What will Greg Schiano do in his second season as head coach of the Buccaneers?
As Tampa Bay looks to challenge in the tough NFC South, it is possible this team could be better in 2013 and have a record that will show new improvement.
Such is life in one of the NFL’s toughest divisions. Now, with a new team leader on defense and the team losing its last link to the Super Bowl in Ronde Barber, this is truly a new team with a new plan of attack.
How this team reacts to changes within the organization and changes in other teams within the NFL will determine the Buccaneers' fate in 2013-14.
Here are five pressing questions facing this team heading into training camp.
Josh Freeman or Mike Glennon? The decision may not be made until the beginning of the season has started.
Freeman has been the starter since 2010 but he has not taken the step forward he should have already taken. This is a team with weapons Freeman should have used to make his play even better.
Glennon is a third round pick out of North Carolina State this season. Schiano said he could play early. Does this mean Schiano will turn the keys to the car over to him before the season or will quickly pull Freeman should things go south for this team early in the year?
What is there for an encore? Doug Martin proved he was everything this team hoped for when it traded back into the first round to select him. What does Martin do in his second season? There aren’t many runners who can do what Martin can do and his play changes the complexity of games. He was great in 2012, but he could be even better in 2013.
How will Ronde Barber’s retirement affect this team? He is the last of the players connected to the team’s only Super Bowl victory. Barber is one of the greats of all time and should get some Hall of Fame consideration.
He also was a great leader for this team on and off the field. The decision to retire was an easy one, so he says, because he wasn’t being asked back by management to start this season. I think he took the high road and would not accept a demotion. Whatever the reason, the team will miss his leadership as well as his play-making ability.
Does Darrelle Revis make that much of a difference on this team? He strengthens a secondary, makes the defense tougher and makes opposing teams have to game-plan for him. Yes, he does all that. Revis is as close to a game changer as the team has had in years. While Martin may be the same thing on offense, Revis certainly makes teams think on the other side of the ball.
Can this be a playoff team? No one knows that yet. All three teams in the division with the Bucs - New Orleans, Carolina, Atlanta - they all can make a case for being a playoff team this season.
I think the Bucs are a year or two away. New Orleans will fade in a year or two and Carolina will either be really good or really bad. Atlanta has a window of opportunity that will close soon. The time is not now for this team, rather it is building for the future.