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Friday, May 25, 2018
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Fennelly: Bucs can learn from unbeaten Chiefs

TAMPA — There are two winless NFL teams.

Take two guesses.

The 0-7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the 0-8 Jaguars — a couple of zeros.

Then there’s the league’s top team, at least for now, at least record-wise.

The 8-0 Kansas City Chiefs, from worst to first, after 2-14 last season.

Guess what?

The Bucs are having a worse season than the Jags, because they have more talent.

Guess what?

The Bucs can be the Chiefs next season.

They don’t have to be the Jaguars.

They shouldn’t be the Jaguars.

The Bucs have enough talent to turn this around. OK, maybe not enough be 8-0 at this time in 2014, but enough to head back in the right direction.

It’s nothing a new head coach, a new GM and the right quarterback couldn’t manage.

I’m not saying Kansas City’s perfect record isn’t sleight of hand, or slight of schedule. The Chiefs haven’t beaten a team with a winning record.

But Kansas City was more talented than its 2-14 record in 2012.

Well, that’s the 0-7 Bucs.

Kansas City had several Pro Bowlers on defense, real talent. The Bucs have talent on defense, too. All it took in K.C. was a capable coach and a capable quarterback:

Andy Reid and Alex Smith.

They came in and steadied a talented team.

The Bucs don’t have to be the Jaguars next season.

Look at the 2012 Chiefs. And think about the 2013 Bucs.

The 2012 Chiefs had talent. They also had injuries on the offensive line. They lost close games.

They didn’t have MRSA issues or locker room issues like the Bucs. They had Chiefs player Jovan Belcher, who took his girlfriend’s life before killing himself at the team’s practice facility.

And there was unproven head coach Romeo Crennel and unproven quarterback Matt Cassel.

Now look.

Proven professional coach in Reid, new systems.

Proven professional quarterback in Smith, who simply wins.

Throw in a stud running back in Jamaal Charles, a great receiver, great nose tackle, two great linebackers, a great young safety.

That could be the Bucs — from defense to stud runner — all except for the proven coach and proven QB, though Mike Glennon shows more promise than his head coach.

Greg Schiano now says the Bucs will consider using Darrelle Revis in more man-to-man coverage.

And it only took half a season to figure that out.

And you wonder why Revis has passed on chances to back up Schiano and his staff.

Andy Reid isn’t a genius. He’s just a coach who knows how to play to his team’s strengths, not his own. He was secure enough to step outside how he has done things in the past, to embrace a different defense and think run first in K.C.

No, Reid never did put the Eagles over the top, but he has been the right man for the Chiefs as much as Schiano is clearly the wrong man for the Bucs.

Last season, Kansas City was near the bottom of the league in sacks and last in turnover margin. This year, the Chiefs lead the NFL in sacks and turnover margin.

I’m not saying the Bucs can do all that and start 8-0 next season.

But they don’t have to be the Jaguars.

They have an outside chance to be the Chiefs.

This league is built on turnarounds.

And there’s a lesson in Kansas City: You don’t have to wreck it all to start over.

Sometimes, a few key moves will do.

Like the right coach and quarterback.

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