We won’t find out about Bucs this week

by Gary Shelton on October 3, 2020

in general

David and the Bucs must show more./STEVE MUNCIE

Saturday, 4 a.m.

In life, there are things we know for sure, there are things we suspect highly and, frankly, there are things that baffle the dickens out of us.

We can guess. We can surmise. We can assume. But when you get right down to it, most of us are asking for more evidence.

Case in point: The Tampa Bay Bucs.

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Now, there are things we know for sure. We know the Bucs haven't been very good for a very long time, and there wasn't a lot of difference between Greg Schiano the coach and Lovie Smith the coach or between Jameis Winston the quarterback or Josh Freeman the quarterback. There aren't a lot of yesterdays to celebrate around here.

And there are things we assume. We assume the team will be better, because we can see the potential. We can assume that Tom Brady has enough left to give this team a saner option at quarterback, and we can assume the defense will be better based on the three games in which we have seen it.

But do we know that this team will be a contender? Do we know that Bruce Arians has the right plan in mind? Do we know that Jason Licht's hits outweigh his misses? Do we know the Bucs are going to be good?

Frankly, we don't. Not yet.

Oh, there have been streaks during the games when Brady still looked young enough, energetic enough to do the job. There have been flashes of a running game. There have been moments where you think 'hey, I like this defense.'"

But three games? One against a winless Denver team playing with spare parts? Another at home against a cellar-bound Carolina team? Yes, winning is always better than the alternative, but a thinking man wants to see more. A thinking man who has endured too many bad Bucs' seasons demands to see more.

Now comes a L.A. Charger team that, itself, is depending on a rookie quarterback. The Bucs will try once again to overcome penalties and dropped passes enough to win this one. It will try to get a ground game going, and it will try to avoid huge mistakes on defense, and it will try to finally maximize its collection of receivers.

Here's the thing. Eventually, the Bucs will show us who they are. Give the offense time to mesh, and we'll all know. Maybe not this week, against the Chargers. Maybe not next week, against the Bears. But soon.

Hey, the Raiders and Packers and Saints are ahead. And the Rams and Chiefs and Vikings. By then, we will know the measure of this team, and whether its grasp can reach its potential.

For now? The Bucs are a wait-and-see proposition. They are too talented to discount, and they are too new to count on.

As for Sunday, they should do just fine.

Prediction: Bucs 26, Chargers 14.

Other picks:

Florida 31, South Carolina 14

Cincinnati 28, South Florida 17

FSU 38, Savannah State 3

New Orleans 38, Detroit 13

Kansas City 24, New England 20

Dallas 28, Cleveland 27

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