TAMPA – As you might expect, One Buc Place was all abuzz on Friday. While a construction crew continued its work on the team’s new indoor facility, a packed house of fans chanted the “Tampa – Bay’’ cheer, ”oohed’‘ and “aahed” every pass catch and probably wondered who in the world was wearing No. 1.
The answer to that question is DeSean Jackson. In case you didn’t know – and many don’t – the Bucs new deep threat always wears No. 1 during practice. It’s something he’s done for years, but he’s listed as No. 11 on the roster and will wear No. 1 on game day so confusion is understandable.
Either way, it was a good start to a long process of getting ready for the start of the season, but we warn all fans, whether you were in attendance at the workout or just following along on social media, not to get too worked up over the reports of what went down just yet.
Bucs coach Dirk Koetter was of course asked how he felt about what he saw of his players today and he handled the questions professionally as always but there was probably a bit of him that would have liked to have answered the way Patriots coach Bill Belichick did.
We urge you take a look at the answer Belichick eventually gave after he fielded a series of questions from a host of reporters regarding players and how they performed on the first day of workouts because it really helps to put things in perspective.
Now, that’s not to say that all of what these teams are doing right now is unimportant. It is. It’s all part of the process of getting better, and with that in mind, here are three observations culled from a morning spent watching the Bucs play touch football for nearly three hours.
Doug Martin is still the Bucs best running back and he’s being treated as such.
Martin will miss the first three games of the regular season as he serves out the last three games of the four-game suspension he earned for violating the NFL’s PED policy last year, but he is still the player at the top of the Bucs running back depth chart. That became obvious when Martin was the first to get the ball in virtually every drill he ran and then split the first-team snaps with Jacquizz Rodgers when the Bucs went into 11-on-11 work. It’s possible someone will eventually emerge as a better option than Martin, but right now there is only one two-time Pro Bowler wearing pewter and red and as long as he’s available he’s going to be the one getting the bulk of the work at running back.
The safety jobs are wide open
Koetter was asked which position battles were the most competitive going into camp and he mentioned the kicker’s job (of course) and safety. Just as they did during offseason workouts the Bucs started work in camp on Friday with Chris Conte and Keith Tandy as their starters, so second-round draft pick Justin Evans and veteran J.J. Wilcox will have between now and the start of the season to prove they’re better options. They very well may dp that but there’s little doubt the Bucs like Conte a lot more than the fans do and are anxious to see if Tandy can build on that four-pick finish he had to last season. The pairings here are sure to change as camp goes on but this will indeed be a battle worth watching all through the preseason.
Rookie WR Chris Godwin is legit
Mike Evans said those very works about the third-round pick out of Penn State on Thursday and Godwin backed up the praise yet again on Friday. On one play, he literally snatched the ball away from cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III while running a slant route and on another, he maintained his focus, grabbed a floater out of midair and ran down the field after the ball was tipped at the line by linebacker Devante Bond. Now, getting too excited about plays like that at a time like this is exactly what Belichick is talking about in the video above. Nothing really matters until the pads go on, but for the first day, Godwin provided a lot of excitement and added a little more credence to the growing belief that the Bucs might have pulled off a major heist getting him when they did.
Bucs coach Arians again non-committal Tuesday on QB Winston
It’s become increasingly apparent, that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are ready to move on from potential free agent quarterback Jameis Winston. And Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, coach Bruce Arians gave the latest example that he and the Buccaneers front office will look at the other options available first.
Arians spoke at a podium on numerous subjects, but the most prominent is what Tampa Bay will do in the coming days with Winston?
— Charlie Clifford (@cliffWISH8) February 25, 2020
Arians was asked directly about potential for a franchise tag for his starter a year ago and what the Bucs might proceed to do? But, he refused to endorse that option on the former number one overall pick Winston. And, the Bucs coach maintained that the team will possibly us the franchise tag for defensive end Shaq Barrett.
Further, Arians gave a pointed specific answer on Winston’s poor play last December as the team finished 7-9 and that has the team looking at other options,
Arians on Winston and why it’s still uncertain: “December wasn’t what I wanted to see.”
