It's that time of the year again. The players are training harder than ever, the coaches are watching the players train harder than ever, and the fans are... well, avoiding buying these wonderfully colored jerseys, all just for this upcoming season. After writing about the Rams and Lions in my own series called "Boom and Bust", it's the Buccaneers' turn. I will be doing this for every team, hopefully before the season begins. Here's a look at some of the Bucs' players this upcoming year:
BOOM! - WR Arrelious Benn
"I don’t want to put pressure on myself. But I look at myself making a big impact," said Benn of himself. "Antonio Bryant who?" is what Buccaneer fans will be saying after this season. Benn, a second-rounder from this past draft, has all the makings of Antonio Bryant plus. He has the same height as Bryant, but has a good 10-15 lbs on him. He ran a pretty impressive 4.42 s for his 40 yard dash and with his 6'1" stature, he makes for a very good deep threat for young QB Josh Freeman. He'll presumably be the number one receiver for them this year and I would not be the least bit surprised if he puts numbers around 50 catches, 750 yards, and 6 TDs, a step up from Bryant's numbers from last year.
Bust... - K Connor Barth
I know, I know... He had a great game against natural rival Miami Dolphins when we went 3/3 with all 3 field goals from 50+ yards out. Yet many people think this was a fluke as he's known for his lack of kicking strength, especially on kick-offs. There is a reason the Bucs signed rookie Hunter Lawrence this off-season. The Bucs seemed pretty high on Lawrence when they said they "were looking to sign someone with the talent that could handle pressure similar to the famous last second kick Lawrence made against Nebraska in the 2009 Big 12 Championship Game". This pre-season will host a battle of the kickers and don't be surprised if Barth misses a few FGs and suddenly Lawrence is starting. And I am very sorry to all you die-hard Connor Barth fanatics out there, but the Bucs seem to want Hunter to win the job at some point during the year.
There's my take on the Bucs' upcoming season. I could be wrong with my predictions, but Barth did miss 5 FGs, despite only playing half of the games last year. Additionally, the Bucs actually have no glaring weakness: their QB is developing, their WRs have a lot of promise and Kellen Winslow still is a top TE, their O-line is young and pretty talented, the Bucs' D-line is young and with Gerald McCoy, who will be a stud, and Brian Price, their future is bright, their secondary is pretty solid featuring Ronde Barber, Aqib Talib, Tanard Jackson, and Sean Jones, and their LB core is strong with Barrett Ruud anchoring it. Arrelious Benn is in prime position for a very good rookie season alongside Mike Williams. I also would not be the least bit shocked if the Bucs rebound and finish 8-8 and in 3rd place in the NFC South, ahead of the Panthers.
Again, I am doing this for all 32 teams, so if you care to check out other teams, for instance the Saints, Panthers, and Falcons, I'll be doing this in the order of the past draft. Next up, the Redskins, followed by the Chiefs.