Although it seems that many NFL observers and fans are quick to assume that the Buccaneers won’t be much better this year than they were in the days of the yellow-and-orange uniforms with the pirate on the helmet, I think that the Bucs will surprise a lot of people this year. Yes, they will. Some things took place during the offseason that gave me this impression:
Firstly, they did a pretty good job in free agency of nabbing guys at a reasonable price. And, more importantly, Jon Gruden knows he is coaching for his job, for the first time in his career – which should light a fire under him more than anything. Another reason? The offensive line will be better, believe it or not. Left tackle Luke Petitgout, dumped by the Giants early in the offseason, was signed to a three-year, $15 million deal — a steal in light of the seven-year, $49 million packages that went to stiffs like Derrick Dockery, Eric Steinbach, and Leonard Davis.
As you could well imagine, Petitgout also has a chip on his shoulder, due to getting cut by the Giants. And he took a swipe at his former team’s approach on offense in gushing about Gruden’s way of doing things. As Petitgout told The St. Petersburg Times recently, “We did a lot of the same things in New York, and different looks dictate the plays called in the huddle.” He also stated, “Coach Jon Gruden likes to be very creative. That helps us out. You’ve got to be on the same page with him. You have to pay attention to the quarterback because he runs the show. The Bucs have a solid set of skill-position players; the problem as of late has been the run/pass blocking. If the line can improve (which I think they will), Tampa Bay can get back to the postseason — and Gruden can save his job.