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Disastrous—terrible, awful and horrendous also come to mind—is the proper adjective to describe Tampa Bay's season. All that could've gone wrong, went wrong. And then some.
Josh Freeman, LeGarrette Blount and Mike Williams—supposed cornerstones of the offense—took major steps back in production, and the defense did very little to help. In fact, the defense surrendered 394.4 yards per game and a league-worst 30.9 points per game.
Not the type of season the Bucs were hoping for after finishing 10-6 and just missing out on the playoffs in 2010.
Key Losses: QB Josh Johnson, TE Kellen Winslow Jr., DT Albert Haynesworth
Key Additions: WR Vincent Jackson, G Carl Nicks, CB Eric Wright, TE Dallas Clark, QB Dan Orlovsky
Draft Picks: S Mark Barron, RB Doug Martin, LB Lavonte David, LB Najee Goode, CB Keith Tandy, RB Michael Smith, FB Drake Dunsmore
In a see-saw battle of talent, I'd take the offseason additions over the losses any day. The Bucs actively addressed both sides of the ball in preparation for another run at the playoffs.
Jackson instantly upgrades the receiving corps and gives Freeman a big-bodied, deep-ball target. That should stretch the field and open things up underneath for the run game and screens.
Martin—despite Blount's objections—will take over as the primary running back in Mike Sullivan's offense. Martin is compact and built to run inside and has the burst to bounce it outside. He can slip out of the backfield as a receiver or stay in there for pass protection.
Also, don't be surprised to see Smith, a rookie out of Utah State, get on the field in various roles as a back, receiver and return man.
The play of the defensive line—led by starters Michael Bennett, Gerald McCoy, Adrian Clayborn and Amobi Okoye—will likely determine the defense's success. If they can stop the run and pressure the quarterback, the Bucs may have a shot in the NFC South.
Projected record: 9-7