New Season, Old Picture

August 19th, 2023

BILL CURRIE FORD IS OPEN DAILY! Shop now online and don’t forget to request the Ira Kaufman Discount. Nationwide lifetime warranty on new vehicles.


Sad but true: no quarterback drafted by Tampa Bay has ever received a second contract from the Buccaneers.

Sad but true: except for the stretch from 1999-2002, this franchise has never posted more than two consecutive winning seasons.

These two depressing facts are, of course, related.

How do you sustain success in the National Football League? Find yourself a franchise quarterback or build a suffocating defense. The Bucs took the latter route in the late 1990s as four Hall of Famers forged a dominant unit coached by one of the game’s most astute coordinators.

Josh Freeman and Drew Brees.

Under GM John Lynch, the 49ers are trying the same atypical approach. In the past four seasons, San Francisco has ranked No. 1, No. 3, No. 5 and No. 2 in total defense. That’s why the 49ers have been so competitive … despite a revolving door at quarterback.

The more common road to sustained success is easy to state and difficult to navigate — find yourself the right guy under center in the draft.

Since their inaugural 1976 season, the Bucs have started 39 different quarterbacks. The results, for the most part, have been ugly. Doug Williams, Vinny Testaverde, Trent Dilfer, Josh Freeman and Jameis Winston all arrived as first-round picks, but none of them could buck the disturbing trend.

Williams left because of a contract dispute, triggering a staggering 14-year playoff drought. The other four first-rounders simply couldn’t get the job done in Tampa, although Testaverde and Dilfer found some success elsewhere.

As this organization prepares for the 2023 season, we’re reminded once again that the search for an elite, young quarterback remains ongoing. Only the most optimistic among us would suggest either Baker Mayfield or Kyle Trask will emerge as the long-range answer.

Look inside the division for a little history.

Once Matt Ryan appeared on the scene in 2008, the Falcons reeled off five consecutive winning seasons, averaging 11 victories. Since Drew Brees ordered his first bowl of gumbo in the Big Easy, New Orleans went 37-11 from 2009-11 and 49-15 from 2017-20.

Finding the right guy at the right time cures a lot of ills.

The Chiefs are 64-18, with three Super Bowl appearances and two championships, since Pat Mahomes joined Andy Reid in KC. Josh Allen boasts a 52-24 record in Buffalo since 2018. Joe Burrow is 22-10 in the past two years with the Bengals.

Since Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers began spinning footballs in Green Bay, the Packers have posted 24 winning seasons in the last 31 years.

The Bucs don’t have enough pieces for an elite defense. They have a solid defense, which is why they won eight games last season despite an anemic attack and the NFL’s worst ground game.

It was breathtaking to have Tom Brady end his career with three seasons in Tampa, but every Buc fan knew the thrill would soon be gone. Brady has moved on but the quest for THAT GUY under center remains the top priority for Tampa Bay’s brain trust.

Pro Bowl buddies Jameis Winston and Russell Wilson. 

Let’s not take our eyes off the big picture.

Perhaps this trend will end as soon as the 2024 draft, which has the look of a quarterback-rich environment. It would likely take a very high pick or a bold trade to land either Caleb Williams or Drake Maye, but not every stellar quarterback is found in the first round.

Joe Montana was selected in Round 3. So was Russell Wilson. Brees and Jalen Hurts came off the board in the second round. The Patriots waited until Round 6 to grab Brady. Kurt Warner was undrafted.

Buc Nation wants to cheer for a franchise that is built for long-term success. It’s hard to see that happening until the right triggerman comes aboard.

Somewhere, there’s a young quarterback eager and talented enough to lead Tampa Bay into a new era of relevance.

Go find him.

23 Responses to “New Season, Old Picture”

  1. Irishmist Says:

    Consistently successful sports franchises like the Pittsburgh Steelers, St Louis Cardinals and Miami Heat tend to keep the same coaches, playing style and culture for years, if not decades. That’s how you develop young players into stars.

  2. ATLBuc Says:

    Don’t worry Ira. Our franchise QB is starting tonight and will show everyone why he’s the baby GOAT!

