2019 NFL Power Rankings: Who heads into summer at No. 1?
By Ian Cummings
No. 26 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have an underdog bid for “most sorrowful existence of the last decade”. Tampa’s team hasn’t made the playoffs since 2007, and before that, they hadn’t won a playoff game since their Super Bowl run in 2002. In 2010, they won ten games, but missed the playoffs. Since that season, they’ve gone 42-89, and churned through four head coaches.
Now, the Buccaneers are one of eight teams to enter the 2019 season with a new head coach. They’re only one of two, however, to take a gamble on a coach with prior experience at the position. Bruce Arians is the man in Tampa, and he’s experienced success in the NFC before; with the Cardinals, Arians compiled a record of 49-30-1, peaking with a 13-3 record in 2015. He reached the NFC Championship that year, but after going 15-16-1 over the next two seasons, Arians retired, citing health.
Now that he’s had time to conquer his health issues, or at least put them at bay, the 66-year old joins the Buccaneers’ staff as a coach who’s “been there, done that”, and for a young squad that’s underachieved for years on end, that’s a pleasant change.
Still, as promising of a hire as Bruce Arians might be for the Buccaneers, there’s still work to do on the roster. The offense needs a quarterback to step up and stay up, and the defense somehow needs to buck years and years of ineptitude. Jason Licht added talent in the 2019 offseason, but it’ll take another year or two to complete the puzzle. If Arians hasn’t lost a step since his retirement in 2017, then the Buccaneers should rise back to contention in due time. 2019, however, will be a necessary down year.