It’s been a long time since the Bucs have played a game in Tampa. In fact, when the Bucs take the field at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday for their Week 10 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals it will have been 48 days since their last home game against the Giants in Week 3.

In that time frame the Bucs have played five games, lost four straight, taken their bye week, traveled to London, Los Angeles and Seattle and essentially watched their playoff hopes crumble before their eyes as they currently sit at 2-6. To Jameis Winston and the rest of the Bucs roster, a return couldn’t come soon enough.

“I’m just hyped to be in front of our Bucs fans,” Winston said on Wednesday. “To have a regular week and routine, but I’m very excited to be back in Ray Jay.”

In an unprecedented string of games away from home it initially looked as though the road trip’s impact could be mitigated after a shootout win against the Rams, the reigning NFC champions, but that sentiment quickly fell apart as Tampa Bay was unable to find another victory. As much as head coach Bruce Arians will steer away from saying it, the rest of the season has now become about evaluating what the Bucs have at their disposal and how that will look heading into the 2020 season. Tampa Bay has a lot of one-year contracts and players hitting the free agent market this upcoming off-season, but they also have a franchise quarterback who has yet to prove whether he’s earned a spot moving forward in his contract year.

“I think the most important part is just making sure that I’m getting better every day,” Winston said about what he needs to show over these final eight weeks. “Making sure I’m giving the team a chance to win. If I’m doing that, we’ll win and that’s pretty much it.”

With a new staff it takes time to get acclimated, both offensively and defensively, and after two consecutive 5-11 seasons it’s becoming more apparent that Arians’ preseason optimism about how good this team could be was just that, optimism. At the season’s midpoint the defense has improved on a unit-by-unit basis, increasing turnovers while building the NFL’s best when it comes to stopping the run, but the young secondary has ensured that Tampa Bay is still one of the league’s worst scoring defenses.

Offensively the Bucs are really find their groove after a rocky start, specifically in the form of Tampa Bay’s two top wideouts, Chris Godwin and Mike Evans. Early on it appeared that not only did the team need time to adjust to a new system, but that new offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich had some learning on the fly to do himself as just a second-year play-caller.

“We’re all starting to learn each other,” Winston said about how the team is improving. “That goes into the play calls, that goes into me understanding the concepts, that goes into me knowing when to throw the ball away if something breaks down, that goes into protection with me and Ryan Jensen being on the same page. We’re starting to get it, we’ve got to continue to get better, we’ve got to continue to learn from each other and we’re going to turn things around.”

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Buc off
Buc off
6 months ago

Blah, blah, blah.

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bucianco
6 months ago

I feel like rambling so here goes… Winston turns 26 in January. IF Arians can “fix” him, then he could be our franchise QB for the next 10 years. IF Winston becomes what we envisioned when he was drafted, then we have plenty of time to build the perfect team around him, instead of wondering what position we need to pick first in the next draft. Play one year at status quo, then build on that to make the team better and better, until finally we have a perennial contender with the same franchise QB under center every year. All… Read more »

GrayBalls
6 months ago
Reply to  bucianco

The NFL has profit sharing

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Ian
Ian
6 months ago

It takes time to develop a winning culture with a new regime. I have faith that this team is slowly turning the corner to respectability. JW was very immature when we drafted him… obviously. He is just now starting to grow up now that he’s married and is a father for the first time. I firmly believe that he has yet to enter his prime; he’s going to be a late bloomer. Sticking by him and building around him, like the Glazers and Licht are doing, is absolutely the right thing to do. Have faith in the process! Rate this… Read more »

EricNV
6 months ago
Reply to  Ian

As long as he doesn’t have another 4-6 turnover game, I’m open to seeing how much he improves over the next 8 games. He’s capable of brilliance at times. I’d settle for good-to-very good – consistently. However, until this defense is capable of keeping teams under 400 yds passing per game, that natural inclination he has of having to play Superman isn’t going to get much better.

