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Did the Bucs win by losing?

Why the 2018 team would probably look drastically different if the Bucs had a winning record in 2017.

New Orleans Saints v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Losing stinks. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have done plenty of it over the last 42 seasons. Anyone who has a vested interest in the team is tired of losing. The 2017 season was a perfect storm of bad injury luck, suspect play calling, terrible kicking, bone headed turnovers, special team woes and all around poor execution by the whole team which resulted in eleven losses and just five wins. But, despite all that losing, I’d argue the Bucs actually “won” in the end by overhauling a team in desperate need of change. The 2018 roster is the best collection of talent in over a decade. It’s my opinion that the absolute letdown in 2017 played a large role in making the 2018 roster a reality.

The NFL is a league built on parity. There are of course top teams and bottom teams, but the term “any given Sunday” exists for a reason. Despite the ridiculous amount of negatives that plagued the team, the Bucs were still in 10 one-score games in 2017. Unfortunately, they only won three of those one-score games, with five of those losses being by six points or less. Contrast that with the Bucs winning six one-score games in 2016 and you see just how razor thin the margin of error is in the NFL.

But, what if the Bucs had found a way to win their last five games and finish with a record of 9-7? They still would have missed the playoffs, (again) but it would have been their second consecutive winning season under head coach Dirk Koetter and there would have been positive momentum about the team headed in the right direction.

Does general manager Jason Licht make the aggressive moves to finally fix the defensive line and improve the secondary if the Bucs had a winning season? Are Jason Pierre Paul, Beau Allen, Vinny Curry, Mitch Unrien, and Ryan Jensen in pewter and red with another 9-7 season? Or, would Licht have gambled on returning talent much like he did after the 2016 season (a total smoke and mirrors ruse) and mostly used free agency to apply band aids to the Bucs gaping wounds? I’m more inclined to believe it would have been the latter of those two scenarios. It’s a gamble to make a ton of moves in free agency, and the Bucs were being careful with their cap money, so I’m not trying to be too hard on Licht for his 2017 free agency moves, as I believe he’s a lot better of a GM than most fans are willing to believe.

If the Bucs had gone 9-7 instead of 5-11, they would have picked somewhere between sixteenth and twenty-first in the draft, depending on league tie breakers, instead of seventh overall. I firmly believe Licht would have grabbed two or three good players, but it would have been nothing like the haul he masterfully crafted by turning that seventh overall pick into three extra picks inside the top one hundred. The draft picks just solidified a very impressive offseason of moves to greatly improve the team.

As I said in the first paragraph, losing stinks. But maybe, just maybe the Bucs have a better chance of winning in 2018 because of the losses they took in 2017. It’s do or die time in Tampa Bay and I for one, am hopeful the team overhaul pays off come the end of the season.

What do you all think? Would Licht have gone “all in” like he did after another winning season? What scenario do you think is better?


Which scenario is best?

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    9-7 season
    (139 votes)
  • 66%
    5-11, but free agent & draft overhaul
    (280 votes)
419 votes total Vote Now