Future Hall of Famer Tom Brady spent the final three seasons of his storied NFL career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In February 2022, he revealed his plans to retire, only to reverse his decision just 40 days later. He returned to the Bucs this past season, but this past February he revealed that he was retiring “for good.” Brady’s arrival in Tampa Bay instantly changed the Bucs’ fortunes, and he led the franchise to a Super Bowl victory in his first year with the team. But Brady’s latest departure has resulted in much-tempered expectations for the team’s 2023 season.

Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask are competing to take over the starting quarterback duties for the upcoming season. Despite the loss of several key players this offseason and the uncertainty at the quarterback position, inside the Bucs building the team still expects to compete at a high level this year.

NYNNC: “We’re about to do it to ’em,” Buccaneers corner Carlton Davis told GoLongTD.com. “Anybody who feels we’ve lost Tom, and lost something, is going to be in for a rude awakening. A rude awakening. Tom was a great addition for us, but obviously it’s a team sport. Obviously, you need components to be successful. We still have those components. And I’m only getting better.”

The NFC South was one of the worst divisions in the NFL last season. The Bucs won their second consecutive division title with an 8-9 record and went on to lose to the Dallas Cowboys in the wild-card round.

It may be a stretch to believe the division is in worse shape than it was in 2022. The Saints signed veteran quarterback Derek Carr, while the Panthers hope rookie signal caller Bryce Young will be the long-term answer. The Falcons added former Texas Longhorns star running back Bijan Robinson to the roster, in an effort put more talent at skill positions around second-year passer Desmond Ridder.

NYNNC: Davis added to his bold predictions by confidently stating that the defensive will wreak havoc on opponents. “We’re going to wreck s—,” Davis said. “Like, wreck s—. Interceptions. Turnovers. Plays will be made. I will say. Plays. Will. Be. Made.”

Even with the loss of Brady, the Buccaneers’ roster does still feature several playmakers. Offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs is a two-time All-Pro and was named to his second Pro Bowl last season. Star wide receiver Mike Evans is reportedly in the midst of contract extension talks with the Bucs. Chris Godwin, Antoine Winfield Jr., Lavonte David, Devin White and Shaquil Barrett are all set to return to Tampa Bay.

Meanwhile, Davis re-signed with the Buccaneers earlier this offseason.

It seems that Davis is out to prove that the Super Bowl that the Bucs won a few seasons ago was not merely a one-off. It will be interesting to see whether his optimism will ultimately propel the team to a winning season.

NYNNC: “You don’t know s—,” he says. “Nobody knows s— until it happens.” Chantz Martin is a sports writer for Fox News Digital.”

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