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Which team that missed the playoffs has the best chance of being this years Bucs?


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Around this time last year if I told you the Bucs would be Super Bowl champions next season you would’ve laughed in my face but it happened. 
 

If you had to pick one team that didn’t make the playoffs in 2020 to win the Super Bowl in 2021 who would you pick and why?

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14 minutes ago, Forge said:

Miami, maybe? Tough call this early in the process though. 

If Watson heads there, I'd back this one. Same for San Francisco.

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I'm going to go the homer route and pick the Cardinals. The Cardinals had some quality wins against tough opponents. A lot of the pieces were there, but they couldn't put it together on a week-to-week basis.

Their offense and defense were both borderline top-10 in points, and they were the 6th-ranked offense in yardage. They were a middle-of-the-pack passing game and a dangerous team on the ground. Kenyan Drake wasn't very impressive, but they still racked up yards with Kyler putting up RB numbers to supplement Drake, and Chase Edmonds did well in limited opportunities once again, racking up nearly as many yards from scrimmage as Drake. Drake is expected to exit via free agency, but honestly, it should be fairly easy to upgrade him. He was incredible in 2019 for us, but was just so lackluster this past year. There are multiple RBs that should be able to replace or upgrade his production in free agency, and the draft is always an excellent option for RBs. There are a few guys this year that would be solid choices.

Their passing game weapons left a lot to be desired. DeAndre Hopkins was unstoppable for most of the season, but Christian Kirk was extremely frustrating. Dan Arnold failed to make the necessary steps and Larry Fitzgerald has lost a step, and at 38 years old, with a limited role on offense, he should not have finished second on the team in receptions. Chase Edmonds, the back-up RB, was third. Aside from those three players, it was a frustrating bunch of players catching the football. On the bright side, it's a really young group overall. There's still hope that guys like Dan Arnold or Christian Kirk can just take the next step in a contract year, or even if someone else from their multitude of young receivers can step up, (Andy Isabella, Keesean Johnson, Trent Sherfield, Maxx Williams, or Darrell Daniels are all still yet to enter their prime). Overall, every receiver on the team, aside from Fitzgerald and Hopkins, is still under 25. There should be some level of natural progression.

Their defense was playoff-caliber. Part of it was just that it was hard to have consistency. A slew of injuries to the defense occurred about halfway throughout the season, and all of a sudden they didn't have the personnel to run some of those exotic looks that were working so well at times and disrupting offenses. Honestly, I thought Vance Joseph did an incredible job with the players he had. They had the 3rd-best red zone defense and held teams to a low 39% conversion rate. Hopefully the defense will get healthier this year. Patty P has lost a few steps, and he might leave. He's a really meaningful guy for this locker room, but he's also had a little bit of drama in recent years and was unhappy with playing here, so that combined with poor play means that I'm okay with him leaving. Chandler Jones is a monster and a fantastic leader, and I really hope he stays. I really like our edge rush, but we just haven't had everyone healthy. Retaining Haason Reddick is an absolute must. We still haven't been able to see much of a healthy Zach Allen, someone who the front office has been bullish on, and then we didn't really see Jordan Phillips, either. Both rookie DTs were awful, but it's not out of the question that they'll progress, as this year was a crapshoot for a lot of rookies. 

Overall, I really like our edge rush, LBs, and safety group. The corners were okay but could use an upgrade, and while the interior of the DL didn't perform very well and was injured, Vance Joseph did a masterful job as masking that with different personnel packages and interior blitzes. I honestly wouldn't really invest in an upgrade on the DL unless it was a sure thing, considering that we've drafted three DTs on day 2 over the past couple years, and we also have just had injury issues there. Overall, like I said, I really believe in this defense and in Vance. We're only a piece or two away, IMO. 3rd-best red zone D, 39% 3rd down rate.

