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State of the Buccaneers - Training Camp Preview
David Dorey
July 31, 2009
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This series of analysis on the 32 NFL teams takes a look at where teams have been over the last three years for each position - where they have ranked in the most notable categories and the hard statistics produced. This is to give a view of each team heading into training camp and what they most likely need to improve on this season and where their strengths lie that likely won't need any changes. Ending each team review is a brief summation of what to watch in training camp in August to uncover those developing situations that you can take advantage. Combining where teams have come from and what they have done in free agency and the NFL draft gives you the very same thing that NFL coaches are looking at as they attempt to improve their team for 2009.
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Training Camp Opens: July 31
Head Coach: Raheem Morris (1st year)
Stadium: Raymond James Stadium  Surface: Grass
2009 Schedule   2009 Roster   2008 Statistics   2008 Record: 9-7

QB Carries Rush YD Rush TD Pass Comp Comp % Pass YD YPP Pass TD Int Rank YD Rank TD
2006 49 171 1 535 296 55% 2994 10.1 14 18 28 29
2007 54 253 1 490 316 64% 3579 11.3 18 8 16 19
2008 43 162 1 561 354 63% 3785 10.7 17 13 11 21

Quarterback - The Buccaneers used their 1.17 pick to take Josh Freeman last April but he may not start this year. He is the future of the franchise to be sure and very promising for the new offense but at least heading into camp he'll be in a learning mode. Byron Leftwich is the veteran presence at quarterback though Luke McCown is also considered favorably. In the end, training camp will help determine which quarterback will start the season but there's no certainly that all three won't end up playing at some point this year. They are not even safe to draft as a backup for your team.

RB Carries Rush YD YPC Rush TD Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD Rcv TD Rank YD Rank TY Rank TD
2006 346 1273 3.7 5 147 100 68% 696 0 29 23 31
2007 468 1883 4.0 15 185 130 70% 928 2 7 2 5
2008 403 1648 4.1 12 137 98 72% 663 0 13 13 22

Running Backs - The quarterback spot is muddled and it isn't much clearer with the backfield. Derrick Ward was brought over this year but he's already 29 years old and has never had more than 182 carries in a season and only has five career rushing touchdowns. Earnest Graham is back after suffering a high ankle sprain in 2008 and the 29 year-old back will figure in if not remain the primary back. The Buccaneers are installing a zone blocking scheme and intend on being a run heavy offense. That should benefit both Graham and Ward in a big way and no other backs on the roster are likely to get in the way. Carnell Williams is still around (generally on PUP) but isn't a factor to consider anymore.

WR Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD YPR Rcv TD Ranks YD Rank TD
2006 279 141 51% 1917 13.6 10 21 21
2007 257 164 64% 2251 13.7 8 20 27
2008 294 185 63% 2331 12.6 12 15 17

Wide Receivers - 2008 became a big breakout year for Antonio Bryant who rolled up 83 catches for 1270 yards and seven scores despite being out of football in 2007. But Joey Galloway finally broke down for good and is now in New England. That leaves Michael Clayton as the starter and he is still hoping to rekindle the magic he had in his rookie season when he caught 80 passes for 1193 yards and seven scores. In the four seasons since 2004, Clayton has barely totaled as much as he had in his first year in yardage and only has two scores over the last four years. This is going to be a run-heavy offense and that won't perk up the numbers for the wideouts. Neither will having more than one quarterback starting this year. And even worse - now Kellen Winslow is playing for the Buccaneers and will get his share of passes at the expense of the wideouts. Oh yes, and the Buccaneers intend on using a lot of two-tight end sets as well.

TE Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD YPR Rcv TD Ranks YD Rank TD
2006 78 55 71% 381 6.9 4 25 21
2007 81 55 68% 594 10.8 9 17 7
2008 118 72 61% 794 11 6 13 10

Tight Ends
- The addition of Kellen Winslow signals that this new offense will be using the tight end as a receiver. He signed a six-year, $36 million contract so no matter who the quarterback throwing the ball is, there will be plenty of them heading towards Winslow. That will come at the expense of all other receivers including Bryant.

Training Camp Fantasy Angle - There is mostly just dynasty interest in this team. Freeman is one to watch in camp and preseason games since he's very talented and will play a lot of great weather games while he is in Tampa Bay. It will also be notable to see Graham and Ward side-by-side to see which one is more likely to take the lead though in all cases, there will be a committee backfield here. The quarterback situation will obviously control the expectations of the receivers but barring a big surprise, only Bryant and Winslow appear worthy of taking in a fantasy draft and even then without expectations that they can deliver as well as 2008.

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Team-by-Team Offensive Line Review and Ratings
Head Coaching Changes and Their Fantasy Impact
Ease of Schedule for Quarterbacks
Ease of Schedule for Running Backs
Ease of Schedule for Receivers
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