Bucs Flashback Briefly, Then Prepare For a New Beginning
It is interesting how the simple game of football can sometimes provide the greatest instances of irony in an already ironic world.
On the eve of one of the more interesting and mysterious days in Tampa Bay Buccaneer history, the team traveled back to its roots and revealed the creamsicle throwback uniforms that they will be wearing for their Nov. 8 contest with Green Bay.
The Bucs seem to be diving head first into this tribute, even referring to them as the 1976 uniforms. Is that really necessary?
As the organization praised the past and talked about how excited fans were for Bucco Bruce's return, it appeared difficult to keep the minds of everyone from wandering ahead to tomorrow.
Yes, tomorrow the Bucs will open training camp with a morning session at One Buc Palace and an evening session at Raymond James Stadium. They will also unveil some of the most drastic changes in franchise history.
Nothing says new and drastic like debuting a 32-year-old head coach who was the Buccaneer secondary coach just eight months ago.
Raheem Morris' every move will be under the close, watchful eye of every caring spectator and Tampa area critic beginning tomorrow morning at 10:15.
Many fan favorites have been discarded including, most notably, the one man who actually wore a creamsicle uniform. The release of Derrick Brooks was shocking to his legions of fans in the Tampa Bay area and will leave an awkward hole in the locker room.
Add in the departures of Warrick Dunn, Joey Galloway, Cato June, Jeff Garcia, and first down machine Ike Hilliard, and many Bucs fans will be flipping frantically through their programs this year to match names with numbers.
The most common question that will bombard the Bucs this training camp is the one with the seemingly taboo "R-word." Over the next 19 days, the Bucs will dance around the rebuilding question like Emmitt Smith in a teal sleeveless button-up on Dancing With the Stars.
They will say that they are trying to put a championship product out on the field immediately and that this Buccaneer team can contend.
They are lying.
The Bucs are now officially in a full-out rebuilding mode and -- gasp -- it is long overdue.
Over the last few years, Bucs fans have been tortured by the constant short-term solutions of Bruce Allen, putting Scooby-Doo Band-Aids on wounds that need stitches and time to heal. What with the steady stream of one year contracts and washed up veterans.
"Oh we need depth at running back? I hear Charlie Garner is available."
"Sign that Tim Brown fellow up to be a punt returner and a team public relations disaster. At least he won't fumble."
What the Bucs need desperately is what they are getting right now. Not even the most casual of Bucs fans were fooled by the hopeless wild card runs and first round playoff exits with a team that was going no where. The necessary is being done right now but you will not hear anyone in red and pewter admit it.
If you think that the eye of the critics will stop at Raheem Morris and the R-word, then you must have slept through the month of April.
Josh Freeman, possibly the most despised Buccaneer draft pick since Bo Jackson, will make his big training camp debut tomorrow. Under Gruden, we had his "Raider Guys" and it now seems that under Morris we might have his "Kansas State Guys" that get the upper hand in personnel decisions.
Expect fans to have a short leash of patience hooked onto the wide-eyed rookie quarterback.
Other new faces will be much more happily welcomed. Kellen Winslow, Angelo Crowell, and Derrick Ward will certainly receive great hype from the fans attending practice sessions tomorrow.
It will be interesting to monitor the contributions of this trio along with Byron Leftwich. I personally feel that they were all pleasant additions to the franchise.
This is a season of overwhelming uncertainty.
This will be the kind of season that writers, critics, and analysts love. The season that provides the unknown, spewing storyline after storyline along the way.
Most are clueless as to what we are really going to see out of this Buccaneer team this season and that will leave many fans uneasy.
A new beginning is on the horizon and we are just one day away from its arrival.
Now, back to the creamsicles.
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