The optimism surrounding the new regime in Tampa Bay isn't just limited to Buccaneers fans. The writers at NFL.com seem to feel the same way. In an article discussing teams with new head coaches, three of the seven polled writers mention the Bucs as strong candidates to make it to the playoffs this year. That's quite a task, considering the ten-game losing streak in 2011 and the killer division the Buccaneers play in, but it's far from impossible.
The Bucs do have the talent to have a successful season, and had that talent last year as well when they started out 4-2 on the back of a strong running game and nasty run defense. Injuries quickly sapped that talent, though, and exposed the limited depth on the team at multiple key positions. The Bucs have quickly worked to upgrade starters and add depth to the team this offseason, which gives them the quality to make it to the playoffs for the first time since the 2007 season. Yes, it's been five seasons since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last played in a playoff game. It's been ten seasons since they last won one.
The quick turnaround of the 2011 San Francisco 49ers may give fans and pundits alike some hope as to the prospects of the 2012 Buccaneers, but much will hinge on a few key players. The Bucs have already lost Da'Quan Bowers for most if not all of the season, and more injuries will undoubtedly follow. Has the team built the necessary depth to compete desite injuries? And, perhaps more importantly, can Greg Schiano prevent a couple of losses from spiraling into ten straight?