Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Does Bruce Arians have the pieces to make Bucs an immediate contender?

Bruce Arians believes the Buccaneers can compete right away, but it might be a little more complicated than that.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers recently knocked it out of the park with their hire of Bruce Arians as head coach. Not only did they bring one of the most respected football minds in the NFL to Tampa Bay, but they managed to coax the 66-year-old Arians out of retirement to do it.

One of the reasons Arians may have been willing to return to the NFL and coach the Buccaneers was because he believes Tampa Bay has a team that is ready to compete right away. It’s just a matter of getting things trending in the right direction.

“I think we have the core here to win quickly,” Arians said, via Pro Football Talk. “I’m not about rebuilding. I’m about reloading.”

There’s no question that, if he has all the right pieces in place, Arians can quickly return a winning tradition to the Bucs — a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since the 2007 season, and has consistently struggled during the Jameis Winston era. The question is whether or not Arians actually has the right pieces to coach the Buccaneers into a soon-to-be contender.

Based on what we saw from Tampa Bay this year — a 5-11 season in which the quarterback position was juggled between Winston and veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick — Arians will have his work cut out for him. There are a lot of questions surrounding this Buccaneers team that make it difficult to see them pulling off a “worst to first” season in 2019.

The biggest questions is whether Winston really is the answer at quarterback.

The Buccaneers want to believe that he is. He was the No. 1 overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft, but has yet to live up to expectations. Some fans hoped they would explore trade options this offseason, but the Bucs have stuck to their guns that Winston is their quarterback going forward.

If Arians truly believes Tampa Bay can contend right away, it will be up to him to get the most out of the 25-year-old signal caller.

“People want to know what’s your system? Your system is your players,” Arians said. “It’s his team.”

Turning the Buccaneers into an immediate contender might be a stretch. On paper, they don’t look they are ready to compete. But in 2013, his first season coaching the Arizona Cardinals, Arians turned them from a 5-11 team into a 10-6 team that stayed in playoff contention all the way through Week 17.

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If the Buccaneers hope to turn their fortunes around overnight, they definitely hired the right guy.

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