Tampa BayWatch – My Thoughts on the Bucs

NFC South Season Preview part 1

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I’m going to give my thoughts on the upcoming season for each of the NFC South teams. This post it’s the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The division has always been a tough one to predict as is indicated by the last 4 winners, the previous season they were the bottom team. (Maybe that’s an omen for Tampa Bay). With what looks like a clear favourite in New Orleans and a lot of questions hanging over the other three it seems that the division is there for New Orleans. The Bucs have questions on both sides of the ball, the Falcons will have to gel quickly under Joey Harrington and can the Panthers sort out whose going to be QB and rebound from what was a disappointing season for them.

TB v NO

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Last season 4-12

The pressure will be on Jon Gruden and the rest of the Bucs coaching staff to get the team going in the right direction. Since the Superbowl win, the Bucs have only posted one winning season and are a combined 27-38. A quick start will be essential to banish the memories of last season, however the early season schedule seems very tough on paper. The Bucs start with a trip to the Pacific Northwest and the Seahawks, then it’s a tough run against New Orleans, St Louis, Carolina, Indianapolis, before finishing this stretch with a game against what could be a resurgent Tennessee. Getting to the bye week at 4-5 will be a real achievement for this team. After the bye week the schedule gets easier but I think it will be a struggle for the team to make a serious challenge on the division.

Are the team stronger than last year ?

On the offensive side of the ball I’d say we were, defensively I’m not so sure. The addition of Jeff Garcia at QB, if he plays like he did for the Eagles down the stretch is an instant upgrade over Simms and Gradkowski. The line has been upgraded with it looking likely that Luke Pettitgout and Aaron Sears will form a new partnership on the left and Davin Joseph and Jeremy Trueblood will return on the right. The biggest question remains at centre where nobody seems to have identified themselves as the #1. This battle will rage on in training camp between Lehr, Buenning and Wade. The backfield seems settled now that Alstott is on IR. The main 3 will be Cadillac Williams, Michael Pittman at RB and BJ Askew at FB. The WR’s are still cause for concern though. Joey Galloway even at 35 is the undoubted #1. The battle for the #2 and #3 spots is key. Michael Clayton is the incumbent but seems to be losing the battle to Maurice Stovall. Clayton has been in a real funk since his rookie season and reports have it that he’s being outplayed in camp by Stovall. We need a dual threat and Stovall will provide a big body possession receiver to work alongside the pace of Galloway.

Defensively we have lost one of the cornerstones of the defence in Simeon Rice. His sack numbers will be hard to replace and with a defence that needs to generate pressure from the front 4 someone is going to need to take up Simeon’s mantle. Gaines Adams was drafted to replace Rice and he will need some time to adjust to the NFL. At LB it looks like we’ll have 2 new starters. The mercurial Derrick Brooks remains but will be joined by big FA signing Cato June and 3rd year man Barrett Ruud will take over in the middle. The CB’s are set with Barber and Kelly and it seems that Philip Buchanon is making a real push to make the nickle slot his own. The safety positions are still up for grabs, Sabby Piscitelli and Tanard Jackson were drafted this season and will be pushing Will Allen and Jermaine Phillips for the starting jobs.

Even as a Bucs fan I have to say that I think the team are stronger this season but with a tough schedule I feel a good season for the Bucs gets them in at 7-9.

Key Player Losses:

Mike Alstott – FB / Simeon Rice – DE / Shelton Quarles – LB / DeWayne White – DE

Key Player Signings:

Cato June – LB / Luke Pettitgout – LT / Kevin Carter – DE / Gaines Adams – DE (Rookie) / Jeff Garcia – QB

A good season if…

The Bucs make 8-8.

Schedule

Date Fixture
Sep 9 @ Seattle
Sep 16 New Orleans
Sep 23 St Louis
Sep 30 @ Carolina
Oct 7 @ Indianapolis
Oct 14 Tennessee
Oct 21 @ Detroit
Oct 28 Jacksonville
Nov 4 Arizona
Nov 11 BYE WEEK
Nov 18 @ Atlanta
Nov 25 Washington
Dec 2 @ New Orleans
Dec 9 @ Houston
Dec 16 Atlanta
Dec 23 @ San Francisco
Dec 30 Carolina
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Written by UK Bucs Fan

August 15, 2007 at 8:51 am

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