The Buccaneers have been the model of inconsistency since winning the Superbowl in 2002. They have routinely missed the playoffs and changed coaches numerous times. The Buccaneers are in a unique situation as the 2018 season approaches. They have everything a championship caliber team needs to compete in the NFC South: wide receivers, running game, defense, and a veteran quarterback leading the charge. Why are the Buccaneers not receiving much love from ESPN?
ESPN’s Bill Barnwell ranked the Buccaneers offense 15th entering the 2018 season. The skilled players are there for Tampa Bay, but the combination of Fitzpatrick and Winston has to be more efficient in utilizing everyone. The Buccaneers have an elite wide receiver in Mike Evans. They have the speedster in DeSean Jackson, which everyone will be expecting more out of him in 2018. Cameron Brate is a top-tier tight end with O.J. Howard complimenting him. The biggest upgrade for the Buccaneers is the rookie, running back Ronald Jones II out of USC. He is going to take this offense to another level. Chris Godwin is expected to be a very good number three receiver. Some would even say he is a blossoming star in the NFL.
Winston is suspended the first three weeks of the season, so Tampa Bay’s offense will look a little different under Fitzpatrick. I would expect the running game to be more of a focal point in the first three weeks of the season. There will also be more of the “dink and dump” game utilized. Fitzpatrick will take his chances, but only when the opportunity presents itself. The defense is going to hold teams down and with Fitzpatrick under center we can only hope the turnovers will be much lower for the Bucs. When Winston returns in Week 4 the Buccaneers offense will be at full strength and one of the league’s most exciting teams to watch. Tampa Bay will be a top 5 offense in the 2018 season, but it is going to take some time before it is unleashed on the NFL.