Offseason Playbook: Buccaneers

A look at Tampa Bay's philosophy, team needs and a key free-agent move

Updated: March 9, 2013, 1:26 PM ET
By Gary Horton and Field Yates | ESPN Insider
Doug MartinSteve Mitchell/USA TODAY SportsDoug Martin had an exceptional rookie season, rushing for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2012.

In a new offseason series, Insider takes an in-depth look at NFL teams before free agency begins March 12. What are each team's philosophy on offense and defense, its biggest needs, and one player who could make for an ideal signing in free agency?

Team philosophies

Offense -- This is a no-nonsense offense under head coach Greg Schiano that wants to be very physical and run oriented along with playing smart assignment football -- but the Bucs are not quite there yet. These offensive coaches came from run-oriented backgrounds, and their primary goal in 2012 was to find a workhorse back who could give them that ball control. They found the perfect guy in rookie Doug Martin, who does not have "bulldozing" size but does have underrated power and a low center of gravity and, most importantly, is a three-down player who is solid as an outlet receiver.

That good running game sets up solid play-action for quarterback Josh Freeman, and he will take enough deep shots to force defenses to play back. That opens up more room for Martin. Freeman seems to read his progressions deep to short, which is an interesting wrinkle. He has physical receivers who can elevate and win jump balls, and they are also quality runners after the catch. He is still an up-and-down quarterback and can go through head-scratching periods of inconsistency, but if that improves, this can be a really good offense.

Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.
Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.