Thursday, November 16, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs' challenge: Scaling the NFL's steep mountain of steady improvement

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Sustained improvement isn't easy in the NFL — the Bucs have a chance to improve their win total for the third year straight season, something that's happened once in the franchise's 41-year history. The Bucs were winless in 1976, won two in 1977, five in 1978 and 10 (and a playoff appearance) in 1979.

In the NFL, it's happened less than once a year in the last decade, and such a climb often coincides with a team getting a quarterback in the first round after a difficult first season. Here are the seven times in the past decade an NFL team has improved its win total three years in a row:

Team (Years)Wins Year 1Wins Year 2Wins Year 3Wins Year 4Comment
Falcons (2013-16)46811Dirk Koetter there for first 2 years
Cardinals (2012-15)5101113Added Carson Palmer in 2013
Bengals (2010-13)491011Drafted Andy Dalton in 2011
Panthers (2010-13) 26712Drafted Cam Newton in 2011
Lions (2008-11)02610Drafted Matt Stafford in 2009
Vikings (2006-09)681012Four different QBs, ending with Brett Favre
Titans (2005-08) 481013Drafted Vince Young in 2006

The Bucs — 2 wins in 2014, 6 in 2015, 9 in 2016 -- could join this group with Jameis Winston joining in Year 2 of that ascent, much like the Titans (2, 3, 9 wins) with Marcus Mariota and the Raiders (3, 7, 12) in three years with Derek Carr.

Greg Auman, Times staff writer

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