The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have seen more optimism injected into them than almost any team since their apocalyptic collapse in the 2011 season’s final months under Coach Raheem Morris. Franchise that seemed flooded with young and cheap, but not necessarily any good, players have been replaced with high draft picks, huge trade imports and high-profile free agent signings.
This team has also been infused with a physical and feisty attitude — that some would say to the point of detriment — under second-year coach Greg Schiano, who escaped from university that’s since become incredibly embattled in Rutgers. However, Schiano just misses this list.
I know everyone and their grandparents is building their own Mt. Rushmore-type quartet for every franchise in sports this offseason, but I’m going to a pull twist on it I haven’t seen yet: only accomplishments over the past couple years will apply, in the effort create the most relevant set of four mountain-side faces as possible. So I’m crafting the Bucs’ Mt. Rushmore to beat all Bucs Mt. Rushmores: Whose face makes it in stone?
Darrelle Revis: The piece of the puzzle the Bucs’ were zeroing in on from miles away, Revis fills gaping hole that suddenly makes this secondary potentially formidable.
Josh Freeman: Represents the ying and yang of the Bucs as a whole. He can look incredible in rallying the team back one week then string together a month that leaves Tampa’s playoff chances in rubble.
Vincent Jackson: Of all the huge free-agent signings the Bucs have made in recent years, Jackson’s instant offense and deep threat might very well prove the best.
Doug Martin: Put his name on the map by going on a tear midway through is rookie year, Martin would have been looking at Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in most seasons.