2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Season Preview

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers struggled their way through the 2009 NFL season. Heading into this year, the 2010 Tampa Bay Bucs Season Preview has the potential to improve upon the three wins that saw them on the bottom looking up at the rest of the NFC South Division. While Tampa Bay lost their first seven games of the season in 2009, they ended by winning two of their final three. With the strides of improvement that that rookie quarterback Josh Freeman began to show in the final weeks, there is reason to be optimistic if you are a Buccaneer fan.

When looking at what went wrong for Tampa Bay last season, one cannot argue with the statistics. On both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, the Buccaneers were among the bottom-feeders in the NFL. On offense, in spite of the improvements made by Freeman towards the end of the season, the Buccaneers ranked 28th in the league in total offense, averaging only 287.5 yards per game. They were even worse in terms of scoring, tabbing just over 15 points per contest, which ranked 30th in the league. Defensively, the team ranked 27th in total defense, surrendering 366 yards per game and gave up 25 points each outing, which puts them 27th in the league as well.

Looking ahead at the 2010 Tampa Bay Bucs Team Preview, head coach Raheem Morris will look to focus on the continual development of Freeman and put a defense in place that can stop someone. They addressed the defensive front issue with their first pick in the 2010 NFL draft by selecting Gerald McCoy out of Oklahoma to fill in one of the gaps up front.
2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Coaching Staff & ChangeRaheem Morris enters his second season as head coach of the Buccaneers, but will also be the team's defensive coordinator this year after firing Jim Bates in the middle of last season with six games remaining. The team showed sign of improvement, tabbing a 2-4 record over the course of that stretch after going 1-9 prior to.

Greg Olson will continue with offensive play calling duties but will need to install a system that the team is comfortable with and can produce. The offense seemed inept at times in 2009 to produce points, and if Olson hopes to hold onto his job, he will have to get the offense rolling early in the year.

It was the team's worst record since the 1991 NFL season, and all of the coaching staff will be on notice if the Buccaneers get off to a similar start as a season ago.

Morris has brought on a new quarterbacks coach in former Buffalo Offensive Coordinator Alex Van Pelt. Van Pelt will be the man behind Freeman as he enters his sophomore year in the NFL. Additionally, Morris added offensive assistant Tim Holt and Receivers coach Eric Yarber.
2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Key Free Agency Acquisitions & LossesAcquistions
WR - Reggie Brown traded from Philadelphia Eagles
S - Sean Jones from Philadelphia Eagles

WR - Antonio Bryant to Cincinnati Bengals
S - Will Allen to Pittsburgh Steelers
QB - Byron Leftwich traded to Pittsburgh Steelers2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL DraftRound 1: Pick 3 - DT, Gerald McCoy (Oklahoma)
Round 2: Pick 35 - DT, Brian Price (UCLA)
Round 2: Pick 39 - WR, Arrelious Benn (Illinois)
Round 3: Pick 67 - CB, Myron Lewis (Vanderbilt)
Round 4: Pick 101 - WR, Mike Williams (Syracuse)
Round 6: Pick 172 - P, Brent Bowden (Virginia Tech)
Round 7: Pick 210 - LB, Cody Grimm (Virginia Tech)
Round 7: Pick 217 - LB, Dekoda Watson (Florida State)
Round 7: Pick 253 - DE, Erik Long (Standford)
2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers QuarterbacksAfter several weeks into the 2009 NFL season, the Buccaneers and head coach Raheem Morris decided to implement rook Josh Freeman into the system as the starter for the future of the organization. Freeman was a surprise first-round pick of the buccaneers in the 2009 NFL Draft out of Kansas State. Freeman is a big kid, listed a 6'6 and 248lbs with a rocket for an arm. Freeman has all of the intangibles to be a great quarterback in the league, but struggled at times last season as do most rookie starting quarterbacks in the NFL. Freeman tabbed three wins in his nine starts for Tampa Bay last season ,with a completion percentage of 54.5 percent. This will need to improve throughout the course of the 2010.

Looking at the 2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Preview as far as the quarterback position is concerned, they have chosen to go young. The team let Byron Leftwich go to Pittsburgh, which will leave Josh Johnson as the back up to begin the year. Johnson got the opportunity to start for a couple games last season but did not produce quite as well as Morris may have hoped.

Still, the duo of Freeman and Johnson give the Buccaneers a reason to be optimistic, as both are young and athletic and can be developed by the coaching staff.

