Ok, season's over and it's time to think about what happened and, what's more important, prepare for next year:
* Josh Freeman showed the potential to be our first franchise QB since Doug Williams. Next year, with more help surrounding him, will be the time prove it.
* Caddy came back healthy for a full year and probably could have played an even bigger role, but the coaching staff was a bit scared to overload him. He looked good in his role this past season, tho.
* Some of the young guys have started to prove themselves as worthy NFL starters: Geno Hayes, Tanard Jackson and Aqib Talib had good seasons on D, and Donald Penn Jeremy Zuttah and Davin Joseph (a pro bowl alternate) have been solid on the o-line. Stroughter also had a nice season. Roy Miller also showed potential at DT, which is one of our biggest needs.
* Kellen Winslow had a pretty decent season, many times having to fight double coverage, as he was our only threat on the passing game, making his signing and extension look better than they did at the time of the trade.
* Raheem Morris started the season as a new Mike Tomlin, became cannong fodder by mid-season but reacted well, acknowledging many of his mistakes (even to the point of firing both coordinators during the season) and the team also played better after those moves. He had our guys playing hard til the very last minute of a 3-13 season, and that's a good sign. Let's not rush this and give him another season at least.
* Connor Barth has been kicking really well.
* Some our young guys hasn't developed as expected and can't be counted on for anything else than depth. Piscitelly, Quincy Black, Stovall (this one has performed well, only problem is he can't stay healthy) were guys that were expected to contribute a lot more, but his games have been... uninspiring. Didn't suck, but, as stated above, they shouldn't be counted for anything else than depth.
* Derrick Ward, our biggest free agent signing last offseason, sucked. Just terrible.
* Barrett Ruud was playing for a big contract... and didn't perform as expected. Pretty average season by him, not even our best LB (Geno Hayes was).
* Trueblood has to be replaced at RT. He just led the NFL in false starts, and he's not that great when his focused, which doesn't happen often. Just a terrible season.
* Sucks to say this... but we really could use a punter.
* Antonio Bryant has to go. Enough of this brat already.
* We need at least two new faces in the D-line for next year, and that's assuming we keep Stylez G. White (who had a pretty good season since Gaines Adams was traded) and Roy Miller as starters.
As for the draft, picking at #3, we are almost forced to pick Suh if he falls (which probably won't happen) or Eric Berry if not. Either way, we need to add some talent and even more youth to this D via the draft, and those two guys are the only ones that we can rely on to create a quick turnaround of that unit.
Talk about any other sports here.
Ok, time to do a position by position review of the season, and as all of our teams are out of the playoffs, I think it'd be nice if we have a similar post in each team's thread.
Ok, get ready, because this is going to be long (and deservedly so, because after these posts, I'm only gonna post about free agents and rookies til next season).
I'm gonna make the season review in three posts, to avoid writing the longest one of this board's history.
Bucs 09 season grades:
Josh Freeman has proven to be everything we expected him to be. A rookie that makes lots of mistakes but who's a big play waiting to happen. Had a few terrible games, but considering the lack of talent surrounding him, he excelled. Still has a lot to learn, but the potential is there, and he certainly won't be labeled a bust any time soon. B-
Josh Johnson... is Freeman lite, minus the big play potential. I think he could do well with a stacked offense. If there's talent surrounding him, he won't suck. If not, well... it did get ugly this year. Probably will be a career backup. D+.
Byron Leftwich never even blinked in his Bucs tenure. It started as suddenly as it ended. He's due a $3 million roster bonus, so it's safe to say his Bucs days are over. Average QB that also can fill a backup role... but won't be with the Bucs. C-
Overall: Freeman is the face of the team now, Johnson is his backup, and they'll probably sign some kid for the practice squad or something. No need for moves here.
If Freeman is the brain of our offense, Caddy is the soul. Healthy for a whole year for the first time in his career, and getting better with each game, he finally looked like the feature back we drafted. Still gotta be careful with his knees, but I don't see a reason why he shouldn't get 20-25 carries per game next year as our #1 RB. B-.
Derrick Ward is the very definition of the term "free agent bust". Looked slow, out of shape and not really focused. Don't really see a reason to keep him. D-.
Earnest Graham was the ultimate pro once again, playing most of the season at FB. Missed the last few games in IR, but proved to put the team first and deserves to get back to his RB position next year, hopefully as our #2 behind Caddy. C+.
Kareem Huggins... didn't play at all. Spent the season on practice squad, but he's here because he showed more on preseason than Ward showed in the whole regular season. Hopefully he'll get his chance to make the team next year. INC.
BJ Askew and Byron Storer, our FBs, also missed the season in IR. Askew is great when healthy. Storer is decent when healthy. But they rarely are.
