How wrong can you be?
Back in April I wrote an article saying, "If the Bucs beat Dallas in their opener I can see this season being at least as successful as their overall record last year...and who knows may be even better." I now feel that this may have been a moment of hysteria on my part, or maybe I'd had a drink I don't remember.
Since that time though a lot of water has gone under the Tampa Bay bridge. We've seen a fat bloke with zero mobility named as our starter. Our rightful starting QB get shipped out. Our new Offensive Coordinator has become our old Offensive Coordinator, and Michael Clayton is still our second best receiver.
There have been some positives in this time. The pre-season play of Sammie Stroughter seems likely to earn the Mighty Mouse receiver not only a roster spot but also a place as first or second rotation backup receiver. The new Defense seem to look the part, at least from their play in pre-season. The likes of Quincy Black and Geno Hayes could turn out to be the next Shelton Quarles and Derrick Brooks, obviously they are a long way off earning such accolades but Black in particular cuts a very imposing figure waiting behind our still weak Defensive Line.
But even taking those few positives the Bucs have failed through trades, free agency or the draft, to address their burning issues. No top notch receiver to compliment Antonio Bryant and no big smash mouth Defensive Tackle (even though our Defensive scheme calls for exactly that). There are trades to be made around the league for these type of players, even without paying silly money for Albert Haynesworth.
It now seems inevitable that we will start the season with Ryan Simms and Chris Hovan at DT and Michael "I'm back to rookie season form...no really" Clayton. NOBODY, even Michael Clayton, believes that he will ever play like that again. NOBODY.
So having had us at possibly 9-7 back in April where do I see us now? With the upheaval in the coaching staff I can't see us starting well. Bearing that in mind and the fact that our schedule sees us play five of the league's elite teams (Cowboys, Giants, Redkins, Eagles and Patriots) before the bye week means I now see us going into that post-Wembley break with only a possible win against Buffalo or Carolina under our belts. Depressing stuff.
But after the Packers have left Ray-Jay only really the revitalised Jets and Dolphins seem really difficult opposition. Inter-division games can throw up anything and most of those come late in the season as the league attempt to keep starters on the field through Decemeber.
If I was a betting man, which I am, I'd have my money on the Bucs to go 4-12 and finish one game behind the Panthers in the NFC South. Its amazing how things have changed since my optimistic article in April. Lets just hope Josh Freeman is the 2nd coming that Raheem Morris thinks he is and lets hope I'm writing one of these in Decemeber talking about how stupid I was as we stride into a post season bye week!