Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tom Jones: Why the Bucs can't afford to lose to the Chiefs

Must-win?

No, not quite. But pretty darn close. Let's call it a can't-really-afford-to-lose game.

The Bucs will play their fifth game of the season Sunday at Raymond James Stadium against the Kansas City Chiefs.

It's true that no season was ever salvaged or lost in the fifth game of the season. And if the Bucs lose Sunday, they're not going to turn off the lights, chain the doors and shut down the franchise.

But look at it this way: What would it say if the Bucs lost Sunday? Do we even want to think about the answer to that question?

The Bucs are 1-3 and now have lost 13 of their past 14 games, so there aren't a whole lot of games you can say the Bucs should win. But Sunday is one of them.

They should win, and more important, they need to win.

Here are some reasons why a victory Sunday is crucial for the Bucs:

It will reaffirm the hiring of Schiano

We don't know for sure how the Bucs players truly feel about coach Greg Schiano. So far, they're saying all the right things, and they do appear to be buying into Schiano's hard-nosed ways.

Schiano's plan is to change the culture, and that's somewhat easier to do when players have success, when they see that their hard work is paying off. But if all the harping and yelling and extra sweat don't produce results, how long before the players tune out the boss?

"The most important thing with a change in culture is that you have some kind of success in the first year so players actually believe that this can turn around," radio analyst and former Bucs tight end Anthony Becht said.

Riding a three-game losing streak after an opening day victory, the Bucs might need another dose of success to believe in Schiano and continue running through whatever walls he tells them to run through.

The Bucs are playing a bad team

This is the part where we're supposed to say, "No offense to the Chiefs, but …" In this case, we're just going to go ahead and offend the Chiefs. They're a bad football team.

Kansas City is 1-4 this season and has lost 10 of its past 14 games. The Chiefs have been outscored 145-94, including games in which they've given up 40, 37 and 35 points. The offense is so bad that fans cheered when their quarterback got knocked out.

The Bucs, I know, aren't exactly a dynasty. They are rebuilding after losing 10 games in a row to end last season and are still trying to find their footing this season. So it's not like there are a slew of teams out there the Bucs absolutely, positively should beat.

But you would like to think the Chiefs are one of them.

Brady Quinn is probably starting

Kansas City starting quarterback Matt Cassel suffered a concussion Sunday and has yet to practice this week. It's starting to look as if backup Brady Quinn will start for the Chiefs. The last time anyone was scared to face Quinn, they were playing for Army and Quinn was playing at Notre Dame.

Quinn was a first-round pick in 2007 and is already on his third team. He hasn't started a game in three years and has won only three more NFL games than I have. He's 3-9 as an NFL starter.

The Bucs are coming off a bye

This is the healthiest the Bucs are going to be for the rest of the season, both physically and mentally.

They will have had 13 days off when they line up Sunday. That's 13 days to mend the bumps. That's 13 days to patch the bruises. That's 13 days to re-charge the batteries.

It's also 13 days Schiano and his staff had to dissect everything that has gone wrong so far and come up with a solution or two to fix it.

In other words, the bye week is a good thing. Since 1990, NFL teams are 370-329-1 in the week after the bye.

Final thought

There are a few other reasons the Bucs really need to win Sunday. If you're an eternal optimist and dream of the playoffs, the Bucs can't afford to fall any farther behind the undefeated Falcons in the NFC South or behind the ever-growing pack of NFC wild-card hopefuls. A win might get enough local fans excited to sell out a home game or two. And, well, 2-3 looks a heck of a lot better than 1-4.

But most of all the Bucs need to win Sunday because they can win Sunday. Coming off the bye week, playing at home against a bad team with a backup quarterback is the perfect storm for a victory.

If you can't win a game like that, you start to wonder which, if any, you can.

Tom Jones can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8544 and can be heard from 6 to 9 a.m. weekdays on WDAE-620.

Comments
Zero Bucs players on NFL top 100 list for 2018

Zero Bucs players on NFL top 100 list for 2018

Just to preface this, the NFL Network's annual countdown of the league's top 100 players is a made-for-TV deal, good for summer offseason conversation but not carrying any huge amount of real significance.Having said that, it's worth noting that for ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Bucs defensive end Will Gholston says ‘no excuse’ for disappointing 2017 season

Bucs defensive end Will Gholston says ‘no excuse’ for disappointing 2017 season

Will Gholston is painfully honest about a 2017 season that wasn't anything close to what he wanted it to be. Ask him about last year, and there are no parentheses in his world to soften what he remembers here."I just played (crappy), completely. That...
Published: 06/18/18
Ex-Bucs WR Lawrence Dawsey worked with team during OTAs

Ex-Bucs WR Lawrence Dawsey worked with team during OTAs

The Bucs had four extra coaches during organized team activities last month as part of the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship, including former Tampa Bay receiver Lawrence Dawsey.Dawsey, 50, played for the Bucs from 1991-95, finishing his time ...
Published: 06/18/18
Bucs journal: O.J. Howard poised to take off?

Bucs journal: O.J. Howard poised to take off?

TAMPA — There's always a lot of attention on the rookie class this time of year, rightfully so. There's a reason the Bucs focused on defense, and DT Vita Vea, CBs M.J. Stewart, Carlton Davis and S Justin Whitehead all look like they could have ...
Published: 06/16/18
Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow pleads not guilty to kidnapping, rape charges

Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow pleads not guilty to kidnapping, rape charges

Times wiresVISTA, Calif. – Former Bucs and Hurricanes tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. was jailed without bail Friday after pleading not guilty to nine counts of kidnapping, rape and other charges.If convicted on all counts, Winslow, 34, could face...
Published: 06/15/18
Bucs still don’t know when Jameis Winston will throw another pass that matters

Bucs still don’t know when Jameis Winston will throw another pass that matters

TAMPA — The last pass thrown by Jameis Winston in a regular-season game was his best. The perfectly arced, 39-yard strike to Chris Godwin for a touchdown with nine seconds left gave the Bucs a 31-24 win over New Orleans at Raymond James Stadium...
Published: 06/15/18
Bucs busy on next Ray-Jay renovation with East Stadium Club

Bucs busy on next Ray-Jay renovation with East Stadium Club

The first Bucs home game of the 2018 season is still three months off, but the franchise is busy getting Raymond James Stadium ready with the fourth phase of its $160 million renovation, highlighted by a new East Stadium Club.Construction continues t...
Published: 06/15/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Gerald McCoy sounds off

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Gerald McCoy sounds off

The Bucs wrap up minicamp as Gerald McCoy sounds off on the team getting help for him, defensive line coach Brentson Buckner yelling at the veteran defensive tackle and advice for the young players who now have five weeks off before training camp.Plu...
Published: 06/15/18
Gerald McCoy: ‘Stop saying Gerald got help. No, the Bucs got help’

Gerald McCoy: ‘Stop saying Gerald got help. No, the Bucs got help’

TAMPA — On the last day of minicamp, DT Gerald McCoy made it clear that the new additions to the defensive line are what the entire team needed, not just himself."It's not about me. It's about the team," McCoy said of the addition of five new l...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18
Bucs hit summer break with optimism, eager for training camp

Bucs hit summer break with optimism, eager for training camp

TAMPA — This week's three-day minicamp was the final push in the Bucs' offseason, with about six weeks now until the team reconvenes in late July for training camp and the real preamble to the 2018 season.So what, if anything, can be gleaned fr...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18