Five Biggest Games on Buccaneers’ 2016 Schedule
By Bailey Adams
With the NFL season kicking off in just four months, here’s a look at the five biggest games on the Buccaneers’ schedule.
With the buzz around last week’s NFL Draft dying down and rookie training camp getting underway, talk has shifted to what lies ahead. The 2016 season kicks off four months from today as the defending-champion Denver Broncos host the team they beat in Super Bowl 50, the Carolina Panthers.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will kick off their season just three days later, starting yet another new era. The franchise had itself another busy offseason as it altered the look of its future, both in the locker room and on the field. The team will be under the direction of first-year head coach Dirk Koetter, who takes over for Lovie Smith (8-24 in two seasons). Additionally, former Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith signed with Tampa Bay to be its defensive coordinator.
The roster saw some changes with the retirement of OL Logan Mankins and acquisitions on both sides of the ball. Offensively, the Bucs added guard J.R. Sweezey while also inking running back Doug Martin, who is coming off of a 1,402-yard season, to a five-year contract. On the defensive side, Tampa Bay signed defensive end Robert Ayers, cornerback Brent Grimes, cornerback Josh Robinson and linebacker Daryl Smith. Add to that the Bucs’ draft haul that includes cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, defensive end Noah Spence and kicker Roberto Aguayo and the team has a new look in 2016.
With the Bucs trying to make the playoffs for the first time since 2007, every game is important. However, there are five that stand out as the most important if the team wants to be one of 12 teams still playing past New Year’s Day.
Next: September 11: at Atlanta Falcons