Part of the issue is that we also had a 39% 3rd down rate on offense. We didn't really have any answers on third and long. Our best bets were when the defense made a mistake and let Nuk wreck them, or when Kyler was able to scramble for 12+ yards. Kirk was Mr. Dropsy, Dan Arnold flashed some seam ability but isn't there yet, and Fitz can't create separation beyond 10 yards anymore and he wasn't much of a separation guy in the first place. We really need some of these young guys to step up.

As far as our offensive line goes, I like it, honestly. DJ Humphries is a really good left tackle and has been nasty in the run game for a while. Justin Pugh is a very good guard. Justin Murray has played well, and hopefully he'll be the RG next year, while I thought Josh Jones was a round-1 tackle and like the idea of him starting moving forward. We're in desperate need of a competent center, though. 

Kyler was a good QB. He wasn't elite, but he was good. He needs to continue to work on his processing, but it has gotten better. There were quite a few times where he held onto the ball for too long, and there were also times where he bailed on plays with guys open downfield, settling for check-downs to Edmunds or Fitz. It's hard when your weapons fail to step up, but he still can get better about that. He also gets happy feet sometimes and that leads to sloppy throws. There were times when he was avoiding a rush that wasn't there and threw off his back foot. Overall, though, he's an accurate QB with fantastic athleticism and escapability and a strong arm. 

Honestly, I feel like we're only a couple pieces away from being a true contender. We really need a center, and I feel like even an okay center would be a massive improvement to middle of the OL. Lamont Galliard was an upgrade over Mason Cole when he got some chances this season, and this was only his second season in the league, but I'm not sure if he's the answer. A good complementary receiver would go to great lengths to improve the offense, and with so many young guys who have flashed but are just inconsistent, it's not out of the question that one of them could step up, find some consistency, and be that piece. If not, there are some options out there via the draft or free agency. Again, Hopkins is an elite alpha receiver. We just need a second guy on the team who can be counted on to reach at least 650 yards, something that didn't happen this past year. Finally, we could use an improvement at corner. Dre Kirkpatrick was good, Byron Murphy continues to develop. Maybe Murphy steps up and becomes the guy. Probably not, considering his frame and how badly he's been beaten at times, but he's also gone toe to toe with some of the league's better receivers and held them in check. Ideally, though, we'd be getting another corner.

Honestly, at all of the positions of weakness, there are potential solutions in our young guys. If we can just hit on one or two guys this off-season and the team stays mostly intact, I think we could surprise people. 

There's a natural line of progression here for both Kyler and Kliff as they enter year 3 in the NFL. They've both gotten better. The team as whole is still very young and has gotten better. We just need that trend to continue with a little bit of help, but yeah, I seriously think we could make waves next season. Do I think we'll win the Super Bowl? Nope. Would I be SURPRISED if we made a deep playoff run? Nope.

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Doubt anyone has it come together quite like TB, I really think Carolina has a major upswing if they can secure a quality QB. Their back 7 leaves a bit to be desired (Chinn’s a beast though), but a QB like Watson would be nasty in that offense. 0-8 in game winning games, there’s a lot of room for improvement even with that promising season.

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34 minutes ago, SkippyX said:

A healthy 49ers maybe? If they nail the 12th pick?

I think they are likely to lose a ton of players. I really need to see free agency. Sherm is gone. Probably Trent williams. Probably k'waun. Probably Tartt. Hyder is a free agent. Need a center. 

I just have to see how they solve this mess as there are way too many moving parts. This seems like a transition year

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4 hours ago, Forge said:

Miami, maybe? Tough call this early in the process though. 

 

4 hours ago, ET80 said:

If Watson heads there, I'd back this one. Same for San Francisco.

Agreed with both teams.  I really think both teams are only a good QB away from being true contenders.

But, as Forge said, it's too early to tell because a lot can change in the next 6 months. 

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I just took a look at the Rams. They have some work to do

3 of their top 5 secondary players are UFA/UFA/RFA

  • Hill, Johnson, and RFA Williams

 

They are losing their edge again and their rotation olb in Ekuban is UFA as well.

