The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had one hell of a busy offseason. That busy offseason with a large amount of turnover has created the illusion of improvement, but is that really the reality of this year? Most of the new additions displaced a solid-if-not-great veteran. The Bucs did add significant depth, but did they truly improve their front-line quality across the board?
ESPN certainly seems to think so. They polled a few of their NFL analysts to review teams' offseasons, and the Bucs received an A- grade. Bill Polian was especially laudatory, noting that "everything they did on defense fit perfectly."
Matt Williamson was less impressed, though.
I'm not sold on McCown. I know Verner is a really good player, but I'd still rather have Revis. They are certainly better at receiver, but Evans and Seferian-Jenkins are rookies. The line looks better. They are not a contender all of a sudden."
Boo. Boo, I say, boo!
NFL.com was more consistently complimentary, which is not that hard when differing opinions aren't made explicit.
When a team cleans house after a lackluster season, you want to see it take the following steps:
» Go after a respected commodity in a head coach.
» Hire an astute personnel mind at general manager.
» Acquire talented young free agents.
» Have a solid draft.
Oh, and you also want the organization to do its best to make over a stale image. That's the recipe for a solid offseason. The Bucs have knocked it out of the park since January 1.
Sounds pretty much like what the Bucs did. Then again, the team has received consistently high marks for its offseason activities (especially the draft) for years on end -- the one exception being when their free agent additions consisted of Michael Koenen at a very high price-point.
Good reviews in May are fun. It's nice to read positive things about your favorite team. Good reviews in January are a lot more important, though.