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In Grading the Bucs Offense, a sliding scale is a MUST!

2009 Bucs grades are going to be hard to do. We had 3 different seasons rolled into one, but someone's got to do it. So here you go, the first half is the Offense, tomorrow is part two; Defense.

Quarterback: C-

This has to be broken up into pieces, and this is much more of an individual grade. On a whole, Josh Freeman has the largest part of this grade, as he started the greatest part of the season. His 9 games earns him a C grade. Freeman got 0 reps in the offseason, and started his first game with Sammy Stroughter and Maurice Stovall as his starting wide receivers....and Freeman excelled. Any undue criticism of him needs to take that into consideration. He is better than average, but not quite fully above average yet. Josh Freeman showed us he will not be labeled a bust anytime soon, he has potential to be great. Time will tell. Josh Johnson Gets a D+. He is below average, but also shows potential. If given a quality team like say the San Diego Chargers, Josh Johnson would do well, eventually. Bryon Leftwich gets a C-. He is an average QB, and that is all he will ever be. He is slightly below that.

Future: The QB position belongs to Josh Freeman now, and as a whole with a C grade, requires time, patience and education. A veteran Backup wouldnt hurt him either.

Running Back: Incomplete/C-

Incomplete is because the offense refused to run the ball until the last two games, and the last one too. Which tells me Greg Olsen is truely a Gruden Disciple and abandons the run if its not working instead of making it work a la  Dungy. Cadillac Williams is a leading candidate for the NFL Come Back player of the year. He also finished only 179 yards shy of a 1,000 yard season, and when you look at his 2006 numbers, 798 and a 3..4 average, you see he is a franchise back. These are the last two years he was a starting tailback. This year, we didnt run at all. In 2006, we stunk completely, yet still 800 yards.  Derrick Ward is a full incomplete, but he ended up with 409 yards and a 3.6 average. A better blocking line and these guys can compete with the best.

Future: Earnest Graham gets you 2 yards guaranteed. BJ Askew and Byron Storer will be back next year. This area does not need to be addressed at this time, but it wouldnt hurt if we did.

Offensive Line: Incomplete   - We simply CANNOT grade this line this year. They were told to lose weight..learn a whole new system, then abandon that system, learn the old way again, gain weight....its no wonder this line regressed this year. And oh, you lose your Center for four games in the beginning of the season, and your most promising guard is out all year with a mental health issue.  No wonder at all. Jeremy Trueblood led the league with penalties, and lowers grade. 

Future: Outlook is positive here with a full offseason learning one offense and using it all year. Bucs are high on Demar Dotson and Jeremy Zuttah as reserves, and Aaron Sears coming back next season, at least they hope. 

Wide Receivers: D

Simple fact is, injuries hurt the starting no.1 guy, and no one stepped up to be no.2 except a 7th round draft picked rookie. Michael Clayton gets a D-, and Antonio Bryant gets an incomplete. Weve seen what he can do when healthy, both physically and mentally. But AB let the season get to him, and his immaturity may be enough for a free pass out of Tampa Bay. Maurice Stovall Gets a D+, he did step up a little bit; since Freeman became the quarterback. 

Future: This position MUST be addressed in 2010 via free agency or the draft.

Place Kicker: As a position, D, however Connor Barth gets a B. Above Average kicker after struggling a little bit at first. Barth finally gave the Bucs in 2010 what they were seeking when they let Fan Favorite Matt Bryant go after an injury filled preseason. It finally worked, But only after going through three kickers!

Future: Competition should be brought in, but its probably Barth's job to lose.