Let it be known the following article does not present facts, but merely a statement supported by them. Try to keep the righteous indignation to a minimum. In terms of talent it is hard to pick against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2013. So here is why they won’t make the NFL playoffs.
Josh Freeman not responding well to Greg Schiano challenge
Great quarterbacks love a challenge. In fact, the bigger ones they face, the better they play. Aaron Rodgers had to overcome the shadow of Brett Favre. Tom Brady barely made it into the draft, beat out a Pro Bowl quarterback for the starting job and constantly survives catastrophic losses to his receiving corps. Meanwhile the Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue to wait and see when their supposed franchise quarterback Josh Freeman will take that next step. Some might say he already had after passing for over 4,000 yards and 27 touchdowns last season, but stats are deceptive. Freeman also had 19 turnovers and still lacks any sort of consistency in his throws. Head coach Greg Schiano said the team is behind him, but only to a point. Going into his fifth season and a contract year, one would expect Freeman to have things figured out. Instead he looks more uneven than ever. He has 100 passing yards in three preseason games, no touchdowns, no interceptions and no progress. Most franchise quarterbacks need three years to mature. Freeman is well past that mark and no closer to solving that problem.
Loss of Michael Bennett looming large in Bucs pass rush
That’s not to say the Buccaneers can’t win with him. They could provided their team were good enough. There in lay the problem. Tampa Bay, for all their trading, signing and drafting still don’t have the look of a complete team. Their offense has a great running back and a couple of good receivers but no tight end worth mentioning and some issues on the offensive line. However the bigger problem that hasn’t quite reared its head yet is the pass rush. Losing defensive end Michael Bennett, who led the team with nine sacks last year, didn’t seem so bad back in March. Week by week it looks more and more problematic though. Tampa Bay has a grand total of four sacks in three preseason games, none of them by the starting defensive linemen. Much has been made of what the additions of Darrelle Revis and Dashon Goldson will do for the secondary but it may prove useless if the Buccaneers can’t put heat on opposing quarterbacks. Nothing exposes defenses faster than a weak pass rush. On top of that, the last thing Josh Freeman needs is to play from behind almost every week.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a good team, but they still haven’t proven they are a winning team. That is why they won’t make the playoffs.