The Tampa Bay Buccaneers haven’t won a playoff game since winning the Super Bowl almost fifteen years ago. They have had more head coaches in that time than winning seasons. Once again, they have a new head coach in place and the team and it’s fans are hoping that this time it’s the right hire. With a young franchise QB in place, the Bucs can’t afford to blow this hire so needless to say….this is going to be a huge year in Tampa Bay with a lot of question surrounding the Bucs.
Can Jamies Winston continue to elevate his game and become one of the NFL’s best QB’s?
Will Doug Martin’s career resurgence continue?
Can the Bucs win a playoff game after almost fifteen years of misery?
Let’s find out!
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Record Last Ten Seasons: 5-11 (2015), 2-14 (2014), 4-12 (2013), 7-9 (2012), 4-12 (2011), 10-6 (2010), 3-13 (2009), 9-7 (2008), 9-7 (2007), 4-12 (2006)
Last Playoff Appearance: 2007 Wildcard vs. New York Giants
Last Playoff Win: Super Bowl XXXIV vs. Oakland Raiders
Super Bowl Titles Won: 1 (Super Bowl XXXIV)
Passing Leader for 2015: Jameis Winston (4,042 yards, 22 touchdowns, 15 interceptions)
Rushing Leader for 2015: Doug Martin (1,402 yards, 6 touchdowns)
Receiving Leader for 2015: Mike Evans (1,206 yards, 3 touchdowns)
The Head Coach:
Overall Record (as a head coach): 0-0
Record With Team: 0-0
Previous NFL Jobs: Jacksonville Jaguars Offensive Coordinator (2007-2011), Atlanta Falcons Offensive Coordinator (2012-2014), Tampa Bay Buccaneers Offensive Coordinator (2015)
My Grade: D+
(Depth Charts will change as training camps progress obviously….)
Player Grade Guide:
Blue = Elite Player
Green = Really Good Player
Orange = Average Player
Pink = Meh
Red = NO THANKS
Gray = Rookie
QB: Jameis Winston
RB: Doug Martin
FB: Dan Vitale
WR: Mike Evans
WR: Vincent Jackson
TE: Cameron Brate
OC: Joe Hawley
OG: Ali Marpet
OG: J.R. Sweezy
OT: Donovan Smith
OT: Demar Dotson
DE: Robert Ayers
DT: Gerald McCoy
DT: Clinton McDonald
DE: William Gholston
LB: Kwon Alexander
LB: Lavonte David
LB: Daryl Smith
CB: Alterraun Verner
CB: Brent Grimes
SS: Bradley McDougald
FS: Chris Conte
vs. @ Atlanta Falcons (September 11)
vs. @ Arizona Cardinals (September 18)
vs. Los Angeles Rams (September 25)
vs. Denver Broncos (October 2)
vs. @ Carolina Panthers (October 10)
vs. @ San Francisco 49ers (October 23)
vs. Oakland Raiders (October 30)
vs. Atlanta Falcons (November 3)
vs. Chicago Bears (November 13)
vs. @ Kansas City Chiefs (November 20)
vs. Seattle Seahawks (November 27)
vs. @ San Diego Chargers (December 4)
vs. New Orleans Saints (December 11)
vs. @ Dallas Cowboys (December 18)
vs. @ New Orleans Saints (December 24)
vs. Carolina Panthers (January 1)
The fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have had it rough since winning Super Bowl XXXVIII vs. the Oakland Raiders back in 2002. Since then, the Bucs have only had four winning seasons, zero playoff wins, and five head coaches. In case you don’t understand what that means, it means “YIKES”. Tampa Bay has been a mess ever since Jon Gruden left town and started “Spider-2-Y-Bananaing” all over our TVs. Since he left, the Bucs have tried out Raheem Morris, Greg Schiano, Lovie Smith, and now Dirk Koetter at the head coach position. I was personally on the Lovie Smith bandwagon myself, but those in the Bucs organization apparently had other plans and I can’t really blame them. My understanding is that they feel like Koetter is the best option at the head coach position because of their young franchise quarterback Jameis Winston. If that’s the case, it’s hard to argue with what the Bucs did in firing Smith this last off-season. But will we see some improvement in Tampa Bay this season?
Offensively, this unit is going to have to carry this team. Jameis Winston showed some serious signs of being a successful NFL franchise QB in his rookie season and he should continue to improve with Koetter taking over the head coaching job. He also has some serious weapons to work with. Doug “Muscle Hamster” Martin apparently remembered that he was a decent running back after disappearing for two seasons. Martin ran for almost 1,500 yards last year and something tells me he’ll break that number this season. Winston also has a nice pair of wide receivers in Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson. Even though Jackson is getting up their in age, he’s still a productive player and Evans has quietly blossomed into one of the league’s best at the position. Tampa Bay does have a lot of holes on the offensive line though. They don’t have a player that I would consider better than average anywhere on the line and Bucs fans had better hope that Winston is able to hold up this season. If something bad happens to him injury-wise, I think we know exactly who to blame.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Bucs aren’t that great on paper. They have a new defensive coordinator and with an offensive minded guy taking over the team, these guys will likely take a step back this season. Outside of their defensive line, I don’t think the Bucs defense is that great (rookie Kwon Alexander was very inconsistent last season, but he has great potential). They are really hurting for someone to step up in the secondary. Alterraun Verner’s play has fallen off in a huge way to the point that he was benched last season. Brent Grimes comes over from the Miami Dolphins, but it’s only a matter of time before his wife tweets something to get him in trouble. Luckily the Bucs have rookie Vernon Hargreaves waiting in the wings and if his college tape showed us anything, this kid is going to be a player in the league and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him end up as the Bucs top corner by the end of the year. Tampa Bay fans NEED this to happen if they expect their team to contend for anything this year.
So, will the Bucs actually contend for anything this year? Outside of a top draft pick, I don’t think so. They aren’t going to win their division as the Carolina Panthers are much better than they are. They have a first-year head coach who has never coached an NFL game before. There is going to be a learning curve there and it could end up being a slow one. What Bucs fans should expect to see this season is an improvement from Winston and a team that very well could become one of the NFL’s best on the offensive side of the ball. If that happens, the arrow is definitely pointing in the right direction for Tampa Bay. I just don’t think it’s going to happen this season.