In the last few years, we’ve seen several teams make quick turnarounds from the bottom of the barrel to playoff berths or playoff contention.
In 2013, the Chiefs, Chargers and Eagles all went to the playoffs with new coaches while the Cardinals won 10 games to finish just out of the postseason. The year before saw the Colts advance to the playoffs in the same situation while the 49ers went to the NFC Championship Game in Jim Harbaugh’s first year as coach in 2011.
Can the Buccaneers be the next team to follow that blueprint? The hiring of Lovie Smith to replace Greg Schiano, a busy offseason and renewed enthusiasm from the team’s players have led some to suggest that Tampa could make a quick turnaround in 2014. General Manager Jason Licht isn’t bothered by those feelings.
“It doesn’t upset me,” Licht told Michael Silver of NFL.com. “I don’t think it upsets Lovie, either. That’s what we’re striving for — we legitimately feel like we can compete. We never use the word ‘long-term’ here. We have some good pieces, and we want to get after it right away.”
The Bucs still have holes to fill and they’ll use their six picks next week, including the seventh overall selection, to address them. This is hardly a complete rebuild, though, and that means there will be pressure to do more than just tread water in Tampa next season. If that pressure exists, you might as well embrace it and it seems the Bucs are doing just that.