Overall: Caddy, Graham and Huggins should be more than enough for next year. What we need to do is stick to the plan of the last couple of games of the season, and that's to make running our first priority. The team refused to run the ball during the first 3/4 of the season... and it showed in our record. Pray for Askew to stay healthy and cut Storer as well. No need for lots of moves here either.
Antonio Bryant not only had a pretty poor year, saddled with injuries, drops and the like. He also managed to talk himself out of town in the last month by blaming Freeman, Morris and anybody (but him) for his poor season. Can't wait til this b*tch gets the boot. F.
Michael Clayton is a nice guy. He just sucks. Several #5 WRs have had better seasons than him, and that's unacceptable from a #2 WR in the first year of a $26 contract. Hope he gets cut as well. F.
Maurice Stovall proved to be a solid possession receiver... when healthy. C.
Sammie Stroughter was, as sad as it is to say, our best WR. Probably will develop into a nice slot receiver, and that's a lot for a 7th round pick who wasn't even expected to make the team. C+.
Overall: We may have our #3 and #4 WRs in place. Now we just have to cut Clayton and Bryant and sign/draft a couple of real NFL WRs.
Kellen Winslow Jr. just beat the all time TE reception and yards records by a Buc. Can't block for sh*t, but he's our best receiving weapon, and was voted as the team MVP by fans. Pretty good season by him, proving himself worth the pick we gave up for him. B+.
Jerramy Stevens/John Gilmore, even tho they're opposed kind of players (Gilmore strictly a blocker, Stevens strictly a jerk) were non-factors for most of the season (Gilmore was injured, tho, and probably will stay). INC.
Overall: No need to do much here, although adding some competition wouldn't hurt.
Injuries killed the line. Jeff Faine is the heart of this line, and missed lots of games and was pretty banged up when he came back. Trueblood led the league in false starts and wasn't really effective. Penn is a great pass blocker, but not as good on running downs, and has to get back into playing shape if he wants to keep his starting spot and an extension (in other words, he was fat in the second half of the year). Arron Sears missed the season. Zuttah and Demar Dotson did well, but are backups. So only Davin Joseph had a decent (not good) year, and probably not as good as he would with more talent around him.
Also, they changed systems during the season, had to lose weight, get back to the old blocking system, put on that same weight again... Crazy.
Overall: We have to add at least one Ts. Trueblood has a knack for killing drives with penalties, and Penn didn't seem to care much in the second half of the season. Getting Sears back can only help, and Faine is still one of the top Cs of the NFL when healthy. But, at least, we have to replace Trueblood. Or find a way to cut his penalties and make him develop some self-confidence, but that might be even harder than replacing him.
Tomorrow, defense grades...
Chris Hovan had a pretty commendable season, trying to do everything that was asked of him. The operative word here is "trying", as he's no longer able to dominate. At least, not without help, and he didn't have any in this team. Getting old, but probably worth keeping around for a year or two, acting more as a mentor of your young guys than anything. C-.
Ryan Sims... has been a blessing for any team we've played against this year. Awful, terrible season. Terrible against the run (his main job, to make matters worse) and unable to pressure the QB... I just don't know how he keeps a job in the NFL. At least he didn't get injured (gee...) F.
Roy Miller has been the only bright spot of our DT rotation. He's a rookie, and a bit undersized, but plays with a high motor and showed a lot of promise. Probably will develop into a nice starter, as long as he has some help around him. C+.
Dre Moore rarely played. And did nothing remarkable in that time. INC.
Overall: This is our biggest need, so Suh, McCoy or UCLA's Brian Price are a must in next draft. We need to add a starter and a backup DT, because we've a big hole there.
Jimmy Wilkerson was pretty reliable, but he's good for depth, mostly. And he's had a serious injury to end the season, so we'll see how he comes back. C-.
Stylez G. White had a pretty decent season since he took over from Gaines Adams after the former BUST (er... Buc) was traded. White delivered, ending with 5 sacks after playing consistent minutes for only half of the games. He's probably our best pass rusher, and one I wouldn't have a problem starting... as long as there's a dominant one at the other side. C+.
Kyle Moore did absolutely nothing. Not that I expected much, but seems like the coaching staff did.
Tim Crowder did some good things, tho, but he's only good in passing downs. Still, nothing more than a depth guy.
Overall: We also need help here. White is good enough to start, but we have a big hole at the other side, so drafting or adding a starting DE is a must as well.
Quincy Black has to be replaced. Has all the physical tools to be a dominant guy, but just lacks the instinct, the savvy he needs to be at the right place, at the right time. Has a lot of potential, tho, and he was a first year starter, but I think he looks more like a backup than anything. A very good backup, but a backup nonetheless. C-.
