The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made one very bold move in the offseason and one particularly dumbfounding one. How will this balance of successes and failures affect this team’s NFL betting odds in 2013-14?
Best Offseason Move:
The Buccaneers’ best offseason move, by far, was the signing of cornerback Darrelle Revis from the New York Jets. The analytical website Walter Football had this to say about this new acquisition: “Revis, who interestingly took zero guaranteed money, is coming off a torn ACL. However, he’s just 28, so he’s expected to make a full recovery. He was given clearance to resume cutting in the middle of May, so he’s expected to be ready for the season opener. Revis will provide a big boost because Tampa Bay has to deal with stud wideouts like Julio Jones, Roddy White, Marques Colston and Steve Smith twice per year. Revis will be instrumental in shutting down those wideouts, but the Buccaneers still had to find a second cornerback. They did just that in the 2012 NFL Draft with Johnthan Banks. The Mississippi State product was once considered to be a first-round prospect, but a slow 40 time knocked him into Day 2.
Tampa Bay knows it has to cover the full extent of the field on defense, precisely because it is in the same division as two teams who love to throw the ball, the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons. Having a lot of bodies is important, but it is also essential to get the kind of player who can lock down his half of the field so that the two safeties can handle the other side of the field and emphasize coverage in the middle section of the field, particularly on the weak side. Revis could be the answer to a lot of problems for the Buccaneers.
Worst Offseason Move:
The Buccaneers allowed pass rusher Michael Bennett to get away. Bennett was a high-impact player on the Bucs, and his skills took away time from opposing quarterbacks in the pocket, which in turn made it just a little bit harder for teams to throw deep on the Bucs’ hamstrung secondary. Losing Bennett creates a crucial deficiency on the Tampa Bay roster, and it’s hard to see how this won’t have a negative ripple effect on the defense. If it’s true that the secondary has been improved by offseason acquisitions, it’s just as true that the defensive line has been eroded in terms of quality and physical prowess. The Buccaneers are left with a defense that, on balance, is not very different from last year. Corners and safeties might cover better, but if the pass rush isn’t up to par, it won’t matter all that much.
How They’ll Finish In The Division:
Football betting fans know that the Buccaneers don’t have the quarterback (Josh Freeman) or the pass defense tailored for the specific division they inhabit. If the Buccaneers were in the NFC North, they’d have a chance of faring better against the likes of Chicago and Minnesota, but having New Orleans and Atlanta in their division is not a good situation for them. Tampa Bay should be able to beat out a wayward Carolina Panther organization in the NFC South, but fighting past either the Saints or Falcons is frankly an unreasonable expectation at this point.
Super Bowl Odds: +2250