In no particular order, here are five things the Bucs need to do to insure a happy Buccaneers 2010 season; with an extra point after the jump.
- Continue to show improvement in play- The Bucs have been blown out by double digits in 5 of the first 7 games. In the last four? The Bucs lost one big, but won one, and lost the other two by a combined 5 points!.... in the last minute of each game! Josh Freeman is outplaying the other two big named rookie quarterbacks, as Josh is now 69 out of 125 (55.2%) for 793 yards 7 TDs and 5 Ints. His 76.5 QB Rating is higher than the 62.4 for Stafford or 62.1 for Sanchez. Both of those QBs have thrown for less completion %, and have a higher interception rate too.
- Maintain continuity- Many fans want to see Bill Cowher coach this Bucs team. Yet Cowher's success comes from his ownership giving him 15 plus years to run the team, and not let him go at the first sign of a poor record or poor showings. The Quick Pull that fans want to do with Raheem is exactly the thing that would have ruined Cowher. Redskins QB Campbell is a fine example of what happens to a QB who gets a new Coordinator each year. Closer to home Bucs Shawn King had a new coordinator each year, Shula in '99, Les Steckle, Clyde Christianson, Jon Gruden was no. 4 in 4 years. Keep Raheem Morris, Greg Olsen, and remove the Bates defensive coaches so everyone is on the same page. We are seeing this improvement we have been looking for all year. If it continues, this offseason isnt the time to do it.s
- Import more defensive talent, starting with the Defensive Line- Now that its obvious the Bucs return to the Tampa Two is a little more long term, the restocking of the Bucs defense is now on a lesser scale. Before the season is over, the defensive coaches need to assess if anyone on the roster is capable of taking over the undertackle 3 technique. If not, then this is a critical position on the roster that must be addressed in the NFL Draft, and Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh is a popular choice for that particular need. The secondary will need some attention too, as Ronde Barber is not getting younger, and Sabby Piscitelli needs to be assessed if he is the man to take the free safety position for the Bucs.
- Punting is fundamental- Its not FUN though for Bucs fans, watching Dirk Johnson punt that is. The Bucs 'for real' punter Josh Bidwell's condition must be assertained to determine if his season ending injury is going to hamper his efforts in 2010. The last thing a struggling defense needs is a poor punter. Connor Barth seems to be the real deal in the place kicking department. When he misses, he misses by feet, not stadiums. Matt Bryant was similar.
- Find a franchise running back- Take a moment to get your breath back after reading this one...and tell everyone which of the three running backs is a real, bonafide franchise back, that can be relied upon in a pinch. Cadillac? Love the whole story, its a great one, but he is 90% of what he was. A franchise back can break a 45 yard TD. Which one of our Backs do you see doing that? Derrick Ward has been a disapointment, but will be given another chance next year. Earnest Graham may be the real deal, but we need an LT, a Bettis, an........Alstott, to go with our Freeman.
- OK OK, Extra Point- It may not sound popular. But number 5 + 1; Re-sign Antonio Bryant- Forget the injury. They happen. Its not a career bug, but it was bad enough that it affected most of he season. Not really his fault. What did he do with it? Did he cause a disruption in the lockeroom? Wasnt that the worry after all about AB? Not that he could do the job, but that he wouldnt turn into a head case. Two seasons now, and the worse we have is Bryant saying throw the ball more please. Tell me he is wrong first before you let him go, because you can bet there will be a line at the Free Agency window if he is not given a long term contract. Also...start Sammy Stroughter and Maurice Stovall so 1) Sammy can show he is a serious #2 guy, or 3) Stovall can finally show us he is more than a special team star.