2018 Season Recap: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Division: NFC South
2018 Record: 5-11 (4th in the NFC South)
Intro: Fear and Loathing on Dale Mabry
We were somewhere around Tampa on the edge of Dale Mabry Boulevard when the hope began to take hold. I remember saying something like “We’re going to go 16-0 with Fitzmagic and he’s going to break every passing record and win MVP!” And suddenly there was a terrible roar in Pittsburgh and the hope turned into what felt like the same old Buccaneer shit we’re used to. And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us and the sky was full of Mitchell Trubisky passes, all swooping down and screeching and diving at our secondary. And the voice of Vance McDonald was screaming “TO THE SHADOW REALM WITH YOU, CHRIS CONTE!”
Then it was quiet again. r/Buccaneers had taken off our shirts and began pouring beer on our chests to facilitate the alcoholism process that’s become synonymous with our fandom. “Where the hell have all the dank me me’s gone?” We yelled, staring up at this sun with our eyes open as Jameis turned the ball over 21 times in 9 starts. “Eating W’s,” I said. I hit the brakes and pulled off to Mons Venus on the side of Dale Mabry and left Mike Smith there for good. No point mentioning Smith ever again, I thought. The poor bastard is gone for good.
It was almost mid-season and we had 8 more games to go. They would be tough games. Very soon, I knew, we would be completely fucked and picking at the top of the draft again. But there was no going back, and no time to rest. We would have to ride it out. Mock drafting was already underway and we had to begin arguing sooner rather than later about what to use our 1st round pick on and concluded the answer was “Ricky Aguayo.”
So I looked back on my season preview post and wondered why I got hopeful to begin with. It was surprisingly prescient. Let’s revisit that. (Thank you Mr. Hunter Thompson). The 2018 season was exactly the disaster I predicted it to be.
Expectation: “I predict the Buccaneers will finish 5-11 this year, last in the NFC South.”
Reality: The Buccaneers finished 5-11, last in the NFC South.
Expectation: “I believe we are about to witness an end of Schiano/end of Raheem Morris level meltdown with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a regime change from top to bottom, and whatever promise we had last year is going to go full Hindenburg.”
Reality: Koetter was canned. Somehow Jason Licht survived. More on that later.
Expectation: Jameis will throw for “3,113 yards, 64.1% completion percentage, 20 TD’s, 16 INT’s”
Reality: Jameis threw for 2,992 yards, 64.6% completion percentage, 19 TD’s, 14 INT’s.
It was a turd sandwich season. It's a Bucs life. Now, I’ll humor you with some of my non-Bucs related predictions:
Expectation: “Last year, I predicted we’d see a breakout year from Goff. This year, my guy is Patrick Mahomes, who I think will be one of the league’s most exciting QB’s for a long time. I’m all aboard the Mahomes canoe. If it tips, than you will too! Do you love Mahomes like I do? All aboard the Mahomes canoe!”
Reality: I was wrong. Mahomes didn’t just break out. He won MVP. All aboard!
Expectation: “The NFC Championship game will be played between the St. Louis Rams and the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons will win. The AFC Championship game will be played between the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Patriots will win. The Super Bowl will feature an LI rematch, and Brady will win his final ring.”
Reality: The Rams were in fact in LA, not St. Louis. I had ¾ of the championship teams correct. Not bad.
Expectation: “Coaches most likely to lose a job during or after this season: Koetter, Bowles, Jay Gruden, Hue Jackson, Marvin Lewis (it’s going to fucking happen one day), Vance Joseph, and dark horses: McCarthy, Harbaugh”
Reality: Koetter, Bowles, Hue Jackson, Marvin Lewis, Vance Joseph, and Mike McCarthy are all gone.