Barrett Rudd... ended third in the whole NFL in tackles, with 177, but he never had much impact in the game (that's what happens when most of your tackles take place 8 yards down from the line of scrimmage). Was solid, and is definitely a good starter, but not the kind of guy that defines a D. C+.
Geno Hayes showed a lot of promise in the first few weeks of the season, but he's really exploded since the team move back to the Tampa 2 scheme, to the point that he's been our defensive MVP in the last month. He's been flying around all over the field, making big plays and just making everybody feel a lot better about this D. B+.
Matt McCoy had to play a bit, but he's only a backup, and Angelo Crowell, one our top free agent signings, spent the season on IR and probably won't be around for next year.
Overall: Hayes, Rudd and Black will be back and, although it'd be nice to replace Black with a real starter, we have much bigger holes than LB. If there's a good chance to add an impact player, great. If not, we can stay put and feel good about it.
Ronde Barber ended the season without an INT for the first time in his career since his rookie year (I think), but he was solid all around. Had some trouble playing in Bates system, but didn't suck. And was much better after moving back to the T2. He'll probably play one or two more years, but we'll have to start looking for his replacement. B.
Aqib Talib is not shutdown CB... yet, but has a chance to be if he stays focused. He's a headcase, but also is our best player on this unit, and maybe of the whole D. I can only see Pro Bowls in his future (once again, if he's commited to the game). If anything, he risks too much at times, but he started to correct that part during the course of the season. A-.
Elbert Mack is nice for depth, but not much else. Probably will improve with experience, but his best future is as a nickel CB. C-.
Tanard Jackson missed the first 4 games of the season, but came back strong. He's gonna be a very solid starter for many, many years in this league. B+.
Sabby Piscitelly is the reason this unit's note is not better. What a waste of a second rounder. Takes bad angles, can't tackle anybody, is out of position often... has a plus for effort, but he just sucks. Another reason why drafting local kids in the high rounds is not the right way to build a winner. F.
Guys like Will Allen and Jermaine Phillips, because of injuries, get an INC, as they didn't have any kind of impact in this season. And won't be back for next year.
Overall: As I said, we need a S to pair with T-Jack. Piscitelly just sucks and HAS to be replaced. Berry would be great, obviously, but with the hole we have in the middle of the d-line, there's no way we take him if McCoy or Suh are available. But, still, we have to add a S, via free agence or with one of the later rounds. And also look for Barber's replacement as well. Other than that, we're pretty good here.
Ok, just one more post left to end this season review, regarding special teams, coaches and the future.
Final post of the season review!!!
We tried several Ks during the year. Nugent sucked, Bryant was cut in preseason because he couldn't stay healthy... and finally Connor Barth had several pretty good games. Let's hope he keeps it up next season and we'll be set there.
Bidwell missed the season and was replaced by Dirk Johnson (replaced by Sam Paulescu as well). We HAVE to sign/draft a punter, because this year was downright awful.
Now this was the strongest point of this team. Clifton Smith is a Pro Bowler, while Michael Spurlock and Sammie Stroughter have also had an impact. We're set here as well, with both Smith and Stroughter on the team.
Raheem looked way over his head for most of the season, but seems like he learned his lessons well and adjusted. Fired Jags before the season started (under claims of his playbook being... well, laughable), fired Bates mid-season, after an unsuccesful switch from the Tampa 2 (not surprisingly, the D started to play much better after swtiching back) and those two wins at Seattle and New Orleans allowed him to keep his job.
As for other coaches, Olson did a decent job with Freeman (although his play calling is someting like 70-30 towards passing plays) and deserve to keep his coordinator job and Rich Bisaccia (who's leaving the team) is had one of the best special teams units of the league. Joe Barry also did a good job developing our LBs.
Other than that... well, pretty much nothing positive to say.Actually, some of those guys, like Richard Mann (our WRs coach, who appears like he's heading for the Redskins) and Joe Baker (the secondary coach) won't be retained.
This is a horrible Lineup! (in my opinion)
Instead of the projected 3 Gimmie Games home opponents of Detroit, Cleveland & St Louis (which the BUCS could of definately beaten those teams on the road)
I think the BUCS will def pick up a win against Carolina & Atlanta... So @ Worst they are a 5-11 team.
Obviously we need to wait and see how the schedule pans out... but i think a 5-11 team next year would mean Raheem job is safe for 2011.
Word out of Tampa (at least, that's what the Bucs beat writes are saying) is that Raheem will need a 7 win season, with clear steps forward, if he's to keep his job past next year. Only the late season surge saved him this past season, without those two wins at Seattle and New Orleans, he would have been fired, but the team played well since Freeman became the starter (well for the lack of talent we have, of course) and that bought him some time.
