Analyzing Bucs at the 3/4 mark

by Gary Shelton on December 4, 2020

in general

David has been the Bucs' best player./CARMEN MANDATO

Friday, 4 a.m.

They aren't as horrible as they have been. They aren't as good as they were supposed to be.

There, in that no-man's land of being good but not good enough, lie your Tampa Bay Bucs, one of the biggest disappointments of the NFL season. They are not the tortoise, and they are not the hare. If you remember, no other animals even merited mention.

So here they are, at the three-quarter mark of the season, just another team having just another season. No one talks about Super Bowl anymore. No one talks about MVP. They are slightly ahead of the middle of the pack. Whoopie.

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Still, if we are to examine where they are, and where they are going, it is time to take a fresh look at your Tampa Bay Bucs, what they are and what they are supposed to be.

Team MVP (so far): Lavonte David, linebacker.

Offensive Player of the Year: Tom Brady, quarterback.

Defensive Player of the Year: David.

Team Coach of the Year: Mike Caldwell, inside linebackers.

Goal ahead: Tom Brady, 1200 yards to get to 4,500 with four games to go.

Worst injury: Vita Vea, defensive lineman.

Worst unit: Offensive line.

Most disappointing unit: Secondary.

Worst player: Donovan Smith, tackle.

Goal ahead: Mike Evans, 387 receiving yards for his seventh straight 1,000-yard season.

Most polarizing player: Ronald Jones III.

Best rookie: Tristan Wirfs, tackle.

Biggest improvement at a position: Ryan Succop, kicker

More noise than impact: Antonio Brown, receiver.

Goal ahead: Ronald Jones, 180 yards to get to 1,000.

Biggest win: Green Bay.

Ugliest win: New York Giants.

Ugliest loss: New Orleans Saints (twice).

Goal ahead: Lavonte David, 58 tackles to get to a person record of 148.

Best offensive lineman: Ali Marpet.

Best defensive lineman: Jason Pierre-Paul.

Goal ahead: Tom Brady, four wins to get to a team-record 11 in a season.

Five picks for the Pro Bowl: 1. David. 2. Marpet. 3. Brady. 4. Jones. 5. Pierre-Paul.

What happens if the team wins four games the rest of the way and lasts at least two rounds of the playoffs: Life calms down, at least until the team's playoff exit. Eleven wins would be team's most since 2005.

...if the team wins three of four: The grumbling continues. Heck, Josh Freeman won 10 in a season.

...if the team wins two of four: The team looks hard at its roster, especially Leonard Fournette, Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski.

...if the team wins two of four: It would be 9-7. Heck, even Jameis Winston won nine in a season. Jason Licht would be in trouble.

... if the team wins one of four: That would be a .500 season, a record that would mock all the efforts of the Bucs to buy success. If that happens, Bruce Arians might be nudged toward retirement.

--- if the team wins none of four It finishes with seven wins, the same as last year. The owners get nasty in the face of winless Decembers. They would probably blow things up.

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