TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
2014 Record: 2-14-0 (4th in NFC South)
HEAD COACH: Lovie Smith
New Players in 2015 - DL Henry Melton; LB Bruce Carter; DB Chris Conte; DL George Johnson; LB Larry Dean; DB Sterling Moore.
OFFENSIVE RANK in 2014 - 30th in NFL (292 ypg)
DEFENSIVE RANK in 2014 - 25th in NFL (368.9 ypg)
Offense: The Buccaneers will be going with rookie Jameis Winston (Florida State), the number one pick in the NFL Draft, as the starting quarterback this season. Backing him up will be Mike Glennon, who had 1,417 passing yards a year ago with ten touchdowns and six interceptions.
Doug Martin (494 yards, 3.7 ypc average and two touchdowns while missing five games) and Bobby Rainey (406, 4.3 ypc and one TD) are the top two running backs heading into the new season.
The wide receivers are led by Vincent Jackson (70 receptions, 1,002 yards, two TD) and Mike Evans (68, 1,051 and 12 TD) while Louis Murphy (31, 380, two TD) is the third option. The tight ends are Austin Seferian-Jenkins (21, 221, two TD) and Brandon Myers, who had 22 catches for 190 yards.
The line has center Evan Dietrich-Smith, along with guards Logan Mankins and Patrick Omameh. The tackles will be Demar Dotson and either rookie Donovan Smith (Penn State) or Kevin Pamphile.
Defense: The ends in the 4-3 set are Jacquies Smith (6 1/2 QB sacks) and George Johnson while the tackles are Gerald McCoy (8 1/2 sacks) and Clinton McDonald, who registered five sacks a year ago.
The linebackers are Bruce Carter in the middle with Danny Lansanah (three interceptions) and Lavonte David on the outside. Kwon Alexander (LSU) is a rookie linebacker who may be called upon along with Larry Dean and Orie Lemon.
In the secondary are corner men Alterraun Verner (two INT) and Johnthan Banks (four picks) along with safeties Chris Conte and Bradley McDougald. Backing up will be Sterling Moore, Leonard Johnson, Major Wright and Keith Tandy.
OUTLOOK FOR 2015 - Tampa Bay Head Coach Lovie Smith will be looking for rookie quarterback Jameis Winston to help giver the offense a much needed shot in the arm this season after the team ranked 30th in the NFL last season.
Winston is a former Heisman Trophy winner who led Florida State to a national championship two years ago and many think the rookie can step right in at the pro level and be a mover and shaker. Winston, along with receivers Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans, should improve the passing attack.
The offensive line must do a better job in pass protection for the rookie in 2015 after they allowed 52 sacks last season.
The running game must improve after averaging a paltry 86 rushing yards per game last season and the Bucs are hoping that injury riddled RB Doug Martin can regain some of the magic he displayed back in the 2012 season at halfback.
The defense was lacking a year ago as well (25th overall and 28th against the pass) as they allowed nearly 26 points per game and registering 36 QB sacks.
Playing in the NFC South, the Buccaneers need not look long term to get back into the thick of things as Carolina won the division in 2014 with a sub .500 record.
Their loyal fans are counting on just that to happen sooner rather than later, so figure on a 5-11 season this year as the Bucs improve from last year's disastrous first year under Lovie Smith while they build for a better future.
Week 1 - vs. Tennessee Titans
Week 2 - at New Orleans Saints
Week 3 - at Houston Texans
Week 4 - vs. Carolina Panthers
Week 5 - vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 6 - BYE WEEK
Week 7 - at Washington Redskins
Week 8 - at Atlanta Falcons
Week 9 - vs. New York Giants
Week 10 - vs. Dallas Cowboys
Week 11 - at Philadelphia Eagles
Week 12 - at Indianapolis Colts
Week 13 - vs. Atlanta Falcons
Week 14 - vs. New Orleans Saints
Week 15 - at St. Louis Rams
Week 16 - vs. Chicago Bears
Week 17 - at Carolina Panthers