Still, this team is committed to build a contender via draft, so I don't expect much in terms of free agent signings (maybe one or two starters, but that's about it). It's gonna be a tough season again, but I think a 6 or 7 win record is attainable (pending on a few rookies/free agents improving our talent pool, that is).
TMC, was reading through this thread a bit and you have had a wild ride as far as your feeling about Rahim Morris. From one extreme to the other and back again.
As fas as I can tell, that's exactly what happened to the Glazers as well.
But, you know, the lack of talent on this team, the amount of young players, the feel-good vibe that surrounds Freeman (who might be our first franchise QB since Doug Williams), the amazing support that Morris has from his players (Barber even said that he's retire before playing for anybody else at his point in his career) and how Morris has reacted to the losing during the season... all things considered, I think he deserved to get another season at the helm.
Being real, tho, he'd be looking for job if not for the two wins at Seattle and New Orleans... but hey, the team played much better the last quarter of the season, and let's remember that Tony Dungy had a 1-8 record after his first nine games as Bucs HC.
But it's true, Bada, it's been a wild ride this past season, and I'm not sold on Morris at all... but he deserves that chance, with some help in terms of talent. Let's give him a real chance to succeed before getting the ax.
btw, Rich Biscaccia is finally back as the Bucs STs coach, and Alex Van Pelt was signed as QBs coach to develop Freeman. I'm quite happy with both signings... not so much about losing Barry to USC, but the Bucs ain't signing long term contracts with a possible lockout looming, and it's understandable that Barry was looking for some security.
Despite looking a bit lost and over his head for some of the season, I agree he deserves another chance. It has become rediculous how quickly coaches get fired.
Ok, time to bring up this thread to life again...
Here's an interesting article about how the Bucs are approaching their future, starting by next draft, and making Freeman the franchise QB they've been looking for during the last decade:
Ok, we're doing a few things in free agency that I like. The team is committed to build this team via the draft, but they've already made a couple of minor, low-risk moves that may (or not) pay off:
* Added Reggie Brown from the Eagles for a 2011 6th rounder. Brown will be, at best, a 2nd WR, but more likely a 3rd or 4th option. In any case, there's no way he's gonna hurt when we're talking about a team with the worst WR corps of the league.
* And a signing I like a lot, Sean Jones, also coming from the Eagles, signed a two year deal with the Bucs. He's an improvement over Sabby (just having hands and being able to move is an improvement), and is 4th among safeties in INTs during the last four seasons. If we end up drafting Suh or McCoy, Jones is a good option to start opposite to Tanard Jackson.
Oh, well... no biggie in any case. This year's offseason is all about the draft.
TMC, any knowledge on who the Bucs would go if BOTH Suh and McCoy where on the board?
I'm confident (and I think the Bucs are as well) that one of them will be there. Seems like Bradford might be the Rams pick, and in that case, the Bucs will be very happy with either McCoy or Suh (they've already made up their minds regarding which one they'd prefer... but, obviously, they haven't said anything).
Personally... I think they'd prefer McCoy... but it's just a hunch. As I said, they're not telling anybody, and will probably say after the draft that the one they got is the one they were after the whole time.
If not, it gets tricky... I guess they'd try to trade down with any team that wants to take Bradford, but if they can't, I think they'd take Berry. I wouldn't rule out Dez Bryant or even Okung, tho, but those would be loooong shots (particularly Okung... I can definitely see them taking Bryant at #3 if both DTs are gone).
They ain't saying anything, tho, so it's anybody's guess...
But Josh Freeman has been talking the whole offseason about Jordan Shipley in the second... if they do draft him, it's gonna be the worst kept secret of the whole NFL draft (and they did the same last season when they drafted Freeman). Ever saw that kid play, Bada?. I'm just asking because... well, you know, look at our roster... even Bigs would be an improvement to our passing game.
My question is if the are BOTH on the board. One of them for SURE will be there.
I think there is a chance and a bigger chance than most people think, that both will be there. If I had to bet on it, I would say only one, but I think people really have a problem paying that sort of guarenteed money to a defensive tackle. This plays a large part in the Rams selecting Bradford and I think you could see the Lions or someone else moving up to select an offensive tackle at #2 leaving both the DT's on the board.
Assuming the Bucs take 1, I cant see the Redskins taking one considering how much money they have in their defensive line and then neither Suh or McCoy fit the 3-4 for the Chiefs. There is a wild scenario that either Suh or McCoy could be there at #6 when the Seahawks draft.
So trying to get a picture of who could fall based on what the Bucs do. So your hunch is McCoy huh. Defiantely more disruptive as a pass rusher. More like a Sapp type than Suh is. Really the draft hinges on what the Lions do at #2.
Wow, Bryant at 3???? Even with his supposed attitude problems and poor 40 time?
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