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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Buccaneers most improved off season?

Florida Football Insiders



Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

We always enjoyed different points of view and analysis on teams. And the guys at Pro Football Focus do a tremendous job of using advanced stats/metrics to quantify how a team is performing. Now, when it comes to an off season and judging improvement, you have to temper everything. This is because, you haven’t seen any games as proof that the numbers from last year actually project to this year.

Such is the issue with ranking a team’s free agent acquisitions and draft picks. It make look good numbers-wise, but how do they mesh? Does what they did in college really translate into what they will do in the pros?

We won’t know those answers until September and the real games beginning.

Still, when PFF put out a ranking recently of their “most improved in each division,” we were curious when we saw the Buccaneers as their NFC South choice.

Here’s the rationale’ behind their thinking and the PFF rankings that senior analyst Michael Renner put together:

“It’s no secret where the Bucs needed to improve and their offseason moves showed just how big of an issue they thought it was. The Bucs defensive line was a nightmare in 2017 outside of Gerald McCoy. Tampa Bay was 29th in pressure rate this past season (30.9 percent of dropbacks) and outside of Robert Ayers and McCoy, they didn’t have a single lineman with a grade above 70.0. Both Jason Pierre-Paul (51) and Vinny Curry (47) had more pressures than anyone on the Bucs roster last season.”

Clearly, the job that GM Jason Lictht and staff did in signing free agents and trading with the Giants for Jason Pierre-Paul, have seemingly made the Buccaneers look much more formidable.

Renner also quantified the selections of Ronald Jones at running back and Vita Vea at defensive line, as being tremendous “gets” for the Buccaneers in last month’s NFL Draft.

He’s also touting teams like the Packers, the Titans and the Rams, as having improved greatly in their divisions with their offseason work. Particularly, in Los Angeles, where they added names like Ndamukong Suh, Brandin Cooks, Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters, as veteran pieces to their lineup.

Back to the Bucs, their defensive line needed an infusion, but the selection of the big play running back, like Jones, definitely has PFF and other analysts and websites taking notice.

Again, it’s advanced stats, but sometimes the numbers help foreshadow the future, too.

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