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The Vicness
6 months ago

Nope. Sorry, just cause your the QB doesn’t make you a leader. Will your team to win, don’t fumble all the time and throw it to the other team. Full rebuild, but we aren’t being honest.

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scot pederson
6 months ago

Earth to Jameis. The statements he made are relevant vs a few of the teams coming up such as we get the Falcons 2x. But if you look at the schedule we will be facing some very tough Pass Defenses unlike the Seahawks that were already giving up 25 points per game and played Soft Zone all game long. 11/17 vs the Saints-We are already lost 1 and they only give up 232 yrds thru the air and only 10 Passing TDs in 8 games. Lot more chances of FGs vs a team that now has Brees back. 12/1 vs… Read more »

Captain Sly
6 months ago
Reply to  scot pederson

I’m going to stick up for my QB here because if Winston had any semblance of a defense for the time he’s been here then we are having a different conversation. Winston has been at the helm of the best offenses in the history of this organization and that’s not by chance, that’s by skill. Sure he’s had to grow up as a person since being drafted so young but he’s also had to take the heat for all the loses when we have put a lousy team around him. I might be in the minority here but I would… Read more »

The Vicness
6 months ago
Reply to  Captain Sly

You actually have faith in Jameis? What have you seen that I haven’t? He has not improved year to year, has not cut down on mistakes, still has no accuracy and cant hit people on on the move.

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Dman
6 months ago
Reply to  Captain Sly

I’m with you Cap’t. And if he had an O-line based on the invested salaries he’d have a running game to balance the offense and keep him from getting the snot knocked out of him.

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Ron Gibson
Ron Gibson
6 months ago
Reply to  Dman

Not only to mention yet another QB change means 2 more years of learning. Winston to Evans or Godwin is one of the best combos in the league. They only need to keep their QB upright. That’s hard to do when you have a mediocre OL and DBs who couldn’t cover a WR if they gave them a blanket. No lead is too big for us and we make superstars out of ho hum QBs we face.

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EricNV
6 months ago
Reply to  scot pederson

We have an offense capable of torching a good defense. I’m more concerned about our secondary and the defense’s ability to consistently pressure the QB.

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Horse
6 months ago

How do you justify a below average quarterback being paid over 20 million dollars a year? This is a slap in the face to fans and hard-working people!

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Bucsfan1983
6 months ago
Reply to  Horse

Might want to take your foot out of your mouth, before you speak.

Below average QB. Hmmm let’s see… He’s 7th in the league in passing yardage and tied for 5th for passing TDs this season.

Yeah that just screams, below average QB.

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BucRy
6 months ago

Woah! This is some breaking news guys! We will finally turn it around after 5 years with him! Hope has been restored!

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Pete
6 months ago

Winston is playing for a big contract so let’s see what happens. I wish he wore a dark visor cause when the other team sees those crazy eyes it’s over. Go Bucs and win at home please

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twspin
6 months ago

Look guys, One things for deeyham skippy…This team desparately needs a win for its depressed fans, themselves, local sports writers and coaches. They need to go..All out come Sunday. ALL..OUT! This kid Murray can hardly see over the line of scrimmage yet is improving weekly, Throws bullets, can run like the wind and he’s more slippery than Vaseline!! Come on Bucs. I mean you gotta stand up. Lose Sunday? And I’m gonna have to start bustin out my..reserve Bourbon!!

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Ron Gibson
Ron Gibson
6 months ago
Reply to  twspin

Thankfully I have well stocked medicine cabinet.

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surferdudes
6 months ago

Talk is cheap. All I keep thinking about is how our secondary was getting interceptions against Winston during training camp to the point of Arains calling it “fixed”. Well they can’t seem to pick any other QB off since the games became real, but Jameis still finds the other teams defenders. When it stops not for one, or two games, but for good, I’ll believe. Jameis watch what you wish for playing at home. You played horrible in the opener, had a good first have against the Giants, and that’s it. Two home losses. Don’t know about playing in front… Read more »

twspin
6 months ago

I’m going OUT…..on a limb for this Sundays game. Bucs by 14.

