Sunday, August 21, 2011

NFL 32 in 32: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Last year, the Bucs maybe had the biggest turn-around of any team in the league. They went from 3 wins to 10 in only a season, but fell a tiebreaker short of the postseason. They have an emerging young star QB, a drastically improving defense, and a young team developing with their young coach at the same time. But, they didn't do much this offseason to improve. Will what they have be enough to challenge in the very tough NFC South?

What's New: Very little, if anything. The only free agent acquisitions of note were a punter, Michael Koenen, and a corner in Ashton Youboty from Buffalo, whom they just signed a few days ago from the writing of this preview. They did re-sign most of their key veteran pieces from last year, but the lack of new veteran leadership coming in to this young team could be an issue. In the draft, the Bucs drafted 2 potential stud DE's in Adrian Clayborn from Iowa and Da'Quan Bowers from Clemson. If they both are able to develop into the players the Bucs expect them to become, then this defensive line could be very scary, very soon. 

Biggest Strength: With Josh Freeman at the helm, they now have a very dynamic young offense. They also have LeGarrette Blount, who emerged onto the scene late last year as an important factor back for this offense. He showed a lot of promise, and Tampa is hoping that the promise nets the Bucs a dynamic running back. They have a young wide receiving corps that is developing, but shows plenty of promise as well. Mike Williams and Mike Spurlock are the 2 major wideouts, and along with Tight End Kellen Winslow. On defense, they have a young secondary group that is promising, but as of this writing has some injury problems. They also have a good young defensive line and linebacking corps too.

Biggest Weakness: They didn't pick up very many pieces in free agency, and that may hurt their progress and desire to take the next step. The team is still growing, so the youth may lead to some problems at certain positions. Their secondary is not entirely that deep, and with some injuries that they are facing, the limited depth will be challenged. There also is not much depth on the rest of the defense either, and also on the offensive line. The starting groups are all pretty good, but if injuries come, the Bucs will be challenged to find a   good amount of suitable replacements. 

Outlook: They have a very good young team, but the lack of new faces and a tough division may cause some choppy waters this season for Tampa. It doesn't help that their schedule is tougher than last year's too. They won't be awful, but there is a realistic possibility that they may be a little bit worse than last year due to some challenges from inside the division and out.

No comments:

Post a Comment