Can the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Go From Worst to First?

By Joseph Olmo


Kevin Liles – USA TODAY Sports

In a league of parody nowadays, it seems as if each season there is at least one team in a division to go from worst to first.

This season, the Washington Redskins went from a 5-11 season in 2011, to a 10-6 record and a NFC East title. Sure you can look at the move they made before the draft to move up in the order and pickup Robert Griffin III, but he’s just one player. There are 52 others on the roster that need to step up their game and help make that five game leap a reality. The Redskins went from 13th in total offense in 2011, to fifth in 2012. That is not all on Griffin’s legs and arm. They also drafted running back Alfred Morris. The point is, you can make that jump from worst to first in just one off-season.

This year the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were part of a three-way tie for worst in the division with an under .500 record at 7-9, while the Atlanta Falcons ran away with the division at 13-3. It wasn’t a good year period for the NFC South besides the Falcons. The Bucs did improve, however, from their 4-12 record in 2011.

If any team knows how to make that jump, it would be the Buccaneers.

In 2006, the Bucs were at the bottom of the division looking up. The next year, they won the division with a 9-7 record. Now I’m not saying they can go out and win the South with just a 9-7 record next year, but they have shown they are not consistently at the bottom of the NFL record-wise.

I’m going in the way-back machine with this, but in 2001, before the current division breakdown, the Bucs were third in the NFC Central. The next season, they went on to win the NFC South and win the Super Bowl that year.

This off-season will be a big step toward returning to being a Super Bowl contender. The division looks to be getting tougher with Sean Payton’s suspension ending for the New Orleans Saints.

Many mock draft experts have the Bucs going with a cornerback with the 13th overall selection in this year’s draft. That comes as no surprise considering they ranked 27th in total defense this past season.They have eight picks this upcoming draft and look for most of them to be used on the defensive side of the ball.

If the Bucs can make an impact with this year’s off-season on defense, look out for them to be players in their division. They have a top 10 ranked offense with weapons like Vincent Jackson at wide receiver and Doug Martin at running back. If Josh Freeman can elevate his game, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will make that jump from worst to first, again.

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