Ok, ten straight losses at the end of the 2011 season might constitute a No. 24 ranking. But the Tampa Bay Buccaneers got so much better this off-season, and already had a good team in place in 2011. The RantSports.com off-season edition of NFL Power Rankings featured the Buccaneers at No. 24, which is simply too low. The team added top-rank players at multiple positions.
The Buccaneers finally opened up their wallets this off-season, signing Vincent Jackson, Carl Nicks, Eric Wright, and Dan Orlovsky among others. Vincent Jackson is arguably a top-five receiver in the NFL, and Carl Nicks is perceived as the best guard in the league. The offensive line already featured pro bowlers to begin with, and was just solidified this off-season. In my opinion, there’s no question the offensive line will be much, much better, and thus, improve the play of quarterback Josh Freeman and the running backs.
Of course, questions still remain on the defensive side of the ball. The Buccaneers didn’t do much to improve the linebacker position, but did add Eric Wright, who’s an above average, but not great, cornerback. Still, there’s a new coaching staff in town that will be focused on significantly improving the defense.
Then there’s the fact that the Buccaneers missed the playoffs by one game in 2010. So it’s not a question of talent, but more a question of organization, discipline, and execution — three things the Buccaneers lacked last season.
The Buccaneers are ranked behind the Buffalo Bills in the rankings, which should be seen as a slap in the face. I mean, we are talking about a potential playoff team in 2012 that continues to be ignored.