By Brian Willwerth
When Tom Brady announced he was leaving New England and heading to Tampa Bay, it got the attention of everyone around the NFL. TB was going to TB. We heard variations of that pun all over the place.
So, does this make the Buccaneers an instant Super Bowl contender, to become the first team to ever host the big game in its home stadium?
No. At least, not yet.
What Brady has done is made the Bucs relevant. The national media is talking about Tampa Bay for the first time in forever. The schedule makers gave them a franchise-record five primetime games. And for what it’s worth, the Patriots have the same number of games under the lights even without Brady under center.
But remember: Tampa Bay hasn’t made the playoffs since 2007. And for that to change in 2020, three things need to happen:
- A running game would help since they haven’t had one in several years.
- The secondary needs to be much better, though it showed some improvement after getting rid of Vernon Hargreaves, who is currently a member of the Houston Texans (he was released by the team earlier this year, but resigned last month).
- The offensive line needs to improve dramatically.
Tom Brady alone cannot lead the Bucs to the postseason, though many bandwagon fans feel differently. Everyone remembers all of Jameis Winston’s interceptions last year. What the stats don’t show, is how often he was running for his life. Brady’s going to be doing a lot of scrambling if the pass protection remains poor.
The anticipation for this season – hopefully with fans in the stadium – is through the roof. Let’s get it on.