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bucballer
6 months ago

A real thin, tiny limb!

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twspin
6 months ago
Reply to  bucballer

Say bucballer this game is Mandatory dude. They gotta win this one. Fans are like..Give us something. Defend Home. They need to truly give an extra effort this Sunday. We will see. I think..we Win.

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bucballer
6 months ago

Hey Jameis… I wanna believe bro, but actions speak louder than words. String together 2-3 wins and then we will talk!

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cvillebucfan
6 months ago

I like our team. Second youngest team in the league. Ronald Jones emerging. I believe in Winston. I at least want another year with Arians. I think the switch is flipping with him, the system and the personnel.

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matador
6 months ago
Reply to  cvillebucfan

Wow you may be one or the most naive people to ever post on this board. Check back after another year of pain and we’ll see how you’re feeling then.

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jiggyjoe
6 months ago

After five years, Winston plays just like he did when he started in the NFL and he can’t make a winning season. You expect different?

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matador
6 months ago

Who cares if we win the next game, or two of the next three? We have five years of tape that says the guy can’t work through his progressions and deliver the ball to the open receiver, wearing the right color jersey, with ball placement that helps not hinders their YAC. In other words, he’s not elite. And he’s never going to be. Can he sling it sometimes? Sure, but sometimes ain’t good enough in the NFL. He’s an up and down, exciting and maddening, human turnover machine. If that continues he is…the next Fitzmagic. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit… Read more »

bucballer
6 months ago

I hear ya twspin! Just having fun with ya. Mean no harm my friend! Just so sick of wasting my Sunday’s wishing for a different outcome only to have defeat snapped out of the jaws of victory! I hope they win… as I always do.

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scubog
6 months ago

I say we treat this upcoming game and the rest of the season as coming out after halftime behind on the scoreboard. Do we dig ourselves in a deeper hole or inch back and take an unexpected victory? I’m hoping the team doesn’t relax since they’re finally back home. Might even have more of us than them in the stands. Should be a nice sunny and relatively cool day. Be nice if some Bucs fans actually show up.

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awwdembucs
6 months ago

We will see!

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fredster
6 months ago
Reply to  awwdembucs

Fire everyone start over and rebuild after showing if they just execute they can beat the Rams on the road and could have beaten Seahawks. Such stupid comments by “fans”. After struggling for over a decade we have A proven coach and lots of talent. Yes it isn’t going to be a one year turn around. I don’t think anyone here said that’s a lock to happen. We had decent chance but I knew we were likely somewhere between 6-10 wins just depending many things. They are couple pieces away from being a good team imo. As for Winston as… Read more »

Buc stops here
6 months ago

He is saying the right things – that has never been really an issue with Winston (and there have been plenty!) A few things have to change for them to win: 1) The turnovers have to stop. Full stop. 2) The pass defense has to improve – a lot. Vernon Hargraves has to show up (may not happen, and if it doesn’t, another busted draft pick along with MJ Stewart who is third string after being drafted in the third round two years ago) If those two things happen, we have a team that can win. The bigger issue is… Read more »

Captain Sly
6 months ago
Reply to  Buc stops here

In hindsight maybe bringing in Brent Grimes from Miami to mentor Hargreaves was not such a good idea.. That being said be careful about who you are bringing in when creating a culture of winning. Hardy Nickerson was the single piece that our defense needed when we acquired him from Pittsburgh a Winning Culture.

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Buc stops here
6 months ago
Reply to  Captain Sly

Like your view Captain Sly!

