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July 15, 2013 @ 7:05 am
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PR Reacts: Pro Football Talk Ranks The Bucs No.24 In The NFL

Written by Mark
Cook
Mark Cook

Mark
Cook

Editor-In-Chief E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
The lack of love for the Buccaneers from the national media continued this weekend as ProFootballTalk.com continued to release its power rankings. To the surprise of many, Tampa Bay was ranked as the 24th best team in the NFL. What does PewterReport.com think of this ranking? Find out in this Pewter Report Reacts article.
The lack of respect from the national media for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers continued over the weekend as ProFootballTalk.com continued to release its annual Power Rankings.

Despite an offseason in which the 7-9 Buccaneers made their biggest weakness – the secondary – arguably one of their biggest strengths, PFT.com only had the Buccaneers ranked as the league’s 24th-best team, just ahead of the Carolina Panthers and a spot behind the Miami Dolphins.

PFT.com had this to say regarding Tampa Bay’s offseason and ranking.

The Buccaneers are a team that it’s hard to find a consensus on this offseason.

On one hand, they aggressively addressed their biggest weakness from last year. At the same time, they’ve left the biggest question for the future of any franchise dangling awkwardly.

So as much as you want to like their chances based on adding legitimate stars such as Darrelle Revis and Dashon Goldson everything they’re doing this year will hinge on the performance of quarterback Josh Freeman.

If they get Good Freeman, there’s no reason to think they can’t be a playoff team.

If they get Bad Freeman, they could sink, and be forced to start over with a new quarterback at a time when many of the other pieces are well in place, and match the style of their second-year coach, Greg Schiano.

That is a fair assessment as everyone in Tampa Bay – and nationally – know a big part of this season’s final record will fall on the shoulders of Freeman’s fifth year.

PFT went on to talk about the Buccaneers strengths.

The Bucs have the capability to be both balanced and explosive on offense.

Wide receiver Vincent Jackson averaged 19.2 yards per catch last year, and running back Doug Martin was nothing short of a revelation, with more than 1,900 yards from scrimmage.

Once they get Pro Bowl guards Carl Nicks and Davin Joseph back on the field, it should help create more opportunities for Martin.

But the most unlikely strength, considering they were last in the league in pass defense last year, is the secondary.

Making a trade with the Jets for Revis and signing former 49ers standout Goldson to yet another free agent splash deal should solidify things, and help second-year safety Mark Barron grow into the player he appeared close to turning into at times last year. They went from a disaster to good enough that there wasn’t room for Ronde Barber, so the improvement is clear.


Their opinions of Doug Martin and Tampa Bay's strong and balance offense are hard to argue with. The former Boise Sate star began the season looking exactly what he was – a rookie. Then after an average start through the first four games, Martin burst onto the national scene with 1,454 yards rushing, setting a Bucs rookie record. As mentioned, the return of Nicks and Joseph should only aid Martin in, at the very least, hitting close to the same numbers as last season. PFT did give the Bucs props to the secondary shakeup and mentioned that it could turn into an unlikely strength.

The staff at PFT.com finally summed up their rankings.

The Bucs have done a good job of putting parts in place around Freeman to make it easier to succeed, specifically by giving him a second year with offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan. That kind of stability is necessary for him to develop confidence.

At the same time, there are enough questions up front to make you wonder whether the big expenditures in the back will help.

As good as Revis is, if quarterbacks are never pressured, opponents will find cornerback Eric Wright’s guy more easily.

They’ve done an admirable job of addressing needs, but it’s still unclear if they’ve built on a stable foundation.

Pewter Report's Reaction: PFT.com got a lot of things right in their ranking. Are there question marks? Of course, but why are the Bucs ranked No. 24 this year when they didn't finish that low in the final standings last year after going 7-9 – and this is a team that's supposed to be improved with some solid offseason acquisitions?

First of all, a lot is based on a team’s reputation. The Buccaneers are 11-21 over the last two seasons, and while they did in fact show improvement in 2012, they still finished under .500.

Are the Bucs the 24th best team in the NFL? Basing it on last season, and the number of questions still surrounding the team (Revis’ injury, Da'Quan Bowers and Adrian Clayborn stepping up and Freeman needing more consistency) it is pretty easy to see how PFT.com could come up with the position. But not many Buccaneers fans agree with the ranking, and most certainly no one inside One Buc Place believes that.

