Here we go again.
Another Tampa Bay Buccaneers season kicks off Sunday, and the dream remains.
OK, too many seasons have gone by with the rally cry, “Wait till next year!”
But Jameis Winston is now the savior and talk is he is a descendent of Paul Bunyan.
Rumors abound that Jameis will make next year happen this year.
He has magically made us forget the Bucs have not made the playoffs in eight years nor won a playoff game in 14.
The best part of the last eight years for the destitute Bucs fans has been the offseason — dreamers dream and nobody loses a game. But they are demanding more, and Jameis sprinkles reality on those folks in pewter.
When the Bucs gather in Atlanta for their opener Sunday, hope takes on a new persona. If you don’t believe in Jameis, you are UnBuccaneer.
Yes, we’ve heard it before, but this is different: Forget Darrelle Revis and forget Josh Freeman, the man who would be franchise quarterback if he could find his alarm clock.
Thank you Raheem Morris for the laughs: You really should try for one of those late-night TV shows. And thank you Greg Schiano for making Genghis Khan look like a philanthropist.
This is 2016, and we want to win, so bring on Jameis and his highly contagious passion.
There hasn’t been so many good vibes around One Buc Place since guys named Dungy and Gruden were calling the shots.
Just keep those caution flags in your pocket.
Patience should be the order of the day.
The Bucs are improved but still flawed.
You look at that secondary, and it’s hard to see more than eight wins.
Oh it was worse last year, but still the Bucs went 6-6 before Kwon Alexander got busted for ingesting anti-Roger Goodell juice, and the walls caved in with four straight losses.
In Atlanta, those Bucs cornerbacks will have to deal with Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu.
New Bucs cornerback Brent Grimes is past his prime and got burned quite a bit last year. We are not sure about Alterraun Verner, though he might have been used incorrectly by Love Smith, and the jury is out on rookie Vernon Hargreaves, but his previews are impressive.
Safeties Chris Conte and Bradley McDougald don’t generate visions of playoffs, but there might be enough talent in the front seven if the secondary suffers a bad case of the burns.
You hate to call an NFL opener a must win, but the Bucs want to get off to a good start and are on the road the second week in a likely loss at Arizona.
Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan is 8-0 in season openers, but he had his worst season under offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan last year in what has been described as a strained relationship.
The Bucs beat Atlanta in two close games last season, and you wonder if that’s all the good will the football gods are willing to spread across Tampa Bay.
But the great equalizer for the Bucs could be their offense, particularly with Dirk Koetter feeling no restraints to his imagination.
Free to do what he wants now that he is head coach, Koetter makes no secret that he plans to stretch defenses with the long ball and is taking the gloves off Winston.
Koetter says now that he answers only to himself, and it emboldens him to add a little Russian roulette to his game plan.
If Doug Martin can give the Bucs of repeat of last season, if Mike Evans lost his stone hands and has grown out of his petulant child demeanor, this offense could find a way to win some shootouts.
It begins against Atlanta, and with Carolina’s loss to Denver, the winner of this game gets to sit in the driver’s seat of the NFC South for at least one week.