As the playoffs in the NFL continue, it's only normal to think of what it might take for the Buccaneers to make a return to postseason play. Well, I guess for the Bucs, just a return to relevant games in late November and December. Here are 5 ways the Bucs can make that happen.
5. Find a Swagger on Defense: I think the Bucs have some good young talent in Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David, Bradley McDougald, Johnthan Banks, Alterraun Verner, and Jacquis Smith. What the Bucs defense lacks is a vocal leader. They lack a Terrell Suggs or a J.J. Watt, or a James Harrison or a Luke Kuechly. They need that one player to bring it all together.
4. Gerald McCoy Needs to Start Making Impact Plays in the 2nd Half of Games: Some of you might think I'm too tough on the nice guy McCoy, but I just want more of an impact from a guy who's hyped like he is. Of McCoy's 8.5 sacks in 2014, 7 of those sacks came in the 1st half of games. His other sack and a half in the 2nd half of games came when the Bucs were down 17-0 to the Panthers in week 1 and in a blowout win against the lowly Redskins. He's a disruptive force, but next season, the Bucs need him to make impact plays when they count most.
3. The Bucs Need an Identity on Offense and Stick With It: The Bucs were supposed to have a fast-paced offense with plenty of speed under Jeff Tedford. Instead, they were very methodical with limited speed. New offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter needs to dictate the pace of each game.
2. Add Three Offensive Linemen this Off-season: The combination I would follow here is one lineman in free agency and two in the draft. I'd look to one of the guards availablke in free agency like Broncos' Orlando Franklin, 49ers' Mike Iupati, or Bengals' Clint Boling as a lesser option. Right tackles like Green Bay's Bryan Bulaga or Houston's Derek Newton could also be options in free agency. In the draft, the Bucs should be able to grab linemen at the top of the 2nd and 3rd rounds.
1. Draft Jameis Winston: Remember, that the title of this piece is how to make the Bucs a playoff contender in 2015. While I think Mariota is a damn talented prospect, I do feel it will take him some time to develop into a true NFL quarterback. With Winston, I feel he can step right in and run an NFL offense. Both quarterbacks would be big improvements for the Bucs, but Jameis would give the Bucs a better chance in 2015, and that's the focus of this article.
Follow Bucs Blitz on twitter: @TBBucsOnScout