As I continue my look at the NFC South, I’ve turned my attention to a possible dark horse of the NFL over in Tampa Bay.
Finishing last in the NFC South standings the last two seasons, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will look to have a fresh start under new head coach Bruce Arians. Culture, accountability, and grit is what you should expect from an Arians led team, but what are the real areas that need to be addressed for this team to succeed offensively?
Jameis Winston. Please Stand Up!
A $20.9 million dollar investment will take the field for his fifth season with the Buccaneers. Former No.1 overall draft pick Jameis Winston will strive to become the franchise quarterback for a team who has never signed a quarterback to a second contract in franchise history.
Winston’s time as a Buccaneer has been a roller coaster of highs and lows, along with record-breaking and history-making performances. The one thing that’ll make or break the 2019 Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be whether or not Bruce Arians can fine-tune Winston’s talents and bring out a 16-game performance without the lows.
Arians recently stated that Winston needs a better team around him for him top really strive as the Bucs starter. That team could be forming during training camp and honestly, this could be Winston’s last chance to become the Bucs quarterback of the future.
Offensive Line Needs to be Better
Looking back at the run game for Tampa Bay can easily upset the modern-day football fan. Running a balanced offense has been a trademark of the league for successful teams the past several seasons. More times than none the Buccaneers would steer away from the run game, leaving the quarterback out to dry.
Bringing back just about every offensive lineman from the previous season, the question burning in Buccaneers fans heads will be, how can the same personnel make a difference? Harold Goodwin will look to put some of his magic on the offensive line in 2019 along with Byron Leftwich as offensive coordinator.
The big questions here, personnel-wise, is who starts at right guard? How long can Demar Dotson play this season? Former 2018 draftee Alex Cappa will look to become a starter along with free-agent pickup Earl Watford.
Is the Secondary Actually Fixed?
Several months ago Bruce Arians was quoted stated that the Bucs secondary was completely fixed. This had a lot of Tampa Bay fans scratching their heads. Think about the veterans this team has in their defensive backfield: Vernon Hargreaves, Justin Evans, Kentrell Brice. There’s not a whole lot of NFL experience in that group.
Fans will learn a lot of what the Buccaneers vision was from the 2018 and 2019 NFL drafts. This secondary is loaded with very young talent. The thing that may ease some fans minds is the coaching staff on the defensive side of the ball.
Todd Bowles runs an aggressive defense that relies a lot on the pass rush helping the secondary cover the field. With the young players in the backfield, we’ll see a faster and more aggressive type of defense that we haven’t seen in Tampa Bay in a very long time.
Fans will have to live off of the words from Arians and Bowles and also look at track records of coaches like Nick Rapone and Kevin Ross.