Where Do They Go From Here; Buccaneers

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.

Housekeeping

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.

Outgoings

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.

Incomings

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.

Prediction

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.

Fantasy Football

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

 

 

Where Do They Go From Here? Bears

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 Chicago Bears.

Don’t forget to check out the NFC North podcast where we talked to Martin from BearDownUK and get their thoughts on them!

How Did Last Season Go?

It couldn’t have gone any better really, even with all the hype surrounding the team and the bandwagon getting overbooked. If you’d have offered a Bears fan a playoff spot, they’d have bitten your hand off like a bear would if you offered it a salmon…

Top of the North with a 12-4 record and if it wasn’t for Cody Parkey’s exceptional accuracy for connecting pigskin with metal, they would have seen the divisional round of the playoffs and maybe more.

A week 17 win vs the Vikings and knocking them out of the playoffs would’ve tasted sweet for those at Soldier Field, though. The Bears won 9 of their last 10 with the only loss coming in OT vs the Giants in a strange one.

The defence gave up the fewest points I the NFL over the regular season and were top 10 on offence in points scored, which may surprise some.

Housekeeping

The Bears are not rich in the Salary Cap or Draft Pick stakes after their trades last year.

Around $18m in cap at the time of writing and their 1st and 2nd round picks have been traded away for Mack and Miller respectively. So it’s pretty much as you were in terms of personnel for the Bears.

Outgoings

Rumours of Jordan Howard going out the exit door are interesting. The tandem of Howard and Cohen seem to do the trick, its just a question of perhaps having them both in the backfield to help with trying to not be too predictable for playcalling when one of them are in on the snap. Apart from that, don’t expect too much change for a team that feel like they are almost there.

UPDATE: Amos has signed with the Packers

Incomings

After all of the outlay last season, I’d be surprised if we see much movement from the Bears this offseason. They have most of their pieces in place on both sides of the ball. Maybe a sprinkle here or there for depth. Baked in to that is their lack of options with their salary cap position and draft picks for 2019. Expect a replacement for Howard if he leaves and also maybe an addition or two on the O Line.

UPDATE: Mike Davis has signed from the Seahawks

Outlook for Next Year

Things look great for the Bears and now look to maintain rather than be a part of the chasing pack, which may come as a weird feeling to Bears fans. The microscope will be on Trubisky to see if he can take another (needed) step forward.

The Bears will face a division winners schedule and the collective W% of their opponents last season stands at .520 with matches against the Chiefs, Saints, Rams, Chargers, Cowboys to add on top of 2 matches vs Green Bay and the Vikings. If they retain their division title, they’d have earned it.

Prediction

You’d expect the Packers and Vikings to be much more competitive so things could be a lot tighter this season.

The defence will probably be leaned on once more and grinding out results, which was the winning formula last season. In Nagy’s 2nd season, maybe expect a bit more effectiveness on offence with a few more tricks up his sleeve to come out on the field. I’m not sure Trubisky progresses as much as most will hope and this may just come back to bite them in 2019.

That said, a playoff berth should await them again, but as a 5 or 6 seed.

Fantasy Football

Mitch Trubisky – No thanks. (likely undrafted in redraft, mid/low QB2 range. Maybe one for a late round bestball)

Jordan Howard – 5th Round, low RB 2 range

Tarik Cohen – 4th Round, High RB 2 range (higher in PPR)

Allen Robinson – 3rd Round, low WR2 range

Anthony Miller – 8th/9th Round, low WR3 range

Taylor Gabriel – Late rounds, low WR4

Trey Burton – 9th Round, low TE1

Podcast 12 – My Team My Thoughts – Bears

We “Bear Down” with Luke Campbell in this episode.

I am wearing a special shirt just for this episode and get Luke to guess which former Bears player is on the back of my non Bears jersey.

We talk about the intriguing prospect of the Bears offence in 2018 under Matt Nagy and we play a game of JoHo vs others close to him in terms of rushing yards last year. Can Luke be the first to get the full house?

I also explain how i got trolled by our version of football…