Applauding The Long Game

March 2nd, 2023

Click on through to shop at Bill Currie Ford GM Sean Sullivan is ready to help you PERSONALLY and give you the Ira Kaufman discount. Just ask!


Smart, Bucs. Very smart.

After evaluating the available options, Tampa Bay’s brain trust has arrived at the proper conclusion … let’s take a step back in order to move ahead.

Let’s take our lumps in free agency and not be foolish enough to replace Tom Brady with a high-priced veteran under center.

That’s the message that came through with one voice between Todd Bowles and Jason Licht at the NFL Scouting Combine this week. It was an authoritative voice. It was the right voice.

Derek Carr? Pass.

Aaron Rodgers? Fuhgettaboutit.

Kyle Trask

Lamar Jackson? Get real.

Ryan Tannehill? Keep moving. Nothing to see here.

So what’s Life After Brady going to look like? It’s going to start with Kyle Trask, the only quarterback currently under contract at One Buc Place. Trask isn’t going to be handed the starting job, but it appears to be his job to lose.

Jason Licht wouldn’t mind if Bowles declared Trask the winner coming out of training camp. Like many Buc fans, Licht is eager to see what Trask can do at the NFL level. And hey, if Trask doesn’t impress, nobody is going to rip Licht for missing on a second-round QB.

That happens all the time across this league.

If Trask exceeds expectations, Licht’s stock rises even higher with the Glazers, who already judge him one of the league’s most astute general managers.

Trask will have to earn his way atop the depth chart because there will be competition against a veteran free agent two and perhaps a rookie. Think Drew Lock, Taylor Heinicke or a Jacoby Brissett. All have starting experience and all will come relatively cheap.

Looking around the rest of the quarterback-challenged NFC South, Buc ownership and management sees a division title well within reach.

Makes sense. The Panthers, Falcons and Saints each won seven games last season and Tampa Bay still boasts a superior roster to all of ’em — even without Brady.

Bucs GM Jason Licht.

Leonard Fournette is toast and Donovan Smith’s days as a Buccaneer will soon be history.

Lavonte David is likely to test the free-agent market. David’s departure would sting, but that’s what happens when a franchise reaches the end of a successful cycle and prepares for a reset. But a reset doesn’t mean a tank job, so don’t look for any trades involving Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Devin White or Vita Vea.

They remain foundational pieces as Licht and Bowles seek a younger, faster football team.

Save The Chips

For three years, the Bucs pushed all their chips into the middle of the poker table. They hit on a royal flush in 2020 and came within two wins of another Super Bowl appearance before the jokers began to emerge last fall as Brady’s play declined.

Here’s Licht’s opportunity to show ownership he can assemble a competitive team without Brady.

In the six weeks since being dismantled by the Cowboys, the Bucs have had ample time to analyze what went wrong and assess where this franchise stands among the NFL hierarchy.

Thankfully, truth prevailed in those talks.

And while the Bucs aren’t the Bears or the Cardinals. they don’t have enough impact players to compete for a championship. They need to find a long-term answer under center, whether it’s Trask or a 2023/2024 draft pick. They need an edge rusher, or two, and a far more efficient ground game to ease the burden off that new quarterback.

Bucs fans will understand, says Ira Kaufman. (Joe is not so sure).

It’s time to conserve those chips and stockpile draft capital. Don’t overreach. Play the long game. Let other teams overspend in free agency, pursuing costly short-timers like Rodgers and Carr.

Even if 2023 proves to be a disappointing season, Buc fans will understand and remain loyal — if there is a strategic plan in place to restore recent glory.

Judging by what was said at Indianapolis, Bowles and Licht understand the challenge they’re up against. Brady has moved on, but his departure doesn’t have to bankrupt this organization for years to come.

Fortunes change quickly in this league if you find the right face of the franchise. Ask the Bengals, Bills or Jaguars.

Can Kyle Trask be that guy? Probably not, but there’s a damn good chance we’re about to find out.

Yes, that warranty includes USED vehicles!
Ira drives a 2020 Ford Escape (cherry red).

39 Responses to “Applauding The Long Game”

  1. 97 bucBaby Says:

    Trade Devin White. Dude is garbage

  2. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Licht took TBBF’s advice……..suck it up……get younger, get cheaper…and pray for the best.

  3. D-Rome Says:

    Good article, Ira. I fully expect the Bucs to have a losing season in 2023 but that doesn’t mean the organization can’t move in the right direction. That can be defined a variety of ways. Tanking for a high draft pick isn’t the way to go about it this year. If Bowles can properly manage this team and not make coaching decisions as if his life depends on it he might end up being around for 2024.

