The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fired the cannons and made a big splash this offseason after a 7-9 season in 2019. The Bucs signed one of the greatest QBs of all time in Tom Brady. We all know Brady is better than Aaron Rodgers/Jameis Winston but now we get to see if an old Tom Brady can fit into a new team with many weapons.
Winston moved on to be a back-up for the Saints but he did have some success a crazy 30 interceptions. Winston had 5,109 yards and 33 TDs at 8.2 YPA in 2019 (84.3 QB rating). He was feast or famine and the Bucs will still need to feast with Tom Brady. Brady had a down year for him without as many weapons but did notch 4,057 yards 24 TDs and only 8 interceptions (88 QB rating). The big number is the turnovers and Brady shouldn’t turn the ball over like Winston did. The Tampa Bay defense should be good and way less turnovers will help them tremendously. HC Bruce Arians and OC Byron Leftwich run a good offense and should help Brady succeed.
Tom Brady is old but he is still good and has plenty of weapons. Over 4,000 yards, upper 20 TDs and less than 10 interceptions will be a huge gain for Tampa Bay. Brady hasn’t had weapons like this in awhile with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Finally, Brady’s buddy, stud TE Rob Gronkowsk,i came out of retirement to play for Tampa after a trade.
Mike Evans is a beast and top 5 WR in the game. Evans had 1,157 yards and 8 TDs in only 13 games in 2019. Chris Godwin broke out in 2019 with 1,333 yards and 9 TDS in 14 games. The Bucs lost speedy Breshad Perriman but added Gronk. Gronk can get you 800-1000 yards and double digit TDS easily.
Tampa Bay has two other solid tight ends in Cameron Brate (311 yards and 4 TDs) and OJ Howard (459 yards and 1 TD). Finally, Tampa Bay added Tyler Johnson in Round 5 out of Minnesota. Johnson can be a nice jump ball WR as well. Tampa Bay is loaded for Brady. Watch out.
Defensive Line and Pass Rush OLB
Tampa Bay not only has a good passing game but they should have a very good defense. They were the top run defense in 2019 and return everybody for that effort. NT Vita Vea and Ndmakong Suh are two very large stout men that can’t be moved. William Gholston is a solid defensive end as well.
The pass rush will be led by Jason Pierre Paul (8.5 sacks) and Shaq Barrett (19.5 sacks). Barrett had a monster break out year and JPP is a consistent pass rusher. The depth lacks with Anthony Nelson (2019 4th round pick) and not much else. Tampa Bay’s weakness will be depth in the front 7.
DC Todd Bowles gets the most out of LBs in his 3-4 defense. Lavonte David is a good LB and Devin White was drafted in the top 10 in 2019. White struggled early but improved late in his rookie season and can be a game changing LB with some development. Tampa Bay should excel here but lack depth.
The offensive line looks solid. Donovan Smith was an above average LT in 2019 but has some average years the previous four seasons. Ali Marpet is a good LG and 15th ranked in the league. Tristan Wirfs was a big addition in Round 1 of the draft to play RT. Ryan Jensen was the 3rd ranked center in the league and Alex Cappa is an average RG. Joe Haeg is decent guard/RT depth but they lack LT depth. The Bucs have better talent than expected on the offensive line, Brady at QB and plenty of weapons.
Could be Strength or Weakness
Ronald Jones had a solid 2nd year (2018 2nd round pick) at 4.2 YPC. Veteran playmaker LeSean McCoy was just added after not playing much for KC late last year. Dare Ogunbawale is the 3rd back. Tampa Bay can run block and Jones/McCoy could have holes with the focus on the passing game by opposing defenses.
This secondary got torched last year. The 30 interceptions didn’t help allowing many short fields but the pass rush was solid enough. Tampa Bay has a young secondary. The CBS Carlton Davis, Sean Bunting actually had above average grades despite the QB rating allowed. Jamel Dean graded well in 300 snaps and Antoine Winfield Jr was added in Round 2 of the draft. They are talented but inexperienced. This could be their downfall other than extreme lack of depth in other positions.
Mike Edwards struggled at safety and Justin Evans is talented but oft-injured and has been put on PUP for now. The young safeties need to improve to help out the young CBS. Winfield should play some safety as well which could boost their play.
Tampa travels to Chicago in Week 5 and Detroit in Week 16. The Buccaneers host the Packers in Week 6 and the Vikings in Week 14. This should be a tough game for every NFC North team now. You better bring your defense to stop Brady and these weapons. The NFC North teams’ passing game better be strong because it will tough sledding trying to run on Tampa. Tampa should battle the Saints for top spot in the NFC South even though we all secretly want Brady at 42 years old to fail miserably in a new setting.