From 3and 13 to 10 and 6. The youngest team in the league has just come off an remarkable season. Who would of guess that our Bucs would end up 10 and 6. The best thing about our situation is that we are only going to get better with the seeds of the future we have in place.
When you look at the lay out of this Buc team it has 80% of the pieces in place to be an title contender. Thats right I said and if you were to ask me this team is 1 consistent pass rusher away from being a title contender this year. As the 2009 season exposed who was real ( Roy Miller, Quincy Black) and who was fake ( Sabby, Clayton) the 2010 season exposed who this team can build around. Going into the 2010 draft I felt that all this team was missing was an explosive player on offense, a solid DT, and a better SS. Tampa addressed those issues with Mccoy, Price, Williams and Sean Jones, that played a big role in the Bucs race to 10. To see what more our Bucs need to contend in 2011, we should first take a look at what we got.
On offense I again say we have a solid offensive line, going into the offense I don't see the team wasting big money bringing in a big time free agent on the line or even drafting an O-linemen high. It would be nice to see Blunt workout this summer as hard as Freeman worked out last summer, it will not be so sweet for him next year. But it is nice to have LeGarrette on our side if he gets better then our team will be that much better. Our group of wideouts have the potential to be better than any other group in the league. Williams is a go to guy, Benn will be better next year, the young guys like Parker, Spurlock, and Briscoe are some good fill ins, Stoughter did not live up to expectations to me but I think he will be better once teams start keying in on Williams. Tightend Kellen Winslow turned in another solid year and continues to be 1 of the best in the league, and John Glimore is solid at the backup tightend position. Of course we have an all world player in Josh Freeman, who has turned into a do it all quarterback the only thing that can stop this guy is injuries, there is a lot to say about this guy so I think I am going to save that for another post.
On defense, man man man this unit took me on a roller coaster this year. On the line we have really good serviceable defensive ends Crowder, White, Bennett, and Magee are all guys you would want to go to war with but none are difference makers. At defensive tackle let me tell you we got a stud in MR. Gerald Mccoy. Before he got hurt he started turning the corner at his position he is definitely someone we can build around. It is not fair to make a grade on Price but, he will have to prove himself to get playing time next year as Miller will still be over the nose after a solid year and Al Woods is a great player to have in our rotation. Overall I do not expect no new faces in the DT rotation. At linebacker Quincy Black and Geno Hayes are exactly what this team needs at the OLB position and Dekoda Watson plus Adam Hayward are some nice dependable backups. Ruud leaves me scratching my head. He finished the season strong but did not live up to expectations while still making stops way off the line of scrimmage. While I don't see the team making it a top priority to replace him, I will not be surprised if there is someone else manning the middle in 2011. In the secondary I again say we have some of the best DBs in the league with some new faces to add to that list. Aqib Talib, Ronde Barber, E.J. Biggers, Myron Lewis, and Elbert Mack gives the Bucs great depth at the corner position. When T-Jak went down I was like it is going to be big play after big play all over again like 2009, but Cody Grimm came in and did a stellar job and was better at run support than was Ruud. When Grimm went down, Lynch seemed to be Grimm clone. Sean Jones came in and did what I expected him to do, get a lot of stops and he also did not give up many big plays.
So to some this thing up and to answer what the Bucs need in 2011 to contend is this. 1 consistent pass rusher on the edge, and 1 player on offense who can score at any given point of a game. Both of those type of players protect the 2 players who will lead this team Josh Freeman who is in the race to be great,and Gerald Mccoy who is starting his race to be great. That explosive player on the offensive side of the ball is all this offense is missing, if it's a back that will be even great, but if it's a wideout then it will open things up even more. The consistent pass rusher should be the main priority for this team in the off season. This defense is good but with that pass rusher this defense is early 2000s BucBall good. That type of player would even make our DBs a whole lot better than they really are. If we get a consistent pass rusher and an explosive speed demon on offense we will contend in 2011 no matter the schedule.