NFL Season Preview: Tampa Bay Buccaneers are Shapen in Greg Schiano’s Image
The Bucs have been able to completely make over their roster in just 12 months. After firing head coach Raheem Morris and hiring head coach Greg Schiano, the Buccaneers immediately went out and began a spending spree on free agents (something that they intentionally refrained from doing prior to 2012, because of the salary cap ramifications of “underspending” following the 2011 lockout. This offseason, the Bucs acquired the following players from other teams: RB Brian Leonard, WR Derek Hagan, WR Kevin Ogletree, TE Tom Crabtree, TE Zach Miller and FS Dashon Goldson. Additionally, the team had acquired WR Vincent Jackson in a mega-deal the previous offseason. Add this to the draft picks over the past two seasons – which have proven to be stellar – and the future is looking up for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
This is the make or break season for QB Josh Freeman. Schiano proved that this is the team’s stance given his comments about Freeman heading into the offseason and ever since the organized team activities began. Moreover, the team drafted QB Mike Glennon (North Carolina State) as Freeman’s eventual successor. Jeff Demps was also brought in to add an element of speed to the backfield with RB Doug Martin (who is also deceptively fast). The aforementioned WR acquisitions, along with Tiquan Underwood, and rookies Timothy Wright (both Schiano recruits at Rutgers) and Terriun Crump, and the Bucs have nothing but speed and more speed at the WR position. Miller and Crabtree were both contributors elsewhere at TE last season, and it was a position that the Bucs were deficient last season; costing Freeman an intermediate outlet all season in 2012.
Da’Quan Bowers’ situation is tenuous, as he violated the gun laws of New York City (see: Plaxico Burress), so his status for the 2013 season is up in the air. He is pivotal to the Bucs’ defense. Tampa drafted William Gholston as a bit of insurance in case Bowers is suspended. Additionally, boast Adrian Clayborn, Lazarius Levingston and Ernest Owusu at ends, flanking Gerald McCoy, Gary Gibson (Schiano recruit) and Akeem Spence at tackle.
The linebackers are all young, fast and rangy, led by Lavonte David and Mason Foster. Schiano also brought in another one of his former Rutgers recruits in Ka’Lial Glaud. The secondary is going to be explosive, with the free agency acquisition of CB Darrelle Revis, to go along with Eric Wright (potentially), while the safeties include Mark Barron and newly acquired Dashon Goldson. The Bucs are stacked with youth, speed and the right mixture of veteran experience. They may be ready to make a leap in 2013.
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