How do they Bucs rank lower than the Kansas City Chiefs, a team the Bucs manhandled last season? Because Alex Smith is now the quarterback and Andy Reid will patrol the sideline? And the Detroit Lions, who were a disastrous 4-12 in 2012?

The Pewter Report staff in no way believes the Buccaneers are the 24th best team in the NFL. We aren’t saying they are Top 10 material just yet, but being in the bottom third of the NFL is a bit far-fetched in our minds.

Looking at the nine games the Bucs lost last season, just one was out of reach by the fourth quarter (41-0 loss to New Orleans). And in at least three losses it was the defense who couldn’t close things out, struggling with a historically bad secondary. By adding arguably this generation's best cornerback in Revis, a Pro Bowl safety in Goldson and the players entering Year Two in the head coach Greg Schiano’s system, it adds up to much better success in 2013.

And even if Freeman has the exact same numbers and inconsistencies as last year, just the improvement in the secondary makes this a .500 ball club at the very least.

There are questions marks, as pointed out by PFT.com, but there have been enough upgrades –just in the secondary alone – to warrant a much better ranking than No. 24. While things could go south with a few key injuries, that is the case for any NFL team. Where would the Ravens have been last season had quarterback Joe Flacco or linebacker Ray Lewis went down?

But just looking at the overall talent on the roster, it is hard for PewterReport.com to believe the Bucs are the 24th-best team in the NFL as ProFootballTalk.com would suggest.
Last modified on Monday, 15 July 2013 07:12
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COMMENTS

  • avatar


    Just remember the difference between hurricanes and tornadoes. Hurricanes are big powerhouses but everyone knows they are coming and people can prepare. Tornadoes come suddenly unexpected but bring more disaster to what they hit. I have no problem with getting little respect if the payoff is the playoffs because no one expected that Tampa could be the team to beat. Tampa has been the disasterist Tornado in the past and may come once again when will few expect.
  • avatar

    pft ranked the st louis rams 17. even though the rams don't have a starting running back, have offensive line questions(and lack talent), have two rookie wr's as their starters, and have been questionable vs the run on defense. sure they went 4-1-1 vs the nfc west, but so what? they finished with seven wins like tampa. how did they get that much better this offseason and the bucs are that much worse? compare : qb? advantage tampa. rb? tampa. wr? tampa. oline? tampa. dline? rams(52 sacks last year). lb? tampa(#1 vs run and have you seen lavonte david play???) secondary? obviously tampa. HOW did they reach that conclusion that the rams are better?
  • avatar

    This provides good "water cooler" convo but other than that who cares!
  • avatar


    If Freeman minimizes his Sanchez like moments then this ranking will look like a joke. I think its a joke anyway but our Bucs couldnt ask for better bulletin board material. Ranked below the Dolphins huh lol. Go Bucs
  • avatar


    I am a San Antonio Spurs Fan, as well a die-hard Buc fan since they were created. The Spurs love that they are "too old" and have no chance. They've been hearing that for the last 9 years now. The Spurs should be the reigning NBA Champs. Like the Spurs, the Bucs should enjoy flying under the radar. Who cares where some sports writer ranked them? Actually, I think the comments at PFT.com are right on. The ranking seems low, but so what? Bucs do best with a chip on their shoulder, and with nobody respecting them.
  • avatar


    This will just make it all the sweeter when the Bucs 'surprise' everyone with a solid year in 2013. GO BUCS!
  • avatar

    Only one way to solve all this. JUST WIN BABY!!!!! Go Bucs!!
  • avatar


    I am still miffed that Lindy's and Athlon both also underestimated this year's Bucs. Well last year's Superbowl winner wasn't the pick of the pundits either. I hope the Bucs keep a chip on their shoulders this year and make this a year to be proud of. Hope they keep the cannons firing!
  • avatar


    Bad anaolgy using Ray Lewis. He tore his Tricep last year in Oct I believe and was out until the playoffs. Wasn't a key piece to their superbowl run during the regular season. You can say that about any teams starting QB as well. Nice try though... Show me a team with a roster of 61 starters, before you ask (53 + practice squad) and I'll show you a team with no question marks going into a season. No team has experience and quality depth at every position.
  • avatar


