What We’ve Learned From The Buccaneers Offseason


With the Buccaneers draft in the rearview mirror, most of the moves from this offseason have now been made. We now have a pretty clear picture of what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers roster will look like next season. From where I’m standing, the team is looking pretty good at this point.

As we sit back and appreciate the work that General Manager Jason Licht did over the last few months, the thought process starts to move beyond talent. Now it’s a question of how these players all fit together. Obviously the coaching staff and front office had a vision with all the moves the team made, but what does that look like exactly?

Based on the moves the Bucs made this offseason, I think we have learned a few things about what the Bucs want to do next season.

Zone Defense

This should come as no surprise to those who watched the Buccaneers last season. I think we all felt a lot of frustration with the Buccaneers soft zone coverage between the 20 yard lines. Then in the red zone the team would go more man coverage and become a much more difficult team to move the ball against.

Part of that problem is that the Buccaneers secondary, specifically their corners, were not equipped to be a zone coverage team. Jamel Dean and Carlton Davis are both at their best in press man coverage. This is part of the reason both had down year’s last season.

As a result, the Bucs traded Davis away to the Detroit Lions in exchange for a third round pick. They also added Bryce Hall (a very good zone coverage cornerback) to compete with Zyon McCollum for the starting job. All indication is that the Bucs are moving away from players who don’t fit that zone scheme and not the scheme itself.

Run, Run, Run

The coaching staff was very clear that they want to run the ball better this season. The Bucs have been at the bottom of most rushing categories over the last few years. Taking a step forward in that department is a high priority.

As a result, the Buccaneers added a few lower level interior offensive lineman to compete for a starting job in free agency as well as draft a center in the first round of the draft and a guard in the sixth round. The thing that these players all have in common is that they all move very well. This gives us insight to what the Bucs are planning to do.

Other teams that run this same style of offense run a lot of zone concepts. The Buccaneers didn’t do as much of that last season, particularly to the outside, because their offensive line wasn’t capable of running it effectively. With added talent and athleticism in the trenches, I would be surprised if they didn’t run a lot more to the outside next season. 

Goodbye Godwin

The big news of the offseason was the Buccaneers re-signing Mike Evans to a two year contract. This wasn’t a sure thing as Evans is in his early 30’s and much closer to the end of his career than the beginning. Frankly, paying 30 year old pass catchers is typically a losing bet.

This thought process is also very relevant to Chris Godwin who will be turning 29 next offseason when he is set to become a free agent. If giving money to one 30-ish year old receiver is troubling, doing so with two is twice as concerning. Especially considering the price tag it will require to keep both in town.

It makes sense for the Bucs to let Godwin walk. Drafting Jalen McMillan in the third round only reinforced that this is the plan. McMillan is at his best as a slot receiver and that is also where Godwin does most of his damage. This sets up for a natural transition plan.

Banking On Development

The Buccaneers still have some unanswered questions on the roster. The likes of Zyon McCollum, Logan Hall and KJ Britt are all still penciled in as starters at this point. I’m not sure if that says more about the Bucs faith in those players or a lack of potential replacements for them. 

Regardless of the reason, the Bucs will be depending on those players to take a step forward next year. With Guys like Hall and McCollum having very good physical gifts, it’s reasonable to expect development in their abilities. Nothing is physically stopping them from being very good players.

Considering that these are all defensive players, that says a lot about Todd Bowles. He either believes he can develop them or utilize them enough for his defense to be successful next season. Regardless of the outcome, the success or failure of those players will fall on Bowles.

For more from J.T. click here, then make sure to follow him on Twitter.

Follow, Like and Subscribe to Bucs Report


For more on this and everything Buccaneers check back here hourly at BucsReport.com