At 0-6, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going nowhere and headed there really fast. They are on a collision course with a top-three pick in next year's NFL Draft, precisely why losing big now could pay huge dividends shortly.
Thanks to this awful campaign, Tampa Bay could fire head coach Greg Schiano and draft a quarterback out of a loaded class likely to feature Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater, Oregon's Marcus Mariota, UCLA's Brett Hundley and others. Had the Buccaneers gone 9-7 or 8-8 this year, ownership almost certainly would have to stick with Schiano.
Either way, the team would not have been in a spot to pick a top-flight signal-caller. Now, the Bucs are on course to be in prime position.
Despite the brutal record, few teams have more talent on both sides of the ball than Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers have a nucleus on offense that features receivers Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson, running back Doug Martin, guards Carl Nicks and Davin Joseph, and tackles Donald Penn and Demar Dotson.
Defensively, the Buccaneers have one of the best secondaries going with Darrelle Revis, Dashon Goldson and Mark Barron, along with Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David, Mason Foster and Adrian Clayborn anchoring the front seven.
So why all the losing if this team is so talented? No coach, no quarterback, no chance.
The Buccaneers' coaching vacancy, if there is one, will be one of the most sought-after jobs come this winter. The weather is great, the team is stocked with good, young talent and there will be a high draft pick waiting to be used on a potential superstar. Sure sounds a lot like the 2012 Kansas City Chiefs, who finished 2-14 despite having six pro bowlers.
As we all know, Andy Reid came in, Alex Smith took over for Matt Cassel and the Chiefs haven't lost since December.
Once this dreadful campaign ends and Schiano is given his walking papers, the franchise can move forward and go for a serious coach ready to win. Perhaps the Bucs can get a veteran coach like Brian Billick or Lovie Smith, who was Tampa Bay's linebackers coach from 1996-2000 during the glory years of Derrick Brooks and Hardy Nickerson.
For the next few months, Buccaneers fans will have to endure all the potshots from the media. It will be an avalanche of cheap jokes and even cheaper shots, talking about how the team has returned to the days of Bucco Bruce. Don't believe it for a second.
This is a team that could, and should, go from doormat to darling in rapid fashion. Hold the line, Tampa fans, your future is bright.