Cover 3 is a weekly feature column written by PewterReport.com’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat writer Trevor Sikkema published every Tuesday. The column, as its name suggests, comes in three phases: a statistical observation, an in-depth film breakdown, and a “this or that” segment where the writer asks the reader to chose between two options.
Sikkema’s Stat of the Week
I’m the kind of guy who likes to finish what he starts. I don’t say that to pump up my ego on some sort of superior work ethic. Trust me, I know there are times when that comes into question; I’m not perfect. But I think what drives me to want to complete something is because I hate wasting time.
I don’t even have some cheesy cliche that I point to like “time is money” or anything like that as my motivation. I just know that the more time I spend on something, the more likely I’m going to see it through because I can’t stand the thought of wasting time. There is nothing more annoying than knowing that all the time, effort, energy, etc. that you might pour into something ends up being for naught. And I don’t even mean when you try something, it doesn’t work and you live and learn. I mean when, at the end of the day, whatever you did was just a big ol’ waste of time.
As this Buccaneers season grows on us, it is becoming more and more apparent that this current regime in Tampa Bay has just been a waste of time.
And it’s annoying for fans, I’m sure, because the whole point of buying a jersey or a ticket or proclaiming your fan-hood is that you’re investing in something. It’s about a commitment that you will be with them for the long haul. Sure, you know there are going to be good days and bad days, but you’re in it because you believe that at the end of the season, even if just one time, it will be all worth it. That wearing that jersey proudly will have paid off. That going to that road trip will give you a memory worth telling of your favorite team. That the commitment you’ve made to the team will be matched by the team’s commitment in itself to put together a winner.
You’re not going to get that out of this three-year – or four-year, depending on how you look at it – current Bucs regime, and that’s frustrating.
It’s frustrating because it hasn’t been a learning experience. It’s been a waste.
It’s been a waste of the most talented roster the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have had since their Super Bowl era – or so we thought. The highest paid defensive line in the NFL, what people thought would be a good combination of young and old on that side of the ball, a veteran defensive coaching staff going into the year.
And on the other side, Tampa Bay has the best deep threat player in NFL history at wide receiver in DeSean Jackson, one of the top wide receivers in the league in Mike Evans, one of the best mismatch players in the game at tight end in O.J. Howard, an extra tight end on top of that in Cameron Brate, an offensive line that was suppose to be improved and budding. But somehow it doesn’t matter. The Bucs can’t get it done.
It’s been a waste of a good salary cap situation. I can somewhat understand the whole Doug Martin thing because the guy was coming off being the second-best running back in the NFL for the second time in five years in his contract year. I get that. But J.R. Sweezy? Chris Baker? Will Gholston? Brate? Brent Grimes? Those deals were bad. And to top it all off. Now your window is closing with players like Gerald McCoy and Jackson, who will have to be moved now, as the team clearly no longer has a window to win lining up with their cap commitments there.
It’s been a waste of some good draft pick opportunities. I understand that you can play the “we could’ve had this guy!” when you look back on draft classes, and that’s not really a fair thing to do most of the time. But as time goes on, Jason Licht’s drafts look less promising. Now, you can say that the coaches have failed some of these players, and I would agree with you, but I can’t let them all off the hook.
Vernon Hargreaves is a nickel cornerback drafted in the Top 15. Noah Spence isn’t even making this roster next year. Roberto Aguayo … I don’t have to say any more. The 2017 draft looks great, but man, it’s an uphill climb for that 2018 class already – perhaps that’s coaching, too. Not saying it can’t happen, you just wonder how those players specifically will be viewed if a total house cleaning is on the way. And even the 2015 class. Jameis Winston’s future with the Bucs is now up in the air. Guard Ali Marpet has been good, but the amount they might be about to pay Donovan Smith and Kwon Alexander for the production they bring? Are they believing in those guys more than they should? Because that’s never a good gamble, and this regime has gambled like that before and failed.
It’s a waste of a talented team by this coaching staff, and a waste of what we thought was suppose to be continuity. Dirk Koetter was a guy who was a no BS kind of coach. You like that. You thought it could work. You thought you could pair that coaching attitude with an attitude of new players and it would all work out; you know, change things.
Man, it hasn’t.
This coaching staff looks worse and worse by the week. I mean, for example, how do you stand in front of the media and tell them that ideally you’d like to win the toss and start the game on offense, and then in your very next game you win the toss and send your beat-up defense out there first on the road, oh which, by the way, got scored on within five minutes.
Now it’s so bad we don’t know who’s at fault – the players or the coaches. In fact, I’d argue that now it’s both. We don’t even know who’s really calling plays, what the politics of all the decisions behind the scenes might be. Due to a failed marriage within each other, they’ve all become a waste of each other’s time. At least in a sense that if they move on and have success elsewhere it won’t benefit the Bucs.
And finally, worst of all, it’s a waste of Winston. If any of you have read my work before you know that I hold Winston plenty accountable in his failures here. But Koetter was retained by this staff and made the head coach FOR Winston. Now we’re getting a clearer picture that the two are fighting against each other – and probably have been for quiet some time. Winston hasn’t improved the way he’s needed to. I don’t know if it’s out of rebellion or just lack of awareness. Whatever it is, he has not been coached to be the first quarterback in franchise history to sign a second contract with the team, a feat many thought was set in stone when they drafted. Koetter and Winston have failed one another, they’ve failed the investments made in each, and they’ve failed those who root for them endlessly.
Now it might all just be a waste.
If it is, it’s all a waste of time. It’s a waste of a another regime. A waste of another attempt at a rebuild, the fifth this team has had since they fire their last winning head coach.
Even now, at this point of the season, every extra win is a waste. It’s a waste at a better draft pick, one that people totally new could be using to select the next wave of players this team will hope can cure a cursed culture.
You all will always be Bucs fans. Love and good-hearted passion are two great emotions to have, two that exist a lot in sports. There’s more that goes into this than just the results on the field. The friendships you form and people you get to meet and talk football with on social media and in real life, the organizations, charities and businesses you get to be a part of, the feeling of community with a place you may call home or have called home before, all of that still makes it worth being a fans.
That’s what makes it worth sticking around. But when the thing that brings you all together fails you, it never feels good.
It just feels like a waste of time.