Monday, August 20, 2012

New Sheriff in Town: Tampa Bay Bucs Season Preview

2011 Record: 4-12

2011 Ranks
Total Offense: 21
Rush Offense: 30
Pass Offense: 16
Scoring Offense: 27
Total Defense: 30
Rush Defense: 32
Pass Defense: 21
Scoring Defense: 32


Tampa had one of the most disappointing seasons in the league last year, after being on the cusp of the playoffs the year before. The Bucs went out and spent a ton of money in free agency, landing WR Vincent Jackson and OG Carl Nicks. The Bucs also traded up into the end of the first round of the draft to take RB Doug Martin, who figures to supplant LeGarrette Blount as the starting back. Josh Freeman took a big step backwards last year, throwing 22 interceptions after throwing just 5 the year before. Tampa had the most turnovers of any team in the league and will need to improve their ball security under new coach Greg Schiano if they want to move out of the NFC South basement.


For as mediocre as the Bucs offense was, their defense was worse. They were last in the league in scoring defense and rushing defense. They also gave up 26 rushing touchdowns, the most in the league. On top of all that, they were last in the league with only 23 sacks. Rookie DE Adrian Clayborn led the team with 7.5 sacks, but besides that the Bucs front seven was basically non-existent. Part of this could be attributed to DT Gerald McCoy playing only 6 games, but the Bucs didn't do much in the offseason to address the front seven either, beyond bringing in Amobi Okoye, who has been mostly a disappointment in the league after being a first round pick in 2007. The Bucs did address their secondary, selecting Alabama safety Mark Barron with their first pick and adding CB Eric Wright in free agency.


Greg Schiano has his work cut out for him in his first season as a coach. This team pretty much gave up last year, dropping their last 10 games after a 4-2 start. This is Schiano's first venture into the NFL and with a brutal run through the NFC East to start the season, it might be another long year for the Bucs.


If the Bucs can piece together a run defense and stop turning the ball over, they could put together a decent season. They have some playmakers on offense if Josh Freeman can cut down on his interceptions. All in all, it looks like another Top 10 pick for the Bucs. 5-11

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