TAMPA, FL - MAY 4: Safety Mark Barron #24 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs upfield during a rookie practice at the Buccaneers practice facility May 4, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Just when you think the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have gained a glimmer of respect, season predictions come out and you're reminded that really, the Bucs were an extremely poor team last season. The addition of probably six (or more) new starters in free agency and the draft doesn't change the fact that the team still isn't seen as much of a threat to win (m)any games this season. And, let's be honest here: the national media has no bone to pick in this fight - they just predict what they think, with none of the inherent bias associated with being a fan of a team.
Still, I can't help but feel that the 3-13 record predicted by both Pete Prisco and Pat Kirwan (both of CBS Sports) is just a little out there. After all, the 2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers won four games, despite playing quite possibly the worst football this planet has ever seen over the final 10 games. And that quality of play wasn't just caused by talent, but by poor coaching and poorer play. Those are issues that can be fixed, especially so given the Bucs' additions this offseason. Yet, Prisco and Kirwan don't see that. Hit the jump to see what I have to say about each writer's specific problems with the Bucs.
Kirwan appears to think the Buccaneers will get the franchise headed in the right direction - just not this year:
Greg Schiano will eventually turn this franchise around, but it will take time. The Bucs defense gave up over 37 points a game in the second half of last season. Tampa Bay might want to be a running team, but what will they do in game when they're trailing in the second half?
Given the offseason acquisitions this team made, I would think they would disagree with him, but it's a fair point. Compare Tony Dungy, who lost his first five games in charge of the Bucccaneers, and seven of his first eight. He still ended the 1996 season with a 6-10 record, but it took him a while to get the team headed in the right direction. That's all well and good, but 3-13 still seems like a pretty disastrous record for a team that wants to go places. For 3-13 to happen, Josh Freeman needs to continue to falter, while the defense has to fail to come together in any way. It's possible - but it seems very unlikely.
As for Prisco, he went through every NFL regular season game. Yes, all 256 games. Now that's torture. And somehow he came up with a 3-13 record for the Bucs. Some of the highlights include a four-point loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, a one-point loss to the Minnesota Vikings, a 13-point loss to the Oakland Raiders (!) and the loss of all but one division game. He does somehow have the Bucs beating the New Orleans Saints at home, but that's it. A little odd for a team that even last year won two of its division games, but the division is incredibly competitive. Going through that schedule, though, there's not one really odd result - and that's pretty scary. The schedule the Bucs face is no cakewalk.
Regardless, though, I feel like this team is set up to be much more competitive than 3-13. But we'll have to wait for the season to unfold to find out.