2018/2019 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Season Predictions and Preview
At Friendly Kia, we’re massive fans of our local football, baseball, hockey and soccer teams. We love sports. Being a good fan, however, isn’t just about following the teams that are doing well. In fact, it’s about the opposite. Being loyal to your team despite how poorly they’ve played or are likely to play is what separates real fans from glory hunters.
For most of us, this decision is one that has been made for us by the consistently-underwhelming (at best) performances of the Buccaneers. Still, as die-hard fans, we go into every season optimistic for a great 16-game year. This season is no different. We’re going to try and balance that optimism with the realistic status of the team’s units and find how well we think they’ll do this year. Here are some things to pay attention to this season:
1. This is Koetter’s Chance
If you’ve been listening to fans talk about the Buccaneers, you’ve probably heard two opinions about Dirk Koetter. Either he needs to be immediately let go or he needs to be allowed to see out his current contract and implement the systems he’s building.
For many fans, however, another losing season would be unacceptable for the team who went 5-11 last year coming off a 9-7 season in 2016/2017. With Tampa Bay’s executives being on the low end of tolerance for persistent failure, anything shy of a winning season (and we would say 10-6 at the minimum) could wind up being the nail in Koetter’s coffin.
[READ MORE: The Crow’s List Archives on the Friendly Kia Blog]
We’re sure he’s a great guy and would love to see him succeed. Join us in wishing him the best 14-2 season this year.
2. Has Tampa Bay Shored Up Defensive Frailties?
Let’s not sugarcoat it, Tampa Bay’s defensive line sucked last season. For a group that was the third highest-paid in the NFL in 2017/2018, the defensive line wound up last for sacks and in the mid-20s for run defense, allowing over 100 yards per game.
Koetter seems to not be a fan of the run game for the offense, but he’ll need to find ways to better prepare for it defensively.
Thankfully, it seems like the Buccaneers may have done that! New arrival Vita Vea (drafted in the first round) should bring some young blood to the nose tackle position while the bright young prospect from 2016, Noah Spence, should be coming back from a massive injury. We think, and hope, we’ll see a stronger run defense and quicker pass rush this year.
3. Winston’s Explosion onto the Scene Will Have to Wait
With one of the strongest arms in the game and refinement needed only with the chances he takes, Jameis Winston is going to be a valuable player someday. While a season like this would have been ideal for him to burst into the contention for top quarterbacks in the league, his three-game suspension means the Bucs will be relying on second-string quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick and Ryan Griffin against strong opposition in the form of the New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers.
The incident resulting in Winston’s suspension is an unfortunate one and may rightfully leave a bad taste in the mouths of many fans about the young quarterback. An underperforming season for either Winston or the team could mean the Bucs begin searching for a new quarterback with similar potential but less off-field baggage.
4. Nobody Really Knows
One thread seems common to every article and news writeup surrounding the 2018/2019 Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ season – uncertainty. Although no major personnel changes have occurred, a ton of variables are at work that make typical prediction very difficult.
We’ll add our own voices to this chorus. It really could be a season that sees remarkable progress made for the team and even a plunge into the playoffs. It could also be a season that sees a clearing out at the end of the season and reassessment of goals and values.
We’ll have to wait and see!
Your Local and Plugged-In Kia Dealership
Here at Friendly Kia, we love the vibrant and energetic atmosphere we enjoy in Tampa Bay. Sports in the form of teams like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are one of our favorite things. We’ll be trying to keep you updated with news and our takes as the season progresses.
For more information on Tampa Bay or Kia, contact us today!