This week, I had an opportunity to discuss the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and answer some questions from Jason De La Torre of Bucs Nation. He is putting together an article about how other NFC South teams view the Buccaneers. Following are questions he asked other NFC South bloggers and my personal answers. Feel free to chime in in the comments section and tell me what I missed or outright blew!
Any offensive coordinator or quarterback that doesn't stay awake the night before a game involving Revis must be taking some great medications. He is a difference maker, at least in his prime and before the injuries. He can and probably will still play at a high level and his football instincts and knowledge are going to be part of his ability to disrupt really good offenses. The Saints, speaking of good offenses (spectacular, really) will see him on the other side of the line of scrimmage twice this year. The Saints are in big trouble. IF you believe the 'on paper' aspect. Truthfully, Drew Brees and Sean Payton are too heads up and talented to let one defensive player crush their game. Add in Goldson into the mix and I can see trouble, but not necessarily doom. Darrelle Revis is only one player. He cannot cover all receivers on the field. Everyone knows the Saints will fill a field with receiving options from wide receivers, to tight ends, to running backs (Revis on Sproles, I have $50 on the little squirrel). Revis does not scare a team like the Saints. Do I wish we had him on our defense, however? Of course.
Despite setting franchise records for yards passing (4,065) and touchdown passes (27), Josh Freeman is viewed in Tampa Bay as an inconsistent question mark. How do you view him?
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a real head scratching QB on their roster. I am not sure who would win a competition between Freeman and Sanchez of the Jets. I like Freeman better so my money is on him. I think the real question should be the receiving core which I will address in another question soon. Other than Vincent Jackson, can the Bucs really think they have a decent receiver on their roster? Name him, please! Of all off season acquisitions, the Buccaneers did literally nothing to help themselves here. Blaming Freeman is ridiculous. This is not even my team and I am angry. Imagine how Josh Freeman feels. Stop. Just stop.
I'm really not sure running backs are as prone to sophmore slumps as are quarterbacks. I really don't see Martin having one in the least either. This guy is good! I have a problem with the job the Saints have done stopping the run in the recent past but not, however, the same problem with Doug Martin. Last year, Game 1: Martin rushed 16 times for 85 yards and no TD's. Game 2: Martin rushed 9 times for a meager 16 yards and no TD's. But DM is the kind of back that can explode on you. Ask Oakland: 25-251-4 TD's. No one should take Martin for granted like that.
Offensively - Open the bar. Spread wideouts in the slot, down the sidelines and tightends across the middle. Tampa Bay has improved defensively. Not enough to stop the Saints onslaught, however. Tampa also doesn't know anymore than any other team what these wideouts are capable of. They do, however, know about Drew Brees, Marques Colston, Jimmy Graham, and Lance Moore. Add to the mix the young guns catching passes from Drew Brees. The commitment to running adds a new wrinkle.
It goes without saying, that the pass defense in the NFC South is vital. If you don't have a stout PD you will most assuredly finish in the bottom of said NFC South. Recently, no teams in the NFC South have had more than a decent Rushing combination. It does, however come down to who can shut down the most weapons. Praise goes to the Bucs for the #1 rush defense but I also have to address one part of the defense; The famed Schiano kneel down rush. Not many teams could do more than roll their eyes. I just can't see this as more than being mean spirited and a bully. While it is perfectly legal, and most in the league have refused to address it, I am surprised the Bucs' fanbase have not. Its classless. It's not 'how they used to roll'. Since hiring Schiano, however, it is everything to this team. It won't work in the NFL and Coach Schiano needs to drop this nonsense.
Please refer, for the most part, to my comments about the lack of offensive weapons. I am still at a loss of how a team would/could spend this much in an off season, and not add one ounce of help for an inconsistent QB. This is not Drew Brees, Tom Brady, or Aaron Rodgers. Josh Freeman is a QB I can see having a pretty decent career. In these circumstances, I just do not see it. The Bucs added zero weapons for Freeman. In this division, in the entire NFC, I don't think he stands a chance of another year in this situation. I don't conclusively see a QB of any caliber succeeding in the situation the Bucs have placed Freeman in.
Coaching, without a single doubt. God bless the actual team putting themselves out there.
I would like to thank Jason De La Torre of Bucs Nation for this opportunity and wish him and our other colleagues in Tampa Bay and all of Florida the best of luck in their endeavors this coming season. It is an honor to work with them! I hope to do this and other articles in the future!