Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Three New Year's Resolutions For 2015
The Bucs front office and their loyal fan base will be hoping that the turn of the year will signal the start of a turning in the franchises fortunes. The Bucs have struggled in recent years, finishing in the basement of the NFC South for four straight years. Here are three things that the Bucs need to do in 2015 to turn themselves from pretenders to contenders.
1 – Find a franchise quarterback:
It can be argued with conviction that the Bucs have never truly had a franchise quarterback. Their best hope of recent years saw an ugly breakup between star of the future Josh Freeman and the coaching staff, as a result Freeman was run out of town. 2014 free agent signing and career backup Josh McCown is clearly not the long term solution for the Bucs. In his season with the team McCown struggled throwing just eleven touchdowns to fourteen interceptions. Backup Mike Glennon has shown flashes of potential in his limited on the field action, during his two seasons he has a near two to one touchdown to interception ratio. (29 – 15) He also has an impressive come from behind road victory against the Steelers on his resume. Despite this it is clear that the coaching staff are not sold on Glennon’s long term suitability.
The Bucs are in a great spot to solve their quarterback woes as they possess this year’s number one pick and the choice of the previous two Heisman Trophy winners, FSU’s Jameis Winston and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota. Although both have question marks surrounding their long term NFL suitability the Bucs need to go all in and draft one of these potential superstars. The worst decision they could make is to play conservative trading away the number one pick and prolonging the wait for the franchise’s first true quarterback.
2 – Avoid free agency busts:
The Bucs over the last few years have aggressively tried to improve their roster though the free agency market. Unfortunately all the money the Bucs have invested hasn’t translated to on the field success. The Bucs arguably had the worst free agency class of 2014, prime target defensive end Michael Johnson was brought in to provide a legitimate pass rush but failed to live up to expectations. Johnson signed a five year $43 million contract but in his first season he was marred by injuries and registered just four sacks. Josh McCown failed to replicate 2013’s form which saw him fill in for injured Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, during his stint with the Bears McCown passed for thirteen touchdowns and just one interception. Perhaps the biggest disappointment of all was the signing of tackle Anthony Collins. Having signed a five year $30 million contract the Bucs coaching staff soon tired of his poor work ethic and he was benched for the final three games. It wouldn’t be a shock if Collins wasn’t on the Bucs 2015 roster.
3 – Win some games:
Winning a game in the NFL is no easy feat but for a team with the talent of the Bucs their inability to win games is inexcusable. The Bucs have failed to win back to back games since week twelve of the 2013 season, they have failed to win more than four games in three of the last four years. (The year they did they still finished with a losing record 7-9) They have finished rock bottom in the NFC South five of the last six years and haven’t been a relevant franchise since their last playoff berth in 2007! The Bucs under the leadership of Coach Lovie Smith are close to turning things around and in order to make 2015 a success they just need to make sure they don’t break New Year’s resolutions one and two. If they can do that you can guarantee number three will soon follow.