Welcome to the Podcast AF offseason review series, astutely titled “The Probe” – the unofficial official NFL offseason review series of the Vegas Golden Knights. Here, like most NFL “writers”, I will regurgitate takes I read or heard somewhere else and pass them off as original thoughts. Will Ryan Tannehill breakout in 2018? Was Mike McCarthy abandoned by the run game as a child? Does Saturn have a playoff atmosphere? Your questions, answered! Sponsored by “Ready Player One”, in theaters now!
#12 – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11, Last NFC South)
It’s crunch time folks, and I’m not talking Golden Grahams for breakfast. I actually thought the draft was this week and I was screwed, but having the extra week will give me just enough time to fall short of my goal of hitting all 32 teams.
Anyone who listens to the audio form of my neurotic thoughts will know my cohost and I outsourced NFL talk from the podcast to a half-hour long radio show called “Boys Club” this past fall, which only received five complaints for being a sexist name. In the inaugural edition, the “F’ in “AF” proclaied that Cowboys and Bucs would get the top-2 seeds in the NFC.
I’ve preached in the past about holding folks to predictions when we’re expected to make so many, and the Bucs one wasn’t unfounded. I didn’t think they’d win 13 games, but I thought they’d be in the 8-11 range. And to be fair, there’s a good chance they win a lot more had their entire defense not gone under the knife. Thie roffensive line stunk as well, but that doesn’t change how bad Jameis Winston was up until the final 3 games of the year.
The Buccaneers put up a valiant effort in that 30-10 loss to the Saints, which featured an injured Winston chirping Marshon Lattimore, a top-3 CB in the NFL as a rookie, from the sideline, which lead to a Mike Evans suspension.
Mike Evans is Mike Evans, rookie Chris Godwin performed very well and sailed under the radar as one of the top rookie WRs last season. Winston couldn’t get DeSeasn Jackson involved in the offense, which is strange for an offense that runs 4-verts every other play. Cameron Brate has been great and just earned himself a fat extension, and OJ Howard can only go up.
Much like the Cardinals, the Bucs have a quasi-retooled OL that has a bunch of names. Ali Marpet was the 7th-ranked C in the NFL according to PFF, but he’s moving to LG. Free agent acquisition Ryan Jensen will start at C, former fill-in role-player Evan Smith are RG, and PFF’s 7th-ranked OT Demar Dotson at RT. LT is the problem, where Donovan Smith was horrible last year.
So looking at the offense, the issues are LT, whether Winston sucks or not (if you ask me, the “breakout season” joke applies to Winston a millions times more than it does Tannehill), and RB. Doug Martin is gone, but he only played well every 4 years. For now it’s Peyton Barber and Jacquizz Rodgers, but they’ll undoubtedly add someone in the draft, with some mocks even predicting Saquon Barkley could fall to them at 7 given the QB fire sale up top.
Movie Comparison: X-Men: The Last Stand. Lot of hype, expected to do well, but ultimately was fucked with too much and ended up meh. I’m the boss here so I can use a comparison twice if I want to.
Similar to the OL, the DL has been almost completely re-tooled, likely in an attempt to create some sort of pass-rush to alleviate what might be a weak year for the Bucs at CB. Last season the Bucs had the worst pass-rush in the NFL, which contributed to their league-worst passing defense and points allowed.
Gerald McCoy returns at DT and Robert Ayers at DE. After McCoy showcased his Batcave I was sure the Bucs had the NFC South wrapped up.
As funny as Chris Baker was in Hard Knocks, he could’nt generate penetration even if he was hard. (*crickets*). But the duo of Beau Allen and Mitch unrein is likely to form a rotation at the DT spot next to McCoy. Vinny Curry and JPP will combine with Robert Ayers and Noah Spence at DE…again, 7 names, McCoy is the only layup. So we’ll just have to see.
Kwon Alexander underachieved at MLB when healthy, but entering the final year of his rookie contract, he’s still their best option. When Alexander was hurt, Kendall Beckwith, another standout Buc rookie, moved inside form the SAM spot and was much better than Alexander. Regardless, he’s back at SAM and PFF’s 2nd-ranked LB in the NFL, Lavonte David, rounds out the group at WILL.
As of now Chris Conte and Tandy Keith are the safeties, but Bucs writers raved about rookie Justin Evans’ play last season and I wouldn’t be surprised if he supplanted one of them, especially Tandy.
CB is the bigger issue, with Brett Grimes back for his 35yo-season (I’m only going to compliment his presence because I don’t want Miko showing up at my door). To be fair, his 33yo season was his best so who’s to say he can’t still be great? The other side is the problem, where Vernon Hargreaves continues to just be flat-out bad. Unless Barley falls to 7, the Bucs are almost guaranteed to take a CB at that spot. (Minkah?)
Major Draft Needs: LT, RB, CB
Enjoying the Stanley Cup playoffs? – David from Boston
Funny you should ask David, because I actually started somewhat of a brouhaha at my internship this week when I was asked to come up with some keys to the B’s-Leafs matchup, one of which was that the Bruins lead the NHL in Davids. And then all of them scored. I need to monetize this somehow.
Other than that, I’ve actually watched at least part of every game from every series. I make GIFs on Twitter that literally no one sees so that’s fun.
In honor of Pete Prisco telling me I’m dumb and that I’ll fail, here’s this entry’s edition of “Prisco’s Pickanosis,” where I highlight something the Tom Brady of acting like an infant on Twitter was completely wrong about.
As it turns out, Baker was straightforward bad.
*Eyes up emoji*