Want a sure thing? Take the Bucs under.

 

Woe is the Buccaneers fan.

 

Let me preface this by saying I love the Bucs.  They’re my NFL team and always will be.  I’m not looking to switch allegiances and I never will.

 

Dolphins Buccaneers FootballBut the 2009 Buccaneers are in trouble.  While other NFL teams are already executing their game plan with near playoff-like precision, the Bucs are still miles away from establishing any sort of identity.  Heading into the regular season, Tampa Bay’s coaching staff is no closer to answering crucial questions than it was four preseason games ago.

 

They start quarterback Byron Leftwich who’s already been cut from several NFL rosters.  Byron’s own family wouldn’t start him on their fantasy team.  Citing directional differences, the Bucs fired their offensive coordinator, Jeff Jagodzinksi, days before the start of the season.  They have no clear cut, number one running back.  They have no go to wide receiver.  In the off-season, they lost one of the greatest defensive minds in football.  They’ve had off-the-field, personnel issues.  And their schedule is brutal.  They play the NFC East this year, one of the toughest divisions in football, meaning before they even play a team in their own division, they will face Washington, Dallas, Philadelphia and the New York Giants who are all Super Bowl contenders. 

 

In the preseason, Tampa Bay went 1-3.  The only team they beat, by a single point, was the Jacksonville Jaguars, and their coach, Jack Del Rio, might not make it through the season.  While the preseason is not always the best indication of how a team will fare in the regular season, disturbing trends have emerged.

 

The Bucs are prone to giving up the big play.  Against Tennessee, within a fifteen minute time span, the Bucs allowed a 37 yard touchdown pass, a 36 yard touchdown run and had an interception run back for a touchdown.  They quickly went from up 12-6 to down 27-12 in minutes.  Despite beating Jacksonville, they allowed a 74 yard touchdown pass in the opening seconds of the game.  Against Miami, the Bucs failed to score a touchdown.  Against Houston, they allowed an 87-yard touchdown completion.  This does not bode well for a successful season.  Wherefore art thou, Monte?

 

Although their rush defense led the preseason in yards allowed, that won’t matter much if the Bucs a) consistently turn the ball over on offense  b) can’t move the football or  c) allow big plays in the passing game.  Those are momentum killers that the unorganized, Buccaneer offense will likely be unable to counter.

 

Dolphins Buccaneers FootballThe offense ranked 21st in the preseason in yards per game and 22nd in points scored.  The reason the Bucs melted down last year was because they were unable to move the football.  This season doesn’t look like it will be any different. 

 

Las Vegas lists the Buccaneer over/under for wins this season at six.  Only the Lions, Rams, Raiders, Chiefs and Lions are slotted lower and those teams are god-awful.  Aside from playing the NFC East and division rivals, New Orleans, Carolina and Atlanta twice, the Bucs also have to play Green Bay and the Jets at home, Buffalo, Miami and Seattle on the road, and the New England Patriots in Europe.  If you can find six wins on that schedule, you were probably the kid who always found that last, strategically hidden Easter egg.  Happy hunting!

 

Look, I am trying to be optimistic and I’m willing to be patient.  Rome wasn’t built in a day.  I support the new regime, its efforts to put a winning product on the field and the renewed emphasis on community.  I will still root for the team unabashedly.  If I don’t frequent Raymond James, I will still watch every game and cheer loudly.  But realistically, I fail to see how winning now is even a remote possibility.  The preseason doesn’t always tell us much about a football team but in this case, mediocrity appears evident.  Heck, mediocrity might even be wishful thinking.

 

20 thoughts on “Want a sure thing? Take the Bucs under.

  1. Hell of a schedule. No way do I see 6 wins here. Gotta play both East divisions, NFC and AFC. BRUTAL!

    Laura, get me Harrah’s Sports Book on line one.

    Del Rio must go! Take away MJD, and the Jags are the Bucs.

  2. What’s up with the mighty Gators not covering against Charleston Southern?

    My niece goes there. You can park on the street and watch their football games from your car. ‘Stadium’ is smaller than most high school fields. Might hold 4,000 fans.

  3. Hanogram… although someone had that line at 70+, I actually don’t think you could have found that bet in Vegas.

    That’s too much.

    With the new rules, it’s unlikely that any college team can score 70 in a game never mind cover by that much.

    Meyer took Tebow out in the first half, which may have been the first time back up QB John Brantley had seen snaps that early.

    Someone needs to give GCoach a hug. That Oklahoma loss was insane. The Bradford injury could prompt more kids to leave school early in the future.

  4. The Vegas line started at 73. About 10 days before the game, it went down to 63…all at once. Uh-oh! I figured guys would be double dipping on that….Take the 73, then give the 63…and win both times. Almost happened.

    I’ll ride by Charleston Southern tomorrow and post a pic of that multi-thousand dollar facility they have.

  5. I’ve played middles like that before. I don’t think I’ve ever hit one though.

    That’s one of the reasons Vegas doesn’t post large lines like that, because they’re prone to swinging in a particular direction giving people the opportunity to win both bets.

    I definitely would have taken the points though.