2018: Key Statistics
|Category||2017 Ranking||2018 Ranking||Δ|
|Total Offense||5,816 Yards||6,648 Yards||+832|
|Total Passing Yards||4,366 Yards||5,125 Yards||+759|
|Total Rushing Yards||1,450 Yards||1,523 Yards||+73|
|Total Defense Allowed||6,049 Yards||6,134 Yards||-85|
|Total Passing Yards Allowed||4,169 Yards||4,151 Yards||-18|
|Total Rushing Yards Allowed||1,880 Yards||1,983 Yards||-103|
The Top Stories of the 2018 Season
Jameis Winston gets suspended for sexual assault. Fitzmagic happens. Fitztragic emerges once again: No need to rehash the events of the alleged incident itself. The big story to kick off 2018 was Jameis Winston’s 3-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. And then, we got Fitzmagic ever so briefly…and how magical it was. In his first three starts of the season, Fitz threw for more than 1,200 yards, 11 TD’s, and 4 INT’s. The prevailing assumption was that Jameis would be handed the starting job after returning from suspension, but Koetter chose to stay with the hot hand before benching midway through our week 4 game against Chicago. Fitzmagic was a beautiful flash in the pan—a demonstration of how our offense could have operated under Monken. Alas, without a run game and competent offensive line, the cycle of Fitz reared its ugly head and he went back to gunslinging interceptions. It was a fun couple of weeks. But then hope died. It’s a Bucs life.
Mike Smith Gets Fired Midseason: If fired head coaches got tombstones, Dirk Koetter’s would say: “Here rests Dirk Koetter, who was to loyally stubborn for his own good. His hair was awesome though.” And that’s the crux of how Mike Smith stuck around an ungodly long time. Maybe Koetter should have realized he had a problem after the 2017 season where the team generated a league low 22.0 sacks and allowed a 48% conversion rate on 3rd downs. Maybe he should have thought about firing Mike Smith when a previously unspectacular Mitch Trubisky threw for 6 TD’s against the Bucs and shredded our secondary with ease. Five games into our 2018 season, and after Mike Smith once again proved he had no answers for Matt Ryan and Julio, he was gone. There’s a slim chance that if Koetter had made more adjustments to our defense (and sooner), he might still have his job today. Maybe. Smith would end up being one of the final nails in the coffin for Koetter’s career in Tampa.
Dirk Koetter Gets Fired: After three lackluster years in Tampa (that included a 9-7 record at its peak), Dirk Koetter got fired. Koetter’s going to be one of those coaches we look back on and say “I don’t hate you but I’m glad you’re not with us anymore.” It’s kind of how I feel about Michael Jackson after watching Leaving Neverland. Anyhow, to understand why Koetter got fired boils down to a few variables, in my opinion. For one, he was stubborn to a fault. His insistence on calling plays kept our offense stagnant for the duration of his time in Tampa. It was only when he ceded playcalling duties to Todd Monken that our offense began to resemble, well, an offense. Continuing on the subject of Koetter’s bullheadedness was his loyalty. Mike Smith did everything he could in his power to prove the game had passed him by, and yet, despite our defense getting penetrated week after week like a Brazzer’s model, Koetter chose to stick with Smith with unwavering loyalty. It may be a stretch to guess, but if Koetter had given up playcalling duties to Monken earlier and fired Mike Smith after the 2017 season, there’s a small chance he’d still be our coach going into the 2019 season.
Then, there was Jameis. Koetter was promoted from OC to replace Lovie, and he had one job: make Jameis a star. Despite my belief that Jameis is a morally depraved dingus who turns the ball over like it’s his job (spoiler alert: that isn’t his job), I’m not ready to call him the dreaded “B-Word” yet; because, in between those frequent plays that he is getting sacked with a hand in his face and decides to chuck the ball into triple coverage after it’s been tipped, you see those moments of spark that make you say “hey, maybe this guy could end up being worthy of his draft status with some good coaching.” But that wasn’t Dirk Koetter, and it doesn’t help that Jason “I jump in swimming pools wearing suits when we win football games” Licht (he really does this) surrounded Dirk/Jameis with a supporting cast that added as much value as Rose Tico added as a character to The Last Jedi.
There was no path forward with Dirk Koetter. He never really lost the locker room, but at the same time, he never grasped it either, failing to create a winning culture in Tampa. I wish him the best of luck in Atlanta (which is the team that blew a 25 point lead in Super Bowl LI). But not too much luck. Happy trails, Bizarro Rand Paul.
Bruce Arians Gets Hired: We were originally told by Bruce Arians that the only team he’d come out of retirement to coach was the Cleveland Browns (I never thought I’d write that sentence. Ever). A little coaxing from Jason Licht, and voila, Arians is back in action in exchange for a late round draft pick swap with the Arizona Cardinals. I’m going to have more to say on Arians when we do the r/NFL season preview posts, but my reaction is lukewarm, at best.
