YOOOAdrian’s 2010 NFL Preview- Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay has a huge rebuilding project ahead.  In the middle of the massive project is massive quarterback Josh Freeman.  The team is hoping that he takes huge successful strides this season in his 1st full season as a starter.  Freeman’s dilemma is his lack of talent at the playmaking positions.  On the defensive side of the ball, the team took defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.  There are comparisons already being made to Warren Sapp. 

 Quarterbacks

 Josh Freeman- 158/290  54.5%  1,855 yds  10 td  18 int

Freeman is 6’6 with a strong arm, shows poise in the pocket and shows excellent mobility for his size.  He has the attributes to improve his craft, but it’s going to take some time.  He still needs to get better with his mechanics and reading defenses.  There’s one surprising statistic I noticed.  As a rookie, his completion percentage was better than fellow rookie quarterbacks Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez.

Quarterback Josh Freeman #5 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drops back to pass against the Miami Dolphins at Land Shark Stadium on November 15, 2009 in Miami Gardens, Florida.

(Josh Freeman)

 Others- Josh Johnson, Rudy Carpenter

Johnson is another young pup who struggled during his stint as a starter last season.

Carpenter is a 2nd year guy from Arizona State.

Grade- 7

 Running Backs

 Cadillac Williams- 211 car  823 yds  3.9 avg  4 td  28 rec  217 yds  3 td

The story of Cadillac just to get back on the football field is incredible.  He came back last season after suffering 2 separate knee injuries in 2007 and 2008.

(Cadillac Williams)

Williams doesn’t own many electrifying moves, but he’s aggressive and runs with a purpose.

Derrick Ward- 114 car  409 yds  3.6 avg  1 td  20 rec  150 yds  2 td

The Ward signing showed how dominant the Giants offensive line was when Ward played with them.  Ward is nothing but a one-cut runner with a good burst.

Others- Earnest Graham, Kareem Huggins

Graham is a powerful runner who was converted to fullback last year.  He had only 14 carries last season.

GRADE- 7 

Receivers

 Sammie Stroughter- 31 rec  334 yds  10.8 avg  1 td

Stroughter had a pleasant rookie season.  He doesn’t have great size or speed, but finds ways to get open.

 Reggie Brown- 9 rec  155 yds  17.2 avg 

The Bucs went and got Brown from Philadelphia.  Brown fell out of the wide receiver rotation in Philly.

Arrelious Benn- ROOKIE

Benn is a 2nd round pick from Illinois.  He’s strong with deceptive quickness.  He’s good after the catch.

TE- Kellen Winslow- 77 rec  884 yds  11.5 avg  5 td

Winslow will remain Freeman’s go to guy.  Winslow is a matchup nightmare at the tight end position.  He’s strong, quick and explosive after the catch.

(Kellen Winslow)

Others- Mike Williams, Maurice Stovall, Michael Clayton

Williams is an intriguing player taken in the 4th round from Syracuse.  He has major character flaws, but has immense talent.  He could become a fine possession receiver.

Clayton has never gotten back to his great rookie season in 2004.

GRADE- 7

 Offensive Line

 LT- Donald Penn

The team didn’t appreciate Penn’s weight gain, which seemed to hamper his play.  He lost 25 pounds in the offseason.

 LG- Jeremy Zuttah

Zuttah is a solid player with some power, but got pushed back often at the point of attack.

 C- Jeff Faine

Faine is a wise veteran and emotional leader of the offensive line. 

RG- Davin Joseph

Joseph is a huge roadgrader who’s agile and quick for a guard.  He seemed to struggle in some of the team’s zone blocking schemes last season.

(Davin Joseph)

 RT- Jeremy Trueblood

Trueblood needs to mature and cut down on his penalties.  A contract year can always motivate a player.

GRADE- 7.5

 Defensive Line

 LDE- Tim Crowder- 43 tck  3.5 sck  2 p def

Crowder is large and muscular, but doesn’t have an explosive burst.

 LDT- Brian Price- ROOKIE

The Bucs tried to solidify the future of the defensive tackle position by double-dipping in the draft.  Price is a 2nd round pick from UCLA.  He shoots gaps quickly and is very powerful.

