Jun 212013
 

Darrelle Revis13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Head Coach: Greg Schiano
2012 Record: 7-9
2012 Offense: 389 points scored, 13th in points, 9th in yards (10th passing, 15th rushing)
2012 Defense: 394 points allowed, 23rd in points, 29th in yards (32nd passing, 1st rushing)

Key Additions
CB Darrelle Revis, S Dashon Goldson, WR Kevin Ogletree, DT Derek Landri, LB Jonathan Casillas, T Gabe Carimi, RB Brian Leonard, RB Jeff Demps, TE Tom Crabtree, TE Zach Miller, DT Andre Neblett, CB Michael Adams, CB Jonathan Banks, QB Mike Glennon, T Akeem Spence, DE William Gholston

Key Losses
S Ronde Barber, TE Dallas Clark, G Derek Hardman, DT Michael Bennett, DT Corey Irvin, DT Roy Miller, CB EJ Biggers, DB Brandon McDonald, T Jeremy Trueblood, WR Arrelious Benn, RB LeGarrette Blount, LB Quincy Black, RB DJ Ware

Why 2013 will be better
Lavonte David and Mason Foster lead a talented front seven on defense. With the best run defense and the worst passing defense in the league last season, it wasn’t hard to figure out where the Bucs would spend their energies in the off-season. Enter Revis and Goldson, who immediately improve a porous secondary by a lot, and who will serve as anchors for Eric Wright and Mark Barron. Adding Banks brings in depth with a ball-hawking corner. Suddenly a defensive liability looks much improved as long as Revis is healthy, and the Bucs defense promises to be one of the better units in the league. On offense, the line was riddled with injuries in 2012, yet still performed as a top ten offense. With a healthy and deep offensive line, Josh Freeman should have plenty of time to find favorite weapons Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams. Adding Ogletree is a solid move. Doug Martin had a fantastic rookie season, rushing for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns, as well as catching 49 passes out of the backfield.

Why 2013 will be worse
Freeman has been a model of inconsistency so far in his NFL career, and this is a make or break season for him in Tampa. Glennon is arguably one of the best quarterbacks from a thin quarterback draft, but isn’t ready to take the team over just yet. So the Bucs will live and die this season on a signal-caller who is 11-20 as a starter over the past two seasons with 43 touchdown passes and 39 interceptions. With Dallas Clark gone, the Bucs are thin at tight end, where Luke Stocker is the best choice among few options. Otherwise, the Bucs have a deep roster and appear ready to compete.

Outlook
If we can assume that Josh Freeman simply serves as a neutral force, the Bucs appear prepared to challenge the Falcons and Saints in the NFC South. However, quarterback play is a significant predictor of team success, and the Bucs could go in either direction as a result. They ended 2012 losing five of their last six games, but have dramatically improved their pass defense, assuming Revis returns to a level close to what he played at with the Jets. If the offensive line stays healthy, this team should be in the hunt for a playoff spot. Their window appears to be anywhere from seven to ten wins, but I’ll set the over/under at nine.

Apr 272013
 

Jamie CollinsOnce again, the New England Patriots traded out of the first round in order to secure more picks and then proceeded to baffle the “experts” with their selections, drawing twice from the secondary at Rutgers. The Patriots targeted defense and wide receivers, which was widely expected prior to the raft. Let’s take an early look at the Patriots’ 2013 draft selections.

Second Round

Pick 20 (52nd overall) – Jamie Collins, OLB, Southern Mississippi

The Patriots passed up my fave pass rusher in SMU’s Margus Hunt, who was taken with the next pick by Cincinnati. So what do the Patriots get in Collins? According to Mike Mayock, Collins is “one of the most explosive edge rushers in this draft. He’ll line up, stick his hands in the dirt and get his hands in the quarterback.” If that is true it would certainly be music to Bill Belichick’s ears, as the Pats could use a pass rusher opposite Chandler Jones to apply consistent pressure to the quarterback. However, if the Patriots plan to use Collins as a linebacker, they will need to coach him up on keeping track of his place in coverage. Collins has a lean fame that he is still growing into, and has quick feet, having converted to linebacker from the safety position. Collins smells like a boom or bust candidate for the Pats.

