The Tampa Bay Buccaneers finally have their roster set and will now focus their attention on the Dallas Cowboys as that game inches closer.
There was one notable cut as the Bucs trimmed their roster to 53. The Bucs decided to part ways with Wide Receiver Tyler Johnson.
Todd Bowles said it came down to special teams value at his press conference talking about the decision to keep Scotty Miller over Tyler Johnson.
“Once you get down past the top four and five receivers, you’ve got to have more value than just catching the footballs because you won’t dress on Sundays. That was a big reason behind it.”
“Tyler, as a sixth receiver, to dress on Sundays, you’ve got to be able to play special teams and contribute. Great pass receiver, very good catcher, he can catch the ball, very good player, no special teams value.”
Jaelon Darden and Scotty Miller are the fifth and sixth receivers on the roster. Darden returns kicks and punts, and Miller is part of the coverage team on both punts and kickoffs. Miller can also return kicks and punts.
The Bucs also cut safety Logan Ryan to keep Ryan Jensen on the roster until he could be placed on IR.
Bowles addressed the Logan Ryan situation and said that Ryan would be back with the team. However, the Buccaneers have since put center Ryan Jensen on the IR, creating a roster spot for Ryan. The Bucs have since re-signed Logan Ryan to a one-year contract.
By waiting until now to put Jensen on IR, the Bucs could activate him at some point in the post-season if he is healthy enough to play.
The Buccaneers are the favorites to win the NFC South for the second consecutive season.
Hard to believe that Tom Brady had one of the best years of his career in 2021, and over the last two years, he has had four playoff wins and a Super Bowl win, yet he was passed over for the MVP award, which went to Aaron Rodgers.
This season, Brady will again add to his legacy by becoming the first quarterback to throw for 100,000 yards in his career. Last year Brady averaged 313 yards passing per game, and if that trend continues, he will go over the 100,000-yard passing mark in his career on Thursday Night in week eight against the Baltimore Ravens.
Brady could also become the Buc’s passing touchdown leader this season. Jameis Winston is the record holder right now with 122. Brady has 83 in two seasons and could break that record in late December.
Trent Dilfer holds the record for most wins as a starting quarterback with 38. Brady has 24 wins in two seasons and could become the all-time leader in wins late this season.
Brady also has 243 career wins and needs seven to become the first player with 250 career wins.
The Buccaneer’s wide receiver room improved with the addition of Julio Jones. However, the Bucs already had one of the best groups of wide receivers in the NFL with Future Hall Of Famer Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Russell Gage.
With Jones on the roster, I can’t think of another team that can roll out a group with as much talent at the receiver position as this Buccaneer team.
Mike Evans, one of the most disrespected receivers in the league, has already done enough to earn a gold Jacket and a bust in Canton. This season he will add to his legacy with a ninth straight 1,000-yard season which has never been done in the game’s history.
Leonard Fournette is back to anchor the running game. Fournette signed a three-year contract in the off-season and will be the number one back for the Buccaneers.
Ke’Shawn Vaughan, with his strong preseason, will be the number two back behind Fournette. Vaughan averaged 4.5 yards per carry in the preseason and was also involved in the passing game.
Raachad White, the rookie from Arizona State, and Gio Bernard are the third and fourth backs on the roster.
There is a significant concern on this team, along the offensive line. The Buccaneers lost Ali Marpet to retirement, Alex Cappa signed with Cincinnati, and Ryan Jensen went down early in camp with a season-ending injury.
In Jensen’s absence, Robert Hainsey will take over at center, while Luke Goedecke will start at left guard. The depth along the line is concerning. Aaron Stinnie suffered a torn MCL and ACL in the Tennessee game and is done for the season.
Backup center Nick Leverett and starting center Robert Hainsey suffered minor injuries against the Colts, but both should be healthy and ready to go for the season opener in Dallas.
The Buccaneers return just two starters from their 2021 starting offensive line in Tristan Wirfs and Donovan Smith. In addition to Hainsey and Goedecke, Shaq Mason will be the new starting right guard. Mason was acquired from New England in the off-season.
There was a heated battle in training camp for the kicking job, which was one by the incumbent Ryan Succop. The Bucs signed Jose Borregales to the practice squad last season because they liked his strong leg.
In the preseason games, Succop was 2/2 on his field goals, while Borregales went 1/3.
The Bucs will have a rookie punter with Jake Camarada handling those duties this season. Camarada averaged around 45 yards per kick, but the special teams’ coverage has been awful.
The Bucs need to work on their return coverage in both the kick and punt return game. It was awful in the preseason, and field position is so critical in tight games.
Jaelon Darden will be the primary return guy for both kicks and punts. He failed to distinguish himself last year when given the opportunity.
However, Darden worked hard in the off-season and training camp to improve in that area, so let’s hope we see that play out starting in Dallas next week.
Gio Bernard is listed as second on the depth chart behind Darden, while Rachaad White is third.
The tight end position is the weakest it has been in a few seasons with the retirement of Rob Gronkowski. Cameron Brate is listed as the starter on the depth chart, with the newly signed Kyle Rudolph as the second tight end.
Tow rookies Cade Otten and Ko Kieft round out the tight end group.
This Bucs offense is much better this season than it was the last two seasons with the addition of Julio Jones to the wide receiver position.
This offense will be the best that Brady has had to work with in his career. Let’s hope it all ends with a deep playoff run and a game in Arizona in Mid-February.