After a pre-season of promise and scares, Buccaneer fans can now welcome a new era under Greg Schiano.
Schiano is a man who turned around one of the worst college football programs into a respectable one. One who will bring discipline and toughness to a team that was constantly shut down on offense and dominated on defense, whether the opposing team was airing it out or running all over the Bucs.
It seemed evident that when the Bucs were faced with a deficit they would quickly toss in the towel, give up, and allow teams to embarrass them. The Buccaneers allowed the most points in the league and franchise history (494), most yards per play (tied at 6.3 with Green Bay, too bad we didn’t have half the offense they do), and they also recorded a bunch of horrible other statistics so I’ll stop there.
That is the past and with each game we will see if the players are buying into Schiano and the new staffs system and giving it their all to regain their credibility of not being one of the laughingstocks in the league.
The additions that the Buccaneers have made will make a difference but is it fair to think that these new coaches and players will be able to change the culture from the previous year? I have high hopes for the Buccaneers but I believe we need to be patient with this team.
My favorite additions to the Buccaneers are Mark Barron and Carl Nicks. They both bring a swagger to each side of the team where they are going to knock you right in the mouth till you respect them and they are both winners.
My least favorite is Vincent Jackson, who is a big receiver with deceptive speed. I think that wide receiver position was a place the Buccaneers needed to upgrade but V-Jax has never caught more than 70 passes in a year and has only surpassed 1,000 receiving yards in three years of his seven year career. He did this with a proven quarterback in Phillip Rivers. Simply put, he will not make Josh Freeman better; Freeman will have to take that next step to further V-Jax career.
I believe the Buccaneers will finish the season with a record of 7-9. I also hate making full season predictions because so many unlikely things happen throughout the year and if a guy like Mike Vick, Peyton Manning, or even Matt Ryan takes a hit then the Bucs have better chances of taking those games later in the year.
The games that I consider Bucs winning: Panthers at home, Redskins at home, Saints at home, and the Rams at home. I believe that the Bucs will take two from their division rivals and those will most likely happen at the empty Raymond James.
The games I don’t think the Bucs will win: Giants in the Meadowlands, Cowboys in Dallas, Panthers in Charlotte, both Falcons games, Broncos in Denver, Eagles at the Ray Jay, and Saints in New Orleans.
The games I consider toss-ups right now: Chiefs at the Ray Jay, Vikings in Minnesota, Raiders in Oakland, and the Chargers at the Ray Jay.
My questions for this upcoming year are:
Can we really trust EJ Biggers and Myron Lewis as the third and fourth cornerback?
- Biggers ranks in the bottom five of all cornerbacks in success rate, yards after the catch, and the bottom ten for yards per pass. We will see how he handles this year after taking quite the stumble last year. Myron Lewis was in danger of getting cut; he has been awful since being drafted in the third round in 2010. It is believed that Ronde Barber will move down when the Bucs run the nickel and Ahmad Black will take over the free safety position. What would happen if Eric Wright or Aqib Talib gets in trouble or hurt?
Will the Defensive Line be able to stay healthy and be able to produce?
- Daquan Bowers is already out with a torn Achilles. Gerald McCoy has ended up on the injured reserve at end of his first two years as a professional with torn biceps. Adrian Clayborn hurt his elbow in the preseason game against the Patriots but it doesn’t seem to be serious. The D-Line must stay healthy and then create pressure to make the jobs for the other parts of the defense that much easier.
Will the Linebackers find their leader?
- Some believe that Lavonte David will become the leading tackler for the Bucs in this upcoming season. Some have even gone far enough to claim he will be the next coming of Derrick Brooks. A lot is being put on the shoulders of the young linebacker but he is most definitely the most skilled backer already. Quincy Black is an athletic freak with a poor football IQ and Mason Foster showed that he lacks the lateral movement and IQ to play at a high level in the middle. The Bucs are relying on these three to enhance the porous rushing defense from last year.
Will the Offensive Line still be a strength without Davin Joseph?
- Joseph’s injury truly is costly to a solid line that would have been able to set the tempo in the running game and help keep Josh Freeman on his feet. Now steps in Ted Larsen, who has the talent but needs to become less penalty prone. That may be a problem due to Jeremy Trueblood being to his right, who also has a knack for holding.
Will the Running Backs be able to co-exist?
- The Bucs spent a first round pick on Doug Martin and have chosen him over LeGarrette Blount as the starter going into week one. There have also been rumors regarding LeGarrette being on the trade block. It seems odd to make a rookie back the workhorse especially in a league where running back committees seem to be the norm. I believe that Doug and LeGarrette can be very nice compliments and I hope that the Buccaneers stay committed to both of the backs throughout the whole year.
Can Josh Freeman find his mojo?
- After a solid sophomore year, Freeman fell off hard and a lot of it had to do with his footwork. His accuracy was way off for a whole year and that needs to change for the Buccaneers to succeed. They have placed many weapons around him. I believe that he has three capable receivers in Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams, and Arrellious Benn (my sleeper of the year), a dependable tight end in Dallas Clark, and a running back who can catch out of the backfield in Doug Martin. He has looked good in a couple of his series but he also flashed some of his weaknesses from last year. Will Freeman take the next step into becoming the elite Quarterback that the Bucs want him to be?
About the Author
Written by Andrew Chibani
Sports control my life. I am a recent Sports Management graduate from University of Tampa and an alumni of Jesuit High School here in Tampa.