Tampa Bay Buccaneers: If…And…But for 2015 by Russell S. Baxter 1h ago It’s late August. Where does the time go? Meanwhile, we continue the back half of our team previews for the upcoming NFL season.We have already taken a look at the five divisions: The AFC East, AFC North and AFC South, as well as the NFC East and NFC North, and have added the Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons to the list.That means in the latest series for NFL Spin Zone, we have already made the case for 23 of the 32 teams in the aforementioned four divisions as to why they could make the playoffs in 2015. (Don’t worry: We will get to all eight divisions and every NFL club).Here we explain how each club can reach the postseason IF they do this AND they do that. BUT if they fail to do something else and/or the team is derailed in some other way…well…there’s always next year.Here we take a look at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who finished a dismal 2-14 this past season and enter 2015 riding a six-game losing streak.So can head coach Lovie Smith, in his second year on the job, get this team back to respectability?We shall see. In any case, it means that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are headed to the playoffs for the first time since 2007…Jun 4, 2015; Tampa, FLTampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22) and teammates work out at One Buc Place. Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsIfFourth-year running back Doug Martin can recapture his rookie form, this Tampa Bay offense could be fun to watch.Back in 2012, the 31st overall pick in that draft that year enjoyed a spectacular debut, ranking fifth in the NFL in rushing yards (1,454) and third in the league in total yards from scrimmage (1,926) while scoring 12 touchdowns. But injuries have been part of the reason the former Boise State standout has seen his production drop dramatically the past two seasons. In just 17 games since 2013, he’s run for only 950 yards and amassed just 1,080 yards from scrimmage while scoring just three times.Keep in mind that 2014 third-round selection Charles Sims is waiting in the wings if Martin can’t cut it. Bobby Rainey remains in the picture as well but head coach Lovie Smith needs a productive year from the talented and versatile former first-rounder.Sep 14, 2014; Tampa, FL Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Lavonte David (54) gets the crowd pumped up during the first half against the St. Louis Rams at Raymond James Stadium. Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsAndThe Buccaneers can find a consistent pass rush, especially in a division with a slew of talented quarterbacks.This past season, the numbers were slightly better but apparently still not good enough. And the Tampa secondary has had their hands full in recent years regardless of who they have signed or traded for.Here’s the cold hard truth. Over the past six seasons dating back to 2009, the Bucs have totaled only 175 sacks while giving up 169 touchdown passes. The last time this team accumulated at least 40 sacks in a season is 2004, while Tampa Bay defenders have allowed at least 28 scoring passes in a season five times in the last six years.Perennial Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy led the team with 8.5 sacks this past season followed by defensive end Jacquies Smith (6.5) and defensive tackle Clinton McDonald (5.0). Via a trade with the Detroit Lions, the team obtained defensive end George Johnson, who totaled 6.0 sacks one year ago.This is a defensive unit that also includes big-play outside linebacker Lavonte David and cornerback Alterraun Verner and via free agency have picked up the likes of safety D.J. Swearinger, linebacker Bruce Carter and defensive tackle Henry Melton. Now let’s see if this pieces all come together.Nov 30, 2014; Tampa, FL Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson (83) catches a pass in front of Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Terence Newman (23) in the first half at Raymond James Stadium. David Manning-USA TODAY SportsButIf rookie quarterback Jameis Winston can avoid the continuous turnovers that plagued his final season with the Florida State Seminoles.Let’s take a look back before we peer into the future. This past season, the Buccaneers ranked 30th in the NFL in total offense while only three teams in the league scored fewer points. This club scored only 28 offensive touchdowns in 16 contests.Winston, the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner and first overall pick in the 2015 draft, led Florida State to an undefeated season this past year. But many of those wins were the come-from-behind variety as the talented performer often helped his team dig themselves a big hole.He won’t get away with that consistently with the Bucs, who come off a miserable 2014 season in which they managed only a pair of wins – both on the road. Winston will have his share of rangy targets in wideout Vincent Jackson, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and especially wide receiver Mike Evans. As a rookie in 2014, he totaled 68 receptions, 12 for touchdowns. And he was cooking after a so-so start, totaling 43 catches for 715 yards and 10 scores in his final nine games.Now all Winston has to do now is to build on the ups and limit the downs.Chuck Cook-USA TODAY SportsJust The FactsIn their 39th season on the field, the Buccaneers finished 2-14 in 2014. It marked the 23rd time that the franchise lost at least 10 games and in one of those 39 years, the NFL played only nine contests during the strike-shortened 1982 campaign…It wasn’t long ago that the Bucs were sporting a 6-4 record, that being in their first 10 games in 2012. Since then, the club has dropped 31 of their last 38 contests and enter 2015 riding a six-game losing streak…It is safe to say that the Buccaneers believe than eight is enough. This past season, they were the only team in the league to lose all 8 home games (and have dropped 9 straight at Raymond James Stadium dating back to ’13) while this club has also lost 8 straight games vs. their NFC South rivals dating back to ’13…link
Hadn’t really thought about and could have done without hearing we’ve lost 31 of our last 38 games… that is depressing…this and yet it’s the fan base who’s failing the team according to another article.