Well, that was fun while it lasted.
September 16, 2018. Remember that date. It was the last time the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won consecutive games since November of 2017 and it’s only happened four times in the past four years.
It may not happen again for awhile, either.
Tampa Bay has now lost three games in a row and six of out their last seven after starting 2-0 on the season. Sitting at 3-6 with no apparent answers, this team looks like it’s headed for a total rebuild - yet again.
For a team as talented as the Bucs, this is a major disappointment. The entire season was basically encapsulated last week against the Redskins. Over 500 yards of total offense, but four turnovers and just three points were amassed during what should’ve been a big win at home.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the bad qualities/habits this team possesses.
The defense is also the worst in the league and at one point was on pace to become the worst in NFL history. Penalties are still a big issue, evidenced by top-10 rankings in both the amount of penalties and penalty yards accrued.
These are all issues that have plagued this team since the beginning of Koetter’s tenure.
Obviously, nothing has improved.
Remember in 2015 when the Bucs drafted Winston? Despite his issues coming into the NFL, there was still hope - something that has been pretty much absent from this franchise and it’s most dedicated for the better part of the last decade.
He had the recently-drafted Mike Evans, who was coming off an astounding rookie year. The Bucs drafted Donovan Smith the same year as Winston. He was going to protect his blindside for the next ten years. The came Kwon Alexander. Then came O.J. Howard and so on.
The right pieces were in place. This team finally had a franchise quarterback for the first time in its painful history. Everything was supposed to come to fruition under Koetter, one of the league’s better offensive minds.
But it didn’t. And it still hasn’t.
Penalties. No running game. An atrocious red zone offense. Turnovers.
The list goes on and on. Sure, the offensive rankings are great, but they don’t equal wins.
After three years, the truth of the matter is that barring a miracle, Koetter and the majority of the staff are gone. And if that turns out to be true, then just about every big name on this roster could be gone.
The Bucs will likely be on the hunt for it’s fifth head coach, third general manager, and seventh starting quarterback since 2010 after the season.
It’s a never-ending cycle that has haunted this team since its first and only Super Bowl win in 2002.
This type of turnover - especially at the top - is nowhere near the recipe for success and if the Glazers or any other owner in the NFL is telling themselves the opposite, then they are in fact lying to themselves, their employees, and their fans.
Who wants to sit through more seasons of questions, potential promises, and empty predictions when there is a roster - if used correctly - that can represent a competitive team? Let’s not forget this team was a sleeper Super Bowl pick before the 2017 season based off of what they had on paper.
Tampa Bay has two extremely winnable games coming up in the New York Giants and the San Francisco 49ers. Both teams are at the bottom of the league and if the Bucs can pull off consecutive victories then their season will still have life.
But can they do it? They squandered an opportunity in Atlanta after a bye week and couldn’t come up with a stop in Cincinnati to force overtime. Other than the first two weeks, this team has shrank from the spotlight when it’s mattered most.
It also doesn’t help that after the aforementioned games, Tampa Bay’s opponents combine for a 26-19 record. The Bucs will be lucky to match their 5-11 mark from last season.
The thought of another complete rebuild is not only mundane and frustrating, but it’s simply tiresome at this point. When will this franchise get its act together? Will there ever be a winning culture ever again?
Only time can answer those questions. Unfortunately for the Bucs, it looks as if they will have plenty of time this offseason to figure it out.