There's ample reason for the young Tampa Bay Buccaneers to be excited about the future. Coming off a 10-6 season, Josh Freeman led the Buccaneers in numerous players-organized workouts, the roster is mostly comprised of young talent with room still to improve, Freeman looks like the real deal at quarterback, and they have a head coach in Raheem Morris that the whole team believes in.
All that said, it may be a bit premature for Mike Williams to be guaranteeing that the Bucs will make the playoffs in 2011.
"We're a young team, but we're guaranteeing the playoffs," said Williams.
The immensely talented Syracuse product led all rookies with 65 receptions for 964 yards and 11 TDs in 2010. Williams has every reason to believe that he and Freeman will improve their chemistry in 2011 as they spend more and more time with one another. If the Bucs running game improves as expected, that should definitely be the case as teams will be forced to spend more defensive capital on stopping the run.
The real problem though with 'guaranteeing' a playoff berth is that the Buccaneers play in the highly competitive NFC South where Atlanta and New Orleans appear perfectly positioned to make deep runs to the playoffs and beyond. Both wild cards can, of course, come from the same division. But that will be tough because of the simple fact that the three will play each other twice over the course of the season. I'm sure Morris would also prefer if the Bucs continue to play with swagger without having any sort of unwanted bulls eye on their collective backs.
Hey, Tampa Bay has all the tools to get it done. It would look like one hell of a bold prediction were it to materialize.