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Victor Oladipo, Pacers

Why Bruce Arians will lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the playoffs in 2019

Now that Bruce Arians is coaching the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team has a good chance of going to the playoffs. But that’s not all they’ll need: Remember that a team needs more than a good coach to go to the playoffs — it needs good players.

Jameis Winston, the quarterback, is known to have struggled. Part of it has to do with coaches being unable to coach him properly, but according to the NFL, Bruce Arians feels that most of Winston’s problems are “mechanical” and thus, fixable. (This is something we’ve reported on in the past.)

Does that mean that everything needs to fall on the shoulders of Jameis Winston — or, for that matter, the great Bruce Arians?

Of course not.

But having the right coach on the field certainly helps. Just ask Dirk Koetter, who coached the team until last season. More precisely, ask Koetter how many times the team fell short of victory in games by a measly one point.

The Tampa Bay Times has taken note of how its hometown team has fallen short. The publication pointed out that, in the same time frame the two men worked on an NFL sideline, Arians had the exact opposite effect on the teams he’s coached.

From the Tampa Bay Times:

“Compare Koetter’s record with new coach Bruce Arians’ record. During Arians’ five seasons in Arizona (2013 to 2017), his Cardinals teams played in 37 one-score games, an average amount. They won two-thirds of them. Their .662 win percentage ranked third, behind only the Panthers (.679) and Patriots (.676).”

With all of that said, Arians isn’t just working on developing Jameis Winston’s game technique (and really, Winston has only one more season to prove his mettle). He has put together a stellar supporting cast of assistant coaches, because he understands — perhaps better than anyone else — that a good coaching staff is just as important to victory as a good team itself.

The Bucs may not take it all the way and make the Super Bowl this upcoming season, but thanks to Bruce Arians, they’re certainly well on their way. In the NFC South, only Sean Payton can reasonably tout a more impressive set of credentials than Arians. It is true that Ron Rivera of the Carolina Panthers and Dan Quinn of the Atlanta Falcons have made a Super Bowl, and Arians has not yet reached that level as a head coach. However, Arians made the Arizona Cardinals a nemesis of Pete Carroll’s Seattle Seahawks in a fierce NFC West. The NFC South has been a lot more erratic than the NFC West — Arians always knew his Arizona teams would have to contend with Seattle, a significant obstacle in the pursuit of home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs.

With the Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers, and the entire NFC East in very uncertain positions — much less optimistic at this time of year compared to March of 2018 — the idea that the Buccaneers could be a wild card time doesn’t seem absurd at all. The thought sounds downright reasonable and modest.

Picking the Bucs to win the NFC South and make the NFC Championship Game? That might be too bold, but the playoffs with a 10-6 or 9-7 record? That is well within this team’s capabilities under Bruce Arians.