The Bucs last won a Super Bowl almost 20 years ago, so asking if they could win a Super Bowl may seem a little far-fetched, but now they have Tom Brady. I think it’s safe to say that back when Brady became the quarterback in New England nobody thought the Patriots could win a Super Bowl either. Can Brady pull it off again?
Let’s take a look at the key factors in pulling this feat off.
Arians had a lot to do with the Steelers making it to a few Super Bowls and when he became the Head Coach in Arizona he resurrected the career of quarterback Carson Palmer. He got the Cardinals all the way to the NFC Championship game. So coaching should not be an issue here and it actually may be an advantage for Brady and the Bucs.
Yes, he is 42 after all! But he is not a normal 42-year-old quarterback and last year he did lead a team to the playoffs that did not have a lot of weapons for him to work with. The offensive line struggled for much of the season too. He threw 24 TD passes and 8 ints and had over 4,000 yards passing, so he may be slipping but he is still better than most of the starting quarterbacks in the league. It was just two years ago that he did win the Super Bowl. So to say he is done may be more wishful thinking from people who badly want to see him fail.
The short answer here would be a resounding yes! The offensive line, while not terrible, needs to be improved at right tackle, but overall they are not as bad as people have portrayed them. As for the skill position players, that starts with two Pro Bowl wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, who no doubt contributed a great deal to Brady’s interest in playing for the Bucs. O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate also give Tampa Bay one of the league’s best tight end tandems. So they need a running back and a right tackle. Put it like this, they are much closer to having the weapons Brady needs than the Patriots are.
Todd Bowles is the Defensive Coordinator, which means they will be well-coached and the Bucs have the perfect blend of quality veterans and promising young players. NFL sack leader Shaq Barrett and vocal leader Jason Pierre-Paul are back, as is stalwart linebacker Lavonte David.
Last year’s reliance on a ton of rookies and second-year players should also pay huge dividends. Linebacker Devin White looks every bit worthy of his top-five draft slot from a year ago, Vita Vea has quickly become one of the league’s best nose tackles, and last year’s rookie tandem of Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting combine with third-year man Carlton Davis III to give the Bucs a corner trio with tons of upside. Injuries have challenged their safety depth, but the talent is there. This defense, namely the front seven, could be one of the best in the entire NFL.
With a young, explosive front seven on defense and an explosive mix of skill players on offense, I would say the answer has to be yes at this moment. I want to see a running back and some safety help to be totally convinced but this team has the makings of a serious threat.
The NFC South should be a two-horse race between Tampa Bay and New Orleans. Remember this, last season the Bucs were 7-9 and lost 7 games by one score or less while rolling with a quarterback who threw 30 interceptions, with 7 being returned for touchdowns. Cutting the interceptions down to 10 would have probably made them a playoff team last year! The Bucs are going to be fun to watch all season as you know Brady will play with a chip on his shoulder, so be careful when you count out Tom Brady, you might find yourselves eating your words. I think this ends with the Saints winning the NFC South but the Bucs knocking them out of the playoffs. This may only be March when I am saying this, but I guarantee you that Tampa Bay will make it at least to the NFC Championship, and don’t be surprised if they win it all!
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