5 Storylines To Follow During Tampa Bay Buccaneers Training Camp
Storylines To Follow During Tampa Bay Buccaneers Training Camp
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers showed promise last season, especially on offense, but they failed to make the playoffs. The Bucs managed to take a 6-4 record into the final half of the season and stayed in the playoff race until Josh Freeman folded like a deck of cards.
Freeman's poor decision making down the stretch contributed heavily to the Buccaneers late seaaon collapse. He maintained a low interception rate until he flew off the rails and finished the season. His 54 percent completion rate in 2012 was his lowest since his 2009 rookie year.
But it wasn't Josh Freeman that deserves the blame solely. The defense also struggled to keep offenses out of the end zone, an area that was heavily addressed in the offseason. Mason Foster, linebacker for the Bucs, feels this season will see them taking that step forward as a team.
In the pass-heavy NFC South, the Bucs' upgraded defense will be put to the test. The offense starts and ends with Freeman. From there, you have to hope that Darrelle Revis is healthy enough to anchor a vastly improved but untested secondary.
Of course, it will take more than that — a lot, in fact. And it isn't just the star players that will be on the hot seat this year in Tampa. There are other players who are mostly unheralded that will need to step up after having a lackluster season last year. Also, head coach Greg Schiano will need to build on the solid season in his first year if he wants to turn the Bucs' fortunes around. There are many storylines to follow with this young team but I only have five, so here we go.
Can Doug Martin Repeat Breakout Season?
Doug Martin hates being called the 'muscle hamster', and Dougernaut doesn't exactly roll off the tongue either; but if Martin produces the big-play abilities and shiftiness he showed in 2012, he will be a household name that needs no nickname.
Will Darrelle Revis Be Ready For Week One?
Darrelle Revis finally extradited himself out of the mess that was the New York Jets after months of speculation. The Bucs were able to land the most coveted player this year by signing Revis to a lucrative contract, one that many felt was solid, if not extremely risky. Revis is coming off knee surgery and although he's been able to participate in training camp, he remains untested. Revis will need to mesh with the defense and stay healthy for this experiment to work.
Is Josh Freeman The Real Deal?
Josh Freeman is easily the one Buccaneer under the most scrutiny this year. The Bucs shocked many when they chose Mike Glennon in the third round of the draft. Analysts felt the move was to motivate the young Freeman and if he fails, the team has a solid backup in Glennon. Freeman seems to be assured of his place as the franchise quarterback of the Bucs, a view Vincent Jackson shared recently with reporters.
Can Vincent Jackson Lead The Receiving Corps?
Vincent Jackson had a stellar year last season. He was Freeman's right-hand man when it came to airing it out. Their ability to mesh together was the main reason the passing attack was so prolific at times. The Bucs lost Dallas Clark at tight end, so Vincent Jackson is unquestionably the team's no. 1 threat. But can he produce?
Gerald McCoy And The Defensive Line
Gerald McCoy had a great year in 2012 as his production led to a Pro Bowl selection. McCoy feels the defense is stronger than last year's. In some respects, that's true. The secondary is much improved with Revis and Goldson, but they can't handle the full load unless the front line steps up. Adrian Clayborn will need to be healthy, and the team will need to see more from standout defensive end Micheal Bennett. These three should be able to wreak havoc up front, but it starts and ends with McCoy.