Nickolas Loza | May 22nd, 2020
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason have improved by a wide margin, which they needed to do after a disappointing season with a record of 7-9 under Head Coach Bruce Arians. They went out and released their troubled Quarterback Jameis Winston, who despite throwing for 5,000 yards and 30 touchdowns, had one of the weirdest seasons ever. Winston became the first player in NFL history to throw for 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions, truly a statistical anomaly.
To replace their estranged QB, they went out and got aging legend Tom Brady. They also went out and got TB12’s favorite target, tight end Rob Gronkowski, who is coming out of a retirement to play for the Bucs. Also coming back is last season’s NFL sack leader, Shaquil Barrett, albeit on a franchise tender deal, so he won’t be here for long unless he signs a long term contract. So with all that behind us now, what would make this team slightly overhyped? There are two main points to be made here.
The first point to be made here is the most obvious, what kind of team chemistry will Tom Brady have with his new receivers? Tom has one of the best receiver duos to throw to in the league with WR Mike Evans and WR Chris Godwin. He also has his old pal in Rob Gronkowski to throw to. While all of these targets are great for TB12, there’s always one nagging question. When a new QB comes to a team with an established receiving core, how will he adjust to his new receivers and find chemistry? It may be especially difficult to adjust to his new receivers if they can’t get into any practice facilities due to the coronavirus pandemic. We’ll have to see how this story plays out however as it’s currently unclear if the NFL season will even go ahead yet.
The second point that needs to be made here is, the Buccaneers still have an extremely suspect defense. They had one of the best run defenses in the NFL, but they had a ghastly pass defense, and they did very little in free agency and in the draft to try to curb these issues. This will undoubtedly be the biggest hurdle for the 2020-2021 Bucs. If their defense plays poorly and their offense has to score 35 points a game just to win, that isn’t a winning formula.
Half of the defense’s problem last year was getting off the field because the offense would either score in a hurry or turn the ball over. This caused a lack of rest, which is why the Bucs were one of the teams that allowed the most fourth-quarter points in the NFL. The Bucs defense will be forced to step up this year if the Bucs want to compete against the New Orleans Saints for the NFC South title.
Some other side problems for the Bucs will be the fact that the NFC is ultra-competitive this year. The conference has 8-10 teams that could potentially grab a playoff spot. Additionally, the Bucs roster is aging, and aging fast at that. Most of their productive players have 8+ seasons under their belt, so the potential for injury is exponentially higher. The last problem is potentially one of the biggest ones. Can the Bucs even win their own division with the Saints being in the NFC South? The first matchup for the Bucs against their main competitor will be a Week 1 of the season. We will know right away if the Bucs are for real or if they’re an overhyped team. That’s about it for the problems for this team.
I don’t believe this team is dead on impact or doomed, I’m just skeptical. Mainly, I’m skeptical about their defense. If they can perform and at least keep up with the offense, I see absolutely no reason why the Bucs can’t be a contender. If they can start out hot on the season, this team could very well take the division title.
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