Mark Dominik's strategy has been no secret and has been a point of contention. His hope is that while not adding any pieces (of much relevance) that the Bucs have still gotten better through experience. It's a risky strategy, no doubt, but one that has the potential of having long term success. Yesterday, Sander posted a predictions post. While there were plenty of people with realistic expectations there were some optimists predicting 11 and even 12 wins.
I got to thinking if it's really possible that we are better than we were last season, with a significantly harder schedule. Did we actually upgrade any positions other than punter? You may say defensive end, and while that may be true, Clayborn and Bowers are rookies with a large learning curve in front of them. Both players have huge upside, but also have some serious flaws that will take a while to adjust in the NFL.
So, Dominik expects us to be better because there is another year of experience under their belts, but did the Bucs just get younger?
Last year the Bucs average age was 25.1 (according to an ESPN article I found). I attempted to weed out players that have very little to no chance of making the roster, but I still ended up with about 73 players. It's tough to weed out some of those borderline guys. I imagine the final roster will be slightly older, but as of now the average age of the roster is 24.6. I wouldn't be surprised to see this age jump to around what it was last season. Along with those rookies that started last year, Ted Larsen, LGB, Mike Williams, Arrellious Benn, Brian Price, Gerald McCoy, Cody Grimm you also will see added rookies seeing significant playing time (or starting). Luke Stocker, DaQuan Bowers, Adrian Clayborn, Mason Foster while losing veterans like Barrett Ruud and Stylez White.
I want to believe the Bucs will be better this year and I think they will continue to take steps in the right direction. But as BucWild has so countless times, this is a 5-6 year process. We are in year 3. To expect the team to be better than the Saints AND the Falcons is lofty expectations surely to disappoint.