The Tampa Bay Buccaneers watched their slim playoff hopes evaporate with two seconds remaining yesterday as a rookie quarterback connected with his wide receiver in the corner of the southern endzone at Raymond James Stadium. The Buccaneers celebrated their 10th anniversary of the franchise’s only Super Bowl win at halftime, but at the final gun, it appears this current squad is a long ways away from talking about Super Bowl aspirations. Defensive changes are seriously needed for the Buccaneers.
While the Buccaneers have been the best defensive unit against the run for most of this season, the pass defense is abysmal and in need of a complete overhaul in the offseason. When you look at the current Buccaneers roster of starting defenders, there are roughly five/six players which should be with the team next season. DE Michael Bennett, DT Gerald McCoy, Mason Foster, Lavonte David and S Mark Barron. Veteran S/CB Ronde Barber has played admirably this season, but it’s time to say goodbye. Bring Barber back in 2013 as a defensive backs coach.Most everyone in the secondary should be released.
The corner play of this team is beyond horrible. Eric Wright is serving a suspension and Aqib Talib has been traded to the New England Patriots. E.J Biggers, Myron Lewis and Leonard Johnson are not the answer to play against quarterbacks in the NFL. That was more than evident on Sunday as Philadelphia Eagles rookie quarterback Nick Foles, making his third career start, threw for 381 yards.
Opposing quarterbacks have shredded the Buccaneers secondary this season, starting with Eli Manning torching the Buccaneers for 510 yards in week two.
Yes, Tampa has been hit with a lot of injuries this season, but by week 14 in the NFL, what team isn’t dealing with injury issues? This season has illustrated the severe lack of depth on the Buccaneers defensive side of the ball.
The ease at which Foles moved the ball against the Buccaneers secondary was maddening on Sunday. This was an Eagles team which came in losing nine straight games. Foles was playing without several key offensive weapons and an offensive line which is horrible.
The defensive scheme the Buccaneers are employing must be adjusted in the offseason while free agency and the 2013 draft needs to focus on the defensive side of the ball.
It was an entertaining run this season for Buccaneers fans. No one seriously expected Tampa to be in playoff discussions early in December after last season. However, it’s time to start focusing on next season and the last three games of this season with be the auditions for many players on the defensive side of the ball.