The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a situation on their hands. Without a win in the playoffs since winning Super Bowl XXXVII and a disappointing 9-7 season this year, Bucs fan are asking how the Pirate ship got off course. While you can place the blame on many reasons for the team's current state, the inconsistency on offense needs to be priority number one if the Bucs are to return to glory.
Defense has been the Tampa Bay Buccaneers bread-and-butter since the Glazer's bought the Bucs in 1995. The list of great defensive players that come to mind from Tampa's recent history include Hardy Nickerson, Donnie Abraham, John Lynch, Warren Sapp, Simeon Rice, Derrick Brooks, and Ronde Barber. That said, I still believe the defense is in good hands with our "Changing of the Guard" coming up. Derrick Brooks and Ronde Barber will soon retire and pass on the leadership of the defense to our new guys (Barrett Ruud, Gaines Adams, Aqib Talib, and Sabby Piscitelli). No big changes needed.
On the other hand, our offense has never taken an identity during the last 15 years. Our only glimmer of light shown when Mike Alstott and "insert running back here" could keep our ground game afloat. Our identity crisis on offense makes me believe this is where Glazer, Allen, Gruden's focus needs to be this offseason. By getting what we need instead of the quick fixes, we will create the consistency our offense has not seen and the productivity the fans have been waiting for.
QB - We need a our first franchise quarterback in recent history. No more journeymen. No more wondering who will start all the way up to the first game of the season. Develop a rookie or find a proven winner that hasn't hit menopause. Let Garcia and McCown go. Griese can be insurance. Don't screw around with Josh Johnson if you're not willing to put the time in to develop him.
RB - If Gruden decides to be run-oriented, then we have to get a play maker at running back. Earnest Graham and Clifton Smith are not enough. With one of the largest free agent RB pools this offseason, the Bucs need to fish for a big one.
WR - If Graham and Smith are the only two RBs in Gruden's future, then he must invest in receiving talent. Sign Antonio Bryant immediately. Find a receiver that can catch the ball. I don't care if he's fast or big, we need hands. Noticing our track record of rookie WRs (Stovall, Clayton, DJax), I'm not so sure we should draft one.
TE - We're good here. We need help elsewhere.
OL - No matter whether we have Dan Orlovsky or Peyton Manning behind center, we gotta block. I know I could completely blame the O-Line for Garcia's happy feet this year, but watching you guys this year looked like a scene from David Carr's nightmares. We can not have inconsistency here. With the amount of OL talent in this year's draft, I say make our first pick here.
While the defense needs some touch-ups, the offense needs to be rebuild or we will keep seeing the same results year after year. An offense of play makers with familiar faces will get the fan base excited, put butts in the seats, and put us on nationally televised games. It's time we wear those cannons out. It's time that people are afraid of us on both sides of the ball. It's time we use that $45 million we have lying around and get serious about football Mr. Glazer.
Let me know what you think...and GO BUCCANEERS!!!