    The Gators looked good. Nice to see Rainey and Demps in mid-season form.

  6. While I don’t entirely disagree with your premise I must say that I find a few things incorrect if not unfair. An argument could easily be made that Derrick Ward (5.6 yards per carry last year), Earnest Graham and if he can stay healthy Cadilac are all number one caliber backs. All 3 have had 1000 yard seasons in the past and all three road the pine for most of the preseason as did Clayton, Bryant and Winslow. When Cadilac was in the game he looked great (which is why he is listed as the numebr 1) as did Ward. While the wide receivers may not be the best group I think AB would be the number one on half the teams in the league and I defy you to find a better one two punch then Winslow and Stevens at the tight end position. Hell their leading rusher in preseason was BJ Askew who is really a fullback and boasts a total of 34 carries in his 6 year career so how can you judge the offense on that? With all that said, we do face an uphill battle to be sure. The D looks good against the run but very suspect against the long ball. They are young and play fast but they are relying on untested players to play huge roles. If the run game turns out like I think it will you may be surprised at the ball control aspect of their game. Yes Lefty is weak but he was only cut by two teams (Falcons and the Jags) and the Steelers wanted him back this off season for a reason. He plays under control. We all know he is holding Freemans spot anyway so its not like they think he is the long term answer. As for Vegas what was the under on the Falcons last year or for that matter the Packers or the Cardinals? If I sound like a homer, I am! I drive 200 miles for every home game and hate the thought that this year is a wash but I do like the direction we are heading. The draft other than Freeman was strong and of course we will have to wait until later to make the call on him but Roy Miller looks like a beast and Kyle Moore and Sloughter should play signifigant minutes. I’m holding my breath and counting on the Bucs to surprise people. Hope to see you at the games and I can probably scrounge up a seat for you here and there if you are interested. Go Bucs!

  7. Chris

    Morris and Dominik are to the NFL what Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie were to reality tv. They proved to be a passing fad and their fifteen minutes of fame lasted far longer than was necessary.

    As to their tally at the end of the season. If they should win more than 5 or 6 games at best. Then I for one would be pleasantly surprised !

    Alan Parkins

  8. Seth… well argued, man.

    Ok, let’s discuss the backs. I like what they’ve done in the off-season and maybe I was a little bit harsh. The ground game SHOULD be solid but just to play devil’s advocate, Cadillac hasn’t proven he can stay healthy, Ward has always split time with other backs and Graham, while still my boy, is not a full time, number one back.

    Bryant a number one WR on half the teams in the league? I’m not sure I’m buying that either. I commend you keeping your pewter-colored glasses on but I was just trying to be realistic. We’ll keep an eye on his receptions and where he ranks in the league come mid-season. Remember, he still has to have a quality QB throwing him the ball.

    I like the run d but again, if they’re asked to do too much like last year, even that will wear down. And how did our secondary go from so solid to so young? I’ve never seen the Bucs give up big plays like that.

    I don’t think we can rest our hopes on the fact that this division flip flops from worst to first every year. New Orleans, Atlanta and Carolina will all be strong this year and I see too many holes.

    That being said, I love the homerness and would love to catch a game. Let me know.

  9. It may be a long hard season. Good thing I only have to drive 120 miles. I am a gator and a buc fan but Ernest Graham is the most underrated back in the NFL he runs like a bull and hurts defensive players. Thank God we don’t face TO om oping week, if we can beat the cowboys six wins wont be that hard to find. See you at the game.

  10. Chris

    Did one of your subscribers state that all 3 rb’s on the Bucs are capable rushing for a 1,000 yds ?

    How much of the Kool-Aid has he been on ? If not that then I can only surmise that he either went on or came of the meds prescribed by Whacko Jacko’s personal physician ?

    Alan Parkins

  11. All valid points Chris and yes I do have the pewter colored glasses. I agree with Rich. Graham is a no fun to tackle and he may be the easiest of the group to bring down. Thats why he had 14 td’s in the last two years even though he didn’t play a full season either year. He echoed my thoughts about the Dallas game. We’ll know pretty quick where we are after that game!

  12. Al… I think Seth just mentioned they’ve all had 1000 yard seasons in the past.

    With the amount the Bucs plan to rush this season, if successful, they should all be able to put up reasonable numbers.

    I wonder which one of them will have the most touches, rushing yards, and yards per carry.

    It’ll be interesting to see until opposing defenses stack the line and Leftwich isn’t able to pass us out of trouble.

  13. Actually, Seth, I don’t know how much we’ll be able to tell from the first five weeks. We’re having to play the entire NFC East.

    I don’t have high hopes. .500 after that stretch would be ideal.

  14. My man, yes, the Bucs are in trouble this year. I’ve told all my fantasy playing brothers to start Marion Barber & Pittman this week. With no solid experience or talent at LB or DE, both Barber & Pittman will have great games. Hang in there and remember, you can always join the Fin party bus.

  15. You would have seen the mediocrity firsthand, Donny C, had you made the trip.

    But if there’s one thing the Bucs do well, it’s defend the run.

    Nice to see your ‘fantasy playing brothers’ will stop taking advice from you in Week One.

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