Buccaneers 2020 Season preview
I’m going to say this once and get it out of the way. This is the best offensive team on paper in the history of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
All the Bucs have to do now is go out and execute the way they need to, and this season could end in a Super Bowl appearance.
The question mark will be the defense and specifically the defensive backs. More on that later.
The Bucs are all in on the season in making a deep playoff run.
You don’t sign Tom Brady, Leonard Fournette, and Rob Gronkowski to go 9-7 and miss the playoffs.
The Bucs are rolling the dice and going for it all this season. Anything short of a deep playoff run will be a disappointment.
Tom Brady signed a two-year contract to come in and replace Jameis Winston as the starting quarterback.
Brady the G.O.A.T. Brings his six Super Bowl rings to Tampa and will be hoping to add at least one more to his resume.
Brady has passed for over 70,000 yards in his career and has over 500 touchdown passes.
Brady keeps the turnovers to a minimum something that we are not used to seeing in Tampa, as Winston turned the ball over on average 2-3 times a game.
Blaine Gabbert will be the backup quarterback as he knows the offense better than anyone in the quarterback room. Ryan Griffin will again be the third quarterback on the roster.
The Bucs have the best receivers in the NFL. Led by Pro Bowler Mike Evans, Brady will have weapons at his disposal he has never had in his career.
Evans will be going for his seventh straight 1,000 yard receiving season. Chris Godwin is the starter opposite Mike Evans and barring injury, should also put up 1,000 receiving yards.
Justin Watson, Scotty Miller, Tyler Johnson, and John Hurst round out this group. Watson and Miller will battle for the third receiver position. It may depend on the matchups as to who will line up as the third receiver.
Jayden Mickens who was cut and brought back will be featured in the return game. TJ Logan is out for the season and Dare Ogunbowale was cut when the Bucs reduced their roster to 53.
The tight end group is one of the deepest in the NFL with Rob Gronkowski, OJ Howard, and Cameron Brate.
Gronkowski, acquired for a fourth-round pick from New England will be the starter.
Howard looking to come back after a so-so season will be playing for a new contract and will have to play better than he has for the Bucs to sign him to another contract.
Cam Brate will be the third tight end on the roster.
The offensive line is back together and the line played better as the 2019 season went along. Demar Dotson signed with Denver and will be replaced by rookie Tristan Wirfs.
Donovan Smith, Ali Marpet, Ryan Jensen, and Alex Cappa, along with Wirfs round out the starters on the offensive line.
The depth is questionable with Joe Haeg and QA Shipley the only backups that have a ton of experience. Josh Wells and John Molchen round out the depth of the offensive line. Molchen will start the season on the injured reserve list.
On the defensive side of the ball, the front seven is as good as it gets in the NFL. Ndamukong Suh and William Gohlston are the starting ends, with Vita Vea the starting nose tackle.
Vea played much better the second half of last season and the Bucs are counting on him to continue that improvement.
The Bucs starting linebackers are as good as any in the game with Jason Pierre-Paul, Devin White, Lavonte David, and last year’s sack leader Shaq Barrett.
Linebacker has been one of the strong areas of this defense the last few seasons and this year will be no different.
Quinton Bell, Cam Gill, Kevin Minter, Jack Cichy, and Anthony Nelson will all serve as backups in Todd Bowles’s defense.
The defensive backfield is where the questions arise. Last year was painful to watch as the young DB’s struggled to learn the nuances of the defense under fire early in the season.
The Bucs will again have one of the youngest secondary groups in the league led by the rookie from Minnesota Antoine Winfield Jr. who will start at safety opposite Jordan Whitehead.
Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy Bunting will get the nod to start at cornerback. There is no shortage of depth in the defensive backfield, but they remain young and inexperienced outside of Ryan Smith who is a staple on special teams, and Andrew Adams.
Jamel Dean, Mike Edwards, and the rookie Parnell Motley round out the secondary.
This will be year two in Todd Bowles’s defense. The learning curve has usually slowed in year two and you can just go out and play and react instead of spending a lot of time thinking.
Ryan Succop will handle the kicking duties. This is the ninth consecutive year that the Bucs have started the season with a different kicker. Bradley Pinion returns as the punter.
The Bucs will use a combination of guys in the return game till someone does enough to claim the job.
Scotty Miller, Ke’Shawn Vaughan, Jayden Mickens, and Justin Watson will all get a chance in the punt return game.
Ronald Jones and Ke’Shawn Vaughan will get the first crack at returning kicks.
This offense finished third in offense last year despite Winston’s turnovers. The Bucs averaged 398 yards a game.
The Bucs averaged 28.6 points a game, good for fourth place in the league.
The addition of Tom Brady, Leonard Fournette, LeSean McCoy, and Rob Gronkowski on offense should only make this offense better.
The only concern is the lack of time playing together. Some things can’t be replicated in practice. It will be interesting to see how quick this offense come together
The Bucs will start slowly before getting better and finish the season on a high note.
Defensively, the group improved every week the second half of the season and there is no reason to not expect the defense to continue to improve this season
This is a team that will make the playoffs. The Bucs will finish the second in the NFC south behind New Orleans but will meet the Saints in the NFC championship game.
After splitting their two games during the regular season, this will be the third time that two teams will play during the 2020 season. The Bucs will take this third game and move on to play in the Super Bowl at their home stadium in Tampa.
The Bucs and the Kansas City Chiefs will meet in Super Bowl. The Chiefs are just loaded and gave too many weapons and will beat the Bucs in the Super Bowl.