Although a 7-9 finish may seem modest the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are truly one of the most exciting teams heading into the 2013 offseason. Under first-year head coach Greg Schiano plenty of things went right and too many went wrong, but I feel the Bucs have a great shot at winning an extremely competitive NFC South next season.
At this point in his career Josh Freeman is what he is–by that I mean he is not surprising anyone with what his play on the field looks like. Freeman can look like Ben Roethlisberger on one play and turn around and make an absolute bonehead play the next. However, with Doug Martin now in his backfield and a big-play wide receiver in Vincent Jackson for years to come Freeman has no excuses not to perform.
This time last year Tampa Bay was panicking over a run defense that was just worst in the league allowing over 156 rush yards per game. Oddly enough the Buccaneers led the entire NFL in run defense this season allowing just 82.5 rush yards a contest in 2012.
Obviously Schiano has earned a second-year on that stat alone as the progression on the defensive line has been fantastic in just one season.
The next task will be to improve a pass rush and pass defense that was 29th in sacks and dead last in passing yards against with 297.4 a game. Hopefully Mark Barron can turn around after a dreadful rookie season and be the safety the Buccaneers hoped he be when they drafted him seventh overall in 2012.
Tampa Bay has the right formula in place but, the draft continues to be a focal point and what the do with the 13th overall selection this April will be key.