Meet the New Bucs, Same as the Old Bucs
I don't know if it's a new constitution or a revolution that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers need, but something's gotta give.
We've heard this story a million times. New coach, better scheme, winning culture.
Blah, blah, blah.
Sunday's loss in London to the Carolina Panthers was full of storylines Bucs fans have seen time and time again. A truckload of turnovers, way too many sacks, a dismal running game, a porous pass defense, mental errors, costly penalties.
Things were supposed to be different.
Bruce Arians was the veteran coach with a track record of success. Todd Bowles was going to give Tampa Bay's defense the aggressive scheme they needed to maximize their potential. Jameis Winston, in his fifth season, was supposed to prove his turnover-laden ways were behind him as he plays for a second contract. Ndamukong Suh was supposed to make Bucs fans forget all about Gerald McCoy.
Instead, the Bucs looked like a team nowhere closer to playoff contention than they were a year ago, or five years ago, or a decade ago, or four head coaches and zero playoff wins since hoisting the Lombardi Trophy ago.
Are there positives? Sure. Chris Godwin is living up to both parts of his last name, and Shaq Barrett has been the NFL's best free-agent signing. But after that, it's hard to point to any consistent silver linings in what looks like another losing season in Tampa Bay.
Arians was billed as the coach who could turn this team around, just like he did when he led the previously 5-11 Arizona Cardinals to a 10-win season in his first year. At 2-4, the Bucs would have to go 8-2 the rest of the way to match that mark in 2019. Right now, this team looks like a club that would be lucky to go 5-11.
Next week's bye is coming at a critical time for the Bucs, who once again have some serious soul-searching to do before embarking on the second half of the season. The players have to prove they deserve to be around beyond this season, and Arians, along with his entire staff, have to live up to the hype that they can finally build a winning culture for a franchise known for losing in creative ways year in and year out.
If neither group can pull their weight, the turnover, both on the field and in the building, will simply continue.
Bucs fans won't get fooled again.