Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2012 Schedule
Photo By: Icon SMI
Talk about your worst fears coming true last year, if you happen to be a Buccaneers fan. Coming off a season in 2010, where young offensive talents like Josh Freeman and then rookies Mike Williams and LeGarrette Blount all had breakout years; it had to be a little concerning that a sophomore slump (second year as a full-time starter in Freeman’s case) could be in the works.
Not only did the players named above struggle in 2011, but the entire team did a face first rapid plunge into the Bermuda Triangle. Can’t say for sure but it wouldn’t surprise me if a few of the Buccaneers defenders were on the back of milk cartons by the season’s end, because the play (and scoreboard) seemed to indicate they were playing with only eight or nine guys.
To say it was a bad end to the Raheem Morris era would be kind, as his players clearly mailed it in, and now it’s up to the new coaching staff to turn this mess around.
Forking Out The Money
Coach Morris was probably scratching his head this off-season as Tampa Bay finally opened the check book and started signing mar-key free agents like guard Carl Nicks, receiver Vincent Jackson and even corner back Eric Wright.
While the addition of Jackson will give Freeman a receiver to take the top off the defense, it’s Nicks that I find most interesting. Tampa Bay already had a good offensive line and with Nicks, they should have a solid running game. One has to wonder whether they will land Trent Richardson if available, especially with the signing of Wright to play opposite Aqib Talib.
This seems even more likely to me as LeGarrette Blount had his struggles last year, and his problems with holding onto the football, may be the final nail that holds him back from being a true bell cow in this league.
In Richardson, the Buccaneers would have a running back that demands, eight man fronts and that is perfect for a very young Freeman, who clearly needs more time to develop the finer points of the quarterback position. Sucking in the defense, will help Jackson test the vertical routes, and his presence in the offense will help Williams on the short to intermediate routes.
To wrap things up, I see hope for the future with the Buccaneers, but it will be up to the coaching to the coaching staff to turn this team into a winner, even if they have some valuable veteran additions.