Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2020 Team Overview
Buccaneers 2020 Team Overview
The Glazers. Malcolm Glazer was the man who purchased the Buccaneers in 1995 and it was for a record price of $192 million dollars.
Glazer passed away in 2014 but his children now own the team.
Malcolm Glazer got his wealth from primarily real estate but also bought television companies and also purchased Manchester United which is a famous soccer team in England.
Jason Licht. Licht was the director or assistant director of player personnel for the Eagles, Patriots and Cardinals before joining the Buccaneers as General Manager in 2014.
The Buccaneers have arguably been one of the worst teams in the previous decade. Since 2014, nothing has changed in terms of wins and losses.
Licht drafted Jameis Winston in 2015 and the Buccaneers became more competitive but not competitive enough to make it to the playoffs.
A lot of people didn’t see Winston becoming a great NFL quarterback and I was one of them. Licht essentially threw the franchise into a bad 5 year experiment with Winston and never tried to have a capable back up to compete with Winston.
Licht is also on his 3rd different head coach since 2014. His drafting isn’t very good either. He has hit on some obvious selections in Mike Evans and Devon White but drafted a Kicker in the 2nd round in 2017 that was a complete bust.
But even if the kicker was great, there was no need to draft him in the 2nd round. I hope you’re laughing because it’s definitely laughable.
Licht is now going for the Hail Mary and might have landed it with hiring Bruce Arians. Arians is a proven head coach and has a strong presence that gives his teams direction, toughness and accountability.
This is something the Buccaneers have not had in a long time. The other equation of the Hail Mary is that Tom Brady chose to play in Tampa Bay over a couple of other teams. Now the Bucs have a legitimate chance to compete in the playoffs.
I think that it is pretty safe to say that if the Bucs do not make the playoffs in 2020 that the season would be a bust. Licht possibly could be fired too.
The exciting part for a non-bucs fan is that we get to see how this whole thing plays out.
Bruce Arians. Arians has been coaching in the NFL for a long time. He has been in and out of the NFL since 1989.
His biggest accomplishments are with the Steelers when he was the offensive coordinator when the Steelers won their 6th super bowl in 2008.
He was also the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals from 2013 to 2017. He went in to broadcasting a little bit but then became the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach in 2019.
He has now convinced Tom Brady that Tampa is the best team for him to spend his last years as an NFL QB.
Arians has a ton of talent on offense to coach and also is very happy with his budding offensive coordinator Byron Leftwhich.
Bruce Arians has been a lifetime play caller but is so impressed with Leftwich that he even believes that Leftwhich is a better play caller then himself.
So the offense under Leftwich and Brady should put up a lot of points. The concern for Arians is defensively. The defensive front 7 is pretty stout.
It’s the secondary that has caused a lot of problems. And their red zone defense too. They have given up a lot of passing yards and passing touchdowns in 2019.
If they can put together an average passing defense then this team could be really special in 2020.
However, there is a small minority of people that are concerned that Tom Brady didn’t look to good in 2019.
Some people blame the talent that surrounded Brady in New England and other pundits, like Kurt Warner, said that Brady was flat out missing open receivers.
This is the most interesting thing for me to watch in 2020 but a big target like Mike Evans should fix that.
Fantasy Outlook for the Buccaneers
QB: Tom Brady
I am pumping the brakes on TB12 in 2020. Everyone is super excited for him to have wide receivers like Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.
Rookie, Tyler Johnson looks to be a really good wide receiver too. Last year in New England, Tom blamed the Patriots offensive woes on the lack of talent at the wide reciever position.
However, after watching Kurt Warner break down Brady’s play against the Texans last season, I started to consider that Brady could be losing his touch.
Or Warner is still salty about Brady beating him in the Super Bowl 20 years ago.
But I think Warner had a lot of valid points regarding Brady being inaccurate during that loss to the Texans.
I think a bigger target in Mike Evans will definitely help Brady have better production. However, the Buccaneers waited until the 7th round to draft a pass catching running back. The 3rd round running back they drafted is a down hill bruiser.
So the lack of a reliable pass catching running back already concerns me for Brady’s production.
The other part of the equation that I am considering is that with that 3rd round bruiser RB and with Arians liking RB Ronald Jones II, the Bucs could be looking to run the ball more in 2020.
The Patriots did this with Sony Michel and Lagarrett Blount a couple years back.
