After our divisional season review podcasts, we are now looking to the future and asking where each franchise goes from here. We put ourselves in the chair of being GM or the owner and going over what moves we would make in order to win a Superbowl, make the playoffs or just regain some pride…
Today we take a look at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Don’t forget to check out the NFC North podcast where we talked to Murf from 5yardrush and Tom from Head On A Swivel podcasts and got their thoughts on the team!
How Did Last Season Go?
Last season had more ups and downs than the Big Dipper at Blackpool. Jameis Winston started the season with a 3 game ban due to being Uber silly (see what I did there?) so Ryan Fitzmagic lived once again. They stunned the Saints in week 1 and the Eagles in Week 2 and arguably could’ve been 3-0 with their late surge vs the Steelers not quite getting them over the line. After that it was like riding a horse at a fairground at the QB position with Winston and Fitzpatrick chopping and changing on a nearly weekly basis which starting in GW4 when getting blown out of the water by the Chicago Bears.
After beating Cleveland in OT and having a 3-3 record, the Bucs went 2-8 the rest of the way.
The Bucs finished with the most passing yards in the NFL (3rd in total yards) but also the worst defence in terms of points given up. Tampa Bay games last year were not boring.
At the skills positions, Mike Evans surpassed 1500 receiving yards, breaking some Tampa Bay and NFL records along the way. Career high in Yards, Yards per rec, yards per game, catch % saw Evans go to his 2nd Pro Bowl.
The backfield was the total opposite in terms of production with 2nd round pick Ronald Jones struggling to even get on the field.
The Buccaneers have the number 5 pick in the 1st round of the 2019 draft along with picks 39 (round 2), 70 (3), 107(4), 145(5) and 215(7).
The Bucs are not wealthy in terms of salary cap at this precise moment being bottom of the pile with a smidge over $2m cap space.
Dirk Koetter has left after a puzzling season at the HC position.
Following him out the exit door is WR speedster DeSean Jackson who goes back home to Philly and one of the most reliable slot receivers in Adam Humphries snubbed New England for Tennessee.
On defence, Kwon Alexander has changed Tampa Bay for the Bay area and San Francisco and Vinny Curry didn’t work out.
Finally, Ryan Fitzpatrick will not be sprinkling his magic anymore as he goes to Miami.
Bruce Arians replaces Dirk Koetter but not many other names of note to fill the holes.
Linebacker Shaquil Barrett, Safeties Kentrell Brice and Deone Bucannon along with unloved Cleveland and Baltimore cast-off WR Breshard Perriman.
Outlook for Next Year
Bruce Arians will ruffle the feathers in Tampa and raise the level of all the players there. It’ll be interesting to watch what happens with the backfield as Peyton Barber and the aforementioned Ronald Jones do not strike fears into anyone’s eyes. Furthermore, Arians would’ve been used to a 3 down back like David Johnson so I expect moves to be made (not for David Johnson however).
The success of Tampa will hinge on how much Arians can get out of QB Jameis Winston who is in the final year of his contract. They will not be afforded the time to transition over into the Arians offence judging by how competitive the division is going to be.
The Bucs had my money for a playoff push last year, they wont have it again this season. I think it’ll be a push to say they’ll have a winning record but if Arians works his magic, Winston steps up and the defence is not too porous then who knows. They haven’t got the toughest of schedules outside of their division, with the NFC South being paired with the NFC West, AFC South and the Lions and Giants.
They’ll get to around 7-9 in my opinion.
Jameis Winston – double digit round pick – potential QB1 – *SLEEPER ALERT*
Peyton Barber – 7th Round – high RB3/ low RB2
Ronald Jones – undrafted / waiver wire fodder
Mike Evans – 2nd Round pick – WR1
Chris Godwin – 6th Round pick – WR2 ceiling – *BREAKOUT CANDIDATE*
OJ Howard – 8th Round pick – Mid-Low TE1