Considering the latest news Michael Clayton is almost certain to have a better year than last season (not that it would be hard to do). Which got me thinking, who would have a better season compared to last and who's production might slip next? Of course, if you disagree or have another Buc I did not mention whom you would like to bring up you know what to do.
Bull: Clayton (372 yds, 0 TDs)
No doubt about it, Clayton was a dissapointment last season. But we can expect greater things out of him this year for three reasons. First, he's healthy. Second, he's signed a pledge. Third, he's being pushed by Maurice Stovall.
Bear: Joey Galloway (1287 yds, 10 TDs)
If Clayton is going to have a better season then it stands to reason that Galloway's production has to drop...a bit. Galloway surprised many people, including yours truly, with his play last season. I don't see that happening again this season.
Bull: Alex Smith (367 yds, 2 TDs)
Anyone else remember when Smith caught two touchdowns in his first game and everyone thought we had the next Antonio Gates? Gruden made Smith work his way into the line up the rest of the season and didn't pass Smith the ball until late in the season. Smith has proven himself to Gruden and should improve on his performance this year.
Bear: Simeon Rice (33 tackles, 14 sacks)
One year older, and one year closer to retirement for Rice. A speed rusher on the wrong side of 30 Rice is bound to see to his production diminish, especially with the emergence of DeWayne White.
Bull: Chris Simms (2035 yds, 10 TDs, 7 ints)
Yeah, I know...this is the obvious choice. Simms (and the rest of the Bucs) should benefit from the growing pains Simms went through last season. Although I will use this opportunity to mention this is the third straight season the Bucs have started the season with a different quarterback. If Simms doesn't produce this season Gruden has got some explaining to do.
Bear: Derrick Brooks (93 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 int)
Much like Rice, Brook's advantage has been his speed. Much like Ray Lewis, Brooks is bound to see his production decrease even while his accolades continue to pour in. But like Lewis if Ruud and some of the other Bucs linebackers start making plays then nobody will notice.