A Look Back – Things didn’t go so well for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2009, but no one was really expecting much for a team in rebuilding mode. First year HC Raheem Morris wasn’t all that impressive, but at least he had his team playing hard at times. Tampa Bay flirted with a winless season for awhile, but one must remember that this was a team that beat some solid teams, including the New Orleans Saints on the road and the Green Bay Packers at home.

Key Addition – DT Gerald McCoy – The Bucs had the worst defensive line in football last year, and that really wasn’t overly debatable in NFL circles. As a result, Tampa Bay badly needed to add one of the two obvious choices at defensive tackle at the top of the NFL Draft. McCoy probably won’t be the same pro as Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh, but he should immediately step in and help out this defense which allowed a league worst 158.2 YPG on the ground.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL Cheerleader

Key Loss – WR Antonio Bryant – Bryant was Tampa Bay’s second leading receiver last year, but with just 39 catches and 600 yards, that isn’t saying a whole heck of a lot. QB Josh Freeman already knows that he doesn’t have numerous weapons to work with at wide out, and save for TE Kellen Winslow Jr., there aren’t going to be many consistent targets throughout the season. Bryant was probably the most talented receiver in an otherwise talentless bunch, and he will be missed in the Sunshine State.

2010 Will Be a Success if… – The team shows any sort of improvement from Year 1 of the Morris era to Year 2. There are plenty of games on this slate that are winnable for Tampa Bay, and the key is going to be taking advantage of those potential victories to inch closer towards being a respectable team once again. Still, expectations aren’t high at all, particularly on a defense that is going to feature at least seven starters no older than 25 years old.

The Crucial Game – The first two home games of the year are both pivotal for this franchise. Taking on Cleveland in Week 1 is a real chance to get off on the right foot, but the key game will come in Week 3 when the Pittsburgh Steelers come to town. That will probably be the only packed house that Raymond James Stadium has all year long, and though black and gold will probably be the colors of choice for the most part in the stands, the Bucs must play well, especially with the Steelers missing QB Ben Roethlisberger for that game as a part of his suspension.

Predictions – The good news for the Bucs is that more than half of their home games are really winnable this year. They shouldn’t be amongst the first 2-3 teams in the NFL Draft once again as a result, though losses to the likes of the Browns, Rams, Panthers, Lions, and Seahawks at home will absolutely cost Morris his job. Expect Tampa Bay to find a way to eke out five or so wins. These low expectations are reflected in their odds to win the Super Bowl which currently sit at +12,500.

2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Regular Season Schedule

9/12 vs. CLE
9/19 @ CARL
9/26 vs. PIT
Bye
10/10 @ CIN
10/17 vs. NO
10/24 vs. STL
10/31 @ ARI
11/7 @ ATL
11/14 vs. CAR
11/21 @ SF
11/28 @ BAL
12/5 vs. ATL
12/12 @ WAS
12/19 vs. DET
12/26 vs. SEA
1/2 @ NO

 

Winners

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Gerald McCoy is perfect for them and they got him exactly where he should go.

Kansas City Chiefs: Eric Berry is exactly what they needed. They might have been able to trade down a few spots and still pick him, but Berry is exactly what they needed.

Seattle Seahawks: Russell Okung probably shouldn’t have fallen to Seattle, so great for them to pick him up. Earl Thomas is another great pick at 14. The Seahawks probably did the best of anyone on Day 1.

San Francisco 49ers: Getting two offensive linemen, Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati, in the first round complete remakes their offensive line in just one day. I’m guessing they traded up for Iupati because they thought the Steelers were going to grab him.

Miami Dolphins: I like what they did trading down. And I like Jared Odrick. They grabbed some extra picks and still got a huge piece in the first round.

New York Jets: Kyle Wilson is going to learn from the best and, in a year or two, beat out an All-Star corner for a job.

Indianapolis Colts: Jerry Hughes is an incredible value at 31.

Losers

St Louis Rams: It’s too easy for a quarterback to end up as a bust and they get too much money as the number one pick. Sam Bradford is a very good prospect, but not an elite one which is what you want with a number one overall QB. St Louis should have traded this pick and grabbed either Sam Bradford or Jimmy Clausen later on in the draft.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Trade your first round draft pick to someone who is going to use it to draft first round talent.

Undecided

Denver Broncos: I love that they traded down, but Tim Tebow and Demaryius Thomas probably could have been picked up lower down.

Having said that, I’m a Tebow believer. He will be the best quarterback to come out of this draft because he has the right kind of determination and attention to detail to put in countless hours to fix his throwing mechanics and he has the demeanor of a winner on-field.

If the Broncos knew that someone was going to grab Tebow before them, then trading up to grab him was a good move.

 

 

 

 
 
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