As we close in on training camp, which is less than two weeks away, we take a look at a few topics for discussion before the Buccaneers begin taking the field in preparation for the 2016 season.
With another week gone by in the year, there is no new Buccaneer news to pass along. Everything is leading up to September 11 at 1:00 when Tampa plays the Atlanta Falcons. The defensive side of the ball struggled last year. Tampa was 5th in yards allowed and rushing yards per game against the rest of the NFL. It shows that the potential is there to have a successful season on defense.
Look for improvement in the Special Teams. Signing Robert Aguayo was a huge move for the Buccaneers. Field goals can win football games and the draft pick of Aguayo became a smart pick. The kick return and punt returner is yet to be named. It seems that both positions are still up for grabs. Let’s hope for more consistent returns and points scored via the Special Teams.
Lavonte David is primed for a big season. Lavonte lead the team last year with 147 combined tackles and 85 of his own. He had a down year last season but he is in line for a breakout year. He isn’t the type of player that attracts a lot of attention when you think about defensive players in the NFL. Last season was is lowest in terms of tackles in his career. Lavonte is becoming more of the leader on the defensive side of the ball. With all the rookie draft picks, he will be a good player for them to look up too and work with.
The 2016 draft class is a stout defensive group. Yes they are all rookies and have a lot to prove. However the Bucs front office did some homework before the draft and drafted mainly defense. Vernon Hargreaves III was drafted 11th overall in this year’s draft. It seemed to be a smart pick since but many people still don’t know enough about him. He left the University of Florida as a junior. Hargreaves III doesn’t have amazing numbers but he should be consistent after playing in the tough SEC.
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Noah Spence, Devante Bond and Ryan Smith all come to Tampa as draft picks. Spence is very good and extremely talented. If he can keep himself healthy he should be able to provide a ton of pressure to opposing offenses. Devante Bond will join Lavonte David as part of the Linebacker crew. Bond comes from the University of Oklahoma with not a lot of hope. He was injured last year with an ankle injury and his freshman year he couldn’t play due to academics. Sophomore year he played in just 3 games. Bond had a really strong combine which made Tampa Bay go ahead and take the risk with the draft pick. Ryan Smith will provide help in the secondary and is expected to transition to safety in the NFL as opposed to corner. Fans should look for Smith to have a really strong season.
The rest of the NFC South has high powered offenses. New Orleans will always be competive as long as Drew Brees is at the helm. Both Carolina an Atlanta have superstars in Cam Newton and Julio Jones. This season has the potential to be a shoot out everytime a divisonal game is played. We all can hope the Buccaneers defense will play tough and help us win some games!
Next week the discussion will be about fantasy players and the offense! Is there anything you would like me to discuss?