Arians is a smart coach and I don’t see him having Tom sit back there 40 times a game and throwing passes. He wants to make sure Tom makes it through the entire season.
I could be wrong on this but that is my strong gut feeling. Bottom line is that I don’t trust Tom to be a huge fantasy producer this year.
I think he throws for just over 4,000 yards and gets to around 28 passing touchdowns. Those are quality numbers but not worth having on my fantasy team.
RB: Ronald Jones
So the Bucs drafted Keshawn Vaughn out of Vanderbilt in the 3rd round of the 2020 draft. Bruce Arians said that Jones is not a 3 down back and that his pass catching ability is only good enough for screens and check downs.
Arians also said that they wanted to have a better pass catching running back. That makes us wonder why they draft Vaugh in the 3rd round if they like Jones so much. I say this because Vaughn is no better of a pass catcher than Jones.
This makes me believe that Vaughn will have a serious chance to split the running back carries with Jones. My gut tells me that Jones will get 60% of the carries but if Vaughn outplays Jones then this Ronald Jones fantasy situation could get ugly.
Jones averaged 4.2 yards per carry last season and I think the O-line is better this season. I think Jones can fend off Vaughn and keep it a true 50-50 timeshare between the 2 running backs.
If jones gets 15 carries a game at 4.2 yards per carry in 2020, then he will get 1,000 yards rushing. Add in the Tom Brady affect and Jones could get 8 rushing touchdowns. Say he gets 30 receptions for 300 yards and 1 touchdown on top of his rushing stats.
This would be Jones’ most probable best case scenario. This would get him around 200 fantasy points which is usually a top 12 finish.
I really have no idea how Jones plays out in 2020. I think a safe bet would be be 800 yards rushing, 200 yards receiving and 7 total touchdowns.
That would give him 170 fantasy points for around a top 15 finish. I think Jones is definitely worth consideration in round 5 or 6.
I want to love Jones but with the draft pick of Vaughn in the 3rd round and also adding a pass catching back in round 7, makes me very uncertain of Jones’ usage in 2020.
Maybe training camp will tell us something different. Stay Tuned.
WR: Mike Evans
I think Mike Evans gets to 15 receving touchdowns with ease. Tom finally gets a big and tall body wide receiver in Mike Evans.
He hasn’t had this type of receiver since Randy Moss. I don’t think Evans will get a lot of catches or receiving yards that he has gotten in years past.
I will say Evans gets 1,050 receiving yards on 75 receptions and 15 touchdowns. His average draft position is around 20. That is a good spot to take him.
He will be reliable for you this season.
WR: Chris Godwin
A lot of people are taking Godwin ahead of Evans in their fantasy drafts. I can understand why becaues Godwin will definitely have more recptions than Evans this year.
However, the touchdowns should lean in favor of Evans. I think its pretty much a wash. I would go with Evans. Evans has the bigger ceiling.
I am staying away from Gronk this year in my fantasy draft. Very uncertain what you will get out of Gronk and there are also a lot of other talented Tight Ends in Tampa Bay.
Buccaneers Offensive Preview 2020
Byron Leftwich. Leftwich is the offensive coordinator and the play caller for the Bucs.
Leftwich was the QB for the Jacksonville Jaguars for 4 seasons in the mid 2000’s and then became the backup QB for the Steelers and Tampa Bay until 2012.
In Pittsburgh is where he met Bruce Arians. Leftwich says that Arians would always yell at him instead of Ben Roethlisberger in order to prove a point to Ben.
That last sentence might not be 100% accurate but the gist of the story is accurate. Leftwich then began coaching in 2017 with Arians in Arizona.
He was only with Arians for one year in Arizona but made a lasting impression on Arians. When Arians became the head coach in Tampa Bay, Arians knew it was a no brainer to have Leftwich call the plays and be the offensive coordinator.
If you know anything about Arians, then you know that he is an incredibly arrogant and stubborn man.
Arians doesn’t like to give up play calling but admitted last year that he believes that Leftwich is an even better play caller then himself.
Leftwich did not disappoint last season in his first year as OC. He led the NFL in passing yards. He also tried to stay balanced on offense and was 14th in the league in rush attempts.
Although the Buccaneers were not successful in running the ball, there were more reasons due to the lack of success than just Leftwich’s schemes.
In 2020, Tom Brady will cut down on the amount of turnovers that Jameis Winston plagued the Bucs in 2019.
