Undeniable Ramifications

January 15th, 2023

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Judgment Day is upon us.

Monday night’s playoff matchup against Dallas looms as one of the most consequential games in Buc history. The final scoreboard will shape the future of this franchise in many ways.

Let’s say the 3-point home underdogs are victorious. While a 9-9 record with Tom Brady isn’t cause for celebration, the Glazers could look at 2022 as a successful first season under Todd Bowles — even if the Bucs lose on the road in the divisional round.

Ownership could factor in a flurry of injuries and assume there will be some changes on the coaching staff in the offseason as reasons for optimism moving forward.

Most importantly, a victory against the Cowboys could help convince Brady to continue his career and remain a Buccaneer.

“Joel, if we lose, we’re meeting tomorrow night and we’re using your Uber Eats account for a change.”

If that’s the case, Jason Licht would be empowered by the Glazers to bring in veteran help for one more fling at the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Considering the quarterback issues in Atlanta, Carolina and New Orleans, a Brady-led Bucs team would surely be considered heavy favorites to make it three NFC South titles in a row.

But what if the Cowboys snap a 30-year postseason road drought by beating the Bucs? An 8-10 finish and an early postseason exit would find the Glazers in a far different state of mind.

Turning The Page?

At that point, they could be inclined to change course after three years of an all-in assault sparked on Brady’s presence. Even if Brady wanted to return, the fact remains he will turn 46 in August and his production dropped sharply this fall.

The sting of a first-round loss would have to raise questions about the wisdom of continuing with Brady under center. And Brady, who is not under contract for next season, has to decide whether to retire, stay with the Bucs or move on with another team that — in his calculation — gives him a better shot at another ring.

It’s been awhile, but the Glazers have already proven they aren’t afraid of a total rebuild.

When a 31-24 home loss to the Raiders in 2008 completed a December collapse, ownership moved swiftly. Jon Gruden was fired and a veteran purge soon ensued as Derrick Brooks, Warrick Dunn, Joey Galloway and Ike Hilliard were jettisoned. Kevin Carter, a 35-year-old defensive end who started all 16 games, was not re-signed.

“We are going in a different direction,” former GM Mark Dominik said at the time. “We have some young men on the roster who will have an opportunity to compete for a starting job.”

Licht could soon echo those same sentiments.

Ira wonders if a 2009-style overhaul is a real possibility.

This is one of the league’s oldest rosters and there could be the same sense that Tampa Bay’s run has come to an end. Veterans like Cam Brate, Lavonte David, Will Gholston, Akiem Hicks, Julio Jones and Logan Ryan would all be vulnerable, among others.

Yes, the ramifications of this game are undeniable.

Losing to either of the NFC’s top two seeds on the road next week would be disappointing, yet understandable. The gap between those conference powerhouses and Tampa Bay is deep and wide. But losing at home to America’s Team won’t sit well in the owners’ suite … and it shouldn’t.

While no Buc fan wants to take a step back after three years with No. 12, the Glazers have a responsibility to take a good, hard look at where this franchise is in its cycle.

This game will conclude well before dawn breaks on Tuesday. The truth and consequences will linger for years.

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25 Responses to “Undeniable Ramifications”

  1. mark2001 Says:

    Very well said and well thought out Ira. I just wonder if the experience in 2008 might make them go the other way.? Not that they are afraid to make the move. But it didn’t turn out very well last time. A decade of broken dreams. Of course, we had Dom then and not Licht. So… I don’t know what they will do.

  2. SB~LV Says:

    I wonder what the Glazer’s relationship with John Robinson is/ was

  3. gotbbucs Says:

    I can’t decide if Brady being on the roster would be an attractant or deterrent at this point to bringing in a new offensive coordinator.

    This was going to be the year when Brady/Leftwich spread their wings and proved that they didn’t need Arians around. It was a colossal failure. Either Leftwich really is a complete moron, or he got steam rolled by Brady’s ego and drive to do it his way. Either way, it didn’t work.

    No matter who they bring in, it appears as though it would be Brady’s way or the highway. Can Brady still play at a high level? I don’t know. I know he has no interest in standing in the pocket and taking hits, which eliminates the “No riskit, No biscuit” offense. He put up plenty of passing yards, but didn’t have anything on the score board to show for it. When the field condenses close to the end zone, your QB either has to be willing to take the heat in the pocket ir be athletic enough to move the pocket. Brady is neither at this point.

  4. BrianBucs Says:

    If things go south Monday night then a total rebuild would have to start with a new Head Coach

  5. D-Rok Says:

    Great article as always, Ira. Somehow, in an alternate universe, I could easily see you in the pulpit, slingin’ n preachin’ the Word, Ira. You have a way with words! 🙂

  6. BucsFan81 Says:

    Either way we are stuck with Bowles and Leftwhich. I don’t see the glazers moving on from them just yet. They will give them another season.

  7. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    I predict it will be a Bills vs 49ers Superbowl……

    Sorry Bucs fans……but this Bucs team is a shell of themselves compared to the last 2 years.

  8. D-Rok Says:

    Agree, Anthem – it’s hard to envision this Bucs team beating neither the Bills nor Niners the way this team has played this year.

    Still, a fan can hope and dream, yes?

    GO BUCS!!!

