The 2021 Buccaneers realize how difficult it is to defend their title and this is reflected by many UK betting sites latest odds. The 2020 Chiefs found that out the hard way, along with several past Super Bowl winners. No one has won back-to-back titles since the 2003-2004 New England Patriots.
Many of us are already aware that seven-time world champion Tom Brady was the main component of the aforementioned Patriot teams. But 2004’s success couldn’t have been had without a strong rushing attack. The Pats ran the ball the sixth-most and for about 134 yards per game, which was seventh-best in the NFL.
So it’s pretty obvious that for the 2021 Bucs, the difficult task of repeating will fall mainly on the running game.
Why The Buccaneers’ Ground Game Can Be Better in 2021
The 2020 squad ranked 28th in yardage due to the often-injured Ronald Jones II, who’s entering his fourth season, and the erratic play of Leonard Fournette. Jones is still on his rookie contract, but hasn’t put together a full season’s worth of play and has yet to top 1,000 yards rushing. The closest he came was this past year with 978 yards in 14 games. Fournette initially had an excuse as a late acquisition following falling out of the Jacksonville Jaguars. In 13 games, he only managed 367 rushing yards. The Bucs almost released him mid-season.
There’s an obvious degree of redemption with Fournette as “Playoff Lenny” was one of the main reasons for the Bucs’ successful postseason. He ran for 300 yards through four games. This includes the final touchdown scored in Super Bowl LV. In Year Three of head coach Bruce Arians’ system, this could be Jones’ final chance to be a viable NFL starter in training camp. Fournette is also getting an equal opportunity to be the starting running back with a full training camp. Depth in the backfield will always be a concern as the team likely will have to lean on the running game more in the new 17-game season.
Troymaine Pope and C.J. Prosise will get fair looks as will 2020 third-round pick Ke’Shawn Vaughn. Giovani Bernard will be penciled in as the pass-catching threat LeSean McCoy never was. With the grind getting far worse, the need for a steady hand from the backfield is needed more than ever. If the 2020 playoffs showed us anything, it’s that Brady was far from the main determining factor for the Bucs’ Super Bowl win. It was a combination of defense and running.
Therefore, it’s absolutely crucial that the team builds upon it’s 2020 numbers. Especially when considering the soon-to-be 44-year-old quarterback behind center.
If the Buccaneers can do this, then the sky is the limit for the offense.