Counting the days until the Bucs return
The race to 10 wins in now complete, 10 wins in the book and it was all topped off by the marquee win that the Franchise has been looking for against the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints. Until Sunday the Bucs had not beaten any team with a winning record, now they have.
Many of my friends who are not Bucs fans, or didn't watch the game, said that we only beat their backups but as I pointed out to them when we are missing Joseph, Faine, Benn, McCoy, Price, Jackson, Talib, Grimm, Black and others I think we're about even!
So another seven month break from the Gridiron is upon us, at least in professional terms (pre-season for the British League starts next week!), and Sunday night's will now just be a boring pre-work period.
The editor's job gets harder as he tries to fill the pages of our wonderful website with relevant Buccaneer related content, us columnists have a harder time thinking of things to write...look out for my future columns "Things I'm doing this Thursday", "How painting the back bedroom is going" and new competition, "Guess what I'm having for my tea tonight?".
It's that time of the year where you can look back at what we expected pre-season and what happened. I said we'd go 7-9 this year but as we all know some we predicting as little as 2, 3 or 4 wins. How wrong they were.
The Pewter Pirates have performed to a level that few of us expected. 10 wins in this league is a great achievement and that record would have given us a division title in four of the eight divisions but being that we are in the NFL's strongest division, the NFC South, we are left in third position.
The Buccaneers have been harshly dealt this season with injuries, possibly more than any other team, losing their top three draft picks to injury throughout the season. Gerald McCoy, Brian Price and Arrelious Benn were all lost to season ending injuries and seventh round pick Cody Grimm was also lost. Add to that star Offensive Linemen in Jeff Faine and Davin Joseph and you see the extent of these injuries.
But this didn't stop the Buccaneer train from rolling on. Players stepped up throughout the roster with Derek Hardman and Ted Larson stepping up and doing a great job protecting the Franchise QB. EJ Biggers and Myron Lewis have both played some outstanding football covering for Aqib Talib and at Safety Corey Lynch has done well covering for Cody Grimm who in turn is covering for Tanard "Dickhead of the year" Jackson. The depth the young Tampa Bay roster has shown this season has been staggering.
With all those starters to return to action and a draft to come, and a bucket load of rookies with real time NFL experience I don't think the Bucs need to be paying out for any Free Agent talent this off-season. I know to some this will show that the Glazers are the anti-Christ, Mark Dominik is clearly a Carolina Panthers insider and Raheem Morris is looking for work elsewhere but why do they need to add anyone? At receiver the Bucs have the best rookie in football.
At running back we have the best rookie in football. If the Bucs can trim the fat and bring in some explosive pass rush off the ends and a big bad linebacker through the draft then the Franchise is in a scarily good state.
When you look at what has been achieved by previously mentioned "Best rookies in football" both are amazing stories. LeGarrette Blount transformed the Buccaneers running game and became only the second player ever to go from undrafted free agent to thousand rusher and Mike Williams fell painfully short of becoming only the eighth rookie to have a 1,000 receiving yards and 10 TDs.
Williams in fact ended up with 11 TDs and a massive reputation as one of the league's best receivers. Add to that the achievements in a reduced space of time by his fellow rookie receiver Arrelious Benn and you can see why the next few years are set to be exciting times for all pewter and red fans around the globe.
I am extremely proud to call myself a Buccaneer fan and I hope you all are too. You should be. Raheem and the boys have worked a miracle this year. Bigs things are just around the corner and I fancy a 13-3 season with a division title next year. I hope you have all enjoyed the columns this year as much as I have enjoyed writing them. Happy New Year to everyone involved with Bucpower.com.