TAMPA – The Buccaneers have been a run-first oriented team under offensive coordinator and now head coach Dirk Koetter, and it’s doubtful they’re going to change that approach any time soon.
Despite the addition of all those weapons they’ve added to their passing game, the Bucs still don’t want to put any undue pressure on quarterback Jameis Winston and at this point there’s really no need to.
The ground-oriented attack the Bucs have been using to set up their play-action passes has worked just fine the last couple years and the team still has a couple of designated fullbacks on its roster.
That and the fact Koetter thinks so highly of tight end Luke Stocker should tell you the Bucs still intend to run a ball-control type of attack and let the running game set up the passing game.
Still, there is one NFL insider who believes the Bucs are going to try to take advantage of all those new toys they have in their passing game and are therefore “going to throw the ball like crazy’’ this year.
The insider is former NFL safety and current ESPN analyst Matt Bowen, who recently stepped into the fantasy football ring, where he dubbed Winston the realm’s most “underrated player.’’
“Look,’’ Bowen said during a recent ESPN fantasy segment, “Jameis has thrown for over 4,000 yards in his first two seasons. He threw 28 touchdowns last season.
“I understand the interceptions have to come down. They have to come way down. That’s decision making. That’s eliminating those unnecessary risks. But I think Jameis will do that going into his third season.
“And also, look at what they added. DeSean Jackson at wide receiver. They drafted (tight end) O.J. Howard out of Alabama. You already have a top five fantasy wide receiver in Mike Evans and really, I think Tampa is going to throw the ball like crazy this season. I think (Winston is) definitely a Quarterback 1, and for me I think he’s a guy you can get later in the draft.’’
Bowen may eventually prove to be right. There’s no doubt the Bucs have the arsenal now to open up their attack in ways they haven’t the last two years. But until Winston proves he can be a little more accurate and indeed cut down on the picks the Bucs will probably stick with what has been working for them.
That doesn’t mean Bowen isn’t right about Winston being way underrated as a fantasy player. Anyone who can throw for 4,000 yards and account for 30 touchdowns has value as fantasy player and there’s little doubt Winston can do that no matter what kind of offense the Bucs run.