Arians himself is one of the most likable characters to grace the modern NFL: he’s quotable, he’s hilarious, his players consistently adore him, and he’s had an amazing impact on various star QB’s, including Ben Roethlisberger, Carson Palmer, Peyton Manning, and Andrew Luck. Most notably, he was able to take two QB’s accused of sexual assault in Manning and Roethlisberger and turn them into consent-respecting superstars. One can only hope those results will be replicated with Winston (I think Jameis has a better chance of becoming a superstar than consent-respecting but that’s neither here nor there).
A couple of years back I wrote a post looking at recent examples of coaches who stepped away from organized football for as little as one season and found that the results were pretty bad (you can now add Gruden to this list who started off a little rocky in Oakland after a decade hiatus). There’s also the issue of age and health. At 66, Arians is no spring chicken. Arians has kicked cancer’s ass in the past, but he continues to struggle with high blood pressure during games.
I wish the man an amazing career with us. How could I not? It’s exciting to have him with us, but this doesn’t feel like a long-term solution. As Arians would say: “No risk it, no biscuit.” I don’t want to eat any W’s but I sure do want some biscuits.
Free Agency – Select Analysis of Key Free Agents on the Docket
Since I began writing this, free agency has begun, so I’ve tried to update on the fly…
|Brent Grimes (CB)||UFA||Father time caught up with Grimes last year. Without a succession plan in place, we had no choice but to keep him for 2018. The Bucs invested heavily in the secondary by drafting both MJ Stewart and Carlton Davis in the 2nd round last year. Grimes is 36 at this point and it shows. There’s little to no value in keeping him. Verdict: Miko Grimes, go away.|
|Donovan Smith (LT)||UFA||The Bucs initially made the decision to franchise Smith before they reached a three year deal that will pay him $27M guaranteed. The LT market is unfortunately overinflated to the point that the way players are paid doesn’t correlate to the value they bring to the team. Despite his sub-par play, Donovan Smith's market should have paid him among the top players in the league. Is Nate Solder, the 2nd highest paid LT in the league much better than Donovan Smith? Not by much, IMO. You could say the same of Russell Okung. I need to see when we have a potential out with Smith without getting hit with dead money. My guess is this is in essence a 2-year deal for all intents and purposes. This re-signing, though marked up significantly at least allows us a few more options with the 5th pick, and we can only hope that Smith will improve with competent coaching, though I'm not getting my hopes up. Verdict: It’s paying a below-average LT top dollar. It’s a symptom of the market. It sucks for everyone, but mostly for Jameis.|
|Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB)||UFA||This is a tough one. Fitz is 36 at this point. With Jameis in the final year of his deal and still no sure thing, we don’t even have a developmental QB on our roster right now (sorry guys, it ain’t Ryan Griffin). I think it’s time to look younger here and let Fitz hit the open market. Which sucks, because I’m a fan of the guy all around. Verdict: Look to draft a backup QB in Round 4 or later Let Fitz walk.|
|Adam Humphries (WR)||UFA||As horrible as Jason Licht as been in the draft, he’s managed to find some valuable UDFA’s, Hump being a prime example. The Bucs are likely to cut Desean Jackson and free upwards of $10M in cap space. But even with that added space, Hump is seeking a big pay-day—one that doesn’t make sense to pay given our hefty investment in Mike Evans. I’d love to find a way to keep Humphries on board, but there’s no way given our cap constraints. Whoever gets him will be delighted. I suspect he’ll go to the Patriots because of his complexion.
