An Optimist'S Guide to How the 2013 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Offense Might Look
We already know how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offense looked in 2012; Josh Freeman uses his strong arm to float a ball high in the air, Vincent Jackson uses his size to snatch it as it comes down, and Doug Martin runs all over defenses.
Now with the 2013 NFL season slowly approaching (only seven months left), we began to think about how the Bucs offense might evolve after an offseason of revising the play books.
The first big question is how Josh Freeman will do. No.5 had his moments last season, but was inconsistent throughout. You never knew which Freeman you were getting on any given Sunday, and, perhaps, not even any given snap.
His completion percentage of 54.8 percent was the lowest it's been since his rookie season. But his passing yards and yards per attempt were both career bests (4065 and 7.29, respectively).
Then there's the interception problem. Seventeen interceptions is a lot, but it should be noted that nine of them came in the last three weeks of the season. That could reflect either regression, or just trying too hard to get a win and forcing the ball into places here it never should have been thrown.
Let's assume the latter. This is "An Optimist's Guide," after all.
Now let's assume Freeman fixes his mechanical issues. He now steps into every single throw, which means his accuracy percentage shoots up to a respectable 63 percent, a career high.
Freeman takes full advantage of Vincent Jackson's 6'5'' height, and the wide receiver benefits by recording 1400 yards on the season, averaging 21 yards per catch. Jackson gains the reputation as one of the best perimeter receivers in the NFL.
Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan decides to move into a spread-like system, which helps out Jackson's protégés Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn. Since V-Jax commands defense's attention, the fourth year receivers are able to gain around 700 receiving yards each. Speedster Tiquan Underwood does pretty well for himself, playing both the slot and the outside.
In the meantime, Luke Stocker has developed into a Rob Gronkowski-like tight end, becoming a dominant run blocker and a vertical threat as well. Dallas Clark emerges as Freeman's go-to guy on third down.
Of course, no one has a better year than Doug Martin.
If you thought 2012 was his breakout season, you ain't seen nothing yet.
With both Pro Bowl guards Carl Nicks and Davin Joseph healthy, Martin gains 1700 rushing yards, good for second in the NFL (too bad Adrian Peterson actually does Eric Dickerson's rushing record in 2013).
Not content with dominance on the ground, the Muscle Hamster takes to the skies, to the tune of 600+ receiving yards.
LeGarrette Blount embraces his new role as a fullback and manages around 400 total yards himself.
Behind the wheels of this high powered offense, the Bucs close the 2013 season with a 10-6 record.
And this time they make the playoffs.
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