This is a Fanpost written by one of the site's commenters, promoted to the front page. - Sander
Greg Schiano came into last season like a man possessed. He knew that to get wins in a league as highly competitive as the NFL he has to be over the top. He had to instill an entire new culture into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers organization. With that as his goal he brought back practices you would expect from your high school coach; players had to keep their toes on the line during calisthenics, he monitored their meals, he even made sure the temperature in the meeting rooms was consistent. Did he take it too far? Maybe. But one thing is for sure, the team made a big turnaround in only one season. Now, if he plays it right, he can turn that discipline into a more wins.
Schiano has a talented offense that he forged with an old-school approach. The No. 1 priority off this offense is getting Doug Martin going. Once he gets into a rhythm it brings extra defenders into the box and opens things up for the passing game.
Josh Freeman became the first quarterback in franchise history to throw for more than 4,000 yards and 27 touchdowns last season. He has been the Bucs starter for four years and some people are beginning to doubt whether or not he will be able to lead the team to the promised land. It may seem like they're assuming things, but that's what happens when you cap off the year with back-to-back four interception games. He'll never be a Manning or a Brady, but Freeman can certainly do better than Dilfer and he has a ring. Sure Dilfer also had a prime Ray Lewis and an all time great defense, but it's possible.
When the season started last year people were comparing Doug Martin to Ray Rice, a powerfully built, compact runner with a low center of gravity who ran through tackles. By the end of the season he was only 74 yards away from reaching 2,000 yards, a feat only two rookies have accomplished in the history of the league. He doesn't have blazing speed, but he has great vision and his low center of gravity make it possible for him to change directions on a dime. As the offense grows and the line gets better, he will continue to improve.
Schiano is ultimately a defensive coach. He designed and installed the defense that the team runs, but he is not the signal caller on game day. He brought in defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan to do that. It is a risky, extremely aggressive system. They believe in attacking with the front seven, doing their best to stop the run behind the line and pressure the quarterback every time he drops back. That leaves their secondary playing man coverage, a philosophy that can make you look like a superhero cowboy or an idiot, it all depends on the outcome.
The defensive line led the way for a defense that ranked first against the run, but they still underachieved. How is that? The Bucs have spent four first and second round draft picks on the line over the last three years and that means there is a lot of talent here. Being first against the run is great, but that was offset by being dead last against the pass and 29th in sacks. McCoy is the best player on this unit, he's arguably one of the best in the league. He came out in the draft with Ndamukong Suh, and never received as much media attention as he did, but some believe McCoy is just as good if not better.
"He's a far more fundamentally sound player than Suh is," one scout said. "He does a good job of getting leverage and he's a much better run-stopper."
The secondary was the group that needed the biggest makeover after last year and that is exactly what they got. They picked up a bonafide superstar in Revis and also added Banks and Goldson. Revis is the key to this engine. He missed most of last season with an ACL injury but the team his expecting him to return to his 4-time Pro Bowl form. The team is going to take a hit with the loss of Eric Wright though. It seems many teams around the league are taking a no nonsense approach to troublesome players. After two arrests for Wright, one last season and another one in the last 10 days, the team promptly traded him to the 49ers. While many can question whether or not it was justified one thing that can't be questioned is that the coach and GM won't have players who don't fit the Buccaneer mold on the roster.
The team isn't a finished product by any stretch of the imagination, but they are heading in the right direction. As the old saying goes, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. They have established their identities with a solid group of young players on both sides of the ball and are known to be aggressive. Maybe a little too aggressive, I still don't like the move they pulled on the Giants kneel down last year. However, I fully expect the team to improve on their 7-9 record and make a run for a wild card spot come playoff time.