Mission to 10 wins accomplished but short of the dream

Imran Ahmed, Web Editor

Though the Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn’t make the playoffs this season, I guess you could argue that had a pretty successful season bouncing back from a dismal 3 win season. Though they couldn’t make the playoffs because of strength of victory tiebreakers against the Green Bay Packers, they still proved themselves, playing hard against some of the tougher teams in the league, though they weren’t quite the best in the NFC as Raheem Morris proclaimed after a last second win against the St. Louis Rams. It all started with the rapid maturing of 2nd year starter Josh Freeman leading the team to a 10-6 record with 25 touchdowns, 6 interceptions and the 6th best QB passer rating in the league. The offense also was electric thanks to the emergence of rookie sensations RB LeGarette Blount and WR Mike Williams. Both of these young talents emerged leading all the rookies in many categories with Blount rushing for over 1,000 yards and Mike Williams receiving for over 950 yards and catching 11 touchdowns. The solid play of the offensive line led  Blount to run up the middle and gave the Buccaneers one of the strongest running games in the league with some additional help from third down and catching back Cadillac Williams, working on finding his place after two gruesome knee injuries.
If there is any place where the Bucs needed help down the stretch, it was the defense. The season took its toll on the defense, with many key injuries. First round pick Gerald McCoy suffered a torn left biceps during the game against the Washington Redskins, which ended his promising season. Also Aqib Talib and Cody Grimm had season ending injuries, putting them on both on injured reserve and depleting one of the stronger secondaries in the league and creating a heavier workload for EJ Biggers and Sean Jones as well as veteran Ronde Barber. It’s going to take a lot of work for the Bucs to come back stronger and faster than last year but keep in mind that they are one of the youngest teams in the league.  Coming off a 10-6 season and a last-game victory over the world champs in New Orleans, expect the Bucs to come out running and hopefully fill out those seats too.