|Christopher Conte (S)||UFA||NFL League Rules prevent any team from signing players banished to the shadow realm. Some say Vance McDonald never let him return. Verdict: Duh.|
|Kwon Alexander (ILB)||UFA||How we handle Kwon Alexander is likely to be the most divisive topic of the Bucs offseason. My thoughts on Kwon: he’s the closest thing to a modern day LaVarr Arrington you could think of. LaVarr Arrington was a 3x All-Pro/Pro Bowler in Washington. He made some of the prettiest splash plays a LB could make. But if you paid attention to him in between the sexier plays, you’d see a guy who had the play recognition of a three-toed sloth and the ability to diagnose like a Doctor with a degree from the University of Phoenix Online Medical school. To me, that’s Kwon Alexander, a player who is seeking Kuechly levels of money (despite coming off a torn ACL and not being worth that to begin with). Kwon’s greatest asset is his leadership and the energy he brings to a defense. In those areas, he’s been stellar. Could we have misused him mightily under Mike Smith? Very possibly. But let’s talk about his coverage skills people perceive him to have (or lack thereof). According to PFF, in his six games played this year, he was thrown at 29 times. He allowed 27 receptions when the ball was thrown his way (93.1%). He had 8 missed tackles in the same number of games (21 missed tackles in 12 games in 2017). My point is: Kwon Alexander is defensive figurehead. He’s not a player to build a defense around. I like the idea of him going to a place like Houston. But for us? I’d let him walk with little hesitation Verdict: Love Kwon the person. Love Kwon’s leadership. Kwon himself is not a priority. Update: Kwon has signed with the 49ers.|
2018 Rookie Review
I always subscribe to the philosophy that you don’t truly know who a player is until three years (or even more) into his NFL career. A rookie can enter the league and take it by storm (see RGIII), or he may need time to adjust to the nuances of the pros (see Eric Fisher). So take this rookie review with a grain of salt. It’s intended to talk about the trajectory, where these players can improve, and who to watch in the coming season.
|Round 1, #12 Overall||Tevita Tuliʻakiʻono Tuipulotu Mosese Vaʻhae Fehoko Faletau Vea (DT – Washington)||I’ll admit I was among the many Bucs fans who were in the pro-Derwin camp. But when the Vea pick happened, it just made sense given our lack of DT depth, McCoy’s age, and our league low 22.0 sacks from the year before. Vea had a rough start. He began the season on the PUP list with a strained calf, then struggled with conditioning as he eased his way into the speed of the pro game. By the end of his rookie season, Vea was making plays that were jaw dropping. Manhandling double-teams, violent sacks, and blowing up run plays before they could develop. Vea was looking like a star in the making. There’s still a lot of work to be done. I sometimes feel that Vea attempts to get by on raw upper body strength rather than driving from his legs, and that’s exacerbated by his tendency to play too upright at times. But I really like the idea of him transitioning to a 0-tech in a 3-4 under Bowles. I don’t know if Vea is ever going to be a big name/big stats player, but his rookie season was impressive, to say the very least. Outlook: Very Positive|
|Round 2, #38 Overall||Ronald Jones (RB – USC)||When Ronald Jones was drafted last year, I had serious concerns about him. I wrote: “The recurring problem I saw with Jones’ tape, however, was in his inability to let his blocks develop, and the lack of patience resulted in him running into the pile before his holes opened up... t doesn’t help that the Buccaneers OL hasn’t exactly been an opportunity creator for our run game, and that makes me worry about Jones’ transition to the NFL. Pass blocking is a huge area of work for Jones…” Jones was really fucking bad, to say the very least. He mustered up a whopping 44 yards on 23 carries (1.9 average), and while I generally believe in patience with rookies, RB’s have one of the easiest transitions from the college game to the Pros. It would not shock me if Ronald Jones is on the roster bubble this year. He was that helpless. Thanks for another whopper 2nd round pick, Jason Licht. This one may not even outlast Roberto Aguayo. Outlook: Very Negative|
|Round 2, #53 Overall||MJ Stewart (DB – UNC)||Stewart was originally drafted with the intent to play safety. But with depletions to our secondary, we were forced to plug in Stewart at CB. I didn’t see a lot to be impressed with in the beginning, to be honest, but he was playing outside of comfort zone. Bucs are expected to switch him back to Safety this coming season, where we’ll be able to deliver a more proper evaluation. Outlook: Neutral|
