Righting the ship – Tim Gary


The off-season is about to heat up! GM’s and coaches across the league are either eager or desperate to make a positive impact for their clubs and that starts in the off-season.

The Buccaneers are no stranger to being hopeful for next year. They failed to make the post season yet again, making it 10 years since being there, when they lost to the eventual super bowl champions N.Y. Giants 14 – 24.

As we know, the Bucs had a strong defense and a porous offense mostly at quarterback play. Although some would argue if Jameis Winston is the long term answer at QB, I would argue that he is along with the rest of the receivers. I believe if the Bucs can find a solid running game this free agency, or in the draft, they could focus on inevitable problem teams have succeeding late In the season and deep into the playoffs and that’s defense.

It appears that with all the positions in need of improvement the Bucs may be a year away, or even more, from being true contenders in the NFC. There’s questions at Guard, Center, Running Back, Corner, Safety, and Defensive End. Though that may discourage you, the Bucs could be closer than you think.

Jameis Winston and the offense averaged over 20 points per game when Winston was playing and healthy. That number dropped considerably when he was sidelined due to a shoulder injury. Yes, Jameis turned the ball over quite a bit, but that’s more controllable than a defense that gave up almost 30 points per game on average.

If the Bucs can use free agency to keep Cameron Brate in a Bucs uniform, they can focus the remaining of their cap space on signing a veteran at DE and Corner. Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard could help solve the offensive line issue by keeping one in to block while the other present a mismatch to most linebacker and safeties with their large bodies underrated speed and route running skills.

Whether its due to injury or coaching, drafting a DE is usually a 2 to 3 year investment. That’s why it’s important the Bucs find the right D-Line coach and a veteran pass rusher to mentor young pass rushers that we should obtain in the upcoming draft. If they can get solid play at Defensive End I’m confident 3rd year corner Vernon Hargreaves and 2nd year safety Justin Evans can make a difference for this defense.

Edited by Morgan Adele