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) February 25, 2020
Arians has consistently refused back Winston since the off-season began. This included at an NFL coaching seminar earlier this month in Tampa. He said to the media at that time:
“Really nothing has changed,” Arians said. “What’s Door No. 2? You know? Can we make the one we have better? All those things you go through right now.”
“You’re just sitting there waiting to see is there someone available? … Is he a better option?
The Buccaneers faltered in the middle of the season to drop to 3-7 and then, Winston and Co. blew its final two games to finish 7 – 9 with Winston throwing a career-high 30 interceptions.
After their final loss at home to Atlanta in overtime, where Winston threw the game losing “pick six,” Arians was candid after the final game by saying about Winston’s play that it would have to be evaluated pass by pass and game by game in the off-season. Further, he told the media then, that there “was some great and some terrible…. and you have to decide, if the great outweighs the terrible.”
While Winston did throw for a career-high 5000 + yards in 2019, his interceptions and total turnovers continued to be his downfall throughout the season. The Buccaneers finished 1 – 6 in games against teams with winning records and Winston had 17 total turnovers in those seven games. He finished with the 30 picks that included 10 of them in the Bucs final four games.
Tampa Bay obviously will have the opportunity to go after a free agent quarterback or two, as there is much speculation about the likes of Tom Brady with the Patriots. Plus, Philip Rivers will not be re-signed by the Chargers and is available come March. And, now that Drew Brees has announced he wants to play at least one more year for the Saints, their backup Teddy Bridgewater will be in demand on the market.
The Bucs are also continuing the evaluating the QB class for the Draft the next few days in Indy, which could have some interesting names still available in the second and third rounds and beyond.
Bucs confirmed Monday they will have new uniforms in 2020
On Monday, the Bucs confirmed what they have been hinting at, they will have new uniforms in 2020. But the real question is: what does “new” mean in this instance?
We heard you!
New uniforms coming April 2020. pic.twitter.com/e7qNUsNWZb
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) February 24, 2020
The Bucs also released a statement through their website confirming that April will be the unveiling of the new uniforms, as well as, potential new color scheme, logo, etc. and had these comments from co – owner, Ed Glazer:
“We have heard the feedback from our fans loud and clear and have been working with the NFL and our league partners at Nike to usher in a new look as we enter this next decade of Buccaneers football. We look forward to revealing more details in the near future about our official unveiling event which will take place later this spring.”
As we wrote earlier this month, the Buccaneers have been hinting at trying to enhance their uniforms and there is some belief there will be more orange, the original color of the franchise. There is also educated speculation that the team may go back to a white helmet, which will enable them to have “throwback uniform games” that they’ve not been able to have for the last seven seasons.
This is because under league concussion protocol, players must have the same helmet all season and the Bucs primary one has been pewter in color since their chance in colors and logo in 1997,
The Bucs last altered their uniforms in 2014 by brightening the color red and slightly changing the logo and making it bigger on their pewter helmet. Teammates Ryan Jensen and Mike Evans are shown in the current color scheme, etc. above.
NFL teams have to submit changes in their colors and logos a year in advance. So obviously, this has been in the works for the Glazer family that owns the team for some time.
It should be noted that the Buccaneers NFC South Rivals, the Atlanta Falcons, have already made mention that they are changing their uniforms and color scheme. And, it’s believed that they will go back in 2020 to their original base color of red including possibly red helmets and potentially, primarily gray pants that they wore for over twenty years.
The Falcons have had black helmets for the better part of 30 years going back to Jerry Glanville changing the color scheme to primarily black jerseys in his days at the Falcons coach in the early 1990s.
Back to the Bucs. There is no other team in the NFL that has orange as their primary jersey color. The Bengals Broncos and Browns have occasionally worn orange “alternate jerseys” but not full time.
So, if the Glazers are again embracing a change to mostly orange jerseys, it will be unique. The video Monday showed a red jersey on a sewing machine, which could be a clue or could be misdirection of what the team actually intends to unveil in April.