Columnist: Bucs Aren’t Tanking But They Are Sure “Cutting Corners”

May 22nd, 2023

Bucs coach Todd Bowles.

Regular readers, and listeners to the “Ira Kaufman Podcast,” know that “this Joe” believes the results of last month’s draft are a sign the Bucs are setting themselves up to draft a quarterback next spring.

That is, if the Baker Mayfield Project doesn’t pan out.

Others are reading the same tea leaves.

Vic Tafur, who covers the NFL and NFL gambling for The Athletic, recently wrote an explanations of which way he would bet on each NFL team’s season-win totals established by our friends in the desert.

Tafur would lay cash on the Bucs to go under 6.5 wins. His reasoning? He doesn’t think the Bucs are tanking but he’s not convinced a team is trying to win with Kyler Traskfield behind center.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Under 6.5 (-120)

NFL teams never tank, right? What about cutting corners? “Cutting corners for Caleb” Williams has a nice ring to it. The Buccaneers won a Super Bowl with Tom Brady and now have to tear everything down. Sorry, I don’t think the Mayfield-Kyle Trask quarterback battle in training camp will make a difference.

Joe doesn’t believe the Bucs will be in position to draft Caleb Williams simply because the Bucs have too much talent to lose a bunch of games. If the Bucs lose 11 games (or more) — that’s how much they would have to lose to break the under-6.5 wins threshold — that’s going to look rather fishy with the studs the Bucs have on defense, playing in arguably the weakest division in football.

Could the Bucs be in position to draft quarterbacks Michael Penix or Quinn Ewers? Probably. But Drake Maye or Williams, the Bucs would pretty much have to collapse.

Joe can’t see that happening.

30 Responses to “Columnist: Bucs Aren’t Tanking But They Are Sure “Cutting Corners””

  1. Da Bucs Gut Says:

    Please list all this so called talent. What some call talent seems more to be old and/or injury prone.

  2. Bucsd04 Says:

    “Cutting corners for Caleb” joe’s new title for the next year

  3. Kalind Says:

    That presumes no trades, Joe. If they’re still bad just not 1-2 overall bad, but 1 or 2 has a QB….then they can trade without having to pull a Ditka.

  4. George R Says:

    Joe, we were in one of the worst divisions last year and we won 8 games with TB 12. TB12 is worth 3 games, that puts the Bucs at 5 wins. I like our draft but how many impact players did the Bucs draft this year. How many will start this year. Maybe 1

  5. Destinjohnny Says:

    We should have a top 3 pick the next 3-4 years

  6. Pewter Power Says:

    Can’t see the Bucs collapsing but you think they are setting themselves up for a quarterback dude make up your mind. I think you’re out on that limb by yourself locally. You have a GM that would look bad tracking, a coach who can’t afford to tank and a god enough quarterback to win 6-7 games especially in this division. I’m sure they would both love to make you eat your words and the rest of them

    everyone else knows that with the salary cap and limited options for quarterback free agents the Bucs did what they could afford to do, well everyone Knows it except you

  7. Lt. Dan Says:

    …”know that “this Joe” believes the results of last month’s draft are a sign the Bucs are setting themselves up to draft a quarterback next spring.”

    This Dan disagrees with that Joe. The Bucs have enough talent on this roster to finish as a middling team. The Bucs play the NFC south of course, and the AFC south. 19th draft pick anyone? I believe the Bucs record and subsequent draft position, will put a top shelf QB out of reach. That will make the cost of moving up to prohibitive.

  8. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Can’t we play a game or two first before all the gloom & doom…..and, we can put ourselves in a position to pick first…..just give up some future picks…..

  9. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    If can fix our OL and the run game, I think we can win our division. Our Defense has a change to make a descent jump and if we can establish some sort of offense then it is not out of the question to be a few games north 6.5.

  10. Letsbucinggo Says:

    Too much talent Bwahwahwahwah!

  11. Nick2 Says:

    The Bucs are strapped with Bradys dead cap money so because they can’t afford a Derek Carr type QB they are labeled as “tanking”. Tell Todd Bowles the Bucs aren’t trying to win this year. It’s all perception. I’m glad the Bucs didn’t draft any QBs this year.

