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2011 NFL previews: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The best thing we can say about the owners of this team is that they certainly know how to hire the right coach. We could call the cheap, and all sorts of other things but the fact remains this is a team that rebuilt of the fly and should be very good for years to come. They went 10-6 last year and they will be looking to improve upon that record in 2011.

QB Josh Freeman is developing into a franchise QB, and the best thing about them is the system remains the same. He will enter his third years with the same offensive coordinator, and that is certainly adding to what he can do. Each year the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have improved the offensive weapons around him. The O line is the deepest position on the roster, and new O line coach Pat Morris is implementing a new blocking system that will play to their strengths.

A year after spending two picks on DT's the Bucs went out and spent two more on DE's. That gives their front four a lot of options as well as making them very young. Beyond Gerald McCoy none of these guys has elite sacking skills themselves, but together they are far superior to the sum of their parts. The two outside backers and up and comers, and they are turning over the MLB spot to Mason Foster. They should all be young and hungry. The secondary has the ageless Rhonde barber and that is a good thing given that this group has some other issues. Overall the defense looks sound.

The Bucs have a week eight bye, and the schedule is going to be tough. They begin with another up and coming team in the Detroit Lions. However, before the bye they get three other tough games. If they reach they bye 4-4 they should be ok, and there is always the chance that they could be far better than that.

After the week eight break I see six winnable games, but tough challenges in the New Orleans Saints, at the Green Bay Packers, and the season finale at the Atlanta Falcons. Depending on how things fall they should get to nine wins easily, and if they can win a few tough games Tampa Bay fans can start thinking playoffs.

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