2011 Record: 4-12 (4th NFC South)
Projected 2012 Record: 6-10
Key Arrivals: TE Dallas Clark, WR Tiquan Underwood, DT Gary Gibson, DT Amobi Okoye, OT Jamon Meredith, QB Dan Orlovsky, OG Carl Nicks, CB Eric Wright, WR Vincent Jackson
Key Departures: TE Kellen Winslow II, OLB Geno Hayes, S Tanard Jackson, OT James Lee, WR Michael Spurlock, QB Josh Johnson, DE Tim Crowder
The Buccaneers had one of the most epic collapses of all-time last season. They were a young team with a young coach with lofty expectations, and they started to live up to those expectations…..before losing TEN STRAIGHT GAMES. Raheem Morris lost complete control of this team after the loss to Chicago in London, they took the bye week off and never recovered.
No one outside of that organization really knows why this team crumbled and if Raheem was actually at fault, but the Buccaneers fired him and the team has now moved on. Gone are some of the younger guys like Tanard Jackson and Geno Hayes, gone is the presence of Kellen Winslow, and in come veterans such as Dallas Clark, Carl Nicks, Vincent Jackson and Eric Wright. Ronde Barber will compliment Eric Wright and young corner Keith Tandy, they will be anchored by Rookie Mark Barron at Safety. The Bucs have brought in Boise St RB Doug Martin and Utah RB Michael Smith to compete with LaGarrette Blount.
With all this talent you have to believe that the Buccaneers have the talent to get the job done, maybe even contend for the NFC South, but there are two major questions that will determine their year…
1) Greg Schiano – college coaches transitioning to the NFL are usual misses, Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll have proven that not all of them are flat out failures. Can Schiano get the most out of his players or is he way in over his head? When things go wrong are players going to be receptive to his teachings and his style of coaching? If he wins right away can he continue the momentum throughout the season?
2) Josh Freeman- how will he rebound from a horrific 2011? If Freeman plays like he did in 2010, the Buccaneers are back and will be right in the thick of things in the NFC South Race, but if he struggles yet again, expect another last place finish for the Buccaneers and for the franchise to begin searching for another franchise QB.