Pick 27 (59th overall) – Aaron Dobson, WR, Marshall

Donson is quite possibly the best sleeper receiver of the draft, and is the best wide receiver prospect to come out of Marshall since Randy Moss; not that Dobson has Moss’ talent. Dobson looks more like a cross between Brandon Lloyd and Sidney Rice, and has the potential to fill the Patriots’ glaring need at X receiver.  “He’s big, he’s fast, he’s got good hands, he’s a strong player,” Belichick said of Dobson. “Smart, very smart. He has some position flexibility and versatility. Catches the ball very well.” Like Lloyd, Dobson is not a burner, but will make acrobatic catches. He seems like a better bet than the other second round receivers taken during the Belichick era, but time will tell.

Third Round

Pick 21 (83rd overall) – Logan Ryan, CB, Rutgers

Ryan is an aggressive and physical corner with good size. He is not a burner and still needs to work on his technique. Ryan has a habit of not turning his head to find the ball, a flaw that Patriots’ fans are too familiar with. Still, Belichick sees a lot of raw talent in Ryan. “He’s been very productive. He’s one of the most productive corners in the draft,” Belichick said. “He’s been in a very good system. He’s been well-coached, knows his techniques well, he’s an instinctive player. He’s tough, a good tackler.”

Pick 29 (91st overall) – Duron Harmon, S Rutgers

Word is that Belichick and other coaches went to Rutgers looking at Logan Ryan, and then fell in love with Duron Harmon. According to Mike Mayock, “Bill Belichick knows that school like few coaches do. I had him on my board late as a late-priority free agent. I got on him late when I saw some cut-ups. I moved him up my board because I went, ‘Wow.'” Harmon is this year’s annual surprise pick by Belichick, and was not invited to the NFL Combine. Harmon is considered a high character guy, and becomes the third player from Rutgers in the Patriots’ secondary, joining Ryan and safety Devin McCourty. For the moment, he appears to add depth at the strong safety spot.

Fourth Round

Pick 5 (102nd overall) – Josh Boyce, WR, TCU

Boyce will immediately add depth at the slot receiver position, behind Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman. His quickness and strength are reminiscent of both Edelman and Devery Henderson. Boyce has good hands but is not able to bring in balls when extending himself. He cuts well and is good at creating separation. Boyce seems to be a solid fourth round value pick.

Seventh Round

Pick 20 (226th overall) – Michael Buchanan, DE, Illinois

Buchanan had a huge junior year for the Illini, then ended up in a fight and had his jaw wired shut, causing him to lose twenty pounds and causing him to have a disappointing senior year. Buchanan is a solid pass rusher who needs to gain weight and improve his technique, but could be a real find in the seventh round.

Pick 29 (235th overall) – Steve Beauharnais, LB, Rutgers

That’s right… the Pats grabbed another defender from Rutgers. Beauharnais is a solid, strong player who can stuff the run. He can cover on short passing plays but will struggle to cover right ends in man coverage, and he lacks the speed to be an edge rusher.

Beyond these players, the Patriots sent a seventh round pick and running back Jeff Demps to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for running back LeGarrette Blount, who failed to produce under Greg Schiano in Tampa. Blount had a solid rookie campaign but has struggled mightily over the past two seasons. If he can regain his form he would be an excellent complement to the Patriots’ backs, but the Patriots are deep at this spot and Blount is not a lock too make the team.

