Last off-season the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the media darlings and hot team to make a postseason run. Now, former coach Brian Billick is buying in again.
There’s no other way to describe the 2017 Tampa Bay Buccaneers other than utterly disappointing. They were the “sexy” team to pick for multiple media members – local and national – to win the NFC South and make a run in the postseason. Because of that, Bucs fans are a little more cautiously optimistic and guarded when talking about 2018. However, with the additions to the defensive and offensive lines, the Bucs are starting to focus on building from front to back and it opens a lot of doors in the draft.
Former Baltimore Ravens coach and current NFL Network analyst Brian Billick spoke about exactly that recently and is again picking the Buccaneers as his team that has made the right moves to set themselves up for success this upcoming season;
He points to focusing on the back end of the defense early in the draft – perhaps a Denzel Ward, Derwin James, or Minkah Fitzpatrick – to fortify that spot after the additions of Jason Pierre-Paul and Vinny Curry to help the edge rush.
The other way the Bucs can start off with a strong draft – whether it’s in the first or second round – is addressing the running back spot. Finding a reliable back in this draft to take some pressure off Jameis Winston and actually provide a legitimate threat will go a long way.
Billick also points out that this is all contingent on Winston having a better year than last season. That isn’t and shouldn’t be much of a concern for Bucs fans. Winston played far too many games with that injured shoulder and it effected his ability to get the ball in the spots where it needed to be. It hurt his deep ball, rendering DeSean Jackson virtually useless given the unimaginative ways in which he was used.
Once Winston returned from injury, he put up career numbers in terms of completion percentage. That “jump” we all expected him to make in year three was detoured. We saw flashes, but a healthy Jameis Winston for 2018 should bring that increase in productivity.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are making (on paper) the right moves for this team. They weren’t void of talent last season and weren’t as bad as their 5-11 record would indicate. Now, with the right additions to the trenches, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can build the back end of their defense as well as get Winston that final missing piece to line up behind him at running back.