They are also losing a bunch of depth pieces on offense in Everett, Brown, and Reynolds.

  • They are set at RB if Akers and Henderson stay healthy.
  • They drafted a TE who did not get a target in 2020
  • They drafted an edge LB, Lewis, who got a couple sacks last year
  • They drafted Van Jefferson who had 19 catches last year.
    • He will have to be a starting 3 and a fill in 2 when Kupp or Woods miss games.

 

They also have no money. (35 million less than no money)

Whitworth will be 40 in December.

 

They pick 57, 185, and 217 in the draft.

 

But they have Stafford, so it'll be fine.

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10 hours ago, HoboRocket said:

I'm going to go the homer route and pick the Cardinals. The Cardinals had some quality wins against tough opponents. A lot of the pieces were there, but they couldn't put it together on a week-to-week basis.

Their offense and defense were both borderline top-10 in points, and they were the 6th-ranked offense in yardage. They were a middle-of-the-pack passing game and a dangerous team on the ground. Kenyan Drake wasn't very impressive, but they still racked up yards with Kyler putting up RB numbers to supplement Drake, and Chase Edmonds did well in limited opportunities once again, racking up nearly as many yards from scrimmage as Drake. Drake is expected to exit via free agency, but honestly, it should be fairly easy to upgrade him. He was incredible in 2019 for us, but was just so lackluster this past year. There are multiple RBs that should be able to replace or upgrade his production in free agency, and the draft is always an excellent option for RBs. There are a few guys this year that would be solid choices.

Their passing game weapons left a lot to be desired. DeAndre Hopkins was unstoppable for most of the season, but Christian Kirk was extremely frustrating. Dan Arnold failed to make the necessary steps and Larry Fitzgerald has lost a step, and at 38 years old, with a limited role on offense, he should not have finished second on the team in receptions. Chase Edmonds, the back-up RB, was third. Aside from those three players, it was a frustrating bunch of players catching the football. On the bright side, it's a really young group overall. There's still hope that guys like Dan Arnold or Christian Kirk can just take the next step in a contract year, or even if someone else from their multitude of young receivers can step up, (Andy Isabella, Keesean Johnson, Trent Sherfield, Maxx Williams, or Darrell Daniels are all still yet to enter their prime). Overall, every receiver on the team, aside from Fitzgerald and Hopkins, is still under 25. There should be some level of natural progression.

Their defense was playoff-caliber. Part of it was just that it was hard to have consistency. A slew of injuries to the defense occurred about halfway throughout the season, and all of a sudden they didn't have the personnel to run some of those exotic looks that were working so well at times and disrupting offenses. Honestly, I thought Vance Joseph did an incredible job with the players he had. They had the 3rd-best red zone defense and held teams to a low 39% conversion rate. Hopefully the defense will get healthier this year. Patty P has lost a few steps, and he might leave. He's a really meaningful guy for this locker room, but he's also had a little bit of drama in recent years and was unhappy with playing here, so that combined with poor play means that I'm okay with him leaving. Chandler Jones is a monster and a fantastic leader, and I really hope he stays. I really like our edge rush, but we just haven't had everyone healthy. Retaining Haason Reddick is an absolute must. We still haven't been able to see much of a healthy Zach Allen, someone who the front office has been bullish on, and then we didn't really see Jordan Phillips, either. Both rookie DTs were awful, but it's not out of the question that they'll progress, as this year was a crapshoot for a lot of rookies. 

Overall, I really like our edge rush, LBs, and safety group. The corners were okay but could use an upgrade, and while the interior of the DL didn't perform very well and was injured, Vance Joseph did a masterful job as masking that with different personnel packages and interior blitzes. I honestly wouldn't really invest in an upgrade on the DL unless it was a sure thing, considering that we've drafted three DTs on day 2 over the past couple years, and we also have just had injury issues there. Overall, like I said, I really believe in this defense and in Vance. We're only a piece or two away, IMO. 3rd-best red zone D, 39% 3rd down rate.

