Ok guys I've been on here awhile now and although there are a few of you guys who seem to want to argue more than anything else......i think most of us are just diehard fans letting out our frustration that the offseason seems to last forever.
So although I am no expert (I picked the Buccs to go 10-6 last year too). I truly feel like there are some positives that we really can look forward to. This is also a slight response to Sanders tidal wave of articles about us being the worst tackling team in the history of the game and having the worst LB core in the NFL. According to the "experts" anyway. Don't blame Sander though. He's just passing on the numbers.......and they aren't his opinions I don't think.
So lets get hyped up and probably overly optimistic together and then you guys comment and tell me what you are looking forward to.
1) Discipline. Discipline is the first reason I am excited this year. The level of discipline that seems to have already been implemented although the training camp hasn't even happened yet. You could argue that discipline is the thing that lacked the most under Raheem Morris. Tackling is all about Discipline. That's why teams that play with great discipline are usually the better defenses in the NFL. Steelers, Ravens, 49ers (last year), and the Texans (last year). The Buccs played their staple Tampa 2 for years under Monte Kiffin. The '99 and '02 defenses were arguably the pinnacle of the Tampa 2. No team has ever executed it to perfection like we did back in those days. To do so took an enormous amount of discipline on the part of all 11 players on the field. Although the scheme is going to be different under this new regime the level of discipline seems to be returning. And thats something we have sorely missed in Tampa.
2) Nasty. Nasty is something that we haven't had in Tampa arguably since the one year that Jermaine Phillips and Tanard Jackson were at their best and hitting people with authority all over the field. Before that......John Lynch??
The point is that the addition of Mark Barron instantly brings an amount of fear we haven't had in a few years at least. While a guy like Michael Turner likely doesn't "fear" the actual contact being a big RB. He will still have a level of respect for somebody who can put him down hard in the whole. Guys like Sproles, Lance Moore, Roddy White and so on will no doubt be busy thinking about where Barron is on a play-by-play basis as well. That can change games alone. Not to mention the big plays that can result from fearful recievers short arming passes across the middle or just plain fumbling when they are crushed up the field. Think of how many huge plays that Dashon Goldson made for the 49ers last year. The guy rocked Mike Williams world in the game against Tampa and caused him to fumble the ball while effectively taking away any desire to play that Williams had for the rest of that day. He finished the year with 6 ints and played outstanding in the postseason. Barron has every bit of the talent that Goldson does and then some. He could really be special for the Buccs for a long time.
3) Dashon Goldson is actually a reason that I am excited about the Buccs this year in himself. He was a guy who had a few years of experience and had been average at best. Showed flashes of promise at times but never lived up to them........that is until a new college coach came in and brought a completely new level of discipline and a new culture to San Francisco. They went from the 24th ranked passing defense to 16th with almost entirely the same team as the year before. Not to mention that their defense as a whole went from 13th to 4th in one offseason. A complete change in coaching and attitude as an organization and they went from 6-10 to 13-3. You could argue that they had more veterans than the Buccs do now and you'd be correct, but their WRs suck, and so did Alex Smith until last year. In the NFC Championship game against the Giants, Alex Smith completed his first pass to a WR with less than 7 minutes left in the 4th Qtr. That is very impressive considering they were winning that game going into the 4th Qtr. Imagine what they could have done with WRs who actually get open and catch the ball. Vernon Davis is all they have. Also Alex Smith had never shown the Raw ability that Freeman has flashed throughout his career and especially in 2010. I know its the exception and not the rule, but it would seem as if we have a chance for a quick turnaround in the quality of our team.
4) Weapons. Weapons are something a little different. In 2010 it was hard to classify Mike Williams as anything other than a weapon. At that same time Kellen Winslow was going off as well and Legarrette Blount was rushing for over 1,000 yards. Throw in some splash plays from Benn and Sammy Stroughter and the offense was very potent. But last year they seemed anything but explosive. I blame Olsen's horrific offensive style and playcalling for most of this, but even in that situation it was obvious that many many players had quit all together.
.....Enter Vincent Jackson. Jackson has been a dominant WR for a good few years now. He's never going to catch 100 passes. He's just not that kind of guy. I remember three years ago watching him play and being amazed as he went up and took a bomb out of the sky over a safety and a CB. After the catch they said that he had caught a minimal amount of passes through the first few games. However he had caught more passes for TDs than he had caught that weren't TDs. Think about that for a moment.... With his ability, imposing size, and sneeky speed the rest of our WRs will see a lot of single coverage. Speaking of that I know a lot of people here don't care for Mark Dominic, but he has put a Super Star WR as our #1 while allowing a guy in Mike Williams to develope. Don't forget Williams showed almost Fitzgerald-like abilities in 2010. This could pay off in the really long run for the Buccs as a franchise.
Ok so I know that there's a lot of home cookin going on in this write up, but I feel like that's what we need at this point in the offseason. Training camp is just around the corner and we can all get pumped up before and during that. I don't need or expect us to go 13-3. I'd be ok with 8-8 as long as we punch the other team square in the mouth. If we make them earn it then I'll be happy even in a loss. There is a large gap between the sorry excuse for a team we were last year and the talented and disciplined type of team that makes a Championship run, so improvement is what I'm looking for.
Lastly, I called Mark Barron "the Diesel" the other day in a comment on another post. I really like it. I can just picture Barron hitting Roddy White so hard that his Dad falls off the couch in Atlanta......and then at Raymond James Stadium they play the loud and imposing sound of a Mack style Diesel cranking up and revving..... its a daydream but I think it would be awesome. I can't for the life of me come up with any ideas for Vincent Jackson. I think he needs a good nickname because he is going to dominate from the first snap this season.
Ok guys, that's the Koolaid I'm full of right now. Tell me what you are looking forward to and also what you think I'm crazy for thinking.