Our Detroit Lions 2014 opponent preview series concludes with the team’s week 13 opponent: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
To get a feel for the Bucs’ side of preparations for the 2014 season, I got together with Nick John of The Pewter Plank for a Q&A. Here are my questions followed by his answers.
1. How would you assess the team’s offseason? Did they do what they needed to do through the draft and free agency?
"The Buccaneers had an amazing offseason. From hiring Lovie Smith, to signing key free agents like Alterraun Verner, Josh McCown and Michael Johnson, and pulling off an all-offensive draft starring Texas A&M phenom wide receiver, Mike Evans."
The Pewter Plank
2. Which Rookie are you most excited to see play in 2014 and why?
"The Bucs have four rookies on offense that can make an immediate impact. Mike Evans is who I, and the rest of Tampa Bay, is excited to see the most. However, that’s not to say that we don’t expect big things from Charles Sims, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, and sixth-round pick wide receiver Robert Herron."
3. What is the biggest question that still needs to be answered heading into training camp?
"Will Carl Nicks be healthy enough to play in 2014? The left guard position is still Tampa’s weakest link, unless Nicks shows that he is completely healthy and ready to play at a high level. If not, rookie Kadeem Edwards has to be ready to step into the starting lineup."
4. What are your expectations for the team in 2014?
"The Buccaneers are a team that has all of the potential in the world. A new coach, new players, new uniforms, and a new energy have taken over the Tampa Bay area. The fans fully expect a run to the playoffs, and I am inclined to agree. This is a team that should win around nine games, despite a few question marks."
5. Right here, right now, are you marking down the game against the Lions as a win, loss or toss-up?
"Last year’s trip to Detroit produced an incredibly entertaining game, with the Buccaneers doing everything they could to lose, and still coming away with the victory. This year, with a more reliable team in almost every aspect, the Bucs should take care of business at Ford Field, with less of the drama. It will still be a test, as it always is going up against Matt Stafford and Megatron. However, this is a team you should beat if you expect to contend in the NFC."
For more on the Bucs, check out The Pewter Plank.