Joe knows Bucs fans have an edge about them this time of the year as the 2013 training camp dates are soon to be released. It is not a bad edge, but an edge of excitement for what lies ahead.
With two strong receivers, a solid offensive line, a Pro Bowl running back and a newly beefed up secondary, many Bucs fans have playoff thoughts dancing in their heads.
But Darren Sharper of the NFL Network thinks Bucs fans should, as Deion Sanders would say, slow their roll. Sharper doesn’t believe the Bucs will be playing in the postseason, so he explained during the “32 for 32″ segment Monday. Co-analyst LaDainian Tomlinson agreed.
Andrew Siciliano: Do the Bucs make the postseason?
Darren Sharper: I don’t see that happening, either. This is a team in a division that is probably the toughest division in the NFL. They have to face the Saints, they have to face the Falcons, they have to face the Carolina Panthers who is going to be a tough team. I think that there just isn’t enough there now. There are a lot of pieces in place, it will be interesting to see how they gel but I don’t see them making it to the playoffs.
LaDainian Tomlinson: They are still a little ways away but they are getting close. They are not there yet. The area of need I am still looking for them to improve is pass rush. Andrew, you have to have a pass rusher in this league to compete. I would have loved to see them have gone out and got an Osi Umenyiora. That would have been a great fit on this defense. They did not and they have a lot of guys who are unproven. So in the end of the season, that hurts them.
Sharper: I could never cover anybody when we didn’t have a pass rush, Andrew. Never. How are you going to cover somebody when you don’t have anybody getting to the quarterback?
Joe thinks the Bucs will make a push to the playoffs this winter, but making the playoffs is a different matter. Yes, Joe strongly believes the Bucs are better off this year, but the NFC is as top-heavy as Joe has seen it since Bill Walsh, Joe Gibbs, Bill Parcells and Mike Ditka prowled the sidelines.
There will be damned good teams watching the playoffs on TV.
Now people think that Josh Freeman has a lot of pressure on him, and in many ways, he does. Well, how about Da’Quan Bowers? Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik is putting a whole lot of eggs into Bowers’ basket hoping that Bowers not just stays healthy, but can rack up double-digit sacks.
We will know by Christmas if the gamble pays off.