3rd Annual 32 in 32ish NFL Previews: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

As we conclude our previews of NFC South teams with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are coming off a last-place finish last year, we reach the halfway point of our previews of all  32 NFL teams

Selecting QB Jameis Winston in the 2015 draft gave the Bucs four more wins last season than they had in 2014, but that brought them up to just a 6-10 record, a fifth-straight losing season for the team. There’s not much on the team other than Winston, though, so it’s looking like it’ll be at least another year before the Bucs break that streak.

In his rookie season, Winston putting up decent numbers for a first-year quarterback, throwing for 4,042 yards, with 22 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He added 6 rushing touchdowns to his stat line on 54 carries. Leading the receiving core was WR Mike Evans, who caught 71 passes for 1,206 yards but just 3 touchdowns. Veteran WR Vincent Jackson started just nine games due to injury, ending the year with 33 receptions for 543 yards and 3 touchdowns. TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who started three games, tied for the team lead with 4 receiving touchdowns on 21 catches. RB Doug Martin bounced back from a disappointing 2014 to run for 1,402 yards and 6 touchdowns on 288 carries. Backup RB Charles Sims had 529 rushes on 107 carries but was a big part of the passing game, with 51 receptions for 561 yards and 4 touchdowns. Defensively, the team was near the bottom of the league in points allowed, giving up 417 to the opposition, and tallying 11 interceptions.

The Bucs didn’t add any significant pieces to the offense this offseason, opting to focus on the defense in the draft, going with CB Vernon Hargreaves in the first round and DE Noah Spence in the second to join the likes of DT Gerald McCoy, DE Robert Ayers and CB Brent Grimes on that side of the ball. That means the offense will likely look similar to what it was last season, with Winston and Evans leading the way for their second season together. The team has to hope that Martin puts up numbers similar to 2015 rather than 2014; the latter would hurt the team in the running game. Seferian-Jenkins has the potential to be among the league’s top tight ends, starting just 12 games total in his first two seasons in the league due to injuries. If he can get to the next level, that would provide the offense with a significant boost in production.

The Bucs face a tough schedule, which begins with consecutive road games at the Falcons and Cardinals. That is followed by back-to-back games at home, against the Rams in Week 3 and the defending Super Bowl champion Broncos in Week 4. Week 5 sees them playing the other team that played in Super Bowl 50, when they visit the Panthers for a Monday night contest. Later in the season, the Bucs visit the Chiefs in Week 11 before hosting the Seahawks in Week 12. Both games against the Saints come late in the season in Weeks 14 and 16, with a road game at the Cowboys sandwiched in between. And the season ends with the second game against the Panthers, this one in Tampa. Lots of good offenses await the Bucs on the schedule this season, and with a subpar defense, it’s not looking like the Bucs will win many games this season.

Source: http://www.buccaneers.com, http://www.pro-football-reference.com

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