Teams that win the Super Bowl are usually in good shape roster-wise when it comes to repeating, but the Bucs offense and defense is in better shape than most teams we’ve seen in the past.
This shouldn’t be a surprise. Both units finished in the top-5 of many advanced metrics and raw stats by the time the clock read zero during Super Bowl LV. And when you throw in the fact that the Bucs return all 22 starters plus multiple depth pieces, it makes plenty of sense to anticipate greatness.
Kapadia explains why he believes the Bucs offense will be one of the league’s best in 2021:
The truth is the Bucs didn’t really find their identity until the latter part of last season, and they still finished third in offensive efficiency. Now Tampa returns all 11 starters, including one of the NFL’s best offensive lines and play-caller Byron Leftwich. Tom Brady showed last year that he could still get the ball downfield. His average pass traveled 9.3 yards from the line of scrimmage, according to Next Gen Stats. That ranked first among all quarterbacks.
The Bucs had the league’s best injury luck last year, finishing first in Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Games Lost (AGL) metric. It’s possible that their depth will be tested more this season. But unless Brady goes down or the offensive line gets decimated by injuries, this should again be a strong unit.
It’s solid, accurate logic. I am glad that Kapadia mentioned the offensive line, though. This is because they were one of the Bucs’ main catalysts during the Super Bowl run. If the offensive line picks up where it left off, then it will be the biggest key when it comes to the offense taking the next step.
And there is good depth along the line, as well. Aaron Stinnie proved his value during the playoffs and Bruce Arians recently stated that he’s giving Alex Cappa -the team’s starter- a good push during training camp.
“[Aaron] Stinnie’s putting a lot of pressure on him,” Arians said Tuesday. “Stinnie played really well when he got his opportunity last year. Aaron is a solid player, too, so there’s always competition.”
Third-round draft pick Robert Hainsey has been solid while taking snaps as the backup center, plus he’s extremely versatile. Josh Wells is a reliable backup at left tackle and Brad Seaton has impressed the coaching staff throughout the years. I think the depth along the offensive line is a bit more credible than Kapadia lends. But outside of that, the analysis is pretty spot-on.
As for the defense, this is what Kapadia had to say:
We probably don’t need a whole lot of analysis here. They were a top-five defense last year and were able to retain all of their starters. The Bucs also added a nice pass-rush option with first-round pick Joe Tryon, who offers big upside and should fill a rotational role immediately.
Todd Bowles mixed up coverages and blitzed at the fifth-highest rate of any defensive coordinator. He does a brilliant job of scheming to the strengths and weaknesses of his personnel.
One factor to keep an eye on here: depth. The Bucs had the second-best injury luck of any defense last year. But overall, they’re set up to once again be one of the league’s top units.
We know the Bucs run defense will be one of the league’s best, if not the best in 2021. They showed little to no drop-off in 2020 after a stellar year in 2019. We also know the pass rush will be there, especially after the addition of Tryon. The first-round pick has looked great so far during camp. Expect him to contribute in 2021.
The question with the Bucs defense is whether or not the secondary can continue the play we saw over the back end of the 2020 season. Can Sean-Murphy Bunting re-create his playoff success? Will Antoine Winfield Jr. go through the dreaded sophomore slump? Can Carlton Davis III take the next step in becoming an elite cornerback? Those are just a few questions surrounding the secondary.
If all goes well, there will be no doubt the Bucs defense finishes as a top-5 unit in 2021.
What do you think about Kapadia’s ranking of the Bucs offense and defense? Let us know via the comment section below!