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Thursday, July 17, 2014
Fact or fiction: Offense

By Pat Yasinskas

On Wednesday, we played a game of fact or fiction with issues surrounding the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defense. Now, let’s switch over to the offense:

1. Josh McCown is a good enough quarterback to lead the Bucs to the playoffs.

Our take: Fact.

McCown
Justify it: I went with fact over fiction, but just barely. I’m thinking Tampa Bay’s defense can be something really special. That alone could put the Bucs close to the playoffs. McCown doesn’t have to be spectacular, just steady. There is nothing in McCown’s background to suggest he is going to come in and throw for more than 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns. But he is a crafty veteran, and with Tampa Bay’s defense that might be enough.

2. The Bucs will use a committee of running backs and no one back will get the bulk of the carries.

Our take: Fiction.

Justify it: One of the biggest myths of the offseason has taken on a life of its own because coach Lovie Smith said a team needs more than one quality back. He is serious about that and there will be some sort of rotation. But the fact is Doug Martin still is the feature back and will get most of the carries. He just won’t get almost all the carries like he did under former coach Greg Schiano. There will be room for Charles Sims, Bobby Rainey, Mike James and Jeff Demps to compete for touches.

3. This can be a top-tier offensive line.

Our take: Fiction.

Nicks
Justify it: I like the signings of free agents Anthony Collins and Evan Dietrich-Smith. But I’m skeptical about this unit because I’m skeptical about the health of guard Carl Nicks. He missed all but two games with a toe injury last season and wasn’t ready to take part in the offseason program. Nicks has said there is some permanent damage and that he will have to play through pain the rest of his career. That doesn’t sound encouraging. If Nicks somehow can get back to full strength, this offensive line could be very good. But let’s wait and see how Nicks fares.

4. Mike Evans will be a 1,000-yard receiver as a rookie.

Our take: Fact.

Justify it: Evans steps into a great situation as the No. 2 wide receiver. He will start opposite Vincent Jackson, who will draw most of the attention from opposing defenses. That means there should be plenty of opportunities for Evans. His size should give him a big advantage in one-on-one matchups with cornerbacks.

5. Tight end will be an important part of this offense.

Our take: Fact.

Justify it: Coordinator Jeff Tedford’s offense remains a bit of a puzzle to all of us. But just look at the clues when it comes to the tight ends and you can see some significant roles. The Bucs have Tim Wright, who had more than 50 catches as a rookie and free-agent pickup Brandon Myers. Throw in second-round draft pick Austin Seferian-Jenkins and it’s obvious the Bucs will be deep at this position. Luke Stocker also remains on the roster, but he needs a big training camp to stick around.