Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Jones: A half-empty, half-full view of the Bucs

The Bucs head to New Orleans, and it won’t be a Big Easy. At 2-5 and losers of four in a row, their season is in jeopardy.

By Sunday night, they will have new hope, or we can pick a graveyard plot to bury this 2017 season.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

The Bucs were offseason darlings, the chic pick to make the playoffs. They’ve gone from up-and-coming to down-and-outing in a month.

Yet, look at this roster. You see a bunch of talent. And we’re barely into November. Still feels like plenty of time depending on how you look at things.

Are you a glass half-full kind of person? Or a glass half-empty?

Well, we’ll break it down for each of you. Here’s our Glass Half-Empty and Glass Half-Full Guide for the Bucs.

GLASS HALF-FULL: Hey, there are still nine games left.

GLASS HALF-EMPTY: You mean there are nine more of these games?

GLASS HALF-FULL: They still have an offense with first-round picks Jameis Winston, Doug Martin, Mike Evans and O.J. Howard, as well as prized free agent DeSean Jackson and catch-everything tight end Cam Brate.

GLASS HALF-EMPTY: That offense with all that talent has scored a grand total of six points in the first half of the past three games combined.

GLASS HALF-FULL: The Bucs could get some help for the pass rush with defensive end Darryl Tapp, who has 28 career sacks.

GLASS HALF-EMPTY: The Bucs have seven sacks in seven games. There are eight players in the league with more sacks than that. The Bucs are on pace for 16 sacks this season, which would be the lowest total since the Jaguars had 14 in 2009.

GLASS HALF-FULL: Winston is going to keep playing despite a shoulder that is not 100 percent. Still, he gives the team its best chance to win.

GLASS HALF-EMPTY: Winston is coming off a two-interception game against the Panthers in which he had a season-low QB rating 49.2. He is clearly not playing his best football right now, and it isn’t all because it has been windy.

GLASS HALF-FULL: The secondary wasn’t too bad last week, even without the services of cornerback Brent Grimes or the help of a pass rush.

GLASS HALF-EMPTY: Sunday’s opponent, Drew Brees, owns the Bucs. The Saints QB has thrown for more yards and touchdowns against Tampa Bay than any opponent. And if he wins Sunday, it will give him 16 victories over Tampa Bay, more than any other quarterback.

GLASS HALF-FULL: The rest of the schedule doesn’t look that daunting. A bunch of division games, then the Dolphins, Jets, Lions and Packers without Aaron Rodgers.

GLASS HALF-EMPTY: Actually, the Jets are better than anyone thought they’d be. The Green Bay game is at Green Bay in December (brrr!), and the NFC South is pretty good after all.

GLASS HALF-FULL: A win Sunday and the Bucs are 3-5. That’s the same record they had a season ago before going on a five-game win streak that put them at 8-5 and gave them a really good crack at the playoffs.

GLASS HALF-EMPTY: What makes you think this team can win two in a row, let alone five?

Contact Tom Jones at [email protected] Follow @tomwjones.

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