Sunday, July 25, 2010

Measuring Improvement

Last season was a disaster for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, there's no two ways about it.  A record of 3-13 is never acceptable no matter what the circumstances.  Yes we can all make a bunch of excuses or give countless explanations but the NFL is pretty much a bottom line business.  Your record is who you are.

This year there is reason for modest optimism.  We have added a lot of talent from the draft.  Our coaching staff is a lot more stable.  And everyone at least seems to be on the same page.

Previously I gave the over under for wins this season at 6.  I stand by that but as a guy who bleeds Buccaneers Pewter and Silver I am hopeful for the over.  But its worth taking a look at another measurement of progress.

13, 13, 24, 19, 28, 31, 23,

No those aren't the lottery numbers from last night.  Those are some of the margins of defeat from last year.  In 5 games we were outscored by 19 points or more. Twice that number was 28 or higher.

When you get blown out in games that gives fans the impression that you don't know what you're doing and they are less likely to give you the benefit of the doubt.  I think that's why last season was so demoralizing.  Its not like we were losing on the last play of those games.  Sometimes the games were practically over at halftime.

So there's two sides to this coin.  If the Bucs should go out and win 6 or 7 games but are competitive, meaning they lose by single digits, in most or all of the other 10 or so, I think average fans will start to come back on board.

If, however, they win 6 or 7 games, but then turn around and get blown out in several others then I think the average fan will clamor for change.

My money is on the former though for one particular reason.  I really believe our defense will be much improved this year.  So the likelihood that most teams score 31 points let alone beat us by 31 will be lessened by that fact.  We do have to pray that everyone stays healthy though and some guys are going to have to play their tails off, but that's how I see the season going this year at least.

What say you?


  1. No Bates defense = a lot less blowouts.

    Note that only one of those blowouts (vs. the Jets) came after Raheem took over the defense.

    That alone should make us a lot more competitive.

  2. A big reason why I believe we'll improve a lot is simple schedule: we had one of the toughest schedules anyone faced in a long time last season. This year we'll have a much weaker schedule. Even if there was no improvement, and I think there is a lot of improvement, we should our win total rise significantly.

  3. Steve, you have some very interesting points in your posting. I agree that every team is rated by their W-L record first and foremost (unless you're Gruden).

    Personalwise I don' expect a lot of improvement in the Bucs from 2009 to 2010. While I applaud the drafting of DT's Price & McCoy along with WR's Bunn & Williams this IS the NFL. Rookies rarely have that much of an impact on a team's W-L record.

    The IMPROVEMENT issue is what I will be watching closely. Coach Morris did show a turn around once he sacked Bates and I expect that to continue into 2010.

    My biggest concern is the offense, especially if Penn doesn't show up. The play calling of 2009 was VERY suspect. In fact a lot of the reason that the Bucs lost by so much was due to hideous play calling and not being able to modify their game plan.

  4. @Sander

    People keep saying that the schedule is a lot weaker this year but I really don't see it that way. Of the teams that I look at and on paper would say aren't top tier I would only include Cleveland the Rams and the Lions on that list. But Cleveland and the Lions are likely to be much improved from last year. The Redskins and Seahawks, teams we faced last year, will also be improved. I think the Chiefs are going to shock the hell out of people. Then you have the Ravens, Bengals, 49ers, Steelers, Cardinals, Saints twice and Atlanta twice who all, I think, will be playoff contenders this year. And the Panthers will also be stronger than most folks think with both of their running backs healthy. The schedule may turn out to be a weaker but if it is I don't think it will be by much.

  5. Steve,

    Good reading as always. However, I can't go with you on Cleveland much improved with Jake Delhomme at QB.

    I'm really looking forward to your analysis on the D-line this year with so many young guys playing.

  6. @Trox

    You have to remember that Cleveland isn't really committed to Delhomme like that. If he is screwing up I don't think they will hesitate to put in Seneca Wallace. Now I personally believe we will win that game but its going to be a rough one to start off the season because the Browns play really good physical defense and they have a pretty good running game that will be better with Harrison and Hardesty splitting time plus of course they have Pro Bowler Josh Cribbs on special teams. I predict a slug fest but we come out on top with the home field but trust me on this Cleveland is going to look better this year especially if they stay healthy.