  12. Pryda…sec147 Says:

    Let’s wait for season to play out … we could go undefeated we can lose every game we could win the division literally anything so till the season starts we wait

  13. Defense Rules Says:

    Bucs went into rebuild-mode after the 2022 season aka, ‘retooling’ to some). Our horrendous salary CAP situation dictated that we could only make very limited moves in free agency, and had to rely on the draft to rebuild. Picking #19 meant no QB for us (since we had other priority needs & already had Trask & Mayfield under contract).

    IOW, Bucs are doing the best that they can with limited resources and a miserable starting position. They seem to be looking to rebuild the defense first (worse starting position than the offense IMO) so let’s just see how it goes. Might be 4-5 wins, might be as many as 10-12 wins (kinda depends on how good/bad our opposition is too?). Hard to believe these national media types actually get paid for writing some of this dribble.

  14. SteveK Says:

    Paying the cost of admission. We went all in the last three years, more than rightfully so, for the chance to have the Great GOTSBE (Greatest of the Super Bowl Era) lead us to the promised land. It was glorious, and now it’s over. Time to pay then piper and get our cap right this year. This is great football by Licht and crew. Pumped for how they continue to draft trenches and excited to see what Trask is looking like after two years in the “greatest QB incubator” as Joe once put it.

    The point is I would not, nor should you, Have any sour feelings towards the Bucs. They went all in and now we need a year to balance the check book.

    Thank you, Glazers!

  15. SOEbuc Says:

    MAYFIELD WILL START WEEK ONE. This Kyler Traskfield is a joke. There is no reason why Baker cannot live to a higher potential at QB if he wants to. He’s in his prime, and yes the Bucs have more talent on offense than his past with the stinking Browns, Panthers, and LAR.

  16. Couch Fan Says:

    Makes a lot of sense. Give up on Trask because he’s shown nothing at the NFL level yet. And yearn for the guy everyone calls the #1 pick in the draft because thats worked out so well for us before. Oh and yea also has never done anything in the NFL yet. LMAO. Some people never learn.

  17. garro Says:


  18. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    We have way too much talent to be one of the worst teams in the NFL.
    So no way we get a high first round pick next year.
    I think we have done the best we could, considering how cash strapped we are.
    WE sold our soul to get to a Super Bowl, and it worked.
    WE are now paying the price.

  19. Marine Buc Says:

    @ TBBF

    “Can’t we play a game or two first before all the gloom & doom”

    I agree. Many questions will be answered after our week one game in Minn…

    If the Bucs can go 3-1 or 2-2 before our week 5 bye – it will be a good sign. If we are 0-4 and lose to both Minn and Chicago it’s going to be a long season.

  20. David Says:

    Where is all this talent? Joe?
    VEA, who plays 60% of the time, is the only known factor on the D line.
    Linebackers are extremely thin and one is aging.
    DBs are very good until you need any kind of depth and we have seen what injuries back there have done before and they’re thinner now.

    OLine – no idea what the right side of the line is capable of or the new left guard for that matter
    Wide receivers… 3 great ones who can’t finish the season and then a lot of question marks.
    TEs- a work in progress
    RBs- a work in progress

    Mayfield- he was given a SB ready team a couple years ago in Cleveland and couldn’t get it done. He should be a career back up.
    Trask- he hasn’t even been active let alone a back up.

    4-5 wins at most.

  21. David Says:

    I am not trying to be doom and gloom, and anybody who has seen me post for years knows I am not that guy, but there are a lot of question marks and most of the time only a couple of them pan out.

    They are going to finish with a top 10 draft pick.
    I fully expect them to trade up by giving away 2025s first rounder in order to get the QB they need, if that’s what they have to do

  22. JR Says:

    there goes Joe with the to much talent talk. Drink to many Big Storms bruh. Some people just can’t be honest about their team. We’re no that damn good. So stop telling people they are. ridiculous. Joe be real with us, the readers bruh.

