It’s never over until it’s over. However, for a Tampa Buccaneers team that has only garnered one win all season long, their hopes of salvaging what is left of this grueling season have dwindled drastically. Between Greg Schiano’s questionable coaching styles along with the Buccaneers abysmal passing game, this team has become a depleted mess that has been unable to make the right decisions both on and off the field. While the Buccaneers do have a competent team that is rife with athletic potential, they lack some much-needed leadership that has resulted in the Buccaneers unfortunate demise into becoming one of the worst teams in the league.
Ever since their dominant Superbowl run in 2002, the Buccaneers haven’t been consistent playoff contenders and have been one and done the times they have made it to the playoffs since then. As a result, the Buccaneers have been a franchise that has gone from being an abysmally orchestrated organization to a team that is well put together and then they succumb back to their mediocre ways. Year in and year out it’s hard to know what type of Buccaneers team will grace the field at the beginning of each unpredictable season. Briefly, it seemed that Josh Freeman was the Buccaneers saving grace when he led them to their first double digit winning record since 2005. Unfortunately, Freeman hit his prime a little to early as the Buccaneers had losing the records the next two seasons that ultimately resulted in Freeman being released from the team at the beginning of this season.
Although Freeman’s departure appeared to set the tone for the Buccaneers inevitable downfall, they at least found a competent passer in their 3rd round draft pick Mike Glennon. While Glennon went through some immense growing pains in his first few outings, he has slowly become acclimated to the faster paced approach of the pros. At his best, Glennon is an average passer (he has completed 59.6% of his passes this year) whose comfort zone is being a methodical passer that can patiently work the ball down the field. Unfortunately, Glennon’s cautious approach has prevented the Buccaneers from making big plays down the stretch making Glennon an opportunistic target for oncoming pass rushers. Between Glennon’s erratic struggles and a finicky offensive line, this offense has only been able to produce 188.7 passing yards per game (ranked 30th in the NFL).
Fortunately, the Buccaneers have a solid rushing attack which has allowed this team to stay close in their loses. Sadly, the talented running backs on the Buccaneers roster have both been placed on the injured reserve list with super star running back Doug Martin out for the season. While these injuries aren’t nearly as devastating given their already insurmountable team record, it still begs the question of how well this team would have performed if Martin had stayed healthy and efficient for an entire season. On a positive note, the Buccaneers can be rest assured that come next season they’ll have one of the most underrated yet proficient running games in the league, which will go a long way towards rebuilding this franchise into something that is inspiring rather than utterly embarrassing.
As the season wears on, the Buccaneers will need to make some critical decisions particularly on the offensive side of the ball where they have consistently struggled throughout this season. More importantly, the Buccaneers will have to properly and effectively assess Glennon’s on the field abilities along with his potential leadership intangibles to see if he his worthy of leading this team confidently for at least the next few years. Even if Glennon doesn’t pan out to be the break out success the Buccaneers need, they’ll still have several options when it comes time to draft prospective players and there will be a plethora of talented young passers for the Buccaneers to chose from.
In the end, the Buccaneers are simply competing to see which athletes on their roster are worth keeping and which ones are worth relinquishing to make room for up and coming talent. While the Buccaneers hopes of making playoffs are certainly all but extinguished, their aspirations for next season should be relatively high given the talent they have on defense and in their running game as well. Buccaneers fans will have to be patient to see this teams success come to fruition but if this team can objectively assess their mistakes and learn from them, their rise out of the pit of mediocrity may come sooner than most people think.