One thing coach Lovie Smith has said several times is he wants to make the Tampa Bay Buccaneers relevant again.
They haven’t been to the playoffs since 2007 and haven’t won a postseason game since their Super Bowl victory more than a decade ago. They are coming off a 4-12 season and have a bunch of new faces and a new coaching staff.
But one expert already sees the Bucs as relevant. That is ESPN analyst Herm Edwards, a former Tampa Bay assistant. Edwards predicted the Bucs and the Pittsburgh Steelers as his two Super Bowl teams for the upcoming season.
That might be a stretch, because neither team made the playoffs last season. I’m not sure the Bucs are Super Bowl ready, but I do think they will be one of the league’s most improved teams and will have a shot at the playoffs.
My logic is pretty simple. Good defense makes you competitive, and I think the Bucs are going to have an excellent defense. They have defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and outside linebacker Lavonte David, who might be the best in the league at their positions. They also have plenty of competent role players on defense.
I think the defense alone could make the Bucs a .500 team. If the offense is even halfway decent, Tampa Bay could have double-digit wins. If the offense is good, Edwards’ prediction might not be too far off.