Each offseason, every NFL team focuses on at least one area in need of an upgrade. So what aspect of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is looking better these days?
Training camp begins later this month for all 32 NFL teams. So that means another preview series from End Zone Score. Dating back to early March, we have taken time to look at each club’s best offseason addition. We even dabbled into some pertinent and historical numbers and previewed an up-and-coming player for each franchise.
Contrary to popular opinions, no team in the league is perfect. That’s why there’s a constant search for talent when it comes to this game. Each club has done its best to bolster its roster. So in this instance, we are going to take a glance at each franchise and pinpoint the department in which it made the most strides this offseason. We have looked at the AFC East, NFC East, AFC North, NFC North and AFC South. We started the NFC South with the defending conference champion Atlanta Falcons. Now it’s onto the improving Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
When you think about it, it’s almost hard to believe. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers feature the passing combination of quarterback Jameis Winston and standout wide receiver Mike Evans. Yet the longest play through the air for this club this past season was a mere 45 yards. And of course, it was a Winston-to-Evans touchdown combination.
So this offseason, the club went out and got a couple of downfield threats to make its aerial attack that more potent. It started with the free-agent addition of wide receiver DeSean Jackson, late of the Washington Redskins. A year ago, he caught only 56 passes. But the speedster finished with 1,005 receiving yards – an imposing 17.9 yards per grab. He and Evans figure to do some spectacular things this season. The Bucs also added Penn State wideout Chris Godwin in the third round of this year’s draft. He along with surprising Adam Humphries (55 catches for 622 yards and 2 touchdowns in ’16) give Winston a few more options.
Perhaps even more exciting are the prospects at tight end. Cameron Brate was a big surprise this past season, finishing second on the team with 57 catches, good for 660 yards and eight scores. Now add former University of Alabama tight end O.J. Howard to the mix. Head coach Dirk Koetter, who calls the offensive plays, suddenly has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to the passing game.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won six of their final eight games to finish 9-7 in 2016. Jameis Winston and company had their share of turnover issues last season. But now the club has a lot more options, particularly when it comes to the passing game. It’s an offensive attack that bears a serious watch this fall.