  3. Buc Fan in CO Says:

    Tangential to the (very salient) point Ira is making: what REALLY happened with Doug Williams in Tampa? The late, great Steve Duemig (rest in peace) used to allude to something *other* than simply a contract dispute, but would never come right out and say it. He repeatedly said words to the effect of, “the truth is available if folks know where to look.”

    Anybody KNOW what happened there?

  4. Defense Rules Says:

    Irishmist nailed it … our coaching has been a revolving door for the most part. Bucs have only had 3 HCs who lasted over 4 years:

    o John McKay (1976-1984): 44-88-1 record over 9 years BUT had to build the team from scratch … 4 playoff games (3 seasons) with 1 victory.

    o Tony Dungy (1996-2001): 54-42 record over 6 years AND was 1 of only 2 Bucs’ HCs with a winning record during his tenure … 6 playoff games (4 seasons) with 2 victories.

    o Jon Gruden (2002-2008): 57-55 record over 7 years And was the only other Bucs’ HC with a winning record during his tenure … 6 playoff games (4 seasons) with 3 victories (and a Super Bowl championship).

    So all-told we’ve had 13 head coaches in our 48 year history. The 3 longest-serving ones had 22 years & a combined record of 155-185-1 among them. The other 10 only lasted 26 years … 2-4 years each. And those 10 coaches had a combined record of 113-239. A lot to be said for coaching staff stability (turns out the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence).

  5. Buc Fan in CO Says:

    Yep, Irishmist and Defense Rules have it right. Long term stability goes hand in hand with long term success. And it’s almost like a chicken-and-egg situation. Which comes first? If a coach is successful, they lay they ground work for stability. And that stability (hopefully) leads to sustained success. I had high hopes for Raheem Morris to become our version of Mike Tomlin, but it didn’t happen.

  6. Dave from Winter Park Says:

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will go 3-14 for the 2023 NFL Regular Season ❗️The only regular season game the Bucs will be favored in will be vs. the Panthers (Now Pk, maybe) at the Westgate Super Book) in week 13 on December 3. 32nd (Worst in NFL) in Rushing, QB 30th, OL 31st OL, TE 30th Defense is rated 18th overall in my power ratings. Lack of a pass rush will kill the secondary, defensive line will become a sleeve vs the run. Lock of death overall, And when the team begins the season 0-6 after the Falcons loss on October 22nd, “The Bucs Fire Sale Begins.” And remember, the best the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did under the GOAT Tom Brady during the 2022 NFL Regular Season was 8-9, including 2 last second miracle wins. Dave Corcoran, 2018 Westgate Super Contest Winter Park, Florida.

  7. Player 1 Says:

    Buc Fan in CO

    I believe Steve was hinting at racism at that time. When Doug became a QB in the NFL, there were very few black QB’s prior to him, and as you may have noticed, people aren’t very receptive to culture change when it first happens

  8. PSL Bob Says:

    Don’t think I can add anything to this discussion. Constantly changing offensive and defensive schemes can’t be good for maximizing player’s potentials.

  9. PewterStiffArm Says:

    Hey Ira, if good fortunes come our way hopefully we have already found our foundation under center. Hopefully with Baker being the starter it doesn’t deflate Trask’s prospects of filling that role if Baker fails. Franchise quarterback, that has a very good ring to it.

  10. Mikadeemas Says:

    Caption that. I want your lunch money. GO BUCS!!

  11. Crickett Baker Says:

    I haven’t found anyone who agrees with me but I saw every home game D. Williams played with us and he was terrible. He was cowardly. I am not sure what happened but I was happy to see him go. AND as Joe intimated, Vinnie and Young could do little playing for us. We picked Winston and it went the same way. I have no faith that the draft would get us a good QB or that we can develop one.

  12. Hodad Says:

    You could also say if any of those coaches had a franchise QB maybe they would’ve had longer careers with the Bucs. Dungy would never have been fired if he had Manning with the Bucs. We would’ve been a dynasty.

  13. TB2023 Says:

    D Williams didn’t have a good oline and Testaverde also was missing a good online. Dilfed was frustrating to watch. He refused to throw the ball away and would take a sack. I’m not surprise the Ravens cut him the training camp following their Super Bowl win here in Tampa.

