Maybe this is premature, but this could just be the Bucs year. Tampa Bay made a big splash and big improvement by adding WR Vincent Jackson, OG Carl Nicks, and underrated CB Eric Wright. Nicks will help protect young QB Josh Freeman, who though he has a new playbook to learn, should be hitting hitting his stride as a pro, and Jackson gives him a big bodied target to throw to in endzone, or hit in stride on deep routes.

The Bucs only got better in the draft adding S Mark Barron who can not only be an outstanding player, but a leader in the middle for a predominantly young defense in need of direction. RB Doug Martin gives balance to a running game that relied, perhaps too heavily, on the bruiser LeGarrette Blount last season. Linebackers Lavonte David and Najee Goode will provide additional help in the middle fo the field and CB Keith Tandy, RB Michael Smith and TE Drake Dunsmore provide needed depth.

But all that just seems to point to a bright future for the Bucs, making it seem like this year even is too soon. Maybe, but look around the NFC South:

The Saints are reeling in the wake of “bountygate” and of course they’re still the Saints, but you’re lying to me and yourself if you think this team is just as good as last year.

The Panthers also seem to be setting themselves up for a bright future on the shoulders of Cam Newton, but I can’t shake the feeling that Newton will have trouble living up to the expectations of his rookie season (don’t get me wrong I still think he’ll be good, but he shocked the league last season, with a year of tape and no real new weapons on offense I think teams can prepare for him better)

The Falcons, well they actually give me no reason to think they can’t put it together except for the fact that they are, well, the Falcons and somehow that seems reason enough.

I’m expecting a lot out of the NFC South this year (and football in general) I won’t be surprised to see who wins the division, I just think this is a particularly Golden opportunity for a young Bucs team to make a statement that they are more akin to the 10-6 Bucs from two years ago than the mess that took the field last year.

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Comments
  1. If Josh Freeman has a better year and with their new additions, I can see 9-7 or 10-6. Not beyond the realm with their schedule…

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