5 Bucs with More to Give – Tampa Bay Buccaneers News

5 Bucs with More to Give – Tampa Bay Buccaneers News

After finishing 9-7 in Dirk Koetter’s first season as head coach in 2016, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers set about addressing some of their most pressing needs in the new offseason. A determined effort was made to add speed to the offense, which comes in the form of DeSean Jackson, O.J. Howard, Chris Godwin and Jeremy McNichols. The defense needed more power up the middle, which it got with Chris Baker, Stevie Tu’ikolovatu, Kendell Beckwith and J.J. Wilcox.

On paper, that might seem like enough to add the one or two wins that would push the Bucs over the hump and into the postseason in 2017. But here’s the rub: The NFL’s other 31 teams were pursuing the same sort of self-improvement, if not necessarily in the exact same areas. The math isn’t quite as simple as (near playoff team) + (draft and free agency) = playing in January.

There’s a reason every general manager in the league says his aim is to build through the draft. Free agency can certainly help a team get over the top – see Peyton Manning and the Broncos – but most teams that make the leap from golfing in January to playing in the postseason need to see internal development of the roster. New contributors emerge, steady vets become stars and stars become MVP candidates. Whether you want to call it cause or effect, it’s no surprise that the last two NFC champions were led by first-team NFL MVPs.

Take the 2016 Atlanta Falcons. That team made an critical acquisition in March, landing center Alex Mack to solidify a previously-struggling offensive line. Later in the spring, the draft brought such immediate contributors as safety Keanu Neal and linebacker Deion Jones….

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