2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Quarterback Depth Chart
QB - Josh Freeman
QB - Josh Johnson
QB - Rudy Carpenter 2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Running BacksCadillac Williams came off two devastating knee injuries in the 2007 and 2008 seasons to come back and be utilized effectively by the Buccaneer offense in 2009. He led the team in rushing, with 823 yards on the ground to go along with four touchdowns. Tampa Bay had hoped to get more production out of Derrick Ward, who signed a $17 million contract for four years from the New York Giants. Ward had a mere 409 yards on 114 carries and one touchdown. Additionally, the Buccaneers had Earnest Graham at the fullback position, but is capable of getting carries and banging up the middle for tough yards. However, Tampa Bay struggled at the running back position breaking away from teams, as their longest run in 2009 was 35 yards by Williams. The team ranked 23rd in the NFL in rushing, with just over 100 yards per game.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Running Back Depth Chart
RB - Cadillac Williams
RB - Derrick Ward2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wide ReceiversTo help out Freeman, the Buccaneers drafted two wide receivers in the 2010 NFL Draft in hopes to add to the options that the young quarterback will have to throw to. Specifically, second-round pick out of Illinois Arrelious Benn, who possesses great size and tackle-breaking ability after the catch. He is a big-play maker and is expected to start right away come opening week. Additionally, Tampa Bay selected Mike Williams out of Syracuse, who has size like Benn and the potential to make plays after the catch as well. Both rookies are expected to start to begin the 2010 NFL season.

It is not all rookies out there for the Buccaneers at the receiver position however, as tight end Kellen Winslow will likely be Freeman's go-to target. Winslow is the unquestioned leader in the receiving corps and could be poised for another break-out season if Freeman is able to get time to get him the ball.

Projected 2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wide Receiver Depth Chart
WR - Arrelious Benn
WR - Mike Clayton
- Sammie Stroughter
WR - Maurice Stovall

Projected 2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tight End Depth Chart
TE - Kellen Winslow Jr.
TE - Jerramy Stevens2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Offensive LineIf one were to ask Raheem Morris about the strength of his offense looking ahead at the 2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Season Preview, he would say the men up front in the offensive line. However, it would be easy to argue the other way, after the Buccaneers ranked 23rd in the rushing department last season. Still, Tampa Bay will be leaning on the offensive line corps heavily to produce the run game, and give Freeman the time he needs to make plays through the air. Right guard Davin Joseph made the Pro Bowl two season ago, while Center Jeff Faine is the oldest and most experienced of the bunch at 28 years old. They are a young unit, and Donald Penn and Jeremy Trueblood will become unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of the 2010 season. The team said that Penn showed up 25 pounds lighter than last season in hopes to produce more effectively in this his contract season.

Projected 2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Starting Offensive Line
LT - Donald Penn
LG - Jeremy Zuttah
C - Jeff Faine
RG - Davin Joseph
RT - Jeremy Trueblood2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defensive LineThe Buccaneers addressed the defensive line issues in the 2010 NFL Draft, by bringing in McCoy in the first round and Brian Price in the second round. The unit ranked dead-last in rushing yards allowed per game in 2009 and was a critical facet that had to be addressed in the off season. The Buccaneers believe they have done it in McCoy and Price as they will bring talent and depth to a corps that struggled mightily a year ago. They will join Roy Miller and Kyle Moore, both entering their second season as the defensive front fixes to be a young unit for Tampa Bay in 2010. Stylez White is the leading pass rusher coming off the end for the team, tabbing 6.5 sacks in 2009 to go along with 34 quarterback pressures.

Projected 2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Starting Defensive Line
DE - Kyle Moore
- Brian Price
DT - Gerald McCoy
DE - Stylez White2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers LinebackersThe linebacker corps for the Buccaneers is led by Barrett Ruud, the leading tackler on the defense from 2009. Ruud had a 142 total tackles of which 107 were solo. This unit remains together, as Geno Hayes and Quincy Black return for Morris and his 4-3 defensive set. Tampa Bay also drafted Dekoda Watson out of Florida State in the seventh round to add depth to the position as he will likely see playing time throughout the course of the season.

Projected 2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Starting Linebackers
SLB - Quincy Black
- Barrett Ruud
WLB - Geno Hayes
2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers SecondaryRonde Barber is entering the final season of his contract for Tampa Bay. He struggled last year, not hauling in an interception for the first time since his rookie season. The Buccaneers addressed some issues in the secondary by drafting Myron Lewis out of Vanderbilt in the third round. In addition to Barber, Lewis joins Aqib Talib, who is the Buccaneers best corner back. Talib had five interceptions last year in a unit that allowed 207 yards through the air, which ranked 10th in the league. The secondary was the strength of the defense in 2009, and looking ahead at the 2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Team Preview, they have added to the depth.

Projected 2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Starting Seconday
CB - Aqib Talib
CB - Ronde Barber
SS - Sean Piscitelli
FS - Tanard Jackson

2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Preview