  14. Greg The Truth Says:

    Maybe because they keep choosing mediocre journeymen quarterbacks over developing talent???

  15. Defense Rules Says:

    BTW Joe, seeing that photo of Jameis & Russell Wilson made me wonder what this QB competition would’ve been like IF we’d signed Jameis this year to compete with Trask instead of Mayfield. Would all JBFers have been willing to give Jameis a ‘second chance’ (like Baker is getting), or would his track record here (2015-2019) have irreparably tainted their opinions of him.

    Their 2 careers aren’t all that much different looking at the numbers.

    o Jameis’ career W-L record is 34-46 (42.5%), while Baker’s is 31-38 (44.9%).
    o Jameis’ career completion percentage is 61.3%, while Baker’s is 61.4%.
    o Jameis’ career TD percentage is 4.9%, while Baker’s is 4.5%.
    o Jameis’ career INT percentage is 3.4%, while Baker’s is 2.8%.
    o Jameis’ career sack percentage is 6.4%, while Baker’s is 7.0%.
    o Jameis has 8 career 4th qtr comebacks, while Baker has 7.

    Oh and both were drafted in the 1st Rnd by 2 struggling teams. Apparently that does wonders for young QBs’ stats.

  16. Defense Rules Says:

    Hodad … ‘Dungy would never have been fired if he had Manning with the Bucs. We would’ve been a dynasty.’

    For sure Hodad. And with the defense that we had, Bucs probably would’ve won more than 1 Super Bowl back then.

  17. Buc Fan in CO Says:

    Defense Rules: that’s a great comparison and an even better question. My gut feeling is no, the vast majority of our fans would not be as sympathetic towards JW getting a second (last?) chance as they are towards Baker.

    Hodad: Absolutely correct. Even a consistently top ten QB would have been enough to have led to Tony Dungy finishing his career in Tampa Bay.

  18. T. McGee Says:

    The Dungy plus Manning thing misses a huge problem… salary cap. The team would’ve had to go from Great D to average (like his Colts team) to spend money on Manning. Everything would’ve been different.

  19. Buc Fan in CO Says:

    Player 1: thanks. Maybe I just read too much into what I thought he was implying.

  20. garro Says:

    Do we really want to get back into the savior quarterback sweepstakes people? Please temper your criticisms of either of these guys with this thought.

    Think it through… Jameis had a cannon and promise. I/we kept thinking when he settles down and gets it…Wow! Promise was there…I promise not to turn the ball over…I promise…While eating Ws and his other antics. It got beyond old quick for me.

    If we get that high draft pick the chances are Bowles and many other coaches will be gone. As will some players…New coach new players. New OC. New DC. New schemes on both sides of the ball. Think it through!

    Doug Williams, Vinny Testaverde, Trent Dilfer, Josh Freeman, Jameis Winston. All first rounders. Doug was the only one to arguably fulfill the savior role for us. And we let him walk for pocket change.

    Please remember that this dream of a savior quarterback is a gamble that we have lost at miserably in the past.

    Go Bucs!

  21. nick houllis Says:

    I’ve actually met Doug Williams, he was my first Bucs QB. the dude had to open packages of rotten watermelons ‘fans’ sent him after the Bucs were blown out by the Cowboys in 81 playoff game. Add to the fact his wife died during the contract negotiations. think about that for a moment. there is a LOT that could have gone wrong when that happened, and maybe he just wanted to move on to not be reminded. I loved Duemig, miss him a ton. somewhere I have the recording of him on air predicting Gruden getting fired about 1 hour before it happened.

  22. nick houllis Says:

    correction: I shouldn’t say predicted… he mentioned he heard things, not enough to call for it, but whispers from people. hour later Whitney broke the news.

  23. 1#bucsfan Says:

    Find a game manager like brad Johnston and build that defense up the the 90s early 2000s get a running game going and that’s how you win super bowls. Strong run game and great defense. Yea it’s old school but it’s worked forever more than being a passing team. If you look at post season stats going way back teams with strong run games and above average defense win more games in the post season