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Sunday, December 28, 2008
Rapid Reaction: Raiders 31, Buccaneers 24


Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

Maybe missing the playoffs was the best thing that could happen for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the long term.

You didn't really think the Bucs would do any more than one and done if they somehow stumbled into the playoffs, did you?

This just speeds up the inevitable. There's going to be a lot of change in Tampa Bay in the offseason and it can start now. Defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin will be gone and you have to wonder if an ownership that hasn't always shown patience will stick with coach Jon Gruden after his team lost its last four games.

Even if Gruden stays, plenty of people will go. Start with quarterback Jeff Garcia. His contract's up, he's 38 and not a Gruden favorite. Let the Donovan McNabb or Matt Cassel speculation begin.

No matter who the Bucs get at quarterback next season, he's going to need more help than Garcia received. The running game was inconsistent most of the year and Antonio Bryant was the only receiver who was worth a darn. And the overhaul won't be limited to offense.

The defense really showed its age down the stretch and that, more than anything, was the reason for the late-season collapse.