    Smart Bucs fans will be reasonable about 2023.

  4. Pryda … sec147 Says:

    Probably not … lmao great ending thanks Ira !!

  5. ben Says:

    when you pay the price for tkts it’s hard not to want a winner

  6. Cobraboy Says:

    Totally agree.

    Clean up the cap and see what the team has in Trask. Maybe gather some more draft picks.

    Set the table with positive assets for a new coach (not in Ira’s article, my “want.”).

    I’m OK with some losses if a long-game is in place.

    Younger, faster…and better coached in 2024.

  7. MadMax Says:

    I think Jalen Carter falls to us…boom theres our pass rush helper at #19

    with our 2nd LT Jaelyn Duncan (or he might make it to the 3rd, but we’re gonna need a LT)

    trade back into the bottom of the 2nd or top of 3rd for TE Darnell Washington

    I want RB/Returner Devon Achane but he’s going in the 2nd
    I want QB Hooker, but if we’re going to sign 2 vets, then screw it

  8. MadMax Says:

    And speaking of Blowes, how about we get a new DC so he can at least try as a HC!!!!!

  9. Steven007 Says:

    Max, if he falls that far I think the Steelers take him at 17. If not we’d be foolish not to snatch him up. Assuming the legals come out his way.

  10. MadMax Says:

    A DC wont count against the cap AND we get another fresh mind in here.

    Why are we not talking about a new COMPETENT DC to bring in?

  11. MadMax Says:

    Yeah I agree Steven, Steelers want him.

  12. Ultra ClodHopper Says:

    This isn’t a “Todd is a victim” comment.

    But holy moly is he being hung out to dry. This will be the end of HC dreams.

  13. Beej Says:

    This Carter thing reminds me of Warren Sapp. We could never have gotten him absent the news about him smoking pot

  14. Mike C Says:

    Ben, if you want to pay for a ticket to see a winner every time go see a superhero movie. The NFL is a 1/32 lottery my friend…… you are NOT going to win them all.

  15. Defense Rules Says:

    MadMax … Agreed on the DC. Todd Bowles being ‘dual-hatted’ hurt us last year & that needs to be fixed. I think George Edwards might be the guy to become DC, but we’ll have to wait & see what Bowles does. Edwards background though is with the 4-3, but you never know.

  16. Dooley Says:


    Dorian Thompson Robinson out of UCLA as a consolation pick if we cannot realistically target/draft Hooker.

  17. BucBoy Says:

    “Can Kyle Trask be that guy? Probably not.”

    Jason Licht confirmed two days ago that Trask has not taken a single snap with the starters in training camp, in practice, in preseason games, or in his one regular season appearance, so you have no foundation for saying that. Oh, other than your opposition to Trask since the day he was drafted.

  18. BucBoy Says:

    “Bucs fans will understand, says Ira Kaufman. (Joe is not so sure).”

    Joe doesn’t like any scenario that lets Trask get behind the starters and show what he can (or can’t) do. He’d prefer even Hillary Clinton at quarterback. 😛

  19. D-Rok Says:

    When Ira states,

    “Even if 2023 proves to be a disappointing season, Buc fans will understand and remain loyal — if there is a strategic plan in place to restore recent glory.”

    At face value, this statement makes sense, but only IF the coaches communicate to the fans what this strategic plan is. It’s hard for fans to stay loyal if what they hear from a coach doesn’t match what we see on the field.

    So, I would advocate for as much transparency as is possible without revealing competitive secrets (game-plans, etc) and more thorough communication from OBP to the fans – this is how fans stay “loyal,” in my humble opinion.

    Good article, Ira – thanks!

  20. D-Rok Says:

    By more thorough communication, an example would be:

    Instead of stating, “We have a long-term plan in place,” we should be hearing, “We have a plan in place, and here are the 3 key elements to our plan: 1, 2, 3….”

    Allow us fans to feel invested and included so we can go through the plan/process together, good or bad results, with an emphasis on improvement via the “plan.”

  21. Joe in Michigan Says:

    MadMax Says:
    March 2nd, 2023 at 9:24 am
    I think Jalen Carter falls to us…boom theres our pass rush helper at #19
    Visions of Warren Sapp, but I’ve read that Carter doesn’t love football. Sapp did.

  22. Aceofaerospace Says:

    Exactly. No one should be gifted a starting job. Not even a former gator qb, LOL. Give the kid a chance. That’s all we gator fan’s request, nothing more.

  23. Goatfarmer Says:

    Simple Toad and Kyle’s Trashk. Weee.

