Sunday, June 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jones: Bucs don’t need a massive overhaul to fix problems of 2017

TAMPA ó Finally, itís over.

Thatís the best thing you can say about the Bucsí 2017 season. Itís over.

You donít have to watch anymore.

No more Jameis Winston bone-headed turnovers. No more special-team blunders. No more games where the other teamís quarterback can stand back there all day deciding which of the three open receivers he wants to throw the ball to.

No more wasted Sunday afternoons. No more avoiding SportsCenter on Sunday nights.

No more losing.

Itís over. Mercifully. It ended Sunday on the upswing. A nice come-from-behind win against the playoff-bound Saints. Just a reminder of what could have been in this disappointing 5-11 season.

This season wasnít supposed to go down this way. Remember the good olí days? Back when Hard Knocks was here? Back when the Bucs were coming off a 9-7 season and the future looked sunny and bright?

There was talk of the quarterback having an All-Pro season. There was talk about the Bucs, finally, having the right head coach. There was talk of a division title. There was talk of playoffs.

Then the whole thing came crashing down.

Why? How? Weíre still not sure. It canít be as simple as a few injuries and itís certainly not as complicated as offensive game plans and defensive schemes. Whatever it was, it all just kind of, well, happened.

One day the Bucs were 2-1 and almost beating the Patriots. And seemingly the next day there was talk about whether Dirk Koetter should be the coach and whether the Bucs have a future with Winston at quarterback.

And, really, thatís what this all comes down to: the future. Thatís all that matters now.

Whatís in store for 2018?

Was 2017 just one of those oddball seasons? Weíve seen it before. Sometimes an up-and-coming team has all these expectations and, for whatever reason, isnít quite ready for meet those high hopes. Then, the next year is the one it arrives. That means 2018 could be good.

Or could it be we were fooled by last season? That maybe the Bucs really werenít as good as we all thought? And that maybe all that playoff talk was unreasonable, unrealistic and unfair.

The answer is probably somewhere in the middle.

"I believed all along that weíre not that far off," Koetter said. "But your record is what it is."

Iím a big believer in that you are what your record says you are and the Bucs certainly deserved their 5-11 record. But they donít need a massive overhaul to get this thing headed in the right direction.

Bringing back Koetter for another season is the right move. It gives the franchise stability and consistency. And, despite earlier reports to the contrary, he does seem to have decent business relationship with Winston.

Meantime, speaking of Winston, letís be clear: he IS the teamís quarterback now and for the foreseeable future. Thatís just how it is. If youíre one of those fans who think the Bucs need to go out and get another quarterback, thatís just not going to happen.

He was awful at times Sunday, no question about it. He still throws footballs up for grabs and sometimes you think heís never going to learn from past mistakes.

Does he need to improve? Absolutely. Does he need to cut down on the turnovers? Absolutely. Does he need to grow up and behave better and be more mature? Absolutely, absolutely, absolutely.

But he has done enough good things in his three years that he still must be the player you build around. Did you see that winning drive Sunday? Besides, the Bucs arenít going to start over again with some rookie quarterback.

Quarterback isnít the only issue. The Bucs need a running back. They need to bolster the offensive line. They could use secondary help. Maybe a kicker. And they need a pass rusher. Good gosh, do they need a pass rusher.

But thereís a lot to like, too. The receivers are good. The tight ends are good. You still have Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David on defense.

The Bucs will have an offseason to start to address all they need to clean up the mess of 2017. The offseason starts today. Thatís good news.

So is this: 2017 is over.

Comments
Greg Auman answers your questions about NFLís investigation into Jameis Winston

Greg Auman answers your questions about NFLís investigation into Jameis Winston

There are many unanswered questions and discrepancies about the story of Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston and the March 2016 Uber ride in Arizona that has led to his upcoming three-game suspension for violating the NFL's conduct policy.The Bucs won't ...
Published: 06/23/18
Will this be Jameis Winstonís last season in a Bucs uniform?

Will this be Jameis Winstonís last season in a Bucs uniform?

A t his introductory news conference after being drafted No. 1 overall by the Bucs in 2015, Jameis Winston said to judge him on his actions moving forward."Actions speak so much louder than words, or what they may have read or what they may have hear...
Published: 06/23/18
Ronald Darbyís friend: Jameis Winston got into second Uber ride alone

Ronald Darbyís friend: Jameis Winston got into second Uber ride alone

New details emerged Friday night about the Uber ride in Arizona in March 2016 that led to Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston's three-game suspension to start the upcoming season, including the fact that Winston was in a car that night with a former Vand...
Published: 06/22/18
Chris Godwin on SiriusXM: Bucs have confidence in backup QBs

Chris Godwin on SiriusXM: Bucs have confidence in backup QBs

Bucs receiver Chris Godwin, who has had as good an offseason as any Tampa Bay player, was on SiriusXM NFL radio for a scheduled interview on Thursday night, talking about a range of subjects, including the news of Jameis Winston's suspension to start...
Published: 06/22/18
With Winston suspension, how might Bucs split QB reps in preseason?

With Winston suspension, how might Bucs split QB reps in preseason?

With news that Jameis Winston will be suspended for the first three games of 2018, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter has an interesting decision to make for training camp and especially in preseason games: How does he split reps between Winston and backup Ryan...
Published: 06/22/18
Bucs QB Jameis Winstonís suspension: What theyíre saying

Bucs QB Jameis Winstonís suspension: What theyíre saying

There are so many sides to the Jameis Winston suspension, and it will continue to be a major Bucs story line through September and beyond. Here's some of the reactions and notes that have already emerged in the first 24 hours since news broke Thursda...
Published: 06/22/18
Welcome back to the dark side, Bucs fans

Welcome back to the dark side, Bucs fans

TAMPA — Thursday was not the end of Jameis Winston in Tampa Bay, but it is in sight.Me? I was sitting at home. I was tired of the NBA draft, even with Tampa's Kevin Knox going to the New York Knicks.So I switched to the NFL Network. An episode ...
Published: 06/22/18
Winston aftermath: Report says Darby wasnít in car for whole ride

Winston aftermath: Report says Darby wasnít in car for whole ride

There's no telling how much detail will be disclosed in what the NFL learned in its investigation that led to Jameis Winston being suspended for the first three games of the upcoming season, but some have already been reported in the first 24 hours s...
Published: 06/22/18
Kwon Alexander to Jameis Winston: ĎWe gotcha backí

Kwon Alexander to Jameis Winston: ĎWe gotcha backí

There are many questions in the aftermath of Thursday's news that Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston will be suspended for the first three games of the 2018 season, but even before the suspension is officially announced, he is drawing support on social ...
Published: 06/22/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Jameis Winston to receive three-game suspension

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Jameis Winston to receive three-game suspension

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston will be suspended by the NFL for three games according to reports, and that number could go up if he doesn't meet certain criteria.Rick Stroud explains that the suspension is not for a failure to report the 2016 i...
Published: 06/22/18