The two most important things that have been said since the Bucs' 4-12 season ended are general manager Mark Dominik's acknowledgement that the team needs more talent and it will be active in free agency.
"We understand we're not a finished product," Dominik said. "We understand there are things we need to address on this team. And I know we'll do it in all capacities. We're going to do it in free agency. I don't want people to be worried we're not going to spend in free agency. We'll be involved."
How involved remains to be seen. A year ago, Dominik focused on re-signing some of the Bucs' unrestricted free agents, such as guard Davin Joseph, tackle Jeremy Trueblood and linebacker Quincy Black. The only outside hire was punter Michael Koenen.
This year the Bucs have few free agents on which they need to make decisions, beginning with cornerback Ronde Barber and kicker Connor Barth. It also includes two former starters, linebacker Geno Hayes and guard Jeremy Zuttah.
The Bucs have some core players, but they have enormous holes at cornerback, linebacker, running back, receiver and safety. They also need more depth on the defensive line, especially given the injury histories of defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Brian Price.
Dominik said last year's lockout, combined with a belief that the Bucs' 10-6 record in 2010 was evidence they had better talent than it turned out they did, made him reluctant to dig deeply into free agency.
There is no shortage of good players scheduled to become free agents, but it's hard to know who will be available until the franchise and transition player tags are distributed.
"I look forward to coach (Greg) Schiano being a big piece of (signing free agents) and make sure we bring the right men to this football program to be as successful as he wants to be," Dominik said.
The Bucs own the fifth overall pick in the draft, where elite talents such as Alabama running back Trent Richardson, LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne and Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon could be available.
"It's an important selection, whether we stay there or move around," Dominik said.