Part of the issue is that we also had a 39% 3rd down rate on offense. We didn't really have any answers on third and long. Our best bets were when the defense made a mistake and let Nuk wreck them, or when Kyler was able to scramble for 12+ yards. Kirk was Mr. Dropsy, Dan Arnold flashed some seam ability but isn't there yet, and Fitz can't create separation beyond 10 yards anymore and he wasn't much of a separation guy in the first place. We really need some of these young guys to step up.

As far as our offensive line goes, I like it, honestly. DJ Humphries is a really good left tackle and has been nasty in the run game for a while. Justin Pugh is a very good guard. Justin Murray has played well, and hopefully he'll be the RG next year, while I thought Josh Jones was a round-1 tackle and like the idea of him starting moving forward. We're in desperate need of a competent center, though. 

Kyler was a good QB. He wasn't elite, but he was good. He needs to continue to work on his processing, but it has gotten better. There were quite a few times where he held onto the ball for too long, and there were also times where he bailed on plays with guys open downfield, settling for check-downs to Edmunds or Fitz. It's hard when your weapons fail to step up, but he still can get better about that. He also gets happy feet sometimes and that leads to sloppy throws. There were times when he was avoiding a rush that wasn't there and threw off his back foot. Overall, though, he's an accurate QB with fantastic athleticism and escapability and a strong arm. 

Honestly, I feel like we're only a couple pieces away from being a true contender. We really need a center, and I feel like even an okay center would be a massive improvement to middle of the OL. Lamont Galliard was an upgrade over Mason Cole when he got some chances this season, and this was only his second season in the league, but I'm not sure if he's the answer. A good complementary receiver would go to great lengths to improve the offense, and with so many young guys who have flashed but are just inconsistent, it's not out of the question that one of them could step up, find some consistency, and be that piece. If not, there are some options out there via the draft or free agency. Again, Hopkins is an elite alpha receiver. We just need a second guy on the team who can be counted on to reach at least 650 yards, something that didn't happen this past year. Finally, we could use an improvement at corner. Dre Kirkpatrick was good, Byron Murphy continues to develop. Maybe Murphy steps up and becomes the guy. Probably not, considering his frame and how badly he's been beaten at times, but he's also gone toe to toe with some of the league's better receivers and held them in check. Ideally, though, we'd be getting another corner.

Honestly, at all of the positions of weakness, there are potential solutions in our young guys. If we can just hit on one or two guys this off-season and the team stays mostly intact, I think we could surprise people. 

There's a natural line of progression here for both Kyler and Kliff as they enter year 3 in the NFL. They've both gotten better. The team as whole is still very young and has gotten better. We just need that trend to continue with a little bit of help, but yeah, I seriously think we could make waves next season. Do I think we'll win the Super Bowl? Nope. Would I be SURPRISED if we made a deep playoff run? Nope.

I like the potential of the Cards but the only issue is they play in the NFCW with better to at the very least equal talent in terms of roster but most importantly better coaching . If the Seahawks keep Wilson and even if the Niners stay put with Jimmy G and just stay relatively healthy the Cards are the 4th best team in the division. They would be the best 4th place team in the NFL imo but still a 4th place team and honestly it will be clear cut. They have to show me they can beat the Rams at least once. They did split with the Seahawks and Niners which is good but can they split with them again this season? They might with one but I don’t think with both. So we are looking at a (1-5) divisional record alone. That means the Cards would have to go (9-2) outside the division just to have a shot to get the 7th seed. IF Kingsbury can continue to grow as a coach and Murray continues to progress along with putting pieces around him like the OL, and adding more pieces on defense then all of what I said will be different because the Cards will strongly be able to compete in the NFCW and could vault up the standings but right now I don’t see it so it’s going to be hard to say that they are anything but a 4th place team and at best fighting for the 7th seed in the conference but more likely missing the playoffs although. 

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