This should easily put the Bucs in control of a lot of games and create a better run game.
I personally love watching Leftwich call offensive plays and think he and Brady and the cast of talented Bucs players will have a fun offense to watch in 2020.
Buccaneers Defensive Preview 2020
Todd Bowles. Bowles is a longtime secondary coach in the NFL. That is his expertise. He has actually not been a defensive coordinator for that many years.
He was only with Bruce Arians as defensive coordinator for 2 seasons before going to the Jets to be the head coach there for 4 seasons.
I know that he did call some defensive plays while he was at the Jets but I don’t think he did that often.
Anywho, Bowles was fired from the Jets after his last 3 seasons as the Jets finished last in the division each of those years.
The timing of the firing wasn’t so bad because this allowed Bruce Arians to get his defensive coordinator back. So last year, the Bucs gave up a lot of points and the secondary, Bowles expertise, didn’t make him look like an expert.
However, the Bucs defense did look much better at times then they have in years. In 2019, the Bucs had the #1 rushing defense, were 5th in takeaways, and 8th best in sacks.
Pretty hard to believe with those numbers that this defense gave up the 4th most points. Before we get to breaking down the problematic pass defense, let’s review the front 7.
The defensive line has Ndamukong Suh who is still a beast in the middle. He is a loose cannon and commits way too many penalties but he is dominant.
Next to him is their 2018 first round draft pick in Vita Vea. Vea really turned it on last year and was a big reason for the Bucs number 1 rushing defense.
The other starting d-lineman is William Gholston, who has played for the Bucs his entire career. He is a very good football player as well.
The outside linebackers or hybrid defensive ends are Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul. These 2 players create a pretty good pass rushing tandem.
They are also pretty good on run plays as well. Barrett just signed his Franchise Tag but he led the league with 20 sacks last season.
Barrett really came out of nowhere with his sacks because the previous 4 seasons he only had 14 sacks.
Playing on the Franchise Tag should surely inspire Barrett to prove to the NFL that his 20 sack season was no fluke.
Pierre-Paul only had 8.5 sacks last season but had 12.5 the season before. Pierre-Paul is now 31 years old and the Bucs need him to have some juice in the tank for 2020.
The inside linebackers might be better then the outside linebackers. They are Lavonte David and Devin White. Lavonte David is a consummate professional NFL linebacker.
He is a 8 year veteran that just causes havoc. He is a tackling machine and also a tackle for loss machine.
David also creates turnovers by forcing fumbles and interceptions. His partner in crime, Devin White, in my opinion is the best inside linebacker in football.
I love me some Bobby Wagner but I think White is just that special. White only played 13 games in 2019 but he was a game changer when he did play.
Okay, so the front 7 is probably the best in the NFL. Maybe not in pass rushing but the overall combo of run defense and pressuring the quarterback could easily be #1 in 2020.
Now let’s get to the secondary.
This group played really poorly in the first half of the season. They played really well in the last 6 games of the season.
A lot of this was probably due to them letting go of Vernon Hargreaves III in week 9. The Bucs players and coaches say the improved success was also because they learned the system of Todd Bowles and started to play better.
This is probably true but its not the entire truth. The Bucs didn’t play a pure passing QB except for Matt Ryan, twice, down that stretch but the Falcons had a really awful offense last year.
The Bucs did well against Deshaun Watson but Watson hasn’t thrown more than 26 touchdowns in any of his 3 seasons in the NFL.
I wouldn’t consider Watson an elite passer yet. So although the Bucs secondary did play better, I don’t think they were tested that much either.
Here are the cornerbacks, Carlton Davis, Sean Murphy-Bunting (SMB), and Jamel Dean. From all the research I am doing, the fanbase and coaches are really impressed with Carlton Davis.
Davis was a 2nd round pick out of Auburn in 2018. In 2019, he was targeted the most out of any cornerback in the league and did a pretty good job.
He gave up 6 TD’s and had a 80% passer rating from opposing QB’s which isn’t amazing but is definitely a little better than the average cornerback.
Davis can be a little handsy and has gotten called for pass interference a little more than you want from a cornerback.
The coaching staff is high on him because he has a lot of potential. Last year he also had the 2nd most passes defended with 19.
So Davis did play well down the stretch and he is poised for a good 2020 in his 2nd year under Todd Bowles. The next cornerback to look at is SMB.
SMB was a rookie last year that was taken in the 2nd round of the NFL draft in 2019 out of CMU.
