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A new era is dawning for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Here’s what Bucs fans can expect for the 2014-2015 season.
2014 started with a bang with the announcement of new general manager Jason Licht, who’s brought in some major weapons on both sides of the ball. Along with new head coach Lovie Smith, the Bucs are ready to make some serious noise in the NFC South.
New Leadership at the Helm
General manager Licht brings 18 years of NFL experience to Tampa Bay. He’s served with five teams, including the Arizona Cardinals and New England Patriots, focusing on player personnel. Throughout his career, he’s been a crucial part of winning organizations; his employers compiled a 164-124 (.569) record.
Head coach Smith is also no stranger to winning traditions. His 81-63 (.563) record as the head coach of the Chicago Bears is the third-best victory total in franchise history. Only Hall of Fame coaches George Halas and Mike Ditka have more. In addition to his regular-season accomplishments, Smith has a 3-3 playoff record and an appearance in Super Bowl XLI.
Sky’s the limit for what Smith and Licht will accomplish this season.
New Talent Bolsters the Roster
The Bucs have worked hard in the off-season, using the draft and free agency to set Tampa Bay up for success.
Defensive end Michael Johnson comes from the Cincinnati Bengals. Johnson hopes to repeat his 2012 11.5-sack season for the Bucs. Cornerback Alterraun Verner comes from the Tennessee Titans after earning Pro Bowl honors in 2013. Verner intercepted a career-high five passes in 2013, returning one for a touchdown.
Expect Quarterback Josh McCown to be a steady performer. In 2013, McCown threw 13 touchdown passes against one interception. Although Mike Glennon performed well last year after Josh Freeman left the team, most analysts believe McCown will win the starting job.
Rookie wide receiver Mike Evans and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins will become big targets on offense, especially in the red zone. They'll be perfect complements to existing weapons like veteran wide receiver Vincent Jackson and the team's formidable running back, Doug Martin.
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