TAMPA – The talent the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have on offense this year is inarguably the best it’s been in years. The same goes for the depth, according to coach Dirk Koetter.
As for the offensive execution, so far it looks like the same old Bucs. Or maybe a little worse.
Through three preseason games the Bucs are averaging 327 yards per game, ninth most in the league. As for those all important points, they have 33. Total. Only the Vikings and Redskins, with 20 each, have less.
“I’m sure for now it’s going to be a story,’’ Koetter said of his team’s scoring woes after the Bucs dropped a 13-9 decision to the Browns at a very soggy Raymond James Stadium on Saturday night.
The story is the Bucs performance inside the red zone. The Bucs have had little trouble getting there. It’s that bit about finishing with touchdowns that’s been the hang-up.
The Bucs first-team offense, the one with all that talent and all those weapons, has had 14 possessions so. They’ve reached the red zone on six of them. They have one touchdown and five field goals to show for it.
Is it time to panic? No. time to worry. Maybe. This is not what anyone expected out of this supposedly vaunted attack, but you do have to keep in mind that this is the only preseason.
The Bucs are still playing off the first few pages of their playbook and on Saturday, several key starters, including wide receiver Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson, were not in the lineup.
But there are some legitimate concerns. Like the offense in general, quarterback Jameis Winston has looked great between the 20s. Down inside the 20s, he’s completed just 3-of-10 passes for 31 yards, with no touchdowns and an interception.
The only thing uglier than those numbers is his execution. Winston missed on two straight fades to Evans in the end zone in Week 1 and threw a pass up for grabs from his butt that would have resulted in an interception had officials not ruled Winston sacked in Week 2.
Then he was intercepted in Week 3, last night against the Browns, after over-leading tight end Cameron Brate on a crossing route in front of the goal line on a play in which he didn’t appear to see safety Jabrill Peppers, who got the pick.
No better, at least on Saturday, was the Bucs play on third down, where they were 0-for-7 with their first team in the game through the first half. When asked to categorize it all, Koetter had one word: “Blah.’’
And yes, that pretty much sums it up. It wasn’t supposed to be this way, of course. After adding Jackson and drafting tight end O.J. Howard, the Bucs were projected to be something special on offense in 2017.
They were going to move the ball at will and light up the scoreboard. Opponents were going to have a hard time keeping pace with them. Who knows, maybe they still will.
“That’s preseason football,’’ Koetter said after the loss to the Browns. “We’re trying to execute, but when you have turnovers and penalties inside the red zone it hurts. Am I concerned? It’s going to concern me if it happens on Sept. 10. As for tonight, it is what it is.’’
Is it ever.
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.