The amount of shuffling between players and coaches in Tampa this offseason has been chaotic to say the least. Veterans have been shipped out in droves only to be replaced with younger rookies, and a few unprovens looking to make their own name.
Typically on each NFL roster, teams will choose up to 6 captains between offense, defense and special teams. Receiving a Captain patch speaks volumes on the true player representation inside the locker room. So it came as a bit of a surprise that QB Jameis Winston and recently outed DT Gerald McCoy were left out on that list last year. Was it just the media who planted McCoy as a locker room distraction or were the players on to it as well? No need to bring up the past, but it does shed a bit of light on the situation.
Fast forward to 2019 and it looks like the pickings this year are a bit slimmer. Last year Ali Marpet and Mike Evans were offensive captains. Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander represented the defense while Adarius Taylor was captain of Special Teams. Now, two of those five players are no longer on the roster. Big names on the defense last year are no longer here as well. Let’s take a look at possibilities for the illustrious title of Captain this year for the Bucs:
WR Mike Evans– Being named captain last year and coming fresh off a 1,500 yard receiving year, it would be a disservice not to see Evans with the “C” patch this year.
LG Ali Marpet– Marpet has been the one consistent cog in what has been an inconsistent offense line for the Bucs for the last 4 years. Look for Ali to be a highly likely recipient on Captain again in 2019.
QB Jameis Winston– This one is a bit tougher to predict. No one can question Winston’s work ethic nor his abilities as a quarterback. His decision making off the field and his unorthodox way of leading his team might have lead to him being left out of Captain considerations last year. Nevertheless, Winston is the unquestioned leader of this team so we will have to see how this one plays out.
LB Lavonte David– A consummate Pro and leader on and off the field, this one should be a no brainer. I fully expect David to be sporting the “C” patch come Week 1.
DT Vita Vea– This prediction could easily go 50/50 either way. The second year pro was just given a massive hole to fill with the departure of Gerald McCoy. And in my opinion Ndamakung Suh will need at least a year under his belt to earn that title in the locker room. Vea has the talent and the drive to lead that defensive line room.
LB Devin White– Rarely will you ever see a rookie coming into Week 1 being deemed a team captain. Yet, the lack of veterans and leadership on the Bucs defense leaves them with slim options. Since being drafted, White has fully encompasses a leadership role from the LB position and was seen on a daily basis being very vocal and commanding players along the front 7. It’s a long shot, but definitely a possibility.
LB Devante Bond– A lot of people forget Devante Bond is still on the team after being drafted in that unforgettable 2016 draft. However, his stellar play on special teams has kept him his job for the last 3 years. With Adarius Taylor now in Cleveland, look for Bond to step into the captain role with no problem.
CB Ryan Smith– Now apparently revitalized under the Arians regime, Bucs fans will remember Smith for the years of blown coverages and constantly being out of position at the cornerback. Like Bond, Smith has continued to secure a spot on the Bucs roster by being our team ace as a special teams gunner. With his value going up with more of a role as a CB this year in Bowles defense, consider Smith a viable option for special teams Captain.
Who do you all think deserves the title of Captain for the Buccaneers this year?