Tampa Bay continues to be the worst franchise in the NFL. They have only won 39.2% of their games in the team’s 39 year history. Tony Dungy was really the only coach in their history to have long-term success. He went 54-42 in his six years with four playoff berths before moving on to Indianapolis. Jon Gruden led the team that Dungy built to a Super Bowl victory in 2002, but over the last 10 years, the Buccaneers have consistently ranked in the bottom half of the league in offense. They haven’t made the playoffs in their last six seasons. Last year without Doug Martin, Tampa Bay was the worst team in the league in total yards gained. Their defense finished just below league average, and this lack of success led to a change again in the coaching staff. Lovie Smith, who had a successful nine year career with the Bears where he went 81-63 but failed to make a Super Bowl run, will take over as head coach. He brought in Jeff Tedford to be the offensive coordinator. He spent the last 11 seasons as the head coach for the University of California. His strength is developing the quarterback position. Leslie Frazier will take over the defensive side of the ball. Frazier struggled in his three seasons as head coach for the Vikings where he went 21-33-1. He has worked for two franchises as a defensive coordinator – Cincinnati Bengals and Minnesota Vikings. Last year the Buccaneers had the worst passing game in the league (176.2 yards per game), but they threw 22 TD’s with only 12 Int’s, about league average. Their offensive line allowed 47 sacks. Their rushing attack finished 22nd in the NFL in rushing yards per game (100.8) was only six rushing TD’s. Most of their lack of success was due to multiple injuries at the running back position. The pass defense was about league average (237.9 YPG) with 30 passing TD’s allowed. They created 21 interceptions with only 35 sacks. After having success against the run in 2012, the Buccaneers faded to 15th in the league (110.1 yards per game) while allowing 10 rushing touchdowns.
Doug Martin (RB) – After an electric rookie season, Martin struggled through the first 6 games of the year before going down with a torn labrum in his left shoulder. Over his first 5 games, Martin averaged over 25 touches per game, but he only delivered one impact game (29/144 in week 2). He scored just 1 TD with surprisingly low value in the passing game. Over 5 and 1/2 games, Doug only had 12 catches for 66 yards on 24 targets. Maybe his shoulder was more of an issue than Tampa led on as he only caught 50% of his chances. Labrum injuries can be tough to recover from, but Martin appears to be 100% healthy headed into training camp. The chirpers on the sidelines have suggested he will see less touches this season with a change in coaching staff, which really doesn’t make sense to me as he showed elite upside in his rookies season when he had 368 touches for 1,926 yards with 12 TD’s. Martin had 11 runs of 20 yards or more and 5 runs of 40 yards or more in 2012. When healthy, he has excellent upside, and I’m hoping the speak of a split situation continues over the summer, which will discount his value. In the NFL, it’s all about talent. He proved to have it in 2012, and he has no issue with his legs. The Bucs should have a better offensive line, and I think the offensive coordinator will be more creative in his play calling. We have seen over the years many exciting Cal RB’s enter the league. I believe Tedford will ride his best player when the chips are on the table. I expect top 5 value from Martin with more upside if the receiving core can help move the chains.
Want to read my entire fantasy football preview of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? Click here to sign up as a Projector to gain full access!