Dec 262012
 

Russell WilsonWe hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and that at least some of you get a few extra days off to relax as we head into 2013. Our Week 16 Power Rankings have the Seahawks supplanting the 49ers by virtue of the Sunday night smackdown that they laid upon them. And despite the 13-2 record of the Atlanta Falcons, they’re still not getting love here, as they are ranked fourth going into the final week of the regular season. Here is our complete set of rankings for this week:

1. Denver Broncos (12-3, W10, U) – Still not seeing them as Super Bowl bound, but all they do is win

2. Seattle Seahawks (10-5, W4, +5) – The idea of this team with a potent offense is just frightening

3. New England Patriots (11-4, W1, U) – So which Patriots team shows up for the playoffs? The one that pasted the Texans or the one that barely beat the Jaguars? Perhaps only Gronk knows…

4. Atlanta Falcons (13-2, W2, U) – There is only one question where the Falcons are concerned, and we will start getting our answers in three weeks

5. San Francisco 49ers (10-4-1, L1, -3) – Any points they got for winning in Foxboro just got wiped away in Seattle

6. Green Bay Packers (11-4, W4, U) – The offense is clicking at the right time, but will their defense stop anyone in the playoffs?

7. Houston Texans (12-3, L1, -2) – This could be the most potent team to go one and done in the playoffs

8. Indianapolis Colts (10-5, W1, +1) – Is there a better success story in the NFL this season?

9. Washington Redskins (9-6, W6, +2) – Not bad for a team written off by their own coach just six weeks ago

10. Cincinnati Bengals (9-6, W2, +1) – They don’t match up well with the Patriots, so they are hoping for the Pats to go up or down in the seedings

11. Baltimore Ravens (10-5, W1, +1) – Not so potent, and also facing a possible one and done

12. Minnesota Vikings (9-6, W3, +3) – Are the Vikings the Colts of the NFC? We’ll know in one more week…

13. New York Giants (8-7, L2, -5) – The fat lady hasn’t sung yet, but she’s warming up

14. Dallas Cowboys (8-7, L1, U) – The teasing reached a new low against the Saints

15. Chicago Bears (9-6, W1, +1) – One more chance to salvage Lovie’s job…

16. New Orleans Saints (7-8, W2, +2) – Truth be told, this team got the 2012 it deserved; can it rebound for a more successful 2013?

17. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8, L3, -4) – This team has some serious off-season questions to answer

18. St. Louis Rams (7-7-1, W1, +1) – The fact that this team was alive through 14 games is a testament to the coaching of Jeff Fisher

19. Miami Dolphins (7-8, W2, +2) – Ryan Tannehill is not going to be Rookie of the Year, but he may be the answer to Miami’s quarterback woes

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-9, L5, -3) – Perhaps the Bucs were over-performing, but this is a disappointing ending to what was a promising first season for Greg Schiano

21. Cleveland Browns (5-10, L2, -1) – The house-cleaning will likely clear away both GM and Head Coach, but Tom Heckert has done right by the Browns

22. San Diego Chargers (6-9, W1, +1) – Philip Rivers will survive the post-season changes coming, but should he?

23. Carolina Panthers (6-9, W3, +1) – The Panthers are showing some character by finishing strong, and likely saving Ron Rivera in the process

24. Detroit Lions (4-11, L7, +2) – They moved up because they can beat the teams below them, but this team needs to fix a defense that is built on hype

25. Buffalo Bills (5-10, L3, U) – Speaking of defenses built on hype…

26. New York Jets (6-9, L2, -4) – The only way to fix what’s wrong is to blow it up; it’s that bad – of course the Jets won’t, and 2013 is already looking bleak

27. Arizona Cardinals (5-10, L1, +1) – Is Brian Hoyer the 2013 starter?

28. Philadelphia Eagles (4-11, L2, +1) – Michael Vick starts his last game as an Eagle

29. Tennessee Titans (5-10, L1, -2) – Titans on pace to give up franchise record number of points, and their offense isn’t very good either

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-13, L4, U) – Gutsy performance against New England, but this is a very bad team

31. Oakland Raiders (4-11, L1, U) – Will Carson Palmer be back?

32. Kansas City Chiefs (2-13, L3, U) – Romeo Crennel won’t be…

May 222012
 

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Head Coach: Greg Schiano

Projected Starting Quarterback: Josh Freeman

2011 Record:  4 wins, 12 losses (4th in NFC South)

No postseason appearance

21st in Total Offense, 30th in Total Defense

2002-2011 10 year record: 74 wins, 86 losses (T-20th in NFL)

3 win, 2 losses in postseason

1-0 in Super Bowl appearances

1-0 All-time in Super Bowl