The Bucs are en vogue again. A new coach in Lovie Smith – who has been in southwest Tampa before. A defense that is young and growing. And a quarterback who played pretty well in his rookie season. Oh, not to mention the running game that still looked half way decent when Doug Martin went down with an injury and was placed on injured reserve.
Now, with a bit of relief felt throughout the franchise and the idea there is nothing left to deal with where Greg Schiano or Josh Freeman are concerned.
This is a team we could actually talk about as a Kansas City of 2014.
Here are the five biggest questions about this team as it heads in the 2014 season.
Can Mike Glennon become elite?
Not yet, but he will get there. I expected Glennon to be the starter from day one. It almost happened that way. But Glennon showed poise and stamina in the pocket all season. Yes, he made rookie mistakes, but he also was the best rookie to play behind center all season long.
Can Doug Martin spring back?
The team sure hopes so. Martin in his rookie season was James Wilder-like. In his second season, he started slow and then got injured. The reserves came on and played admirably. This season, look for the Bucs to sign a solid backup to Martin and hope he can stay healthy. A healthy dose of Martin means a better Glennon throughout the year.
Who takes a step forward on defense?
Johnathan Banks in the secondary. I think with Banks getting into his second year and Dashon Goldson and Darrelle Revis manning the backfield, this is a secondary that could be very scary in 2014.
What can we expect from this team this season?
Lovie Smith preaches defense day after day. There is no doubt the Bucs will play defense, but can they be more assertive in offense or will their opponents salivate at the idea of playing them week after week?
Offense or defense in the draft?
With holes on the offensive line and a need for another pass rusher? Basically that begs the question of Khalil Mack – a devastating pass rusher/linebacker from Buffalo or Jake Matthews of Texas A&M – if he is available.