 RDT- Gerald McCoy- ROOKIE

McCoy is a perfect fit as a 3-technique in the Tampa-2.  At Oklahoma, he spent most of his time in the opponents backfield.  He possesses power, a relentless motor and plays hard.  Some draft experts had McCoy ahead of Ndamukong Suh on their draft boards.

(Gerald McCoy)

 RDE- Stylez White- 43 tck  6.5 sck  1 p def

White led the team in sacks, but his play needs to be more consitent.  He’s better fit as a nickel rusher, but he will start due to a lack of depth and talent at the position.

Others- Ryan Sims, Kyle Moore, Roy Miller

Sims started all 16 games at defensive tackle. 

Moore is in his 2nd year.  He may move to defensive end due to the lack of depth at that position.

GRADE- 7

 Linebackers

 LOLB- Quincy Black- 84 tck  1.5 sck  1 int  4 p def

Black lacks size, but makes up for it with fantastic speed.  He flows to the football.

MLB- Barrett Ruud- 142 tck  1 int  7 p def  1 ff

Ruud is a solid middle linebacker who doesn’t miss many tackles.  He doesn’t have great speed, but makes up for it with instincts.  With McCoy and Price now anchoring the middle of the line, Ruud won’t have to occupy as many blockers.

ROLB- Geno Hayes- 98 tck  3 sck  2 int  6 p def  1 ff

Hayes played well in his 1st full season as a starter.  He covers a lot of ground with excellent speed.  He led the team with 14 tackles for loss.

(Geno Hayes)

Others- Angelo Crowell, Jon Alston

Crowell is a productive linebacker if he can stay healthy. 

GRADE- 7.25

 Secondary

 LCB- Aqib Talib- 64 tck  5 int  15 p def 

Talib is tall and has long arms.  He’s a shutdown corner, has great ball skills and can help out in run support.  He also fits the zone heavy scheme.

(Aqib Talib)

 RCB- Ronde Barber- 77 tck  6 p def  2 sck  2 ff

For the 1st time since his rookie season, Barber went through a season without picking off a pass.  At 35, this may be Barber’s last year as a Buc as this team continues to rebuild. 

CB- Myron Lewis- ROOKIE

At 6’2, Lewis possesses good size for a corner, and should be formidable in the slot against bigger receivers.

FS- Tanard Jackson- 71 tck  5 int  8 p def  3 ff

Jackson is a playmaker.  His instincts are superb as he diagnoses plays rather quickly.  He also has good ball skills.

SS- Sean Jones- 61 tck  2 int  5 p def  1 sck

Jones will most likely take over Sabby Piscitelli’s  starting spot at safety.  Jones is a hitter who struggles against the pass.

Others- Sabby Piscitelli, Elbert Mack, Derrick Roberson

Piscitelli has been a disappointment.  He’s not good in coverage, and misses a lot of tackles because he overpursues the ball.

GRADE- 7.5

 Special Teams

 PK- Connor Barth- 14/19  54 lg

In a game against Miami Barth set an NFL record with

P- Brent Bowden- ROOKIE

Bowden is a 6th round rookie from Virginia Tech.

KR- Clifton Smith- 31 ret  29.1 avg  83 lg

Smith led the NFC in kick return average.

PR- Clifton Smith- 23 ret  10.1 avg  21 lg

Smith has breakaway speed, but is prone to fumbling. 

 2010 PREDICTION- 4-12

As a team, Tampa Bay in my opinion, is the least talented in the NFC.  They have some favorable games, many of which are at home.  They have home confrontations against Cleveland, Detroit, Seattle and St. Louis, all winnable contests.  The key to the season will be the maturation of quarterback Josh Freeman.  Freeman showed some favorable signs last season.  Of course, the team also wants to get a glimpse of what defensive tackle Gerald McCoy could be in the future.

Offensive MVP- Josh Freeman

Defensive MVP- Aqib Talib

Breakthrough- Sammie Stroughter

Overrated- Donald Penn

Underrated- Aqib Talib

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