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No Respect? No Problem For Bucs In 2024

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By: Adam Slivon

While the Bucs made it to the divisional playoff round in the NFC last season, they still are not getting the respect they deserve.

After finishing the 2023 season with a 9-8 record, bringing back their big-name free agents, continuing to add depth across the roster with more youth on the way via the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft, there is no reason why Tampa Bay should not be considered the NFC South favorite heading into next season.

After all, it is a division the Bucs have won for three years in a row.

But despite this, the Bucs have been largely projected behind the Falcons, who have all of the sudden become the early favorites in the NFC South after adding quarterback Kirk Cousins. After going through this last season, head coach Todd Bowles and general manager Jason Licht are comfortable with the team being underestimated and are looking forward to continuing to get better.

Todd Bowles And Jason Licht Are Fine With Bucs’ Role As Underdogs

When asked about the defending NFC South champions not getting any respect, Bucs head coach Todd Bowles responded by paying homage to the “Queen of Soul.” Instead of being worried about what people are saying right now, Bowles is unfazed that the team has not made any sexy moves in free agency.

Bowles just wants his Bucs to win when it matters.

Bucs head coach Todd Bowles – Photo by: Adam Slivon/PR

“It’s no different,” Bowles said Tuesday at the NFL Annual Meeting. “When you talk about respect, Aretha Franklin is probably the only one who gets that. Everybody else … you kind of go with the flow. We’re not trying to win the offseason. We’re trying to win the season. So our focus will be the same. It fuels a lot of us. It fuels a lot of the players. We get ready to come back and try to defend our title like we did, and just go further in the playoffs. That’s all we worry about this time of year.”

Jason Licht has had some fun in recent months trolling opposing players and pulling up receipts on national reporters, so being counted out is something he enjoys as it gives him another chance to do the same this time next year.
“That’s fine with me,” Licht said. “I like being the underdog. This team likes being the underdog. I like keeping receipts.”

Bucs Have A Promising Young Team That Is Only Getting Better

There is a lot of promise in the Tampa Bay air after the Bucs successfully transitioned from having the NFL’s oldest roster in 2022 to one of the youngest in 2023. That is in large part due to the work that Jason Licht and the rest of the Bucs’ front office have done in finding talent across the draft in recent seasons and identifying players to supplement what remains of the Super Bowl-winning core.

Bucs GM Jason Licht

Bucs GM Jason Licht – Photo by: Adam Slivon/PR

Having a lot of young players get playoff experience is invaluable for the team’s development in knowing what it takes to win big games and the arrow is only pointing upward.

“Just knowing what this team is capable of, and we were getting better and better as we went along during the season,” Licht said. “So it’s not like we’re just staying status quo. I think the players that we have are going to get better. The team is going to be better. We’re going to add some more youth in the draft, so I’m really, really excited.”

As it stands right now, the team currently has only three players under contract who are over 30 years old (wide receiver Mike Evans, inside linebacker Lavonte David, and long snapper Zach Triner), and each of them is still a high-level contributor.

For the rest of the roster, the young players have the chance to continue to grow together and become a viable contender for seasons to come in the NFC South and in the NFC in general. Teetering between remaining competitive and being a playoff contender is a thin line, but Tampa Bay has been able to walk it with precision as they have successfully stayed atop the division.

That should come with a little more respect – eventually.

The post No Respect? No Problem For Bucs In 2024 appeared first on Pewter Report.

Originally posted on Pewter Report