The PewterReport.com Roundtable features the opinions of the PR staff as it tackles a topic each week that involves the Bucs. This week’s topic: What Makes 2021 A Successful Bucs Season?
Scott Reynolds: It’s Super Bowl Or Bust For The Buccaneers
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The Bucs are the defending Super Bowl champions. Tampa Bay has the most talented roster in the NFL, led by the greatest quarterback in NFL history. If the Bucs don’t win the Super Bowl this year it just won’t be considered a successful season. That’s where this franchise is at right now. It’s built to win it all – again.
Bucs HC Bruce Arians and QB Tom Brady – Photo by: USA Today
Last year I would have been satisfied with the Bucs making the playoffs and maybe getting a postseason win. It was Brady’s first year in Tampa Bay and the chips were stacked against the Bucs due to COVID-19 canceling the offseason, shortening training camp and eliminating the preseason. I thought Tampa Bay would make the playoffs and possibly make it to the divisional round or the NFC Championship Game. I predicted a 10-6 record. The Bucs were better than I thought they would be, got hot after the bye week and turned on the afterburners to win it all.
Because Tampa Bay is a year ahead of schedule in my mind, the bar has to be raised. They’ve already won a Super Bowl and they’re the favorites to win it again. The pressure to win it all again is on for the franchise, especially with Brady turning 44 this year. Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl window is closing and the Bucs need to act fast and make best use of this “win-now” roster. Anything less a Super Bowl in 2021 or 2022 can’t be considered successful.
Jon Ledyard: Bucs Must Return To The Super Bowl
Obviously winning a Super Bowl is the mark of a truly successful season within any NFL organization, but those of us on the outside can be more realistic. Repeating as Super Bowl champions is incredibly hard, something no team has done since the early 2000s. But a world title is a realistic goal for the Bucs in 2021, unlike 75 percent of the league (or more).
The return of all key contributors from their 2020 championship is a huge mark in favor of the Bucs repeating. Their leadership is another key selling point. With Bruce Arians, Tom Brady, Lavonte David, Ndamukong Suh, Mike Evans and other veterans leading the way, the Bucs aren’t likely to get complacent. Even the team’s younger players, such as Devin White, Antoine Winfield Jr., Carlton Davis and others consistently display a professional mindset. Focus and the desire to be great aren’t high on the list of concerns for the Bucs in 2021.
The Bucs are also the clear-cut favorites in the NFC, especially if Aaron Rodgers isn’t suiting up for Green Bay again. The NFC North can basically be ruled out as serious contenders this year, and the NFC East might not present an adequate challenger yet. The Saints are good, but have questions at the game’s most important position and a few more roster holes than last year. The NFC West offers the Bucs two biggest challengers in San Francisco and Los Angeles, while Seattle could remain a factor.
But none of those teams offer the depth and continuity of the Bucs current roster. Perhaps Tampa Bay loses to their AFC challenger in the Super Bowl. The Chiefs, Bills and others may be superior to the second-best team in the NFC, but it’ll be hard to be upset about a return to the big game, even if Tampa Bay falters.
Matt Matera: A Division Title And NFC Championship Appearance Will Do
Winning the Super Bowl is the ultimate goal and the best possible accomplishment you can have in football. The Bucs just enjoyed that in February. With that said, it’s extremely difficult to win two years in a row, which is why it hasn’t occurred since Tom Brady’s 2003 & 2004 Patriots. It’s only gone down on three occasions since the 1990’s. I’m not saying the Bucs won’t be able to “go for two” as the saying goes, I’m just pointing out that the degree of difficulty is high.
It’s been almost 20 years since the Bucs last won a division title in 2002. That should be one of their goals this season. Not only to say they’re the best in the division, but they can get that all-important home playoff game, which they didn’t have last season with the exception of the Super Bowl LV.
The Bucs have a lot of expectations on them to have another big year. Especially after the news that Aaron Rodgers won’t be playing for the Packers this season, the NFC is wide open after the Bucs. Because of that, I believe anything less than an NFC championship appearance would be a disappointment. The Bucs have all the talent in the world and now the continuity of playing together for over a year. I understand that anything is possible in the postseason and everyone will give the defending champs their best shot, and that’s why I’m not predicting right away that they’re heading to the Super Bowl again, although it’s likely. The Bucs are on the right track to go on another run.
J.C Allen: Back-to-Back Or It’s Gone Off Track
After the work Jason Licht and Co. did this offseason to bring back all 22 starters, there is little reason, to think this team shouldn’t repeat as champions. That is what the expectation should be, and anything less would be a disappointment. They are the odds on favorites to represent the NFC in Super Bowl LVI, and have the greatest quarterback of all time.
Brady spoke this offseason about the high expectations he faced with the Patriots, and how they played a role in his departure. After winning a title in his first season in Tampa Bay, those high expectations remain. With a fully recovered knee and an entire offseason to get acclimated to the offense, Brady should have the Bucs firing on all cylinders come opening night.
Helping to aid their cause is one of the league’s “easiest schedules.” While no game is truly an easy game, the combined wins and losses of their opponents in 2020 was 105-118. The Bucs continuity on defense, combined with the evolution of their offense, should be major factors in this team’s chances of repeating as champs. With a stacked roster full of talent on both sides of the ball, injuries are the only reason the Bucs shouldn’t be lifting back-to back Lombardi trophies in February.