  9. D-Rok Says:

    And don’t sleep on them Cheefs, either. Best 4 teams to me, in no particular order, just top 4: Bills, Niners, Cheefs and let’s throw in the Bengals in there for good measure.

  10. D-Rok Says:

    Not sure how I feel about the Eagles at this point, but they could be in it in the end, too. Perhaps.

    As for the Bucs, the only way I have much confidence after Monday nite is they utterly dominate the Cowboys, then I’ll re-visit my top 4-5 rankings.

  11. Buc D. Truth Says:

    Agreed. If Bucs lose, ramifications for sure. Too bad Glazers didn’t consider all the coaching possibilities, such as Doug Peterson, before promoting someone in-house to the head coach spot. Fortunately for Bucs, Saints made same mistake with Dennis Allen. Coaching matters more than ever in today’s NFL–Sean McVay turned Jeff Fisher’s Rams into winners. Ditto, Pederson with Urban Meyer’s Jaguars. Shows that creativity and resourcefulness should matter more than familiarity with management. You’ve picked the right coach when a team improves. Who can honestly say Bucs are better? If no improvement next year, time for a new coach AND new players.

  12. View from 132 Says:

    Nicely stated Ira, but I’m not convinced this game – unless it’s a blowout in either direction – changes the Glazers’ minds. The smarter thing to do is get much younger after this season. If you win, you could just as easily say it was the younger talent. If you lose, the young guys need more time. Either way, a 46 year old QB… too much pressure on the O-line. It’s a mobile game, even if the QB scrambled for 2 or 3 first downs a game.

  13. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    @ D-Rok

    It’s OK to dream……this maybe the last time that Bucs fans can dream for a very long time if they lose tomorrow night……

    All Bucs fans should to be enjoying the moment

  14. D-Rok Says:

    I hear ya Anthem and agree. For the next 36 hours, we still have hope to cling to. I’m savoring this even if we get beat – still, it was a playoff game, and how many times has the Bucs organization claimed they were in the playoffs? Not very many, so let’s all cherish it. I am.

  15. Thisisouryear!! Says:

    I think we win Monday and take out the Eagles next week. Then our defense shows the world that Brock Purdy is still a rookie. Let’s Go Boyz!!! Go Bucs!!!

  16. ModHairKen Says:

    Leftwich is gone no matter what. Even if they win the SB. Bowles comes back with one more win. Unless Brady commits to coming back.

    Brady ain’t going to Vegas. He ain’t going to SF. He ain’t going back to NE. It’s either Miami or Tampa or retirement. And if he does not want Bowles, the owners will can Bowles to keep Brady. Even at 46.

  17. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    WTF ?
    I think the Glazers have clearly said that Bowles will be back next year, no matter what happens against Dallas Monday.
    At least that is what I thought I read.
    As far as NFL South QB Issues, not Atlanta!
    They have Desmond Ritter, who just took us apart.

  18. Darin Says:

    They know their business. Bowles will be fired before they decide to move on from Tommy. Doubt Tommy wants in again here tho after this nightmare of a season. Thanks for the lifetime of bad memories lefty and bowles!

  19. Mike C Says:

    Chris, he took backups apart….. you always have the best takes smh

  20. David Says:

    I did not finish reading this yet, because I had to stop and comment on the… It could entice the Glazer’s to bring in more veterans to help Brady win one more… Holy crap, NO!
    Is anyone not learning anything?
    They need an injection of youth. They have enough vets. They need someone else young on the D line and the O line and a young speedy receiver. Enough with these old guys like Julio Jones who get hurt when they fall down.

  21. steele Says:

    If they want Brady back, and for the team to be a winner with him, they would need to do all the things not done this season to tailor the team to accomodate and account for Brady’s strengths and weaknesses at this stage. An OC who knows Brady’s game in a way that Left never will. A great OL of veterans again. A great RB (there currently isn’t one on the roster). A couple of Gronk/Edelman type security blanket receivers. And a much, much better defense. In other words, a real all-in.

    Unless Bowles and Left go, and given the cap situation, I don’t see this happening. Some sort of youth rebuild is more likely, and frankly needed.

  22. Nick2 Says:

    Unfortunately I think the Glazers have waited too long to convince Brady to stay. If there were rumors Brady was going to the Raiders last year then why wouldn’t he now with Josh Mcdaniels? Leftwhich seemingly is gone and where does that leave Tom? Why should a win here swing Brady’s decision? He’s been equal to blame with his understandable poor play due to personal issues to zero in on 2022s failures. He talked Jensen and others into coming back for 2 years not one. What does he say to them? I pray he comes back but I think the Glazers could have done much more to keep him here. Maybe they’ve done that all in secret but to me it looks like Brady’s going elsewhere and it’s a damn shame.

  23. Nick2 Says:

    Please let’s not be too quick to embrace a youth rebuild. We went almost 20 years between Superbowls it could be 20 more.

  24. orlbucfan Says:

    Jason Licht is the best GM the Bucs have ever had. He’s very aware of the ages of valuable players like LVD, WillG, ME13, Cam Brate, and the 46 year old fossil who won’t be here next year. Licht has already started drafting young blood. He and the Glazer Boyz are not going to fire Bowles this year. I do have a beef with Bowles not allowing Trask a shot with the first team O in that worthless Atlanta game. Leftwich? Whatever.

  25. matthew veal Says:

    Lucht has earned the shot to decide. Don’t run him off is priority 1 imo