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Which Buccaneers have been overhyped this offseason?

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Off-season changes have drastically increased the potential of this team, at least in our minds. Some moves have been lauded a little too loudly as fans have unrealistic expectations for a few players.

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It has been particularly difficult this off-season for the Buccaneer faithful to resist buying into the hype. Pundits on ESPN and NFL Network spoke non-stop praise of the coaching change and fans lauded most of the draft picks. Come January, the cautiously optimistic will have the least wilted of hearts.

Aside from Lovie Smith, all excitement stems from the players.  Certain individuals warrant that optimism: David in the new defensive scheme, McCoy playing downhill this year with Michael Johnson next to him, and Vincent Jackson getting a better passer. There are a few athletes, both starter and role-players, who are already preparing to disappoint.  These are some people for whom we shouldn't set the bar too high:

Doug Martin

The former rookie sensation is healthy- if he plays a full season, it will be a vast improvement on last year. With a restocked passing game in front of him and a more competent quarterback, the opportunity is his to return to form.

Why we should temper our enthusiasm

Jace Daniels and Kadeem Edwards- any further explanation would be superfluous.

Bonus: Josh McCown for the exact same reasons in addition to his previously upsetting career.

Tommy Streeter

At 6'5", he runs a 4.4 flat and can jump a bit. His size along with that of the rest of the offense will allow him to back up either receiver efficiently.  He's been making noise in camp and got into the endzone last week against the Jaguars.

Why we should temper our enthusiasm:

He has a knack for missing opening day rosters- and I had to look up whether he's actually recorded a catch,  which he hasn't.  He wowed at the combine with his speed,  though the prescient Mike Mayock commented that it didn't translate to the field.   It would be a victory in and of itself if he makes the team and gets on the field in four-receiver sets.  Any production whatsoever would be  a pleasant surprise, and no one should be counting on it.

Jeff Demps

He's been flashing in camp; really making use of his speed to embarrass linebackers. A literal Olympic sprinter in pads is the embodiment of the ideal athlete in Tredford's system, and having Demps in the backfield would be something that commands attention from fans and respect from defensive coordinators.

Why we should temper our enthusiasm:

Demps might not even make the team. Bobby Rainy and Mike James both proved to be very capable back ups last season, each performing well against quality defenses.  The frequent appearances and above average play of Jorvorskie Lane leads onlookers to believe the team will keep a fullback.   Without solidifying a position on special teams there doesn't seem to be any room left for the Gator alum.

Update:

I wrote this prior to Sims' injury. Demps may face less intimidating odds of making the team, yet his play will have to drastically improve for him to make an impact on the field.

Michael Johnson

Thanks to the best defensive tackle in the league, Johnson is constantly going to be rushing a collapsed pocket. Last year's downturn in sacks fails to show the staggering amount of pressures he amassed on quarterbacks, and not all of those near misses are going to fall away from him this year.

Why we should temper our enthusiasm:

Only once did Johnson score double digit sacks, he's been playing next to the second-best defensive tackle in the league, Geno Atkins, for years. The uptick from Geno to Gerald, while appreciable, is not substantial, and he won't have Carlos Dunlap on the left side to pose a significant threat, either. Johnson will be stout against the run, as always, yet he is far from being relevant in the race for the sack title.

Da'Quan Bowers

It's the final year of his rookie deal and he is actually competing for a spot this year. Making a few solid plays in the first preseason game breathed hope into many that he's found his niche. Media outlets have reported that both he and the front office are aware that he needs to produce, and Bowers has said this will be the year he does it.

Why we should temper our enthusiasm:

For a multitude of reasons, the Clemson standout is a bust. It pains me to watch who I thought was a steal become what he has.  Of all defensive ends in camp, he possesses the most talent, however he has also had the worst luck. When he wasn't coming off of an injury he was being wasted (benched). Now he's back to coming off of an injury and playing in an unnatural position where he would only see time if Gerald McCoy can't suit up.  The team would be very fortunate if they occasionally kicked him out to the end spot and he appeared on the stat sheet. Anyone still hoping he can be the 10+ sack guy that legitimizes the outside rush needs to mourn the starting career that has already been buried.

Lovie Smith

Lovie has the ability to fix nearly any problem on defense. Letting opponents in the endzone is something his defenses have consistently avoided in his tenure, and that allows pedestrian offenses to keep pace. If the Towers of Terror falter, the defense won't.

Why we should temper our enthusiasm:

Lovie Smith is a poor game manager, particularly with the offense. Far too often he defaults to his specialty and doesn't understand the value of challenges-both of which put his team in the unfortunate position of losing a winnable game.

All teams enter the season looking to improve while the fans are eager to perpetuate the positive spin.  Tampa stresses that winning now is a top priority, and people should believe them when they say that. Their stance that this year is not of rebuilding, however, isn't as unquestionable.  Though the team certainly has a great deal in place to win they have no answer for their offensive line and are without a long term solution at quarterback. The success of the team this season will live and die on the arm of Josh McCown and how well it is protected. I'm in agreement with the win projections of many pundits as Tampa heads for a promising, yet mediocre finish.