Now with Bruce Arians in place as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the staff now will start to dig through film and evaluate the roster and take a deeper look at who will fit the schemes. With Arians putting in place one of the top coaching staffs in the NFL, which includes former New York Jets’ head coach Todd Bowles as the club’s new defensive coordinator, the Buccaneers will be flexible on the defensive side of the ball.
Bowles has been known to switch up between 4-3 and 3-4 alignments, which Tampa Bay has the personnel currently for the former. The latter, 3-4, will take some roster moves to put Tampa Bay in the right positions to play more of that alignment on a down-to-down basis.
We also take a look at the offensive side of the ball, where Tampa Bay returns one of the deepest wide receiving corps in the league and quarterback Jameis Winston, whom Arians believes can lead Tampa Bay to a Lombardi Trophy. Let’s take a closer look at some of the off-season needs for the Buccaneers.
There’s no doubt this was an area badly in need of more depth and consistency last season. Injuries to cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III and safety Justin Evans hurt Tampa Bay in the first half of the season and the statistics proved that. The Buccaneers were ranked 31st in the NFL in points per game allowed (29.0) and 26th in passing yards (259.4). Many analysts believe Tampa Bay will eye a shutdown cornerback with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Tampa Bay quarterbacks threw an NFL-worst 26 interceptions and were sacked a combined 41 times between Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Some of that was bad decision making and some of that can be attributed to bad offensive line play. Offensive tackle Donovan Smith could be on his way out, as he was inconsistent at left tackle. With Demar Dotson on the downside of his career and Caleb Benenoch not the answer at right guard, Tampa Bay will have some re-tooling they’ll need to do through free agency and the draft.
Peyton Barber is no doubt one of the hardest runners in the NFL, as he looks to always run through defenders rather than around them. Something the Buccaneers will need more of because of the style of Arians’ offense is a pass catcher out of the backfield. Arians’ past offenses highly utilized the tailback out of the backfield, with David Johnson in Arizona always putting up big numbers in the receiving department. The jury is still out on Ronald Jones II, who was shaky in his rookie campaign. Look for Tampa Bay to find someone to pair with Barber (871 yards in 2018) that can be a switch up to his hard running style.
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