With any hopes of the playoffs on life support, especially after the turnover filled loss to the Titans, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers now have a new goal for the last five games of the 2011 season. What started as a journey to improve on our 10 win season from 2010 and make the next step in the rebuilding process, which should have yielded a playoff berth, the Bucs will now start to move towards part 3b of the rebuilding phase. It's a time of the season that no team wants to be a part of, but inevitably find themselves in if the season doesn't go their way.
That phase is the evaluation phase.
The evaluation phase is nothing more than seeing what you have in players and coaches over a given time period. It's time to put the young guys out there and give them live reps to see what you have, to focus on the next year while not waving the white flag on this year. It's no time to give up and tank, but rather time to refocus and make the most of your time.
I'm not a fan of tanking, nor should any team be in favor of it. The draft is a crapshoot. You are no more guaranteed to find a good player at the 12th pick than you are at the 20th pick in the draft. Unless there is a guy you have to have and he's going #1 or #2 it makes no sense to move. We've found good players at the 20th pick and terrible players in the top 5. The Bucs can still play spoiler for division foes and can also figure out what they have when going into 2012. It's a time to get live reps for Free and his wide receivers, time to see what Bowers can do, and an opportunity to see if Watson can be an every down linebacker.
It's not something to look forward to, but it's better than facing 0-16.