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Pro Football Focus gave huge 2019 respect to four Bucs

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With the NFL season having come to a conclusion with the Chiefs win last Sunday over the 49ers in Super Bowl 54, everyone is taking a look back at whom did well at what position for the season. And, the analytics guys at Pro Football Focus have a lot of love for the Bucs.

In the unveiling of their annual 101 top players for the season, the 20199 Buccaneers obviously stood out to PFF.

That’s because the receiving tandem of Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, along with star linebacker Lavonte David and Center Ryan Jensen, Tampa Bay placed four players on the prestigious graded list.

The qualifiers on the PFF rankings is they sought out the top graded players/their production in order, regardless of position. And, very interesting for the resting of this item, PFF also took into account post season play.

So, that means numerous players on their list improved their standing, while the 7-9 Bucs were home watching like everyone else.

Leading the way was the thrid year phenom, Godwin, who had a breakout year that had the entire NFL buzzing. After being in the top 5 in the NFL virtually all year in receptions and yards, Godwin ended up making the Pro Bowl and here’s what PFF had to say on their analysis/metrics:

“This season, Chris Godwin emerged as one of the best receivers in all of football, and he was a human highlight reel in Tampa Bay where Jameis Winston was intent on airing the ball out and only vaguely concerned with whether the ball went close to its intended receiver. Godwin caught 75.4% of his targets (while Jameis completed just 60.7% of all his passes) and had just one drop all season despite making several circus catches. Overall, when targeting Godwin, Winston had a passer rating of 121.7. “

As for David, he was selected as having the 36th best overall year, despite being snubbed for the 2020 Pro Bowl. Without question, David is the best linebacker that gets the least amount of national recognition and respect in pro football. And here’s a quick portion of why Pro Football Focus has them in their top 40:

“David posted one of the best overall PFF grades of his career (89.2), and he recorded 54 defensive stops over the season, the third-best mark among all linebackers. David was also deployed more on the blitz this season and registered 18 pressures from 98 pass-rushing snaps while finishing the season as the highest-graded linebacker in coverage.”

Next, for the Buccaneers at the 49th position is there number one receiver Mike Evans. The 1-2 combo of he and Godwin with Jameis Winston firing to them were killing defenses much of the year. Evans has been Winston’s top target since, Winston came into the league in 2015. And, PFF said this, in part, to justify their ranking,

“Due to injury, Mike Evans played as many as 200 fewer snaps than some of the other wideouts on this list, and yet, he still finished the year with 1,157 yards and eight touchdowns. Evans gained 2.3 yards per route run this season…. Evans made some of the biggest catches of the year for the Bucs and makes the PFF Top 101 for the fourth time in his career.”

And, that led to the final Buccaneer to be selected in the PFF 101 player list with center Ryan Jensen. One of the most expensive interior offensive lineman in the NFL lived up to it this past year, according to PFF,

“But for an iffy stretch in the middle of the season, Ryan Jensen could have ended the season as the best-graded center in football, because either side of that, he was excellent manning the middle of the Bucs’ offensive line. Jensen ended the year having been beaten for just one sack and 15 total pressures, despite being asked to pass protect on 751 snaps of high-octane Bruce Arians passing offense. Jensen was also solid in the run game and posted by far the best season of his career overall.”

Clearly, PFF could have also included DE, Shaq Barrett, who ended up breaking the Buccaneers single season sack record and led the NFL with 19.5 of them on the year. However, it demonstrates just how stringent their grading system is that he didn’t make the list.

But, again, it’s quite the compliment that four others on a 7-9 team did.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs coach Arians again non-committal Tuesday on QB Winston

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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?

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 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.

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Bucs confirmed Monday they will have new uniforms in 2020

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

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?

First, the team released another video with clues about them intending to change their uniform and potentially alter their logo:

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.

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