Alan Dell

It’s not easy being a Bucs fan

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) lands on a pile after having his pass knocked down by Denver Broncos defensive tackle Billy Winn (97) as outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett (48) watches during the second half in Tampa on Sunday.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) lands on a pile after having his pass knocked down by Denver Broncos defensive tackle Billy Winn (97) as outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett (48) watches during the second half in Tampa on Sunday. AP

For the Tampa Bay Bucs, things are never what they are.

Or maybe it just seems this way.

For example, we are told:

  • The Bucs are getting better when they are not.
  • Hope is just around the corner when it has vanished.
  • Jameis Winston won’t turn the ball over when he cannot help himself.

It seems as if the Bucs travel back in time when they are stuck in neutral thanks to Charles Sims, who can’t decide whether he wants to be a dancer or a running back.

So maybe those rumors that there is a Time Travelers convention at Raymond James Stadium this weekend are true.

This group wants to break its contract with the Bucs.

It’s a protest of sorts, though the statute of limitations has run out on Buccaneer complaints.

They want to move the franchise into a bright future, but every time you look the Bucs are stuck in the same place.

While the Bucs are in North Carolina delivering a package of Kryptonite to Cam Newton this weekend, the Time Travelers will be looking for a new client.

They want to take the Bucs forward, but like we said that gear shift is busted.

It always seems like today is yesterday for this franchise — like when we began OTAs and everyone was calling the Bucs a 10-win team that was finally going to make the playoffs.

We were told the chemistry on the team was the best anyone had seen since the Dungy-Gruden golden era.

But after three straight losses, linebacker Kwon Alexander was complaining Sunday that too many players spend too little time at the facility trying to get better.

Even Dirk Koetter can feel the heat.

The Glazer family, which owns the team, fired Lovie Smith and hired Koetter because they believed he was essential to Winston’s growth.

But Winston is playing worse than he did at this time last year.

Oh, and so is that defense.

OK, there are injuries, but Minnesota lost its quarterback and the league’s best running back, and the Vikings are 4-0.

Lovie Smith must be laughing when he watches NFL football from his basement in Champaign, Ill., on Sundays.

People made jokes when Lovie Smith, was fired saying his system was outdated and the game had passed him by.

They cheered when Mike Smith was hired to run the defense, forgetting the beating his defenses took in Atlanta at the end of his tenure.

Koetter looks confused and overmatched at times, trying to call plays and be a head coach.

He hired Mike Smith, citing the Buddy System.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The Bucs’ secondary is atrocious. Well, if not atrocious it has been decidedly bad.

Koetter benched cornerback Alterraun Verner just like Lovie did, only Lovie got criticized for not using Verner correctly.

Johnthan Banks has faded into the woodwork, just as the cornerback did under Lovie Smith, who some said wasn’t using the cornerback correctly.

Every time you see Tampa Bay’s defense get run over you wonder what kind of player the Bucs could have gotten in the second round to help instead of selecting a kicker.

It reminds us of when they signed Darrelle Revis and told us the Bucs were headed for the playoffs, or when they hired Greg Schiano to replace Raheem Morris, or hired Lovie Smith to replace Schiano, or hired Koetter to replace Lovie Smith.

Good times are just around the corner, we have been told, but nobody can negotiate the curve.

They told us Brent Grimes was going to be a savior of the secondary, ignoring the fact that the cornerback has been on a downward slide for the past two years before the Bucs signed him.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The biggest problem for the Bucs right now is that Doug Martin, the Little Hamster that Could, has been grounded by a sore hamstring and his absence has gotten into Winston’s head.

The quarterback has tried to put the franchise on his back and the weight has dragged him down.

He thought Aqib Talib was one of his receivers last Sunday and the Bucs were down by 14 points before he realized his mistake.

Winston leads the NFL in turnovers and is second in interceptions.

He is supposed to be a franchise quarterback.

But maybe things are not that bad.

Depending on how you look at it, the Bucs are either tied for last place or second place in the NFC South, one of three teams that are 1-3.

Atlanta (3-1) is at Denver and Seattle the next two weeks, and plays Green Bay a month from now, so 3-3 or 3-4 might get you a first-place tie.

It means the Bucs are right in the thick of the division race if they beat Carolina on Monday night.

If only things were that easy.

If only things could be the way they seem to be, then Bucs’ fans could finally smile. 

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