Last season the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were eagerly looking forward to building upon their 10-6 2010 season. They had a big time quarterback, a hot young receivers, and great running game, and a young defense that was getting better with every game. In fact, I personally had very high hopes for the Bucs last season, especially after winning my fantasy season the year before with Josh Freeman as my QB, and LaGarrette Blount as my #2 RB. Head Coach Raheem Morris guaranteed us all that the Bucs were playoff bound and it would be the return of the powerful defense that we have seen in the past. Well, no such luck. Tampa went 4-12, the QB threw for more INTs than TDs, no 1000 yard receiver, no 1000 yard rusher, the defense was ranked 30th overall, and Coach Morris was kicked out of Florida. So, back to the drawing board for the Bucs. They have a new head coach, a stud free agent WR from San Diego, a stud free agent TE form Indy, a 2012 first round RB, and a more experienced young defense with corner out of legal trouble, and a veteran DB who recently made the move to safety, and who happens to be older than the former head coach. It remains to be seen whether the Bucs can rebound from last season.
Fantasy Football Studs: It is very clear that someone likes Josh Freeman as a Fantasy quarterback, but he will have to show me a lot to be considered a stud. But he does have some new stud targets that will help him move to Stud Status. Vincent Jackson is a 1000 yard receiver that kicked and screamed his way out of San Diego. He’s big and fast and will help stretch the field for Tampa. On the other side is Mike Williams, who had a very good rookie season, but couldn’t catch a cold in his second year. Williams will definitely benefit with the presence of Jackson. He and Freeman will also enjoy the arrival of Dallas Clark, who is listed as a TE, but will really play the role of a third receiver. Clark really blossomed when he had Peyton Manning taking snaps but faded out last year, as did every other Colt who was once relevant in the Fantasy world. The Bucs have other quality pieces, but they have all been relegated to role positions, but one or two of them could emerge as a fantasy stud. But the’s no telling which one will.
Area of Strength: For sure, with the presence of free agents Vincent Jackson and Dallas Clark, the Bucs will have a much improved receiver corp and passing game. In 2010, Josh Freeman threw for 25 TDs and just 6 INTs. Last year it was a terrible 16 touchdowns and 22 picks. Which Freeman will show up? In defense of Freeman, he did have an underachieving receiving crew, who developed a case of the dropsies. This year, with the new additions, the passing game will be much improved. Also, the drafting of rookie RB Doug Martin from Boise State, will help out the passing game greatly. Martin is a an every down back who can pass protect and catch balls out of the back field. With Martin and LaGarrette Blount as a one two punch, Freeman has all the necessary weapons to move the ball all over the field. The rest will be up to him.
Area of Weakness: Well, to say the defense for Tampa Bay was a major disappointment last year, is an understatement. But it’s a new year and new hope for improvement. They were ranked 30th overall, and the secondary have up 30 touchdowns. That’s why they had 37 year old Ronde Barber move to the safety position, and they brought in free agent Eric Wright to play the corner opposite standout Aquib Talib, who just might have gotten past all of his off the field legal problems. Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy has big play ability, but he, along with fellow DT Brian Price, have spent the last two seasons off the field dealing with injuries, to make any kind of contribution to help the Bucs. The defense should be better, but for now, they are the team weakness.
2012 Marquee Matchups: In addition to those tough divisional matchups, the Bucs have a few other interesting games. In fact things are going to be tough right out of the gate as the Bucs face division rival Carolina but then most of the NFC East right after with the Superbowl Champion Giants Week 2, Dallas Cowboys Week 3, then Washington Week 4. They will enjoy that Week 5 bye. Then sandwiched between another round of division rivals, the Bucs face Denver Week 13 and Philadelphia Week 14. They have a rocky schedule. Hang in there Bucs fans.
All Things Tampa Bay Buccaneers: There are several ways to keep up with the 2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Here are a few we like…
Blogs: Bucs Nation http://www.bucsnation.com/ ; The Pewter Plank http://thepewterplank.com/ ; Joe Bucs Fan http://www.joebucsfan.com/
Apps: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (by YinzCam, Inc)
Fan Clubs: The official fan club of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can be found on www.buccaneers.com under fan zone.