He had 3 interceptions last year and the coaches and fan base are really high on him too. He only started 10 games and that was because the Bucs started Vernon Hargreaves over him.
Now Hargreaves is out of Tampa and SMB has the starting nickel cornerback spot all to himself. This website HERE, did a fantastic job of breaking down SMB.
There was film of him on this website and my honest impression of him is that yes he has talent but he also gave up some really bad plays.
The positive note, from reading the fan comments, is that SMB is very confident and has a short term memory. So we will see how he progresses in year 2.
The last cornerback worth talking about is Jamel Dean. Dean was the 3rd round selection out of Auburn in 2019. Dean also had an up and down season like SMB.
He played really poorly in a couple games but then looked really well down the stretch. The bottom line is that all 3 of these cornerbacks are young and unproven.
They could become amazing but then they could just be average to a little bit below average. It is hard to tell because the 6 games down the stretch in which they all looked good was against struggling offenses.
They all have NFL cornerback talent but then Carlton is handsy, SMB has poor footwork and Dean looked lost at times and has a bad injury history in college.
I think this group plays better in their 2nd year under Todd Bowles and should help this pass defense make it to the middle of the NFL ranks.
The safety position seems very unclear and also unproven. There are literally 6 safeties on the roster in which the General Manager and Head coach have said that they like all 6 and think all 6 could start.
The only safety I will mention was that they drafted Antione Winfield Jr. in the 2nd round of the 2020 NFL draft.
Winfield is the son Winfield Sr. who played 14 years in the NFL. Winfield Jr. says he wants to be defensive rookie of the year.
He first has to start which is a really difficult situation to decipher. It was really difficult for me to get any insight on the buccaneers safeties.
The fan forums didn’t mention them a lot and the coaching staff and GM said they liked everybody. My gut feeling is that this position group is average at best.
Ok, so this was a lot of research. The front 7 might be the best in football. The secondary has more promise then I originally thought.
However, the safeties and corners are inexperienced and untested. They all have a lot of talent and are definitely worthy of being in the NFL.
None of these players look to be busts like Vernon Hargreaves III.
So that is a great sign.
Ultimately, I still think this unit will get beat regularly against better competition. Pure passing quarterbacks will give this unit more growing pains to learn from in 2020.
I will predict this secondary finishes middle of the pack.
Fun Facts About Coaches
There are a lot of ex-Steelers players on this coaching staff. Byron Leftwich, Larry Foote and Antwan Randle El.
Contract Year Players:
WR: Chris Godwin
LB: Lavonte David
DL: Ndamukong Suh
Buccaneers Offensive Line Preview
This offensive line has a chance to be really good in 2020. The Left Tackle is Donovan Smith. Smith is an above average Tackle in the NFL.
Not a top talent but still very good. He had 9 penalties against him last year and also gave up 5 sacks. Smith is also not overly amazing at run blocking.
However, even though Smith is a pretty good player, he might not play this season due to Covid-19. He has his first child on the way and is nervous about that situation.
If he does play, the Bucs need Smith to play a little bit better in 2020. The Right Tackle will be the Buccaneers 1st round pick in 2020, Iowa product Tristian Wirfs.
Wirfs was highly touted coming out of Iowa. The film that I watched on him showed that Wirfs blocks past the whistle and plays nasty.
He is going to help improve this Bucs run game for sure. Wirfs was also a reliable pass blocking tackle for Iowa.
If Wirfs plays well in 2020 then the Bucs will have an amazing line. The interior 3 lineman are a pretty good group.
The center is Ryan Jensen. Jensen used to play for the Ravens and had a great career in Baltimore.
Last year, Jensen only gave up 1 sack and had 3 penalties called on him. Very solid center. The left guard is Ali Marpet.
Marpet only had 5 penalties and only gave up 2 sacks last year. Marpet has had very good years in the NFL.
That leaves us with the right guard position played by Alex Cappa. Cappa is the weak link of this O-line but isn’t terrible.
Cappa was a 3rd round pick in 2018 but came from a division 2 college. After watching some tape on Cappa, it’s safe to say he just gets overmatched by good players. I don’t see him getting much better.
He only gave up 4 sacks which is pretty good.
However, it is clear to see that Cappa will give up some bad plays in 2020. The right side of this line is a little concerning and definitely something to watch.
If Smith ends up playing and Wirfs plays really well then this line could be a top 10 line.