tye Says:

    The decent into the abyss began THE MOMENT Bowels was promoted to HC!…
    Tom Brady was just good enough to slow the decent BUT even he could not overcome putrid coaching…

    The Bucs will REMAIN irrelevant so long as Bowels remains HC!…

  48. Tom Sumner Says:

    Let’s get the band back together and do this. already…

  49. gp Says:

    Always appreciate your posts, but can’t agree with you on this one. There is a definite difference in “going for it on 4th” when you are behind or in the lead. This past season we were generally playing from behind. In those situations, going for it on 4th is actually a sign of desperation as opposed to boldness.

    I also disagree with ‘un’ on this too though. I prefer to characterize Bowles coaching style as “unprepared” rather than “scared”.
    To be fair, he was prepared for each game, but it seemed to me that he was prepared with the exact same game plan that he used the week before, and the week after. He did NOT seem to prepare for the strengths and weaknesses of our opponent.
    You mentioned that Bowles was bold to blitz in the title game of ’21. I say he was stubbornly sticking to a game plan.
    A game plan that every coach that we played against this year knew we would use. I am sure there are situations where predictability is a good thing. NFL coach is NOT one of them.

  50. gp Says:

    In fairness to ‘un’ , desperation does often look like “scared”.

  51. Defense Rules Says:

    gp … ‘You mentioned that Bowles was bold to blitz in the title game of ’21. I say he was stubbornly sticking to a game plan.’

    I can’t disagree with you there gp. Bowles’ stubbornness is what gets him into trouble IMO. In my past military profession, things almost never go according to plan. Adapt & adjust or you lose.

    That said however, leaders grow. CS Lewis had a great quote: ‘Experience is a brutal teacher. But you learn; my God do you learn’. I suspect Todd Bowles’ experiences this past season taught him a number of things that’ll pay off in 2023. Whether he learned ‘enough’ to survive to 2024 remains to be seen.

  52. gp Says:

    As a diehard, never say never, always expect the win, Bucs fan since ’76, I sincerely hope you’re right.
    Can’t say that I have seen any evidence of growth or indications that experience has taught him anything.
    Even just a little adjustment, or adaptation later in the season would have given me hope to see more. Sadly, I saw nothing of the sort.
    It’s very hard to drum up any optimism for next season the way things seem to be playing out, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

  53. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I just wanted to add this to the poster who claims that the Eagles have a better fan base then the Bucs. When the Eagles drafted Jalen Hurts their fan base and the brutal Philly Media basically crucified them!
    After all, they had Carson Wentz back then, and didn’t need another QB, especially a project like Jalen Hurts!

  54. gp Says:

    Wasn’t it iggle fans who pelted Santa Clause with beer bottles one year?
    Yeah, I want nuthin to do with iggle fans! They suck.

  55. Cobraboy Says:

    I would say the Bucs are surfing on the abyss…

  56. Goatfarmer Says:

    Oh no! We suck again!

    Well, as a Buc fan for 46+ years, I can state unequivocally, I am used to it. Brief shining moments followed by loooooong periods of suck with capital letters.

    Thanks, Toad.

  57. steele Says:

    Thank you for the reminder about Bowles’ politics, RodMunch. That on top of his disastrous head coaching should earn him an immediate firing. Instead, the Glazers play footsie with him, give him carte blanche to surround himself with approved flunkies. What for? He’s already proven he can’t do the job. Bring in the greatest OC who ever lived, it won’t matter as long as Todd is the HC.

    They should be pressuring Brady to make a decision ASAP. Even if GOAT wants to stay, I don’t see a way to field a winning team unless Bowles goes. They don’t have the resources to do yet another all-in for Brady anyway. For the long term health of the team, Bowles needs to go, Brady at 46 leaves, and then you start from the bottom. Youth movement.

  58. gp Says:

    I would say the Bucs are surfing on the abyss…

    Ah, ha ha ha ha haaaaa….. wipeout!

  59. gp Says:

    Here’s a thought…
    Tom Brady for OC!!!!
    And then HC next year!