Sep. 13, 2017
Bucs preview 2017
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have had a lot of obstacles to overcome to try to get the 2017 season off the ground. First there is Hurricane Irma which postponed the official season-opener against Miami till November 19th. Depending on what kind of damage Irma does as it goes thru the Tampa Bay Area, The Bucs may not be able to practice in Tampa this week. The Bucs were expecting to be back on Tuesday to begin preparations for their opener against the Chicago Bears. Now they may stay in Charlotte most of the week and prepare as best they can.
The good news is that the Bucs should be well rested, and hopefully all the nagging injuries cleared up and everyone will be ready to go on the 17th.
The Bucs improved on both sides of the ball this off-season. The addition of WR DeSean Jackson and TE OJ Howard should really help Jameis Winston to open up the offense. On the offensive line JR Sweezy is back and will Make the OL better.
The running game will be a question mark until the return of Doug Martin from his 3 game suspension. With the Bucs game against Miami getting pushed back till the 19th of November, that means Martin will not be available against the NY Giants and will not return until the game against the Patriots on Oct. 5th.
Jacquizz Rodgers, Charles Sims, and Peyton Barber will split up the carries with Rodgers getting the nod as the starter,
If the Bucs are to take that next step offensively, it all starts with the play of Jameis Winston. Jameis has to take better care of the ball and cut back on the turnovers. Winston has over 40 turnover the last two years and the the elite QB's like Brady and Rivers have only 15-20. The first step to becoming an elite QB is reducing turnovers.
As we heard in Hard Knocks form Coach Koetter, Winston has to start trusting his defense more and not think he has to do it all. Mike Evans, Jackson, Howard and Cameron Brate are some good weapons that Winston has at his disposal.
On the defensive side of the ball the big signing came at the end of training camp when the Bucs picked up S TJ Ward from the Denver Broncos. Ward was cut loose from the Broncos after a Pro Bowl season.
I think the signing of Ward is a huge addition for this defense. Ward joins Pro Bowl corner Brent Grimes and 2nd year player Vernon Hargraves who everyone is expecting to have a break-out season and eventually become an anchor in the Bucs secondary.
The LB's have been the strength of this team with Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander among the team leaders in tackles. The Bucs drafted LB Kendall Beckwith a team-mate of Alexander at LSU and was very impressive in pre-season.
On the DL, the Bucs added Chris Baker as a free-agent from the Redskins. Baker joins an already established DL with Gerald McCoy, Robert Ayers and William Gohlston. Noah Spence is the wild-card. Big things are expected from Spence this year as he is expected to take the next step in his development. Spence needs to be more consistent in his run defense, and continue to put pressure on the QB in defending the pass.
On special teams the Bucs sent Roberto Aguayo packing after the first pre-season game and will ride the season out with Nick Folk handling the kicking duties. After a so-so start, Folk settled down and ended the pre-season 5/6.
Punter Bryan Anger should have made the pro bowl last season and will have another solid season.
The KR duties will be handled by committee until someone does enough to win the job. Bernard Reedy and Ryan Smith will get the first opportunities. The PR duties will be handles by Adam Humphries.
This is the best team on paper the Bucs have had in a long time. Of course it's not potential that gets you wins it's how you execute on game day that will count.
I like the Bucs to go 11-5 this season and finish second behind Atlanta in the toughest division in football the NFC South. I think the Bucs make the playoffs as a wildcard team. Unfortunately I don't see the Bucs making
a deep playoff run.
This will be an exciting and fun Bucs team to watch, and it will be nice to actually play a meaningful game in January.
The games start counting now. Let's go Bucs.