Liking The Bucs

February 16th, 2011

Sometimes Joe has to catch himself. Joe is excited for the next season to start already, whenever that may be. Part of it is the way the Bucs played last year, mature beyond their years.

Then Joe wonders if it is possible last season was a fluke, despite what other NFL scribes have told Joe.

It seems Pete Schrager of is high on the Bucs as well. he listed teams he thinks will be on the rise next year and the Bucs are among the top of his list.

2. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: The Baby Bucs! Led by Raheem Morris, the youngest head coach in the league at just 34, the Buccaneers had the biggest single-season turnaround in franchise history in 2010, improving from 3-13 in ’09 to 10-6 last year. Most impressive was with whom and how they got there. Tampa Bay, the youngest team in the league from Week 8 on, was the first team in NFL history to start 10 rookies and win 10 or more games. Tampa Bay also finished the season on a hot streak, winning its final two games over eventual playoff contenders Seattle and New Orleans by double digits – without the services of veterans Aqib Talib, Davin Joseph, Quincy Black and Jeff Faine. Then there’s Josh Freeman. Oh, baby. In just his second year under center, Freeman tossed 25 touchdown passes and only six interceptions while demonstrating a cool under pressure rarely seen in a 22-year-old. The Bucs are young, hungry and talented. And they’re coached by perhaps the brightest young coach in the league. What’s not to love about this team?

The Bucs have the 20th pick in April’s draft and should look to pick up a pass-rushing defensive end. Despite getting tremendous production from rookie interior linemen Brian Price and Gerald McCoy and some good work out of second-year man Roy Miller, the pass rush was nonexistent from the defensive end spot. Stylez G. White led the team in sacks with only 4.5. Fortunately, this draft is heavy on pass rushers, and big-time college performers Ryan Kerrigan and Adrian Clayborn could be available at No. 20. GM Mark Dominik struck gold in the draft last year with late-round picks Mike Williams and Cody Grimm, and he also picked up running back LeGarrette Blount as an undrafted free agent. If he can do half as well this draft as he did in the last one, Tampa Bay could be the team to fear in that loaded NFC South.

The thing that may put the Bucs over the top are the new hires to coach up the defensive front. Combined with injuries, veterans who may be on the downside of their career and young players who have regressed, the defensive line was arguably the worst unit on the Bucs last season.

If the defensive line can turn things around, it could be a springboard for the Bucs as a whole.

10 Responses to “Liking The Bucs”

  1. LowDownBucFan Says:

    we have a good team…not hard to see…now lets get that CBA done…GFJ

  2. eric Says:

    Same group that had dire predictions last year.

    Fluke is a definite possibility.

  3. lakeland bob Says:

    And they’re coached by perhaps the brightest young coach in the league. What’s not to love about this team?This is what Thomas really wants to say but he just can’t let go of his Gruden mancrush.

  4. m.wesley Says:

    Eric your right on that,looking back we havent had back to back 10 win seasons since Dungy

  5. MOBucs Says:

    Good stuff! This team is in a very enviable position. If Dom can pull off another good draft, this team will be a force for years to come. Gotta love it!

  6. Dave Says:

    “Despite getting tremendous production from rookie interior linemen Brian Price and Gerald McCoy”

    Uuhhh? what? McCoy was a work in progress and got better throughout the year then missed almost 4 games with an injury.

    Price…. IR entire year.

    Got to love national guys trying to talk sports on a local level

  7. oar Says:

    And Dungy only did that once! 1999 and 2000!

  8. Big Marlon B Says:

    Thank you for pointing that out Dave. Tremendous POTENTIAL might be a great way to describe Brian Price, but certainly not tremendous PRODUCTION. Sure everyone was excited about how he looked in training camp (when he wasn’t limited by injuries). But he didn’t have a large role in the DT rotation in the beginning of the year, and then was IR bound by week 6 or so.
    Morons like this are symbolic of everything that is wrong with sports media. The Bucs played way above expectations, and did it with young players, so the ones who don’t do their homework just go and assume it was the early round picks who were integral to success. Aside from MW and Blount obviously, Cody Grimm had the biggest impact from te rookie class…and that’s really not even debatable. And that’s not taking anything away from McCoy. Mr. Schrager just seems to phone it in with his football “analysis”. Read his recent mock draft for proof of that….”Robert Quinn at 290 lbs playing 3-4 end, Julio Jones listed at 6’2″….the least he could do is TRY to be informative, instead of uneducated guesses.

  9. Capt.Tim Says:

    While the man may not have a great handle on the fine details, he obviously has a good bead on the Big Picture. This is a team on the rise. And wholile the stats weren’t earth shaking, McCoy had a HUGE impact on this team this year. By week four, he alone constantly drew a double team. And he alone still managed to generate Pressure on a regular basis. Don’t argue- don’t question- watch the film, and you’ll realize his impact was every bit as great as Williams and Blount. With some help of any kind this year, he will dominate. Bottom line is- this is the team of the future. Glad they are here.

  10. RustyRhino Says:

    “The thing that may put the Bucs over the top are the new hires to coach up the defensive front.”
    I 100% agree with this statement Joe.

    Look what we did after we ejected our old WR coach. We brought in Yarbor, a former NFL player and a good college and pro coach. Our WR core did what? Only got better almost instantly and we got deeper and better players.
    I see this as what could happen with our new D-line coaches. And would that not be fun to watch? With our DT position is deep in young hungry players, with talent. Our DE’s need an upgrade (bye bye Stylze), and any other player who does not motivate with the new coaching staff in place. I do not think they will put up with lack of effort on the practice field or on gameday. It will be Turk time.

    The times they are always a changing.