    This is a sports writer's opinion. That's all it is. I can't wait until the season starts. I'll know, then, if I should throw beer cans at my TV or not. Go Bucs!!
  • avatar

    I agree with horse that there are serious concerns at DE, and DT, but I think we are much better than 24. I would say 14 or 15. Assuming that freeman is ok, and Martin continues to rack up yds, I see us at 9 and 7.
  • avatar


    I just don't see how you could make the argument that we aren't a better looking team now (not that that matters) than: Jets, Bills, Dolphins, Browns, Jaguars, Titans, Chiefs, Raiders, Eagles, Lions, Panthers and Cardinals. That right there would put us at 20. And I think there are a number of other teams that we are better than too.
  • avatar


    The most baffling has to be the Titans at 19 and us at 24. We are better at literally every single positional group. Freeman >> Locker. I would argue that Doug Martin is better than CJ2K. Our WR's are better, Offensive line is much better. Our defensive lines are pretty comparable, although I think I would rather have ours. Our linebackers are better and our defensive backfield is better. And we had a better record than they did last year.
  • avatar

    This PFT list is garbage. The Bucs are ranked lower than the fins, chargers, titans??? Oh well, these lists don't amount to squat until the real bullets start flying. If the Bucs start off 3-1 or 4-0, these jokers will change their tune faster than they can apologize for their short sightedness.
  • avatar


    PFT is full of Rubbish! We will never get respect and I still think a lot of people don't like the Bucs because of Greg Schiano not letting the Giants take a knee at the end of that game! I have read many football mags predictions lately and to say its a disgrace is an understatement! I hope we beat the hell out of all the south teams this year!!
  • avatar


    I looked at PFT rankings and thought of the immortal words of one Jim Mora. "diddly poo"!
  • avatar


    League of parity!....the difference between 5 wins and 10 wins for any team in that range (i.e. all but the worst few teams and the best few teams) will be injuries and turnovers. Last year we had lots of injuries early and lots of turnovers late, and hence 7 wins was actually not bad when facing such evenly matched teams. This year we can get 10 wins fairly easily if we avoid injuries and win the turnover battles...can we get more than 10 wins (i.e., become one of the few elite teams)....that's got to be the goal going forward. GO BUCS!
  • avatar


    ESPN has us ranked at 19! Who ya gonna believe? My opinion - Don’t put too much stock in any ranking right about now! http://espn.go.com/nfl/powerrankings
  • avatar


    I had the same thoughts when I read this on PFT as I did before the 2010 season when Peter King predicted we would go 2-14. At the time I posted on this site in response, "Oh %@$& him, we'll be okay. Go Bucs!" We went on to go 10-6. BTW, I see no reason why we can't be a top 10 team if we stay healthy. In fact, I see no reason why we can't go to the Super Bowl if we stay healthy.
  • avatar


    I hope that ranking lights a fire under our Bucs. If Revis, Nicks, Jackson, Goldson, Martin, played on the same team in another city, the pontiffs would be talking superbowl. Welcome to Tampa guys, where the national media never gives the Bucs props. That's just the way it is here.
  • avatar


    Right now that is probably where the Bucs are reasonably ranked until the season starts and we can prove otherwise. I have to admit that there are big "if's" at DE and a 4th round pick at DT to be the starter. Also there are reasonable concerns about Freeman's inconsistencies at times that have cost us games. Where is the legit QB backup? Right now, 22-24 sounds reasonable.
  • avatar


    Where PFT.com ... or anyone else ... ranks the Bucs doesn't mean diddly right now. Every team in the league starts off with the same record: 0 wins, 0 losses. Personally, I'm extremely optimistic about our 2013 Bucs. Admittedly there are still many variables that will come into play this season, variables that no one can really predict. For instance, injuries. Losing Carl Nix, Davin Joseph, plus our starting cornerbacks (among others) last year obviously hurt us big time. Others stepped up, but I'm sure that losing two All-Pros on the offensive line and having to start two rookies in the defensive backfield changed the Bucs game-plans quite a bit. Like I said, I'm extremely optimistic this year, and feel the Bucs have a great opportunity to make the playoffs. Also wish, by the way, that folks would get off of Josh Freeman's back. I'm confident that the Bucs staff has now figured out his strengths (and weaknesses), and that Josh is going to have an awesome season.
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