Are the Bucs really an improved football team?

by Gary Shelton on August 17, 2015 · 2 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

For Smith, the first presason game wasn't all about Winston./Jeffrey S. King

For Smith, the first presason game wasn't all about Winston./Jeffrey S. King

Monday, 6 a.m.

The quarterback had a lousy rating. The offensive line had holes in it. The defense gave up points on three of the first drives of the night. The pass rush was invisible. The secondary was leaky.

Here's the question, then.

Are the Tampa Bay Bucs a significantly better football team than they were a year ago?

Of all the lingering questions surrounding the team's preseason opening loss to the Minnesota Vikings, that may be the most disturbing one. Granted, a lot of teams have clunker games in preseason. But are the Bucs really better? And if so, where?

Oh, they are better in some places, sure. The Bucs are deeper at defensive tackle. They should be better at safety. And, yes, the overall quarterback play should be better. But there are still shortcomings before this is no longer a cellar team.

In a way, all of the discussion of the progress of quarterback Jameis Winston is a misdirection play. Oh, he's vital to the team's improvement. If they're wrong about Winston, they're going to be bad for some time to come. The point is that the more we talk about Winston, the less we talk about other shortcomings. Hey, maybe that's part of a quarterback's job, too.

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