The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have had a long run of bad luck the past 9 years, they haven’t been to the playoffs since 2007, and their last Postseason win dates back to winning Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003. The Bucs have been through many changes since then, and they now seem to have a winning combination with Head Coach Dirk Koetter, and 3rd year QB Jameis Winston. Tampa Bay went 9 wins and 7 losses and came a game away from making it to the playoffs last season.
After the 2014 season in which the Bucs went 2 wins and 14 losses, they’ve been steadily improving, in Winston’s rookie season they doubled their win total the following season and added three more wins last year. The Buccaneers have an offense that was ranked 18th in both points and yards per game, and their defense is a tough as well, coming in at 15th in the league, led by anchor at Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy who had 6.5 sacks and 2 fumble recoveries.
Winston has developed into a very strong and productive leader, and that’s going to have to happen again this year if they’re to end this drought. In his rookie season, Winston threw 22 touchdowns against 15 interceptions, in his second year those numbers improved to 28 touchdowns, and his rating was almost 2 more notches higher than his rookie season. What makes this even more impressive, is that he’s done this while having to get used to Koetter as his new head coach last year after Lovie Smith was fired following Winston’s rookie season.
In addition to Winston’s rising star, the Bucs have also added another weapon to their passing game in Desean Jackson who was signed on after spending a few years with the Redskins. The Bucs already have a go to receiver in Vincent Jackson, so adding another speedy wideout to the mix should make Tampa Bay’s passing attack even more potent.
But when it comes to late season football, you need a good running game to get those tough bruising yards, and Tampa Bay has that in their star running back, Doug Martin. Despite missing 8 games due to a suspension, Martin is still a dangerous back, he may not produce 1,000 yards annually, but he knows the offense, and hopefully when his suspension is lifted this season, he can get back to wowing fans with his running abilities.
In a brief segment on NFL Network’s ‘NFL Total Access’ there was a discussion about which NFL team would most likely end their Playoff drought. The consensus was that the Bucs would be the team to do so, and with these weapons on Offense, coupled with a solid defense, they just might end it during the 2017-2018 season.