By Todd Singer @breakingbadfish on July 7, 2014
Coming off a disappointing 4-12 season under hugely unpopular head coach Greg Schiano, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers went to work this offseason to revamp the entire organization. The Bucs replaced their GM and coach, and made several high-profile free agent additions to go with an impressive draft class, which has them thinking quick turnaround in 2014. Here are five reasons why Tampa can win the NFC South this coming season.
One of the reasons that bad teams in the NFL experience the quickest turnarounds is because of the staggered scheduling. The worst teams in the league typically end up with the easiest schedules as they play two other last-place teams from their conference. The Bucs still have to contend with a difficult NFC South stretch, but they will also get the Redskins, Vikings, Rams and Browns, which could make up the win streak they need.
While the Buccaneers' defense wasn't their primary problem last season, it certainly required extensive upgrades this offseason. The Tampa Bay pass rush was one of the worst in the league, registering one of the lowest sack totals. To help, they signed former Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson to a huge free agent deal. Tampa also imported Alterraun Verner from Tennessee to replace Darrelle Revis as the team's top corner.
After their dreadful season, the Buccaneers fired the highly controversial Greg Schiano and replaced him with local favorite Lovie Smith. Smith was one of the architects of the Tampa-Two defensive scheme that was implemented during Tampa's successful run in the early 2000s, and returns as head coach with a very successful pedigree from his days in Chicago. While Smith never got over the hump with the Bears, he consistently fields a winning team.
One of the big reasons why the Buccaneers' offense struggled as much as it did this season was because of the porous offensive line play. With that in mind, Tampa added another former Bengal Anthony Collins to protect the QB's blindside, and also signed center Evan Dietrich-Smith away from the Packers. These two will likely have a significant impact on both the passing and running game, freeing up Tampa's new offensive weapons to make plays.
One of the biggest moves for the Buccaneers in this offseason was the signing of Josh McCown, who will likely be the new starting QB next season. Although the team was impressed by rookie Mike Glennon's showing during last year's difficult season, McCown will likely take advantage of the additions of Mike Evans, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Robert Herron to the receiving corps with his ability to throw an accurate deep ball.
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