Let’s get this party started.
I admit: until this week, I really couldn’t get excited about the start of football because of everything that’s going on in the country right now. But with the first game on tap for tonight, it’s time for me to give my overview of the 2020 season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Why I’m so excited:
We have some guy named Tom Brady at quarterback, who’s won six Super Bowls. Heck, the whole offense is loaded. Brady lured Rob Gronkowski out of retirement. Throw in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, and that’s one heck of a passing attack.
The defensive line – best in the NFL against the run last year – remains mostly intact, though Carl Nassib is no longer in Tampa. Devin White and Lavonte David are solid linebackers.
The Bucs have five primetime games. Thanks, Brady. Here in the greater Boston area, you’d expect many of the non-national games are going to be televised around here when they’re not opposite the Patriots playing at home.
What concerns me, for now:
The Bucs haven’t had much of a running game to speak of over the past several years. Ronald Jones is the starter, according to Bruce Arians. LeSean McCoy and Leonard Fournette have been added to the mix. But I want to see an actual running attack before I take this off the list of “concerns.”
Can the offensive line protect Brady, especially Donovan Smith at left tackle? First-round pick Tristan Wirfs will start the year at right tackle. Could he move over to protect Brady’s blind side if need be? Sure. He played left tackle at Iowa. But Smith is the one I’m most worried about.
The secondary is very young. While they showed improvement in the second half of the year – especially after getting rid of Vernon Hargreaves – this is the part of the defense that I think opposing quarterbacks will pick on the most.
The kicking game is ALWAYS a concern. Matt Gay is out after just one year. Ryan Succop is now our kicker. The Bucs always seem to lose about two games a year due to missed field goals or PATs. Can Succop please find a way to make his kicks?
It’s going to be a fun ride, ladies and gentleman. The season begins on Sunday with a big one against the Saints. I’ll preview that matchup in the next couple of days.
Photo courtesy: Associated Press