|Round 2, #63 Overall||Carlton Davis III (CB - Auburn)||It’s not easy to come into the NFC South as a rookie and have to deal with Drew Brees, Cam Newton, and Matt Ryan from the get-go. Davis managed to only allow a respectable 400+ yards as a rookie, even with our tough schedule. Davis, like every member of our secondary struggled to get a single turnover. Once his ball skills improve, he’s got potential as a reliable starter. Outlook: Positive|
|Round 3, #94 Overall||Alex Cappa (OT – Humboldt State)||I didn’t have any particular expectations with Alex Cappa as a rookie. Coming out of a Division II school, few were expecting him to come in and make an immediate impact. With injury depletions to our OL, Cappa got a total of 103 snaps as a rookie. Hardly enough to judge him, but there were a few notable highlights where he stood out. And not in a great way. Outlook: Neutral.|
|Round 4, #117 Overall||Jordan Whitehead (S – Pitt)||Really liked what I saw of Whitehead. Due to character concerns stemming back to his time in college, Whitehead fell to us in the 4th. He’d wind up playing in all 17 games. For a guy just shy of 200 pounds, he can hit like a truck, but sometimes got overpowered and broken tackles came easy for his opposition. His instincts and nose for the ball make him a more promising member of this draft class. Outlook: Positive|
|Round 5, #144 Overall||Justin Watson (WR- Penn)||Sure, he had one catch for 5 yards as a rookie, but added value as a special teamer. With Humphries’ departure, Watson may be more involved in the passing offense next year. Outlook: Neutral|
|Round 6, #202 Overall||Jack Cichy (ILB – Wisconsin)||Cichy fell to round 6 after tearing his ACL in his senior year at Wisconsin. Unfortunately, he suffered the same fate once again as a rookie and was placed on IR early on. With the decision to re-sign Davantae Bond to the Veteran minimum, Cichy may not make it out of training camp. Outlook: Negative|
Top Needs Entering Free Agency and the Draft (in no Particular Order Because We’re Kind of Screwed in Each Category)
Edge: Things got a lot better on a DL front last year. Carl Nassib was a value pickup for us after getting waived by the Browns. Jason Pierre-Paul became our first 10+ sack guy since Simeon Rice. McCoy still played at a fairly high level, and Vita Vea emerged as a legitimate threat by the end of the season. As the Bucs transition to a 3-4 scheme under Bowles, Bucs will be in need of a pass rusher opposite JPP. With McCoy’s current age and salary, it may be his final season in Buccaneer uniform. Drafting more depth here is an absolute must. Build the trenches. Potential FA Solutions: Ziggy Ansah. Potential draft solutions: Quinnen Williams (Please God fall to us), Ed Oliver, Josh Allen, Montez Sweat, and Nick Bosa (zero chance)
RB: Ronald Jones is looking like a serious dud of a player already. While Peyton Barber runs with the ferocity of a thousand angry Gods, his ceiling to me is more of a 3rd down back than a feature one. Potential Free Agent Solutions: Jay Ajayi. Potential Draft Solutions: Bryce Love, Elijah Holyfield
OL: Demar Dotson will be a UFA in 2020, leaving us without a defined successor at RT. RG has been an ugly need for us the last two seasons, as we’ve rotated between Kevin Pamphile, then Caleb Benenoch. The whole right side of our line is a huge need. A potential solution would be to bounce Ryan Jensen out to RG and draft a Center. Potential Free Agent Solutions: TJ Lang. Potential Draft Solutions: Jawaan Taylor, Jonah Williams
ILB: Donovan Smith’s re-signing all but confirmed we would lack the cap space to bring back Kwon Alexander. 3rd year player Kendell Beckwith missed the 2018 season with a brutal ankle injury after a car crash, and remains a bit of an unknown. You’ll notice a Bucs scout was personally on the field to observe Devin White run the forty yard dash at the Combine. Using the 5th pick to select him wouldn’t be shocking. Lavonte David will bounce inside under the new Bowles scheme, but will need a counterpart. Potential Free Agent Solutions: Deone Bucannon. Potential Draft Solutions: Devin White, Mack Wilson
CB: CB is a tough situation given the heavy draft capital that’s been invested in the position in the last few years. Nevertheless, it’s a glaring area of need with the inconsistency/injuries of Vernon Hargreaves III, the departure of Brent Grimes, and the fact we can’t generate takeaways for the lift of us. Potential Free Agents Solutions: Darqueze Dennard. Potential Draft Solutions: Greedy Williams, Deandre Baker, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson
Free Agency: The 2019 Wish List
I’m making this list more from a practicality standpoint. It sure would be nice if the Bucs somehow signed Leveon Bell, C.J. Mosley, and Ndamukong Suh, but that ain’t going to happen given our constraints. As of my writing this, the Buccaneers sit with a lowly $1.4M in cap room. For the sake of this exercise, let’s also make the (possible) assumption that the Buccaneers will cut Desean Jackson ($10M in savings) Mitch Unrein ($3.75M in savings), and Willie Gholston ($3.75M in savings).
