Are The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Realistic Contenders?
The biggest story of the NFL offseason has been Tom Brady’s decision to leave the New England Patriots after 20 years. The quarterback decided it was best for him to head south and join up with Bruce Arians and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Due to coronavirus, people do not even know if there will be a 2020 NFL season: but I don’t want to think about that. Instead, I want to talk about how Brady really impacts the Bucs as a team. Are they now title contenders?
“The idea that Tampa is a championship contending team now is lunacy. … Is it more likely Tom Brady is the best QB in that division or the worst? Drew Brees & Matt Ryan are better than him & I’d rather have Teddy Bridgewater next year than 43-year-old Brady.” — @getnickwright pic.twitter.com/Wv2s9vejAp
— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) March 24, 2020
In the video above, FS1’s Nick Wright talks about what Brady is bringing to Tampa. He claims that the idea that TB12 is now a Super Bowl contender is “lunacy”. But the only lunacy I see is what is coming from Wright’s mouth.
I agree with him that Brady MAY end up being the “worst” quarterback in the division, but that doesn’t have to mean he is bad. The difference between all four signal callers could be slim, and with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and O.J. Howard Brady has plenty of weapons at his disposal to even be the best in the division. Age is just a number for TB12 and it has been for a long time.
Regardless of how Brady plays, the idea that Tampa making a run is “crazy” is crazy in itself. The Bucs quarterback last year (Jameis Winston) put the team in awful positions game after game.
Jameis Winston threw 30 Int in 2019.
1 ended the 1st half (Week 11 vs Saints)
NFL-high 7 pick-sixes (1 ended a game)
After the 22 others, the average starting field position for Tampa’s defense was their own 39-yard line.
— Paul Hembekides (@PaulHembo) March 18, 2020
Adding on to Paul’s Tweet, Winston also fumbled 12 times. If your quarterback turns the ball over 42 times in season you are set up for failure. But somehow, Arians and co. were able to stitch together a 7-9 season.
Winston still made some flashy plays that other QB’s wouldn’t be able to make, but his play was a net negative. Giving your defense a starting field position of you own 39-yard line after YOUR turnover? It was almost like Winston was shaving points.
Brady essentially takes that issue away from Tampa. The greatest quarterback to step on the gridiron has only turned the ball over 20 times once, and that was back in 2002.
So if a 7-9 Tampa Bay team cuts its turnovers in half, improves its field position, and keeps its defense off of the field, how is it lunacy to say they are realistic contenders? People will harp on how “bad” the defense is, but in 2019 the Bucs ranked first in rush defense, giving up only a 3.3 yard per carry average. That is in a division with Alvin Kamara and Christian McCaffrey.
Tampa has room to improve their secondary but they are still young with a lot of ability to improve. Pro Football Focus gave cornerback Jamal Dean a 76.4 overall grade in his rookie season. Carlton Davis (a second year corner in 2019) also posted a solid grade with PFF putting up a 70.4 score. I’m not saying these guys are world beaters, but they are on the right trajectory. It is right to assume these guys will be even better next season when they finally get a chance to take a water break instead of having to jog right back onto the field after another Winston turnover.
Like I said, it remains to be seen how Tampa actually fairs in the upcoming season. Still, if you really take a deep look at the talent the Buccaneers have on their team there is a bigger chance Nick Wright is more wrong than his last name suggests.
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