Buc Wild and myself thought it would be a good idea to discuss this topic in detail. Right now, there may be no more pressing topic. The Bucs are a win against New Orleans or Atlanta from likely making the playoffs yet it has also been well documented that they have yet to be a team with a winning record. Below is Buc Wild and I's exchange.
It is my assertion that this team is not a 7-4 team. Holding to my preseason prediction I still think we are a 6-7 win team. What I did not foresee was our schedule being this bad. Arizona, Carolina and San Fransisco are shells of the team I initially thought. Honestly, without a win against a team with a .500 record or better, this team hasn't earned the playoffs. I don't think there is much benefit to making the playoffs. Experience in "big games" is overrated if you get burned and it creates false expectations going into next year. With what will likely be a tougher schedule next year, to expect this team to look the same is hopeful at best. The damages that can be done by what will appear as a regression will be irreversible for Morris.
I lack all confidence in this team facing a tougher schedule next year. I hate to get ahead of ourselves that much when we still have 5 games left to play; but the problem is the better teams we face the more its completely apparent that we having gaping holes in talent versus teams like the Saints, Falcons, Steelers and Ravens. I can count maybe 3 players that would start on any team in the league. Especially with Grimm down, we leave a huge hole at safety, a hole at DT (who knows what Price will become), a 2nd CB, 2 DE'S, 3rd WR and a starting running back. Not to mention a G, T, C and depth on the OL.
We have miles to go before we put talent at every position that is capable of winning playoff games and winning a Super Bowl. I know this is a 5 year plan, one that I have no problem committing to. The Tampa fan base though? Impatient and over-zealous. They will see a 9-7 record or a 10-6 record and believe that we should improve on it next year. It simply won't happen, not if our schedule improves at all. I don't think this team was as bad as the record last year (toughest schedule in decades in the NFL) or this year (one of the easiest in the NFL).