This has been a season of disappointment for Buccaneer fans everywhere. New coach, new philosophy, and yet here we are at the bye week with the same results.
The Buccaneers are 2-4 on the season, and with trips to Tennessee and Seattle on the horizon before the next home game, its very possible that this team could be 2-6 at the halfway point of the season.
There really is no magic pill the Bucs can take to fix the issues on this team. There are no players available that are going to come in and magically help the Bucs turn this season around.
The Bucs are stuck with the players that Jason Licht and Bruce Arians chose to be a part of the 2019 Buccaneers and they will live and die with those choices.
Let’s look at five area’s the Bucs need to get improved play from to turn the season around.
The quarterback play has been inconsistent. Jameis Winston has not improved much at all over last season. He is the best quarterback statically in Buccaneer history, yet has a losing record and has yet to take the Bus to the playoffs. He is what he is. He will kill you with turnovers one game, have a couple of decent games, a really good game, and then an absolute horrible game. That has been Winston for five years and he is not about to change now.
That is why the Bucs will need to move on from Winston after this season. For more on that you can read my article that I wrote earlier https://tampabayprosports.com/2019/10/17/its-time-the-bucs-move-on-from-jameis-winston/
The four best receivers on the team are Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, OJ Howard, and Cameron Brate, and yet Arians has yet to figure out how to use Howard and Brate effectively and be a big piece of the offense.
The Bucs cut Bobo Wilson this week due to his ability to hang on the ball and his ineffectiveness at returning punts. That leaves Scotty Miller, and Justin Watson as your third receivers with Breshad Perriman still sidelined by injuries.
Godwin leads the league in receiving yards and touchdowns, but the Bucs need better production from the third receiver and the tights ends going forward.
For being the third highest paid offensive line in the league, this line stinks. With Alex Cappa and Demar Dotson out last week in London, you would think that Ali Marpet, Ryan Jensen, and Donovan Smith would rise their level of play. Didn’t happen as Winston was sacked seven times.
The Bucs will continue to be perennial losers with this offensive line until they take steps to fix this line. Besides a quarterback in the 202o draft, offensive line has to be a major focus.
The pass defense has been a disgrace and the play of the veteran in the group Vernon Hargreaves, outside of a couple of plays has been disappointing.
The Bucs are last in the league in pass defense giving up 305 yards a game.
The Bucs have spent seven draft picks on defensive backs since 2015 and none of them are close to what you call impact players. A Jalen Ramsey or Aquib Talib type player.
You can’t keep drafting mediocre talent in the first and second rounds and expect them to all of a sudden be all pro players when they take the field on Sunday.
Hargreaves isn’t the answer, Whitehead is inconsistent, MJ Stewart is mediocre. The jury is still out on this years defensive backs that were drafted, but Sean Murphy Bunting has struggled, Mike Edwards and Jamel Dean have been injured so we don’t have a good read on how good they will be.
Carlton Davis appears to be the best of this group of defensive backs that Licht has drafted.
For the defense to improve it will start with better play from the defensive backs.
The defensive line and pressure on the quarterback has been underwhelming. Maybe expectations were to high for this group. Maybe the return of Jason Pierre-Paul last years sack leader of the defense with 12.5 will spark this group. But Vita Vea, Ndamukong Suh, and Carl Nassib have to do a better job of getting pressure on the quarterback.
The Bucs have 13 sacks this season and Shaq Barrett has nine, followed by Carl Nassib with two. Vea and Suh each have half a sack.
It is not to late to right the ship and get this team going in the right direction. I’m just not sure thats going to happen.
If the Bucs are going to turn around their season around it has to start with Jameis Winston and better decision making with the football.
The coaching staff has to make better use of OJ Howard and Cameron Brate in the offensive game plan and find a way to get more balls to them.
The offensive line has to find a way to keep Winston on his feet. The overall line play has to be better in the run game and passing game.
The pass defense has to improve. The Bucs secondary has been wrecked by injuries. We understand that. But there is no excuse for the amount of yards and pass plays this defense is giving up.
Help from the defensive line in pressuring the quarterback is a must. It’s time for Suh and Vita Vea to show up and be the impact players we thought we were getting.
One more thing. Can we give the starting running back job to Ronald Jones?