- Darqueze Dennard (CB – Cincinnati): Dennard has hardly lived up to his 1st round billing given injuries and inconsistency. But assessing our current CB group, he’d be a sure starter for us opposite Carlton Davis III that won’t come at top dollar. If we could secure him to a 3-year deal that paid under $18M, it’d be worth a look.
- Dante Fowler (Edge – Rams): I’m letting my Florida Gators bias show here, but there’s a part of me that the mercurial Fowler still hasn’t gotten anywhere near his pro potential. With only 16.0 sacks in 3 seasons, Fowler won’t get paid a mega contract like a Demarcus Lawrence. He’d provide added depth to our pass rush which is still an unknown for us. Update: Fowler signed a 1-year extension with LA
- Tyrann Matthieu (S – Texans): As he enters his 7th year in the league, it’s hard to believe the Honey Badger is only 26 years old. With his familiarity with Bowles’ scheme and father-son like relationship with Arians, Mattieu would make a great fit in Tampa should things not pan out with Landon Collins. Matthieu’s posts on social media have hinted at a preference for Tampa, which doesn’t mean a goddamn thing, but we can dream. Update: He signed with the Chiefs. The rich got richer.
- Justin Houston: (Edge – Chiefs):Houston is a very young 30. With Kwon’s departure, more leaders are needed on our defense. As are like, people who can actually play football on our defense. I can’t see Houston going to a stinker team like us. He seems more like a fit for a fringe/current playoff contender.
- Deone Bucannon (ILB - Cardinals): From a practicality standpoint, having a guy like Bucannon who’s familiar with Bowles’ scheme would be a major plus for the Bucs, and we won’t have to pay him Kwon money. From a standpoint of fandom, the man’s name is Buc*cannon.* How could we pass on that? I happen to think that Devin White will wind up a star in this league and would probably be my early favorite to win DROY (depends on where he lands). But we have to build from the inside out on both sides of the ball, and our needs run a lot deeper than ILB. It’s something I’d prefer to address in Free Agency.
Closing Thoughts: Jason Licht IS STILL a Horrible General Manager and I Can’t be Convinced Otherwise at this Point. Brace Yourselves for the Coming Offseason
You can fire Lovie Smith. You can fire Dirk Koetter. You can hire Bruce Arians. None of this will have any impact on the team so long as Jason Licht is the General Manager of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Let me quote last year’s season review post here:
After 2015, many called for Lovie Smith’s head and got what they wanted. After 2017, many echoed the same sentiments for Dirk Koetter. But the recurring issues with the Bucs start with our front office. I've been a long-time critic of Jason Licht. The crux of my criticism of Licht boils down to my opinion that he is good at finding individual talent, but not very good at building a complete roster. It's easiest to explain this year by year. 2014, Licht went all-in on offense. Given how abysmal our offense was in 2013, this may have seemed like a logical approach, but the lack of balance in that draft continues to plague us until this day given how narrow our depth is there. From that draft, we're left with only two players: Mike Evans and Kevin Pamphile. This was the infamous year of Michael Johnson and Anthony Collins as well, two of the most disastrous free agent signings in franchise history. Alteraun Verner, viewed as a cheaper and more scheme-friendly version of Revis was also brought in at a high price tag and never properly utilized. We move onto 2015, and once again, continue to focus on offense, offense, offense. Picking Jameis #1 overall is a decision Licht deserves credit for, and trading up to take a D3 guard in Marpet is another slamdunk move he made here. Taking Kwon in the 4th round was another Licht steal, and this draft probably represented his high point. When Kwon was taken in the 4th round, it was the first time the Bucs had selected a defender in the Licht era. It took us 11 picks into his tenure to select a defender, and as the 2014-2015 classes begin to hit their stride, we’re left with a huge void on defense. While we needed a franchise LT, Donovan Smith has been hot garbage, and if the last season didn't suck out whatever faith people still had in him, I don't know what will. Oh, and in terms of Licht’s 2nd round picks, has anyone seen Austin Sefarian-Jenkins around?
