The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were successful in many areas in 2019. The defensive line was the top unit at stopping the run, and the secondary improved drastically over the back half of the season.
While no longer on the team, Jameis Winston led the offense with the most passing yards in the NFL. With that being said, there were a number of areas where the Buccaneers need to improve if they hope to make a title run in 2020.
Using advanced stats from Football Outsiders, we will explore the areas that need to be improved, and just how it can be done with the new look Buccaneers.
I’m really not interested in arguing for or against Jameis Winston. I will just provide the numbers, and you can interpret them how you wish.
In 2019, Jameis Winston ranked 24th in DVOA at -9.0%. Essentially, DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) is a state the measures the value a player has per play, over an average player. If that sounds confusing, just know that a larger percentage is a more efficient player, while a negative number portrays inefficient play.
Just for reference, Tom Brady ranked 17th at 2.4%. More of a “game manager” type of play style will help increase this number with a reduction of turnovers. With solid targets in 2020, I expect Brady to be a top 10 quarterback in terms of efficiency.
Everyone who doesn’t live under a rock knows the Buccaneers rushing attack was bad in 2019. The advanced stats back this up in both the run blocking category, as well as running back efficiency.
Peyton Barber was actually the LEAST efficient running back on the list. He ranked 45th with a DVOA of -29.8%. Ronald Jones fared a bit better with a DVOA of -2.3%, ranking 24th.
The offensive line can be partially blamed for these numbers, as their run blocking efficiency ranked 23rd in the NFL.
The addition of Tristan Wirfs will certainly provide a boost, as the right side of the line was a liability last season. Another underrated addition is third round pick Ke’Shawn Vaughn, who should provide more of a change of pace unlike Peyton Barber.
I think this area will drastically improve in 2020. The Buccaneers drafted Antoine Winfield Jr. who returned punts in college, and Raymond Calais, with 99 collegiate kick returns.
In 2019, the Buccaneers ranked 27th in special teams efficiency. If you break this down even further, the Buccaneers ranked 22nd in field goals and extra points, 29th in kick returns, and 32nd in punt returns.
To be fair, the Buccaneers have tried to find their next return man. DeSean Jackson refused to be put on the field at times in 2018. Even speedster Kenny Bell could never figure it out when the pads came on.
I believe the Buccaneers have already improved through the draft. Calais and Winfield Jr. should provide the spark the Buccaneers have been searching for since Michael Spurlock.