Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 2/20/12
After finishing the 2010 season barely missing the Playoffs, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers limped to a disappointing 4-12 record in 2011, finishing the season on a 10-game losing streak, which cost Head Coach Raheem Morris his job. Tampa Bay goes into 2012 with a brand new head coach and coaching staff who will attempt to turn the team around. This article looks at some bold predictions for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for 2012.

Free Agency and the Draft  
Tampa Bay currently holds the fifth overall pick in the 2012 Draft, which they will use to draft running back Trent Richardson out of Alabama. Richardson finished his junior season at Alabama, with a National Title along with 1,679 rushing yards, 338 receiving yards, 21 rushing touchdowns and three receiving touchdowns.

The biggest pick-up Tampa Bay makes through free agency is wide receiver Reggie Wayne. Wayne was unable to pass the 1,000 receiving yards mark in 2011, however, part of the reason for that was he was catching passes from three different quarterbacks, and none of them was Peyton Manning.

Despite missing the 1,000-yard mark, Wayne still contributed 960 receiving yards and four touchdowns, and has contributed a total of 11,708 yards and 73 touchdowns in Indianapolis. In Tampa Bay, Wayne would be a veteran target for quarterback Josh Freeman, while providing leadership to a young Tampa Bay receiving crew.

 Looking to bolster their defense, Tampa Bay signs linebacker Ahmad Brooks. Last season Brooks had 49 tackles, seven sacks and a forced fumble. Overall, Brooks has accumulated 138 tackles, 20 tacks, seven forced fumbles and an interception.

Tampa Bay uses the Draft and free agency to get other players that help strengthen their offense and defense.  

Regular Season
At quarterback, Josh Freeman benefits from offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan and new receiver Wayne and throws for 4,100 yards, with 20 touchdowns and only six interceptions.   

After a position battle in Training Camp and the preseason, Richardson wins the starting job away from LeGarrette Blount. Richardson has a spectacular rookie season, finishing with 1,001 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns.  

At wide receiver, the team leans heavily on Wayne, who contributes well to his new team, accounting for 975 receiving yards and nine receiving touchdowns.

Benefiting from new Head Coach Greg Schiano and Bill Sheridan, Tampa Bay’s defense improves in 2012, finishing in the top 15 in both rushing and passing defense.

Overall, Tampa Bay improves significantly from 2011, and the team is able to rise to an overall record of 9-7, and finish second in the NFC South behind the Atlanta Falcons. Despite their improvement though, the team narrowly misses the Playoffs.

Final Analysis
With new coaches, and new players, 2012 should be a great year for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

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