2013 Record: 4-12
The Bucs surprised many with a 6-4 start to the season. They didn’t surprise many by finishing with just one win after that. Josh Freeman showed many flashes of his 2010 breakout self instead of the disastrous 2011 self. Although he set a career high in passing yards, throwing over 4,000 for the first time, he didn’t run as much or as effective as he had in years past. He didn’t need to, though, as Doug Martin had a huge breakout season with 1,454 rushing yards. He also threw in 49 receptions for 1,926 total yards from scrimmage, making LaGarrette Blount look like a pee-wee footballer. The signing of Vincent Jackson went well for the Bucs, as he reeled in 72 receptions and 1,384 yards. Mike Williams (63 receptions, 996 yards) and tight end Dallas Clark (47 receptions, 435 yards) both had solid years as well, but as of now Clark is a free agent. The Bucs also picked up Cowboys receiver Kevin Ogletree. In most categories they were fine offensively and should be very much in the same category this year.
The defense was dominant in some areas, and atrocious in others. Namely, the pass defense was worst in the league but the rushing defense was the best. To combat the pass defense issue, the Bucs made the huge signing of safety Dashon Goldson from the 49ers. They also traded for Darrelle Revis to line up against top opponent receivers. Eric Wright lines up adjacently. Mark Barron is one of the better strong safeties in the league, and then there’s Goldson at free safety. But their linebacking core is still weak, and even the defensive line has few household names. They do have strong coaching on their side. Former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano made headlines by having his players blitz on a kneel-down against the Giants in believing his player should play all 60 minutes just as hard. Agree with the strategy, or don’t, but the players certainly believe in his aggressive style. The Bucs have a lot of talent on paper. The question is where Freeman and his crew can put it all together.