The Tampa Bay Buccaneers enter their second season under head coach Greg Schiano and after acquiring talents such as Darrelle Revis from the New York Jets and Dashon Goldson from the San Francisco 49ers, the Buccaneers are looking to rebound and claim the NFC South Title in 2013.
Along with their free agent pickups, the Buccaneers also get back Pro Bowl caliber guards in Davin Joseph, who missed all of last season, and Carl Nicks, who missed nine games last season.
That will only increase the value of the Buccaneers’ first-round draft pick in the 2012 NFL draft, running back Doug Martin. Tampa Bay has the weapons to make it to the playoffs this season, but they also have the potential to have a top-five pick in the 2014 NFL draft as well.
The best-case scenario for for the Buccaneers is that Mark Barron, who played more deep coverage last season will get to play more in the box because of the acquisition of Goldson, who will fill the free safety position this year.
With Barron playing inside the box more often, the Buccaneers will have a top-five running defense. Granted, the Buccaneers did have the no. 1 run defense last year, but it was more because every team threw the ball against them.They ranked dead last in 2012, giving up 297 yards per game through the air. With Barron now controlling the box, the Buccaneers will be able to improve on their dead-last ranking in pass defense by putting teams into second and third and long early and often.
When the Buccaneers’ opponents go to throw the ball in those third and longs, Revis, the best cornerback in the NFL, will dominate the no. 1 opposing wide receiver, and the visiting team’s quarterback will have to go to his second and third options.
Having to look for his second and third options more, the Buccaneers defensive line will have more sacks (they ranked 30th last year with 27 sacks). The Buccaneers will also force more fumbles (they ranked tied for 26th in forced fumbles and tied for 22nd in fumble recoveries).
In the end, the Buccaneers have a top-10 defense, with a top-five run defense and top half of the league in pass defense.
The Buccaneers’ offense will take huge strides this season, and Josh Freeman will become a legitimate contender for the Pro Bowl. Doug Martin will lead the NFL in rushing, Vincent Jackson will improve on his already-stellar numbers, and Mike Williams will gain 1000 yards receiving and have close to 10 touchdowns again to compliment Jackson.
Schiano will win Coach Of the Year honors, and the Buccaneers will make the playoffs with a record of 10-6 or 11-5. In the playoffs, the Buccaneers will make some noise and potentially get to the NFC Championship game, where their youth takes over and they lose a close, hard-fought battle.
The worst-case scenario for the Buccaneers — and it is a really bad one — is that Freeman regresses as a quarterback, and/or Martin and Jackson get injured, completely destroying any offense that this team may have had.
On defense, Revis doesn’t come back all the way from his injury and never looks the same again, causing their pass defense to be in the bottom third of the NFL again. Along with Revis, their defensive line doesn’t create more sacks and turnover situations, and the Buccaneers fire Greg Schiano after a 3-13 mark in the end .