The NFL has designated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as one of eight possible candidates to appear on HBO’s Emmy-winning series Hard Knocks. One team will be involuntarily chosen if one doesn’t volunteer.
The Buccaneers may be more inclined than the others to volunteer, especially with the optimism of the 2016 season.
The Buccaneers’ relevance has left something to be desired since they won the Super Bowl in 2002. They haven’t made the postseason since 2007, but they haven’t been a laughing stock like the Cleveland Browns.
The Buccaneers also have what it takes to be involuntarily chosen.
Quarterback Jameis Winston is the most charismatic player on any of the teams. He is young and he has a strong personality that can lead a team. He is also one of the talented, upcoming players on a team that was just one win away from making the NFC playoffs. They may be the closest of the eight teams to win a Super Bowl.
However, here are several reasons why the Buccaneers should refuse to volunteer for Hard Knocks.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Should Avoid Hard Knocks
Jameis Winston’s Troublesome Past
With all the success and the promise that he’s shown in just two seasons, Winston is fortunate to be playing. Winston was accused of sexual assault in 2012 and it continued to hover over him for his collegiate career and it reached a critical point in his final year. The two parties have just now reached a settlement. This next year will be the first opportunity for Winston to move on. However, Hard Knocks brings up the possibility that Winston’s past could add conflict to the show.
Doug Martin‘s Drug Suspension
In a similar vain, Doug Martin, the Buccaneers’ First-Team All-Pro running back in 2015, is struggling with off field drama after being suspended for four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Martin signed a five-year, $35.75 million contract last March. His personal issues and financial pressures could be spotlighted on the show.
Team Chemistry Is Still Developing
These group of players achieved the franchise’s first winning season since 2010. They were fortunate to be 9-7 and one win away from a playoff appearance. They were in many close games and they won by paying attention to the details. Any kind of distraction or lack of concentration can turn those games the other way.
This was the first year for head coach Dirk Koetter who is still trying to establish a culture. The Buccaneers are at the beginning stages of learning what it takes to be a successful team. Experienced players like Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David should be able to handle it, but they have to be eager to make the playoffs for the first time. If the young stars like Winston, Mike Evans and Kwon Alexander aren’t keen on the details that got them to nine wins, the Buccaneers could easily slide in the opposite direction.
Recent Results Don’t Inspire Success
The Houston Texans were able to make the postseason in 2015 after being featured on Hard Knocks, however, two of the last three teams have not seen successful. The Atlanta Falcons failed to make the playoffs in 2014 and finished 6-10 and fired their head coach Mike Smith. This year, their Los Angeles Rams went 4-12 and fired their head coach Jeff Fisher.