Earlier in the Off-Season I was asked by the kind folks at SportProjections.com to provide them with a Season Prediction for our Tampa Bay Bucs. The following is the fruit of that labor:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Football Preview
Last Year Record: 4-12
Last Year Summary:
Injuries, Injuries, Injuries
Last season was supposed to be the "Comeback Year", the year in which we made it back to the Super bowl or at the very least the NFC Championship Game (we were 11-5 the previous season :::NFC South Champs:::, we were allowed to think this). Oh how the Football Gods laughed in our faces and kicked us in our nether regions; just before slamming the door (in our faces) on our 2006 season. A 27-0 shellacking from the Ravens in the season Opener was a prelude to what was to come. The Bucs showed heart against the Division Rival Carolina Panthers BUT Chris Simms went down with a -Tampa Bay Bucs Season Ending- Injury (frankly his spleen got blown up by the entire Panthers Defense). Gruden then opted to start 6th Round Draft Pick Bruce Gradkowski over Veteran Quarterback Tim Rattay, in what would be the mistake of the season. Add a Rookie signal caller to a Simeon Rice, Brian Kelly, and the Offensive Lines plethora of injuries and you have the ingredients for a 4-12 season on your hands.
Key Losses: DE Dewayne White, LB Shelton Quarles, DE Simeon Rice
Key Additions: DE Gaines Adams, DE Kevin Carter, QB Jeff Garcia, LT Luke Petitgout, LB Cato June, LB Jeremiah Trotter
Team Strength: Experienced Defense, Healthy Offensive Line, Healthy Running Back, Mobile Quarterback
Team Weakness: Suspect against the Run, Inexperienced Offensive Line, Wide Receiving Corps, Stubborn Play Calling, Safety Position
2007 Projected Team MVP: QB Jeff Garcia
2007 Projected Record: 10-6
2007 Season Projection Summary:
Offensively the Bucs will be much improved. Gone are the days of batted passes and missed deep routes. Wide-Receiver Joey Galloway will have a BREAKOUT season with Jeff Garcia under center. The re-vamped offensive line behind Luke Petitgout and Davin Joseph/Jeremy Trueblood's gained experience will help third year Running back Cadillac Williams experience a much easier season production wise. Out of the gates the team will seem a little rough, but by Week 3 they'll hit their stride.
Defensively I think the Bucs will struggle a bit. Not enough to wreck the whole season, but enough to give many Buc Fans aneurisms. The Defensive Line is a complete question mark: Simeon Rice is gone, Gaines Adams may not even start (actually he is, but for how long), and Kevin Carter would be the most productive guy left on the line (ouch). The Linebackers should be fairly stout with Derrick Brooks, Barrett Ruud (Jeremiah Trotter), and Cato June, but inexperience and age could derail this unit. The secondary outside of Ronde Barber is also a relative unknown. Will Brian Kelly bounce back at Cornerback? Will Jermaine Phillips and Will Allen be able to carry the load at Safety? The Defense is old and begging for a bushel of injuries.
All in all, I expect the (4-12) Bucs to really surprise a lot of their competition. The Bucs truly aren't as bad at their (4-12) record would have many believe. A ton of teams would have finished the same way, had their starter gone down and a Rookie stepped in. I'm not sure, however, whether or not 10-6 gets them into the Playoffs. A wild card match-up possibly, but the Saints are poised to take the Division once again.
NFC South Standings Projection:
1 Saints 12-4
2 Buccaneers 10-6
3 Panthers 8-8
4 Falcons 5-11
My NFC South Blog Brothren probably don't know, but I KNOW how they feel about our Bucs chances this season ....
Jaxon from Cat Scratch Reader, our Carolina Panthers Blogger, has the Bucs going (6-10). Feel free to laugh hysterically in his readers faces when we pound the
Dave from The Falcoholic, our Atlanta Falcons Blogger, has the Bucs going (5-11) this season. Hold your laughter, he has the Vick-less Falcons going 7-9, thats right, finishing with a better record than our Bucs. Dave give it up brother!!!
Sunil from Canal Street Chronicles, our New Orleans Saints Blogger, was to scared to make a prediction, thus we don't have to turn any hatrid toward his respective blog. No in reality, he was late to come on the scene and SportProjections.com probably just overlooked him. Better luck next year Sunil!!
What do you FOLKS think? Am I drinking too much Kool Aid these days or what? Surely we're not that (4-12) club that made small children cry last season are we? Let me have it