    But, seriously, Bloweszo made Brady look average. Bloweszo could make Patrick Mahomes look like Jack Concannon.

    Bloweszo, going for five in a row losing seasons as head coich. And he will get to go for a sixth. We are so forked.

  24. D-Rome Says:


    Completely agreed with your comments on transparency. Don’t lie to the camera and say, “OuR gOaL tHiS yeAr iS tO wIn tHe SuPeR boWl.” Don’t bench young players because the veterans give you the best chance to win meaningless games when the playoffs are out of reach. Try to win but be honest about the goals for 2023.

  25. Bucamania Says:

    Agree with the long play on this. Eat the dead cap money this year, let the older FAs walk, and DRAFT WELL. Licht nailed the draft in 2020 but the picks have since have mostly been terrible. Build through the draft.

  26. Bucs Guy Says:

    Devin White is not a foundational player and doesn’t deserve a big 2nd contract. He can’t cover a RB or TE in a pass route. Overruns plays way too ofte. Trade him for a 2nd and 3rd rd pick. Use of the picks on his replacement and re-sign LVD to help teach him.

  27. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Sounds good to me. Stock the lines.

    I’m not as concerned with Licht or what we do with cap space / draft as much as I’m concerned with Bowles as HC. We’ve historically managed the cap well and drafted pretty well throughout Licht’s entire tenure. We went all in when needed, and now seemingly are doing the smart thing.

    I hope I’m wrong but it is what it is. Bowles is a a great DC but did terrible as a HC with the Jets, and then terrible last year compared to how the team performed under Arians.

    Lefwich took all the blame but i thought there were quite a few quotes from Bowles that seemed to line up with the philosophical offensive shift we saw.

    Hope I’m wrong and we really did just need a new OC / the O-line injuries really mattered that much / it was all Leftwich.

    I am going to get into the draft again for once lol. The last few years have been a nice break from the normal offseason hope train I get on starting in November

  28. Mike Says:

    Very happy to hear that the Bucs are thinking long term and preparing to clear the books this year while getting younger and hopefully faster through the draft.

  29. Da Bucs Guy Says:

    Sounds like a solid plan, except for Licht’s spotty draft history.

  30. Duane Says:

    Oh, its definitely the long game plan, because Todd Bowles is still the head coach. Poor communicator, not a leader of men. Lucky to get another chance, and in a division filled with a bunch of bottom dwelling teams.

  31. D-Rok Says:

    Yep, D-Rome. Take young Canales, for example – – he already seems to be a very good communicator, and I will look forward to hearing from him.

  32. BrianBucs Says:

    So how can the Bucs get faster on offense if they keep all of the same slow WRs and RBs?

  33. gotbbucs Says:

    Agree 110% with all of it, Ira.

  34. MadMax Says:

    @Dooley, DTR is no joke! Thanks for putting him on my radar…

    Im absolutely sure that behind Canales plans, we’re going to need a very mobile QB with fast twitch fibers and decision making, plus a good arm. It wont have to be a big arm…I think thats oversold right now….look at Mahomes and Hurts.

    Thats a nice find!

  35. Buc4evr Says:

    It’s still a pretty bad division so if we have a half way decent QB we can compete. No way this team is ready for the SB, but with some young fast players, a veteran QB and some decent coaching this team can still be pretty good. I’m not sold on Trask, so maybe Brissett or Mayfield could provide a spark.

  36. Goatfarmer Says:

    Look for a wining season in another decade or so.

  37. ABucAway Says:

    Madmax made a point that needs to be a thing for the Buccaneers this season. Todd Bowles and the DC duties.
    Bowles is a HC in over his head and trying to remain DC making DC decisions seems to have some sort of internal conflict with making the HC decisions. Last year was not a good year for the Todd.
    So if Todd wants to give himself his best chance to be successful at HC then he needs to give up DC, or AC (Licht) will need to make the choice for him.

  38. MadMax Says:

    ^ He’s def in over his head, it started last year! Im no big fan of his outside of DC capabilities…theres a lot behind that I wont get into….but at least give the man a fair chance at being a HC without 100% DC duties. It allows him more time to focus on the overall duties. Plus I can stop referring to him as Blowes, hopefully.

    I want my Team, Coaches, Owners, ALL to do their best and be successful at it…it just looks freaking horrible right now the situation that we’re in.

    If he’s bringing this on himself and doesnt want a DC, ok then….thats on him when he keeps failing.

  39. unbelievable Says:

    The Panthers, Falcons and Saints each won seven games last season and Tampa Bay still boasts a superior roster to all of ’em — even without Brady.

    And yet, they were only able to eek out 1 more win than those teams…