Bucs A Force… In 2013December 20th, 2012
With Josh Freeman struggling more each week, with a player going Moe Howard on an assistant, with a player trying to incite a mutiny from afar, it’s easy for a Bucs fan to want to lay prone on a couch begging for the season to come to a close. Soon.
Don’t worry Bucs fans, brighter days are coming. This is the word from noted player personnel man Gil Brandt. The architect of the Dallas Cowboys dynasty of the 1970s believes, via NFL.com, that of all the teams currently out of the playoff hunt, the Bucs will be a force next season.
1) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After drafting well (as evidenced by rookie running back Doug Martin’s performance) and signing the right free agents (like receiver Vincent Jackson) over the past three years, the Bucs have a good, young roster. We saw things start to click for them during a 6-4 start, though they’ve fallen off since. Greg Schiano has done a terrific job in his debut season. In Year 2, he’ll have a better understanding of the length of the NFL season, and he’ll have a firmer sense of when (and how hard) to push his players.
The Bucs have given up a lot of passing yards (310.6 per game, worst in the NFL), and where they really need help is on the back end. Aqib Talib is gone, having been traded to the New England Patriots. Stalwart Ronde Barber, meanwhile, is 37 and might not come back for a 17th season. So they’ll have some openings to fill. Can they find a way to keep defensive end Michael Bennett, who leads the team with nine sacks, from moving on as a free agent? They also might want to bring in a veteran quarterback (like Kyle Orton, say) to help mentor young signal-caller Josh Freeman, who has talent but has played hot and cold this season. Tampa Bay should have the cap space to do something.
Joe believes Brandt is onto something. The Bucs’ pass defense simply cannot be this bad next year. Just cannot.
The key, again, for a Bucs playoff run, will be for Freeman to be more consistent and to play up to his potential.
For next year, the Bucs will go as far as Freeman can take them.