The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have high expectations going into the 2013 season. In head coach Greg Schiano’s first season the team experienced a change of culture which included nearly doubling their win total from 2011.
Knowing that the team needed a complete renovation to their pass defense the Buccaneers invested millions by signing Pro Bowl safety Dashon Goldson in free agency and acquired potential future Hall of Famer Darrelle Revis via a trade with the New York Jets.
So what could derail a possible playoff season for the Buccaneers? Aside from the other three quarterbacks in the NFC South- Matt Ryan, Drew Brees and Cam Newton- the easy answer is injuries.
So which players are the most indispensable for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?
1. Gerald McCoy The Buccaneers defensive tackle may have been the very best at his position last season and is widely underrated in the town he plays. McCoy will be depended on even more this season to pressure the passer and cave the pocket as the team let defensive end Michael Bennett walk in free agency. Make no mistake, McCoy is the best player on the Bucs.
2. Darrelle Revis Without Darrelle Revis last season the Bucs allowed more passing yards than any team in the illustrious history of the National Football League. We don’t know if Revis will be 80 or 90 or 95 percent following his knee surgery but it’s safe to say that without him the team has a major hole at cornerback (evidenced by nearly every game in 2012). The Bucs don’t have much established depth at many positions and cornerback may be the most thin.
3. Vincent Jackson At a quick glance one could suggest that the Buccaneers have solid depth at wide receiver with Mike Williams, Kevin Ogletree and Tiquan Underwood, among others. Although the aforementioned are solid players, they fit better in their roles when surrounded by a legitimate number one target and that’s exactly what Vincent Jackson is. Jackson commands the attention of every opposing defense and gives Josh Freeman a security blanket.
4. Doug Martin The Bucs offense has great balance with the shifty, powerful, Pro Bowl running back. Martin can catch the ball out of the backfield, is very good in pass protection and usually wins after first contact. With questionable depth on the roster after Martin, there’s really nobody else that the team can trust to hand the ball to.
5. Donald Penn Much has been made of Donald Penn’s potential weight issues but he has been a very solid left tackle for the Bucs. Without Penn the Bucs would likely have to try Demar Dotson at left tackle or pick up a player off the street which would require more players to protect Josh Freeman.
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