The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a lot of work to do before they’re back to championship form but I can think of at least 5 good reasons to believe the immediate future will be bright.
1. Lovie Smith: The biggest difference between the Buccaneers of the present and those of the future is the addition of new head coach Lovie Smith. Smith is exactly what the Buccaneers need. He’s a coach with a proven record, a confident, not cocky, demeanor and a supporting staff he’s had a year off to assemble. Smith has big plans for the Buccaneers and I’m optimistic that they will thrive under his guidance.
2. Offseason Retooling: The keys to a successful offseason are team planning, training and player acquisition. In both cases time is on the Buccaneers’ side, primarily because of the swiftness with which the Buccaneers hired Lovie Smith. Because they did so days after the season ended, he will have optimal time to plan and implement new schemes. In regards to player acquisition, Smith has been scouting players during his year of unemployment and will have plenty of time to assess the needs of the team. Also working in the Buccaneers’ favor is their draft position, they have the 7th overall pick, which personally I’m hoping they use to grab a new quarterback.
3. Chip on Their Shoulder: It’s been a rough few years for the Buccaneers. With the exception of a 10-6 season in 2010, the last 5 seasons and last 2 coaches have been mostly disappointment for the team. There have been glimpses of greatness and talk of potential but no consistent success. The Buccaneers have some fantastic players, but they can’t produce wins alone and the team as a whole has to be sick of losing. Failure is a great motivator and the overhaul in team management and coaching staff gives the Buccaneers an opportunity to start fresh.
4. Worst to First: The NFC South has a history of teams going from worst in the division 1 season, to first in the division the next. This has happened in the NFC South in 5 of the last 10 seasons. Of those five, the Buccaneers pulled off this feat twice, in 2005 and 2007. There’s no reason to think they can’t do it again. It could be the Buccaneers’ year to revive, they were worst last season and are looking for first in 2014.
5. The Past is the Future: The Buccaneers are looking to the past to replicate their success. The new staff is defense-minded and the Buccaneers thrived when their defense carried the team. Additionally, the team’s owners have hired staff members that have a history with the team, including head coach Lovie Smith and linebackers coach Hardy Nickerson. With any luck the Buccaneers can reestablish themselves as a top-notch team.