Last season the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were a team that showed a lot of promise for their future finishing the season with a 7-9 overall record and 3-3 in the NFC South. New head coach Greg Schiano brought a new meaning to, “playing to the whistle” in his first season.
Now with a season behind him, Schiano has done what it takes to address the problems he had with his team that lost 7 games by a total of 32 points. Not only did Schiano beef up his team to avoid those close losses, he replaced retired All-Pro cornerback Rhonde Barber with All-Pro Darrelle Revis.
It's pretty good when you can replace the captain in your top ranked pass defense with a talent in Revis equal if not better than what was there when Barber was defending passes. All though Revis is still recovering from a devastating injury from a season ago, he has been spending his time catching balls and doing his own rehab work to be ready to get on the field as soon as possible.
Revis is not the only big name that Schiano added to his secondary, he also has the services of former San Francisco 49ers safety Dashon Goldson.
Goldson has already made a major impact on the field and off during off-season activities joining Revis after practice to work with the younger players, and learn his new defensive scheme. Both players have proven so far why they are valued so high by the way they have taken hold of this young defense.
The young players seem to be paying attention to their veteran leaders. Ahmad Black has shown tremendous skill and ability despite his lack of size standing at only 5-9, 184 pounds playing beside Mark Barron to go along with cornerback Leonard Johnson showing that he has been paying attention to Revis stepping in front of Vincent Jackson for an interception in 7-on-7 drills.
While Schiano has made sure there is plenty of leadership and order on defense, the Bucs have plenty of questions on offense they will be answering throughout training camp.
The biggest issue is the quarterback controversy that was created when Mike Glennon was drafted in the 3rd round. Schiano has made it clear that Josh Freeman is the starter, but do not be surprised if Glennon is put in games if the offense stalls.
The Bucs running back situation on the other hand is where the most stability is on this offense. Now with LeGarrette Blount no longer with the team, it's clear that Doug Martin is the future of this teams rushing offense.
To go along with Martin in the backfield will be rookie Mike James who will be trying to make an instant impact just like his teammate did a season ago. Brian Leonard, Michael Smith, and Jeff Demps are also in camp giving the Bucs plenty of depth this season with their rushing attack.
Smith and Demps have also been working on special teams returning kicks while Martin has been showing out in 7-on-7 drills.
The Bucs have also add much needed depth in their passing attack to go along with their revamped backfield. New receivers coach brings a more played back approach to the team then former coach P.J. Fleck, but has the group playing at a high level already.
Just because Johnson stepped in front of Jackson on one pass, Jackson made a spectacular touchdown catch thrown up by Glennon on another showing that unless he is double covered that their will be a big play made.
Tiquan Underwood has also made a couple of huge touchdown grabs from each quarterback locked in a intense battle. Underwood and Kevin Ogletree are both receivers that can make huge plays when they get in the open field with the ball.
Ogletree is another player that has found an offense he fits in after struggling at times with the Dallas Cowboys last season. The biggest downfall to Ogletree last season was mainly the ones that were pointing the fingers.
Now being away from the pressure of being a Cowboys receiver, Ogletree should turn into the big play receiver he has shown he can be. He afterall has been one of Josh Freemans favorite targets during 7-on-7 drills.
This team has been one of the more fired up teams heading into training camp this season sacking Glennon on one play and by tackling Martin on another turning no contact into semi-contact. This should be expected with a team that Schiano is coaching.
This Bucs team should finish the season with a 10-6 overall record, and 4-2 in the NFC South finishing behind the Carolina Panthers. If the Bucs are able to have an explosive like they are capable of, this team could be making a serious playoff run next January.