We move onto 2016, and he finally says let's invest in our terrible defense. VH3 gets picked #11 overall after we trade down from #7, and no matter what people say, this was the right move. Licht takes a gamble on Noah Spence in Round 2, and he's been good when healthy. Then, there was the Roberto frickin’ Aguayo pick. Here we have a still incomplete roster that hasn't made a playoff since three head coaches ago, and what does he do? He trades up to take a kicker when we had an 82.1% accurate kicker in Barth.
The Licht era has emphasized heavy selection of offensive picks, and that investment has not translated into on field performance. Our late round picks (rounds 5-7) rarely make the opening day roster and are essentially wasted picks. Is this a scouting problem? I don't know, but I'd expect more roster retention than what we've had.
Has anything changed since I wrote this? Nope. Not a goddamn thing. In 2018, Jason Licht’s personnel moves bit us in the ass once again, and they’re already rearing their ugly head as free agency begins. Take a look at the teams with the most cap spend here and you’ll notice the Bucs sit near the top (we’ve since freed up $10M in cap or so since Breer wrote this Tweet).
The teams on this list have all been to the playoffs in the last two seasons with the exception of the Redskins. And do you want to know why that is? It’s because good football teams build through the draft and use free agency as a secondary means to fill their notable gaps, NOT the other way around.
So with all of this big money spend and now going onto his third head coach in his tenure, all Jason Licht has is a 27-53 record to his name. Oh, and before you tell me that a win-loss record is not reflective of a GM their entire fucking job is to build a winning roster.
Here we are sitting at the top of the draft again. You think Licht’s going to be able to turn it around for us? Because when I look at our cap spend and the leaders of our team, it seems to me that Mark Dominik has had a more positive legacy on the Bucs than Jason Licht has.
When the Glazers fire Jason Licht (not “if”), the first thing they should point to is his haplessness in fixing our serial kicking woes. “Well, sorry Jason, you picked Roberto Aguayo, then signed Nick Folk, then thought Chandler Catanzaro would be a good idea.” I’ll quote the late great John McKay, who said “Kickers are like horse manure. They’re everywhere.”
Jason Licht is like the modern-day Matt Millen, trying to build us a good fantasy team but not a good football roster. I wouldn’t put it past him to be wooed by Donkey Kong Metcalf’s straight-line speed and really sexy abs and submit a draft card to pick him up, because that’s how Licht’s monkey brain operates. Monkey see, monkey do, monkey build roster of poo.
Our fans are really hopeful about the Arians signing. It’s adorable. It’s like the equivalent of your dad buying you a new Ferrari. It’s a beautiful car, but you get in and realize that Vince Young is behind the wheel with Princess Diana in the passenger seat. No matter how nice the car is, as long as Vince Young is driving and Princess Diana’s there too, that beautiful car is going to blow up in a drunken explosion (and you can’t take a fucking Uber because you’re banned from it for grabbing driver crotch). Jason Licht is Vince Young, the fans are Princess Diana, and Bruce Arians is the Ferrari being driven by a loon.
Do I sound angry? I am so angry. Because I was raised to be objective, even when it comes to the things I love like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I’ve had a few drinks. Somebody call me a Lyft. Godspeed, and kneel before the Ginger Giraffe, Kneel before him.
Shoutouts to r/Buccaneers. It is a pleasure to be a mod there and to support what I truly believe is the greatest sports sub on reddit. Your dank me me’s, your humor, and insights make our sub feel less like a sub and more of a community. We may not have the biggest subscribership (in fact, we have the smallest), but it’s about the size of the fight in the dog, not the dog in the fight. Shoutout to the other mods in /u/TheHoodTheBadTheUgly, /u/kris919, /u/luckyink, and /u/A--A-RON for being great to work with and for making the sub a fun place to be.
Fuck Turd Turdberry for cutting Mike Glennon. Racist pig.