- 06/21/2012, 12:31PM ET
Gruden said 06/21, 12:31 PM
I can't lie, 2011 was an embarrassment for the Bucs. They started 4-2, with victories over both Atlanta and New Orleans, and it looked to be a good year to be a Bucs fan. Then the wheels fell off.
It really started in week 5 where they lost 48 - 3 in San Francisco. From that game forward they still scored an average of 18 per week, but gave up a whopping 34 points a game.
The defense, for some reason, had given up. The head coach was also the defensive coordinator, and before those jobs he had coached cornerbacks. He was drastically ill-suited for either position, and certainly couldn't handle both. He lost control of the defense, and the defense lost confidence in him.
Tampa responded by replacing both positions with proven leaders. They drafted two linebackers, a corner and a safety. They signed Carl Nicks to beef up the o-line. They got rid of problematic Winslow, and signed Vincent Jackson on the offense and Eric Wright on the D.
Will they win the Super Bowl? Of course not. But will they compete for the NFC South title? With New Orleans kneecapped because of the bounty program, Tampa will be in the running all season long.
DJRoxalot said 06/21, 05:54 PM
This coming season is a transition year for the Bucs and new coach Greg Schiano. The players will be getting to know a new coach and learning a new system.
Sure, they drafted a LB's, a corner and a safety but they will be rookies. And TB was 30th in defense, allowing 30.9ppg.
Vincent Jackson and Dallas Clark are nice pickups, but the TB averaged just 17.9ppg which was 27th in the NFL.
It will take time to get used to a new QB. A QB that showed serious regression last season by throwing 22 INT's. Mike Williams and Kellen Winslow aren't as good as Jackson and Clark, but they aren't chopped liver either. He had some talent to work with.
Both Jackson and Clark are used to proven QB's like Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers. Freeman has shown he is an inconsistent player who has his ups and downs.
New Orleans and Atlanta are still going to be very tough to leapfrog and Carolina will be an improved team.
The Bucs might win 6 or 7 games, but to expect them to compete for the AFC South is just a little too optimistic imo.
Gruden said 06/21, 07:04 PM
Did you cancel your newspaper and cable this spring? New Orleans won't have their head coach, general manager or defensive coordinator this year. They won't have Vilma either. They also won't have several key defensive members to start the season. Oh, and they still don't know who will be their quarterback in 2012 either. Count them out already.
As for Freeman, he had a great 2010. He simply was forced to press in games when his defense quit on their seriously bad head coach/defensive coordinator. You'd expect any quarterback down 25 points in the 2nd half to throw interceptions. There's nothing unusual about that. Especially when he's throwing it to the receivers he had, and had no healthy running back to take the ball from him. All of that is fixed this year.
Tampa filled holes in offense and defense thru free agency. They planned for the future in the draft. Ignoring their free agency and complete rebuilding of a coaching staff is very short sighted.
Now I do agree with 6-7 games. They could easily win that many more. But I only need 5 more. And with their easier schedule, 5 more wins is well in the plan. And 9 wins competes for a playoff spot.
DJRoxalot said 06/21, 07:55 PM
"You'd expect any quarterback down 25 points in the 2nd half to throw interceptions."
He threw the 2nd most INT's in the NFL!!! 2 more than Rex "The Wonder Dog" Grossman.
Just 1 fewer than the League Leader, Ryan Fitzpatrick.
@ NY Giants
There are no locks or easy wins on that schedule. Not as easy as you make it sound. Not for a team that managed just 4 wins last season and had a 10 game losing streak.
Carolina at home, Washington, Kansas City and St. Louis are the the best bets, but the Panthers will be drastically improved, the Redskins have a very talented QB, the Chiefs have added a lot of talent in the offseason and the Rams are going to be improved as well on both offense and defense.
Looking at that schedule, I see maybe....6 wins. Which wouldn't be a bad first year for Schiano.
The Falcons may be a team that will benefit most from the Saints being hurt by Bountygate. But, I still don't think NO is any worse than 2nd place in the NFC South.
Gruden said 06/21, 10:53 PM
He threw the 2nd most interceptions with one of the worst records in the league with one of the worst defenses in the league. Yes. That's exactly what he did. It happens when you're down by a lot, have to throw on every down, and don't have reliable receivers. I thought I already explained that THREE TIMES.
I'm laughing at "Carolina will be drastically improved". Since you already said draft picks don't really have an impact first year, who exactly did they get in free agency that makes them DRASTICALLY better? Kenny Onatolu? Jyles Tucker? Yep, those are those drastically improved players they picked.
Carolina also has a "very talented QB", but they went 6-10 with that rookie. I expect no better from Washington, so there's another win.
Tampa beats Atlanta at home, New Orleans twice, and Carolina twice. There's 5. St Louis is an easy win. Washington is an easy win. There's 7. Minnesota, San Diego Oakland and Denver with their broken and aged QB are in play. I don't know what you're looking at, but if you think Tampa can't beat the AFC West, who sent an 8-8 division champion to the playoffs last year, then you're not being honest with me or the voters.
DJRoxalot said 06/21, 11:52 PM
"Did you cancel your newspaper and cable this spring?"
Nope. Did you?
They knew they weren't going to have Vilma....So, they went out and got and signed Curtis Lofton, formerly of the Atlanta Falcons. He's a better player than Vilma. So, they improved themselves on defense at the LB position.
They don't know who is going to be their QB? Let me introduce you to someone:
Drew Brees. They franchised him. He isn't going anywhere. Yeah, he isn't happy, but don't expect him to sit out the season. It won't happen. They aren't going to be playing Luke McCown or Sean Canfield at QB. They will get a deal done and Brees will be playing QB for the Saints.
Carolina will be drastically improved because Cam got a year of valuable experience and I think he will be just as good this season. He's the real deal. They also added Mike Tolbert to give Carolina 3 RB's to choose from on offense along with Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams.
Oh, and Jon Beason ring a bell? He missed all but 1 game last year due to an injured left achilles tendon. A healthy Beason will help improve their defense that allowed 26.8ppg, 27th in the NFL.
TB has no shot.
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