Head Coach: Greg Schiano
2012 Record: 7-9-0 (4th in NFC South)
New Players: CB Darrelle Revis; S Dashon Goldson; LB Jonathan Casillas; TE Tom Crabtree; WR Kevin Ogletree; WR Steve Smith; RB Brian Leonard.
Gone Elsewhere: WR Arrelious Benn; DB Ronde Barber; RB LaGarrette Blount; DE Michael Bennett; CB E.J. Biggers; OT Jeremy Truebloood; DT Roy Miller.
Offense: Josh Freeman returns at quarterback after posting big numbers last year, passing for 4,065 yards with 27 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.
|RB Doug Martin|
The wide receivers are led by Vincent Jackson, who had his best statistical season as a pro player last year after coming over from San Diego, catching 72 passes for 1,384 yards and eight touchdowns. Mike Williams is the other part of the starting tandem and hauled in 63 catches for 996 yards and nine touchdowns.
Others include tight end Luke Stocker (16, 165, one TD), Tiquan Underwood (28, 425, two TD), and newcomers Kevin Ogletree (32, 436, four TD with Dallas) and tight end Tom Crabtree, who played in a backup role in Green Bay.
The line has center Jeremy Zuttah, along with tackles Eric Penn and Demar Dotson. The guards are Carl Nicks and Davin Joseph.
|All-Pro CB Darrelle Revis|
To improve on the pass defense, All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis was acquired from the New York Jets in a trade. Along with Revis comes safety Dashon Goldson, who made three interceptions with San Francisco last season. Eric Wright will play the other corner spot while Mark Barron will play safety. Rookie draft pick Jonathan Banks (Mississippi State) will also be relied upon this year.
Up front in Tampa Bay's 4-3 scheme will be tackles Gerald McCoy (five QB sacks) and Gary Gibson. The ends are Da'Quan Bowers and Adrian Clayborn. The linebackers include Jonathan Casillas, Mason Foster and Lavonte David. Dekoda Watson, Najee Goode and Adam Hayward provide depth.
OUTLOOK: The Bucs had an up and down campaign in 2012 that saw them lose five straight down the stretch to knock them out of playoff contention. Head Coach Greg Schiano takes a no nonsense approach and would like to see consistency this year.
If Freeman and company continue to do their thing in the passing game and Martin puts up comparable rushing numbers again, then the offense should be in great shape. Tampa Bay ranked ninth overall on offense a year ago, averaging 364 yards per game while scoring just over 24 points per game.
Darrelle Revis is the key to the secondary after suffering through numerous injuries in the past three seasons. If he is relatively healthy and does his thing, then along with Goldson and other new additions, should help to improve the defense as a whole. A better pass rush is needed to relieve the secondary as the Bucs had just 27 sacks last season.
The NFC South is tough and for Tampa Bay to compete, they must be ready against their division foes, especially with the air attacks they have.
As long as no big names go down with significant injuries, look for the Buccaneers to provide some excitement on both sides of the ball and finish 10-6 this year while possibly getting into the playoffs as a wild card team.
Sept. 8- at NY Jets
Sept. 15- vs. New Orleans
Sept. 22- at New England
Sept. 29- vs. Arizona
Oct. 6- BYE WEEK
Oct. 13- vs. Philadelphia
Oct. 20- at Atlanta
Oct. 24- vs. Carolina
Nov. 3- at Seattle
Nov. 11- vs. Miami
Nov. 17- vs. Atlanta
Nov. 24- at Detroit
Dec. 1- at Carolina
Dec. 8- vs. Buffalo
Dec. 15- vs. San Francisco
Dec. 22- at St. Louis
Dec. 29- at New Orelans