TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers goal of reaching the Super Bowl evaporated on Monday night after the Dallas Cowboys took over Raymond James Stadium defeating the Bucs 31-14.
What seemed to be such a hopeful season for Tampa Bay after Tom Brady announced he was unretiring to continue his reign as the Bucs’ starting quarterback fell short of season expectations.
Throughout the season, the Bucs seemed to never catch a break. With injuries riddling the team, miscommunication on the field, and questionable play calling, the Buccaneers just didn’t play good football this year – and the players know it.
“We’re going to have to figure out where it went wrong this year because we just didn’t play good football the whole year,” Bucs’ tight end Cameron Brate said. “A lot of looking in the mirror and going back and trying to correct the mistakes.”
But for the Buccaneers, next year’s season comes with a lot of uncertainty. According to spotrac, 27 players will become free agents in March, with the biggest one being Brady.
With rumors flying around that Brady could be leaving the team, nothing is for sure, and based on Monday night’s post-game press conference, Buccaneers’ head coach Todd Bowles seemed hopeful that Brady could return to Tampa Bay.
“Never rebuild. You always reload,” Bowles said. “You’ve just got to tweak some things from a schematic standpoint all the way around – offense, defense, and special teams. Obviously, no one ever comes back with every player on the team, so we’ll have some new faces in here. That’s just part of the game.”
Bowles is aware of the possibility that Brady could leave and reiterated that he’ll have a conversation with him to find out what his future is with the Buccaneers.
“We’ll sit down, have a conversation and we’ll talk about it at that time. So, it’s not anything publicly that needs to be said at this time,” Bowles stated.
As for Brady, he just said he was focused on getting a good night’s sleep after Monday night’s loss, but gave a sincere thank you to the reporters that have covered him and the games this season alluding that this could be it for the GOAT’s career in Tampa.
After the Buccaneers concluded their regular season with an 8-9 record, Brady found himself with a losing record for the first time in his career. He was also 7-0 against the Cowboys until Monday night’s loss.
Despite breaking multiple records this season, no one will know what the seven-time Super Bowl Champion is thinking until he announces his future moves.
The future of the Tampa Bay team will remain undecided until the 2023 NFL Draft when the Bucs get to select picks from the first, second, third, fifth, and sixth rounds, as well as an extra-sixth rounder from the Colts and a seventh-round choice from the Jets, Buccaneers’ senior writer Scott Smith reported.
A new offensive coordinator could also join the team next season after reports came out that Bucs’ Byron Leftwich is expected to be fired after an underperforming season, despite helping lead the team to a Lombardi Trophy in 2020. Of course, these are just rumors, but Bowles did announce that staff evaluations will come at the end of the week.
After Monday night’s Wild Card game, the Dallas Cowboys will take on the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL Divisional Round on Sunday at 6:30 p.m.