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EastEndBoy
6 months ago

I honestly don’t feel like we are destined for a top-10 draft pick this year, or have a whopping 10 wins through 3 seasons running, BECAUSE of Jameis. Certainly he has not put the team on his back – but there are few that can do that. We have given him one of the worst OLines to play behind for his entire career (the only LT he has ever had has consistently been rated as one of the very worst in the league), and even including this year (with the surging RoJo) have never had much of a running game.… Read more »

Bucsfan1983
6 months ago
Reply to  EastEndBoy

Exactly! Well said! Licht has done a terrible job at building around(except Evans and Godwin) his franchise QB, whom he drafted.

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Horse
6 months ago

Bucfan1983, if you look at his quarterback ranking he is in the bottom third of the league. I don’t know how you could forget his interceptions and fumbles as not being anything important. Also his receivers have something to do about it too, especially the taller ones. I did reference it as to below average QB and the salary. Winston is making and is not deserving of making anywhere near that sum in the future. Now if he wanted to play for 12 or 14 million that would be something different; this way you would have millions to help bring… Read more »

Captain Sly
6 months ago
Reply to  Horse

Question for you Horse, Brate makes 7.5 mil and has 15rec 2td. Ndamukong Suh 9mil with 17 tkls .5 sacks. If your worry is about the budget and paying Winston, Do you think those two players Brate & Suh are worth that amount of $ based on production?

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Horse
6 months ago
Reply to  Captain Sly

Captain Sky; no, unless there is an injury that we aren’t aware of.

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Bucsfan1983
6 months ago
Reply to  Horse

I could care less about his QB rating.

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Captain Sly
6 months ago

The problem with Winston’s career has been that his team has been perennially built wrong around him. Licht got off to a great start by drafting Winston, D Smith, Marpet and Then traded for Logan Mankins. He crossed his fingers and hoped Evan Dietrich Smith, Joe Hawley and others would hold up. 2016’ is where the train went off the tracks and instead of drafting BPA Tunsil he went for need Hargreaves. Still high off of his 15’ draft success he got cocky and with two 2nd rd draft picks he goes for need again selecting DE Noah Spence &… Read more »

EastEndBoy
6 months ago
Reply to  Captain Sly

I think you have a good line of reasoning, albeit I would not say Licht drafts “for need” (we have so many needs – for example, was MLB really a need with Kevin Minter recently signed?). I agree he doesn’t seem to draft BPA either. I think what he actually does is to draft guys that he has “fallen in love with” for some reason. He gushed about Aguyao…who gushes about a kicker? He was so enamored with White that when Allen fell into his lap he couldn’t look away from White. He has never recognized the mistake that Donovan… Read more »

michael
6 months ago

Probably not

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skullandcrossbones
6 months ago

Nope 4 and 12

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skullandcrossbones
6 months ago

I see absolutely no turnaround for this team unless they start rebuilding the trenches on both sides of the ball and get a quarterback that will hang on to the ball and not thow to the other team. You cant rely on just Shaq Barret to put pressure on opposing qb’s. Need to make a few trades Keep Hudson and auclair at TE then decide who you going to keep between OJ or Brate and trades one of them, also trade VH3.

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bucballer
6 months ago

If it’s between Brate and OJ, then it’s no choice! Brate is gone! He’s older, recently had hip surgery and he makes 2x more than OJ!

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surferdudes
6 months ago

Cam will be gone from Carolina. So anything is possible. I think Jameis gets a 2 yr deal, but if the Bucs have a top ten pick, now would be a good time to draft a QB. We keep Jameis next year and let’s say he wins 7,8 games. Not bad, not great. So what if you want to draft a QB then, you’d be picking in the twenties. Jameis is a FA after this season, I don’t think they’ll franchise him. Draft a QB NOW! That’s leverage with Jameis. Go all out O, D line after that. Get a… Read more »

Horse
6 months ago

I still see it as a 5- 7 wins season: previously I had added maybe 8-8, but that’s off the table now.

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Easythe great
6 months ago

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

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SydneyTamapaGirl
6 months ago

You could lift those same quotes from’16, ’17, ’18….

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