Applauding The Long Game – – Tampa Bay Bucs Blog, Buccaneers News

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Smart, Bucs. Very smart.

After evaluating the available options, Tampa Bay’s brain trust has arrived at the proper conclusion … let’s take a step back in order to move ahead.

Let’s take our lumps in free agency and not be foolish enough to replace Tom Brady with a high-priced veteran under center.

That’s the message that came through with one voice between Todd Bowles and Jason Licht at the NFL Scouting Combine this week. It was an authoritative voice. It was the right voice.

Derek Carr? Pass.

Aaron Rodgers? Fuhgettaboutit.

Kyle Trask

Lamar Jackson? Get real.

Ryan Tannehill? Keep moving. Nothing to see here.

So what’s Life After Brady going to look like? It’s going to start with Kyle Trask, the only quarterback currently under contract at One Buc Place. Trask isn’t going to be handed the starting job, but it appears to be his job to lose.

Jason Licht wouldn’t mind if Bowles declared Trask the winner coming out of training camp. Like many Buc fans, Licht is eager to see what Trask can do at the NFL level. And hey, if Trask doesn’t impress, nobody is going to rip Licht for missing on a second-round QB.

That happens all the time across this league.

If Trask exceeds expectations, Licht’s stock rises even higher with the Glazers, who already judge him one of the league’s most astute general managers.

Trask will have to earn his way atop the depth chart because there will be competition against a veteran free agent two and perhaps a rookie. Think Drew Lock, Taylor Heinicke or a Jacoby Brissett. All have starting experience and all will come relatively cheap.

Looking around the rest of the quarterback-challenged NFC South, Buc ownership and management sees a division title well within reach.

Makes sense. The Panthers, Falcons and Saints each won seven games last season and Tampa Bay still boasts a superior roster to all of ’em — even without Brady.

Bucs GM Jason Licht.

Leonard Fournette is toast and Donovan Smith’s days as a Buccaneer will soon be history.

Lavonte David is likely to test the free-agent market. David’s departure would sting, but that’s what happens when a franchise reaches the end of a successful cycle and prepares for a reset. But a reset doesn’t mean a tank job, so don’t look for any trades involving Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Devin White or Vita Vea.

They remain foundational pieces as Licht and Bowles seek a younger, faster football team.

Save The Chips

For three years, the Bucs pushed all their chips into the middle of the poker table. They hit on a royal flush in 2020 and came within two wins of another Super Bowl appearance before the jokers began to emerge last fall as Brady’s play declined.

Here’s Licht’s opportunity to show ownership he can assemble a competitive team without Brady.

In the six weeks since being dismantled by the Cowboys, the Bucs have had ample time to analyze what went wrong and assess where this franchise stands among the NFL hierarchy.

Thankfully, truth prevailed in those talks.

And while the Bucs aren’t the Bears or the Cardinals. they don’t have enough impact players to compete for a championship. They need to find a long-term answer under center, whether it’s Trask or a 2023/2024 draft pick. They need an edge rusher, or two, and a far more efficient ground game to ease the burden off that new quarterback.

Bucs fans will understand, says Ira Kaufman. (Joe is not so sure).

It’s time to conserve those chips and stockpile draft capital. Don’t overreach. Play the long game. Let other teams overspend in free agency, pursuing costly short-timers like Rodgers and Carr.

Even if 2023 proves to be a disappointing season, Buc fans will understand and remain loyal — if there is a strategic plan in place to restore recent glory.

Judging by what was said at Indianapolis, Bowles and Licht understand the challenge they’re up against. Brady has moved on, but his departure doesn’t have to bankrupt this organization for years to come.

Fortunes change quickly in this league if you find the right face of the franchise. Ask the Bengals, Bills or Jaguars.

Can Kyle Trask be that guy? Probably not, but there’s a damn good chance we’re about to find out.

Yes, that warranty includes USED vehicles!
Ira drives a 2020 Ford Escape (cherry red).

This content was originally published here.

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