Why Chris Simms Thinks Buccaneers Could Disappoint in 2020

Jesse Pantuosco
May 16, 2020 - 5:41 pm

With Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham in tow, many thought the Browns would be a team to fear in 2019. How did that work out?

The Buccaneers have been the talk of the NFL since signing Tom Brady (they also coaxed legendary tight end Rob Gronkowski out of retirement), and rightfully so, but is it too early to start mapping out their Super Bowl parade in downtown Tampa? Chris Simms thinks so.

“We’re all anointing them champions,” said Simms while appearing on NBC’s ProFootballTalk with Mike Florio. “It’s just not as easy said as it is done.” Simms, a former NFL quarterback who began his eight-year career with the Bucs in 2003, doesn’t think his former team is deserving of the hype they’ve been getting.

“There are still questions there in Tampa Bay,” Simms added. “It was the worst pass defense in football last year.” The NBC analyst is guilty of a little hyperbole here—Tampa Bay only allowed the third-most passing yards in 2019 (the Lions and Cardinals were both worse)—but his point is well taken. While Tom Brady and company should have no trouble putting points on the board, Tampa Bay did little to address its defense this offseason, leaving the Buccaneers with one of the sport’s most vulnerable secondaries.

Bucs’ bandwagoners are also quick to forget that Brady is three months from blowing out the candles on his 43rd birthday cake and coming off arguably his worst season. Not to mention that Gronk hasn’t suited up in over a year and looked like a shell of himself the last time we saw him in 2018. Brady seems relieved to be working with Bruce Arians in Tampa after years of being badgered by steely taskmaster Bill Belichick. Putting 1,300 miles between himself and the chronically cranky Belichick could do wonders for Brady, but there’s a reason Emperor Bill has six rings while the famously casual Arians has never hoisted a Lombardi as a head coach (though he did win two as a Steelers assistant once upon a time).

While the much-discussed Bucs could very well fall short of their lofty preseason expectations, Florio pinpointed the Bills as another trendy team that could disappoint in 2020. “They’re expected to win the division,” said Florio in raining on the Bills’ hype parade. “They only have one way to go and that’s down. For a team that hasn’t won the division in more than 20 years, that’s a lot to carry.”

Only time will tell if all our Tampa worship was warranted, but the Bucs do have at least one thing working in their favor—they’re not the Browns.

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