Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Will they be better or worse this year?

O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Will the Buccaneers be better or worse this year after bringing back all 22 starters, healing from injuries, and drafting future prospects?

If you’re a fan of any NFL team, you’re of course hoping that your team will do better than last year, and not worse. But for some, and as those of us in Bucs Nation well know, that sad truth is that worse could be what many fans will see out of their teams this year! BUT, I don’t think worse is what the Bucs will be this year, even if the odds are stacked against them.

So, here we are. Summertime in Bucs Nation. From the sweltering record heat, wildfires, and drought out west, to drenching your hind quarters off in the sultry, sticky moistness of that east coast/midwest tsunami of humidity, to every other atmospheric condition imaginable all over this big blue marble. Somehow we seem to make it through it all until that coveted, long-awaited mystical, magical time of year finally rolls back around.

That’s right! Back to school! You know, that time when the little ones are no longer crying “I’m bored” or screaming “I want ice cream!” and bothering mom and dad on some constant, non-stop temper tantrum rant that is enough to drive anyone to drink.

OK, what you know I mean is we need to get through Buc’s OTA’s, training camp and pre-season first, but that ‘other’ Shangri-la is closer on the horizon everyday, and with that fodder of cannon fire are speculations on how the Bucs would, could, and should perform this season. Much of this assault is meant to raise questions, get clicks to start a conversation, or get under the skin of fans.

Case in point. Scotty Miller had just recently come out and revealed he was injured and not 100% and played through pain ever since he injured himself in Game 1. And Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. was playing with a bum knee, pretty much all of last season, making him of course, less than 100% – to one degree or another. Wait, he was injured?? And Buccaneers 2017 first round pick, OJ Howard, was also out after injuring his achilles in Game 4. Anyone imagining what a FULL season with Howard would be like?

Vita Vea went down against ‘da Bears’ in Game 5 and was out until the NFC Championship game against the Packers. Starting right guard Alex Cappa also went down with a fractured ankle against the Washington Football Team in the Wild Card game for the rest of the playoffs.

So is anyone starting to think that with all 22 starters coming back, and getting a healthy Brady, Miller, Vea, Cappa and OJ back, not to mention a potential big improvement on special teams, that as good as the Bucs were last season, what on God’s green earth will they look like THIS season??

It sure looks good, on paper at least, not to mention even on the field. Let’s remember, this year they now have a full offseason to gel and learn together, something they didn’t have last year. And with the pieces they’ve incorporated this year as well as the improvement and added experience of Khalil Davis, Aaron Stinne, Tyler Johnson and others, not to mention bringing in an even more versatile back in Giovanni Bernard, I would bet that this year’s team is going to be even scarier than last year’s.

Oh, lets not forget the Brady effect and “buy in” with that winning attitude that has been welcomingly infectious. I believe this team knows that even bigger things are ahead this year and the odds will be ever stacked that much higher against them, as usual.

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Yeah yeah yeah, we know, it’s going to be exponentially harder to repeat, as the Chiefs can attest. But you can bet your sweet asphalt that none of that is lost on any of the Bucs players or staff. History can be made yet again and this year could be even more impressive than what the Bucs pulled off last year. I’m not sure how anyone could say that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could possibly be worse than last year.