  23. Tye Says:

    They began cutting corners hiring one of the leagues worst HC to lead them!

  24. Letsbucinggo Says:

    Took the man 37 years to get a degree hes definitely not head coaching material. Inherited a descent team in the Jets and ran in into the ground in his four years. Will do the same here wake up Glazers.

  25. David Kilmer Says:

    Hi, absolutely I agree the Bucs will win under 6.5 games. My prediction 4, at best. The guest columnist said part of it well. The offense with Baker Mayfield, Kyle Trask. I believe Kyle Trask will replace Baker Mayfield by mid season. Kyle Trask will show he is not ready to be and may never be ready to be a starter in the NFL. The Bucs will have on display what they likely know ,but hoping they are wrong. They have 2 quarterbacks and no quarterback.
    However, the defense has major problems as well.
    As of now the team has no legitimate pass rushers to speak. Everyone is hoping on Shag and really Joe Shryko, sorry sofar he has shown he is a reliever at best and not against the run.
    Lamont’s David’s age will show more, no one can play forever. Then you have Devin White, who knows what he will do. Will he play for the team or himself. Right now I would take the vet on the latter.
    The secondary to good db’s in Davis and Dean but don’t take the ball away. Then you have Winfield.
    The team will give up a ton of points and the offense will score very few and will turn the ball over. Running the ball from behind good luck!!.
    Judging on the draft which appears on paper solid for the future, not next year ,the Bucs know all this. Lastly, Todd Bowles won’t be fired because no coach could win with the current roster.
    Yes the Bucs have some real talent but even More holes. Yes believe they will be last in the division and likely the league. Expecting anything other is wishful thinking

  26. sasquatch Says:

    Cutting corners? Yeah, they have had to fix their cap situation, but all things considered, they’ve done a great job putting talent together to field a team that can still compete in the NFCS this year, and set the talent base for future years with a franchise QB. I still expect them to win, hopefully capture the NFCS. After that, who knows?

  27. Buccos Says:

    I have complete faith in Kyle Trask. He has been groomed for this job. He is better than every QB who came out this year. He has already shown what he can do in the SEC. He is prepared to lead this team for many years to come. If he cannot, for whatever reason then we have Mayfield as an insurance policy. Trask will rise to the challenge. He has a lot of talent and has learned from the best to ever play the game. He will be fine

  28. Dom Says:

    This team nearly only won 6 games last lol. They had miracle comebacks vs the Saints and Cardinals.

    The right-side of the O-Line is a complete mystery. Love Jensen but got to see how he comes back after that catastrophic injury so he’s a question mark. Mayfield is trash and Trask is a complete unkown.

    The defensive line could be even worse against the run this year. Hall showed nothing last year. I like Kancey but few rookie DT’s play like a starter. No true number 1 pass rusher with Shaq returning from an achilles injury and wasnt playing well when he was healthy last year. Very questionable CB depth behind Davis and Dean. No safety depth behind Winfield or Neal. Devin White will probably overrun and blow more assignments than usual since he’s in a contract year and trying to break the bank.

    Love what I’m hearing from Dave Canales but he’s still an unknown as well. Confident he will be a major upgrade over Leftwh*ch but still got to see. Todd Bowels is an excellent defensive coach but his in game management skills have proven to be pretty mediocre. Oh and on top of that they play a first place schedule. These are all ingredients for a top 5 pick. I don’t understand how some fans are so optimistic about this season. We got some real good players like Wirfs, Evans, Godwin, VV, LVD, Dean, Davis, and Winfield but other than that it starts getting pretty thin. Jensen and Shaq can be added back to that list if they can get back to or close to pre injury level

  29. DaLynchMob47 Says:

    Kyle Trask isn’t gonna beat out Mayfield but I think Mayfield will be more of a game manager and our defense will be good enough to win 8 games if they stay healthy and our Oline will be one of the best in the NFL again barring injury. I see us winning the division again with 9 wins this time.

  30. Bucs96NYC Says:

    If Michael Penix is the next QB then Wirfs is moving back to RT to protect the blindside. So I’m all for that!