Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers look more serious than they have in years

Today, the Bucs look faster. They look stronger. They look infinitely more interesting.

More than anything, however the Bucs look more serious than they have in years.

If you are going to cheer anything about their latest shopping excursion, start there.

Vincent Jackson.

Carl Nicks.

Eric Wright.

And who's next?

For the Tampa Bay Bucs, this has been one of the finest weeks in years. After years of pleading from their fans, they have gone to the wallet, and they have added a sensational wide receiver, a superb offensive lineman and a very good defensive back.

This is the kind of week than can start to restore faith. This is the kind of the week that can improve an image. Yes, this is the kind of week than can sell tickets.

And bully for the Bucs.

Let's be honest. This may not work out. It didn't pay off for the Eagles, and it never has for the Redskins. Free agency is like panning for gold, except that the gold goes to the new employees, and it can be difficult to tell what effect a few million dollars in the wallet can have on a team. A lot of players have been worth two cents on the dollar after a big contract.

On the other hand, the Bucs are a much, much more talented team today than a few days ago. Josh Freeman should be more dangerous when he drops back to pass, and the holes should be wider when LeGarrette Blount starts to run, and the secondary should be better in a division filled with quarterbacks and wide receivers.

The Bucs needed an offseason like this. Hey, no one has ever argued against the idea of building through the draft, but there were far too many holes from those awful drafts in the early 2000s to fill through one aspect of talent evaluation. This has a chance, at least, to be the kick-start the Bucs need.

To be honest, the Glazer family needed an offseason like this, too. Just glance at the empty stands, and you could tell how much momentum had been lost. Once, the Glazers seemed willing to invest in winning. Lately, that hasn't been the impression.

This week, however, has made good on Joel Glazers' promise to spend what it takes to produce a winner. Remember when the Bucs fired Raheem Morris? As hard as it was to defend Morris, and it still is, the front office deserved some blame, too. There wasn't enough talent. Now, there is more.

So where else? The Bucs could use a linebacker. Maybe two. They could use a running back. A safety. A right tackle. A tight end. For now, they are better.

You know who got better this week? Freeman got better. Mike Williams, who should see less doubling, got better. Blount got better. Connor Barth, who should be kicking more extra points, got better.

You know who else got better? Greg Schiano got better, and so did his chance of winning. Coaches need players. That's never been a secret. Schiano now has better chess pieces to move around.

You know who else got better? The Bucs' front office, which has more options as it goes into the upcoming draft. It seems you can scratch Justin Blackmon off the Bucs' list of possibilities, doesn't it? Don't be so quick to erase Morris Claiborne, however. If he's still the value at the position, the Bucs should still be interested.

On the other hand, the Bucs have just added flexibility, too. If they are not sold on, say, running back Trent Richardson, they can entertain thoughts of trading down for extra picks. Maybe that gets them a linebacker and a tight end. Or a safety and a running back. The more strength a team has, the more creative it can be in the draft.

It's odd. Even in the offseason, the Bucs have always been the loudest debate in the room. In recent years, that seems to have lessened

For the Bucs, this is a step toward taking back the buzz. The team has found its wallet. It has gained your attention. Good.

On the other hand, has anyone seen a good linebacker looking for work?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers look more serious than they have in years 03/14/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 4:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning journal: Ryan Callahan feels good after first game action since January


    TAMPA — As veteran RW Ryan Callahan was riding a stationary bike before Friday's exhibition game, he felt nervous. There was anxiety.

    Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Ryan Callahan (24) pursues Nashville Predators center Colton Sissons (10) during the first period of Friday (9/22/17) preseason game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Nashville Predators at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  2. FSU players rally around freshman QB James Blackman


    TALLAHASSEE — For the first few minutes Saturday, Florida State's James Blackman looked like a true freshman making his first start at quarterback for a big-time program.

    Florida State Seminoles quarterback James Blackman (1) gets sacked during the first quarter of the Florida State Seminoles game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 23, 2017, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.  Final score, North Carolina State Wolfpack 27, Florida State Seminoles 21.
  3. No. 12 FSU, defense struggle in 27-21 loss to N.C. State


    TALLAHASSEE — It's easy to blame No. 12 Florida State's 27-21 loss to North Carolina State on the injury to starting quarterback Deondre Francois or the three-week layoff because of Hurricane Irma.

    It would also be wrong.

    Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Nyqwan Murray (8) carries during the first quarter of the Florida State Seminoles game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 23, 2017, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.  At the half, North Carolina State Wolfpack 17, Florida State Seminoles 10.
  4. Trump tells Warriors star Stephen Curry that White House visit is off


    SOMERSET, N.J. — Stephen Curry and President Donald Trump agree on one thing: The Golden State star is not going to the White House anytime soon.

    Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry poses for photos during NBA basketball team media day Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. [Associated Press]
  5. For starters: Rays at Orioles, facing another old friend in Jeremy Hellickson


    UPDATE, 3:29: Here is the Rays lineup, with Duda at 1B and Morrison the DH: