This article is part of our Team Previews series.
State of the Franchise
The 2012 season was an up and down campaign for the Buccaneers. After recording an awful 4-12 mark in 2011, the team was at least able to turn things around somewhat under first-year head coach Greg Schiano, finishing with a 7-9 record. Though the Bucs did look better overall, another late-season swoon, which included five straight losses between Weeks 12 and 16, was a concern on multiple levels. To that end, the Bucs made some major moves in the offseason, especially on defense, that could pay big dividends in 2013 and beyond.
One of the Bucs' major problems in 2012 was their pass defense, which ranked dead last in the league, surrendering an average of 297.4 yards in the air per game. Trading for CB Darrelle Revis and signing S Dashon Goldson as a free agent this offseason combine to represent just about the best two moves that any team could have made to shore up those two positions. The Bucs also used their 2013 second-round draft pick on Johnthan Banks, a potential impact player at cornerback. Finally, a return to health by pass-rushing DE Adrian Clayborn should help the defense improve on the anemic 27-sack total the unit posted last season.
Although the pass defense was a glaring issue for the Bucs in 2012, it was hardly the only one. On the other side of the ball, QB Josh Freeman set a team record with his 4,065 yards passing and had a career-high 27