Now that we’re officially halfway through the 2019 NFL season, it’s time to reflect on what we’ve seen so far in the first eight games for the Bucs. You’ll notice I’m not going through every player or every position. I’m just going to pick and choose. So here we go:
OFFENSIVE MVP: Mike Evans. This guy is a stud; there’s no other way to say it. Remember how he started off with no touchdowns in the first two games? Well, now he has seven. His 842 receiving yards are second in the NFL behind only Michael Thomas of the Saints. Evans and Chris Godwin have become one of the best receiving tandems in the league.
DEFENSIVE MVP: Shaq Barrett. What a pickup this guy was. He leads the league in sacks with 10.5, eight of which came in the first three games. The drop-off since then is likely attributed to teams paying more attention to him now, but that opens up opportunities for others.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: the secondary. Even with all those draft picks spent on this group, they’re still terrible. They’re allowing 31 points a game. They are second-worst in defending the pass (Oakland sneaked ahead of them!) And yet, the run defense is best in the league. Knowing that, it’s no secret why teams are just throwing the ball at will.
BIGGEST QUESTION MARK: Jameis Winston. Believe me, I read all kinds of comments from the lovers and haters on a weekly basis. The haters point to all the turnovers and bad decisions. The lovers will mention the big passing games he’s had, and how the aforementioned secondary is making him look back. It will very interesting to see what the Bucs do with him after this season.
BEST GAME SO FAR: The Week 4 win over the Rams in L.A. Tampa Bay pulled a stunner, scoring a season-high 55 points against the defending NFC champs.
WORST GAME SO FAR: the game right before that, against the Giants. The Bucs blew a 28-10 lead, and made rookie QB Daniel Jones look like a superstar, as they have with so many other rookie and backup quarterbacks. Has anyone seen what Jones has done since that game?
So, there’s a quick summary. The Bucs finally play a home game this weekend against the Cardinals. It’s only their third game at Ray-Jay so far. And in just over a month, I’ll be heading down to Tampa for the game against the Colts.
Photo courtesy: Tampa Bay Buccaneers