Despite going 5 – 11 in 2018 the Tampa Bay Buccaneers put out the 12th best offense carried by the top-ranked passing attack in the NFL. The bulk of that offense returns for new head coach Bruce Arians. The cagey veteran coach known for his gambling style and willingness to chuck it downfield, seems like the perfect fit for Jameis Winston, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and OJ Howard.
Arians retired after the 2017 season and went to the TV set but the sideline was just to strong to resist. As the 2018 season was drawing to a close it was reported that the only job Arians would take was Cleveland, but when Cleveland did not show interest in Arians he waited for other jobs to open as they inevitably do. Tampa is arguably the best fit for Arians style, the one skill position they need to improve is running back.
Offensive coordinator Todd Monken led a resurgent passing game for the Bucs, getting high scoring games out of veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston who combined for over 5100 yards and 36 touchdowns but Monken is out with the coaching change. Arians brings with him protégé Byron Leftwich as the OC who gave a boost to the Arizona Cardinals attack in 2018 after taking over for Mike McCoy.
The Bucs are ready made for Arians style of offense and his personality. They have an exhuberant quarterback who sometimes makes questionable decisions, both on and off the field. They have star wideout Mike Evans who at 6’5” 225 pounds is a force to be reckoned with over the middle and in the end zone. Evan put up 86 receptions for 1524 yards, 8 touchdowns and a whopping 17.7 ypc. Across from him Chris Godwin stepped up in Desean Jackson’s absence for 59/842/7 and free agent to be Adam Humphries caught 76 passes and 5 touchdowns out of the slot. Tampa spent a second-round draft pick on Ronald Jones who was an unquestioned flop, the jury is still out on him. Journeyman Peyton Barber paced the rushing attack with 871 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Tampa is not in great shape cap wise with just under $9 million according to spotrac.com. I am sure the will be some roster moves made to free up some money. The Bucs are sitting at the #5 pick right in front of the Giants so that could be a hot spot for teams looking to grab the best of a thin quarterback class. Improving a defense that was 21st in sacks and 26th in turnovers as well as offensive line should be high on the list.
2019 is looking like a great year to own the Tampa Bay passing game. Winston should get plenty of opportunities to throw the ball, he will still put up a couple of stinkers because that’s who he is. Evans, Godwin and if he returns Humphries (Justin Watson if he doesn’t) will be in the WR1, WR2/3, WR3/4 tiers respectively. OJ Howard will be the most talented tight end Arians has had in recent memory, it will be curious to see how he uses him. I’d like to see them get Mark Ingram in free agency, that would give them an immediate boost in the ground game and a true three down back.
The Buccaneers might not make the playoffs but they will be fun to watch and they will score lots of points.Follow @culture_coach
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