The Buccaneers concluded their rookie minicamp this weekend and while most of the attention will be around first round pick, LSU linebacker Devin White, Tampa Bay is definitely got needs at the positions of several other players in this group to contribute.
New head coach Bruce Arians assessed how things went on Friday and Saturday and emphasized these young players could start making a difference this August / September:
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) May 11, 2019
White was the fifth overall pick and had a much-needed inside or linebacker position it’s obvious that he’s expected to jump in and be a key contributor in the new 3 – 4 defense that coordinator Todd Bowles is looking to run.
As we wrote at the time, GM Jason Licht along with the input of Bowles and Arians obviously felt the need to reload the Buccaneers secondary, again. That meant drafting corners Sean Bunting and Jamel Dean with the second and third selections for Tampa Bay and then, safety Mike Edwards rounded out picking four defensive picks in the first three rounds for the Bucs.
Bunting and Dean will be competing along with last year’s rookie second round defensive backs M.J. Stewart and Carlton Davis. Plus, Tampa Bay hopes that former first round pick in 2016, Vernon Hargreaves, will be back from a shoulder surgery and ready to make a big contribution.
Another player to keep an eye on for training camp and beyond, especially with the neck injury that is currently going to sideline Jason Pierre-Paul throughout the remainder of the offseason, is former Iowa defensive end, Anthony Nelson. Nelson, who is listed at 6’7, is a pass-rusher that had 7.5 sacks last year with Hawkeyes and whom the Bucs got in the fourth round on day three. They hope he could blossom similarly into a “hidden gem” like they got last September.
That’s what Tampa Bay found from former Cleveland Brown and former Penn State Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Carl Nassib, off the waiver wire. The Browns released the 6’6 Nassib and he was suddenly available to help the Bucs pass rush.
Will the “new Nassib” potentially be Nelson? He told the media Saturday that he knows his pass rush and his coverage skills will both be tested,
“They’ve said I’ll probably be doing both of those things. But how much of each or what I end up doing primarily is going to be determined in the next couple months. Nothing’s set. I’ve got to come out here and prove myself and then I’ll find a fit. Whatever way I can help the defense is where I’m going to end up.”
Even though Nelson played significantly at Iowa as a pass rushing end, he knows that in a 3-4 his role may have to adapt to how and where to line up and play in Tampa Bay,
“A lot of the same techniques, a lot of the same position, just different ways of getting into it. So, there will be adjustments with that, and then just terminology is going to be different. There may be some complex schemes, but other than that, football’s football. I’m just going to learn and do my best to be a part of the defense.”
And then there’s the Bucs latest rookie kicker, Matt Gay, whom they drafted in the fifth round from Utah last month. Whether he realizes it or not, Gay is about to have the most scrutinized off-season and training camp that you could ever imagine for a guy who was a fifth-round pick.
The Bucs have a new special teams coach in Keith Armstrong, and have to try to find some long-term stability at the position. If and when Gay kicks in a regular-season game in September, he will be the sixth different Buccaneer kicker to have done so since the start of the 2016 season.
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.