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The Point After | This week's electronic conversation between John Romano and Gary Shelton

The Point After: Hard to believe interesting Tampa Bay Buccaneers season almost complete

GS: What? This season is over already? It seems as if it lasted only about 20 minutes. And by that, I mean the good times. This team's highlight film is going to pretty much ignore everything but December, right?

JR: Yeah, this could be one of those rare productions with a longer blooper reel than the actual feature. My favorite part is the exploding headsets they gave to the coordinators.

GS: And that revolving door they gave to Luke McCown and Byron Leftwich after committing the offseason to them. But for all of their flaws, John, the Bucs are playing well now. And there is something to be said for that, isn't there?

JR: Absolutely. It's what we've all been screaming about for three months. Just show us a clue that all of this misery has had some purpose. And in the past month, we've seen that. The question is how you view the scale. Did the Bucs generate enough improvement to make a 3-13 or 4-12 season somewhat tolerable?

GS: No. I'd rather have a root canal performed by Britney Spears than to watch this season again. The only thing that would make this worthwhile is a run at the playoffs next year. And that's a lot to ask. (But we will.)

JR: What concerns me is I'm not sure how many of the puzzle pieces have been found. The defensive line still needs help. They need better play at safety. The offensive line may need a new tackle, and the receivers need to be overhauled. I know Rome wasn't built in a day, but is it too much to hope for Venice? Maybe Pisa?

GS: How about Pompeii, where the fans sort through the ashes? I agree, there are a lot of holes to fill. That's why this offseason is more important than this season.

JR: So where do you build first? If the Bucs want one of the top two defensive tackles, they may have to trade up. Would you consider giving up a second-round pick to get Ndamukong Suh or a third-round pick to get Gerald McCoy?

GS: I would certainly make the calls. But a lot of it depends on that silly trade value chart. If the Bucs finish fourth, it might take both picks (and change) to move to first. That's too much. I'd consider the lesser two to move up, but as good as Suh is, there are other needs.

JR: So if the price is too high for the defensive tackles, do you look elsewhere on defense or do you consider getting Josh Freeman a new best friend?

GS: It depends on the player and the grade, because there are plenty of needs. The Bucs need defensive linemen, but do they say no to Eric Berry if he's rated higher than the leftover tackles? Unless you're a scout, you're just guessing at this point.

JR: Having seen Gaines Adams and Dexter Jackson pass our way, I'd say some of the scouts are guessing, too.

GS: Are you saying the Bucs should trade up for better scouts? Last year's draft looks pretty good, but this one needs to be better.

JR: I'm quite sure I know what you're going to say, but did the Bucs hurt themselves by winning two games in December? They went from a potential shot at the No. 1 pick to probably drafting somewhere from No. 3 to No. 6. Kinda like the Colts in reverse. Did they try too hard?

GS: We won't know until next year. If this team really is learning to win, then winning is a good thing. If the Bucs are lousy next year, too, they'll pay for their success.

JR: Give me odds! What percent chance do they have of being in the playoffs next season? Of being a .500 or so team? Of being lousy? Of hiring you and me to be Glazer spokesmen?

GS: I'd say the over/under is 7. I would say that gives them a 33 percent chance of being in the playoffs, a 40 percent chance of being .500 and a 27 percent chance of lousy. Anything under six wins is trouble for Raheem Morris. As far as the Glazers, I'd say slim chance for you and none for me despite our obvious charm.

JR: Not to mention our unbridled optimism.

The Point After: Hard to believe interesting Tampa Bay Buccaneers season almost complete 01/02/10 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 5:47pm]
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