By Brian Kalchik @RantsportsBrian on April 29, 2014
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a miserable 2013 filled with controversy and losing. Coach Greg Schiano was fired and quarterback Josh Freeman was released, among many other problems for Tampa Bay. New Coach Lovie Smith is expected to turn around a fractured team sooner rather than later. With 2014 being an important season for the Buccaneers, here are five players facing make-or-break seasons.
In free agency, the Buccaneers spent major bucks signing defensive end Michael Johnson, formerly of the Cincinnati Bengals. Whether fair or not, this serves as a notice to Adrian Clayborn that his production is not what it should be. The former No. 20 overall pick in 2011 has recorded only 13.5 sacks in three years as a two-year starter. The production simply doesn't match what a 20th overall pick should have.
I understand that most of Carl Nicks' tenure in Tampa Bay has been filled with injuries beyond his control, mainly the MRSA infection. That being said, sick or not, Nicks signed one of the biggest free agent deals in recent memory and has only played in seven games out a possible 32 so far in his brief two years in Tampa Bay.
Much like Clayborn, Da'Quan Bowers' is on the hot seat after the Johnson signing. Bowers has been mostly a disappointment as a second-round pick in 2011. He has had even worse production than Clayborn, putting up an average of just over five sacks in three seasons. That simply doesn't cut it for a fifth-round pick, let alone a former second-round pick.
I might be in the minority here, but I've thought for the past two seasons that Dashon Goldson was one of the most overrated players in the NFL. The 49ers didn't seem to miss Goldson last year after making the NFC Championship game for the third straight season. That being said, Goldson in 2013 was known more as a head-hunter than a productive football player.
The Buccaneers think that QB Josh McCown is their next franchise quarterback after signing him to a multi-year contract. McCown is a system quarterback who excelled under Marc Trestman, who has a history of developing good quarterbacks. The Buccaneers will not get the McCown of 2013 and last year's expectations will catch up to McCown, who is a 36-year old quarterback.
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