I wanted to post this as the Instagram caption for my Bucs FanPage (@bucsregime), but I realized that I had too much to say about this season, and not enough space to write it. Can you believe Instagram only gives us 2,200 characters to write our captions!? (Personally, I had no idea there was a cap.) Also, before I continue to write, reader, I want you to know that this article is mostly composed of my opinions.
Anyways, this season has been full of ups and downs, full of memories I hope I never forget. Sure, we ended the season 7-9, and missed our chance at being crowned the most mediocre team in the NFL by a last second pick six in a divisional game that went into overtime, but that’s not something I’m mad (or sad) about.
Sure, that loss hurts our ego, but that’s about it. It wasn’t deciding anything but the position of our draft pick. Okay, and maybe it also sealed Winston’s fate with this team… one way or another (still not sure about this one). But since that loss gives us a better opportunity at improving this talented roster, we SHOULD be happy. But of course, most of us aren’t.
Looking at this roster, this team looks like it should be a playoff team. And recently, I think it’s fair to say that it has played like one. Halfway through the season, and we were already on the brink of getting eliminated. Then we picked it up, won, and got mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. When that happened, I was saddened, because once again, I had hyped this team up, just to let it go out the door.
Although this season can be seen as a failure, there are some beautiful moments to remember. My personal favorite is our “upsetting” 55-40 win against the defending NFC Champions, the Rams, right in the heart of Rams territory. That game was a spectacle, and although it kept me on edge, it was all worth it at the end, especially after our defense proved that it could be absolutely spectacular when it needed to be. This season, we also got to witness players make history. We had 3 Pro Bowlers in Shaq Barrett, Mike Evans, and Chris Godwins. Shaq Barrett proved to be an absolute superstar, from the moment he stepped foot on the field in a Tampa Bay uniform. He ended the season with a career year, a starting Pro-Bowl selection, and as a record breaker, franchise and league-wise. Mike Evans and Chris Godwins also had crazy seasons, as they proved to the league that they were the number one receiving duo, with 1000+ yards each. Unfortunately, both of their seasons ended early with hamstring injuries.
Back to the future. Fear not, as I will make the same bold prediction once again. The same one that Bucs’ fans have been making for the past several years. Yes, the one where I say, “Next year is our year”. No, I’m not just saying that because I want to be a loyal fan, I’m saying it because I really believe it. If this team nails this offseason PERFECTLY or at least close to it, we should be a playoff team before the season even begins.
First of all, we need to fix our offensive line. Whether we stick with Jameis or not, I could care less at this point. Winston had a 30/30 season this year. That’s right, he threw for 30 Touchdowns… and 30 Interceptions. But even if we do replace him, we can’t expect the new QB to be any better if we don’t improve this offensive line. No QB can operate well without somebody to protect him and let him make decisions. Jameis or not, this team needs an Offensive Line. This team also needs to repair the passing defense a little bit more, and needs it ready by the BEGINNING of the season next year. We have lots of potential with our young secondary, we just need to find a way to put it into action during a game.
Winston’s future is also causing a headache for Bucs’ fans everywhere. After ending the season with a dramatic pick six, it’s a fresh reminder of his turnover issue (as if we forgot). It’s reported that he would like 30 Million in order to return in a Bucs uniform, and it is also reported that he will not play if he is franchise tagged. This puts the Front Office in a sticky situation, as they need to quickly come to a decision before it is too late. Obviously, every team needs a QB, but the Bucs’ especially need one, since this team consistently proves that it operates primarily on a Passing Game. Keep in mind, this upcoming draft has many gems at the QB position, ranging from the reigning Heisman winner, Joe Burrow and other choices who have a better chance at being available at our pick, such as Justin Herbert. There are many more who are also capable of being fitted into a Bucs uniform, but once again, the decision of who our QB will be needs to be made soon, especially if we even want to think about making the playoffs, let alone having a winning record.
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