2017 TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS FOOTBALL CAPSULE

HEAD COACH: Dirk Koetter

RECORD WITH TEAM: 9 – 7

CAREER RECORD: 9 – 7

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR: Todd Monken

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR: Mike Smith

STADIUM: Raymond James Stadium (65,857)

2017 OFFENSIVE MVP: Jameis Winston

2017 DEFENSIVE MVP: Kwon Alexander

2017 POSITION BATTLE TO WATCH: Kicker

 

FIVE – YEAR WINNING TREND

2012: 7 – 9

2013: 4 – 12

2014: 2 – 14

2015: 6 – 10

2016: 9 – 7

 

2016 RESULTS

W Atlanta 31 – 24

L Arizona 40 – 7

L Los Angeles 37 – 32

L Denver 27 – 7

W Carolina 17 – 14

W San Francisco 34 – 17

L Oakland 30 – 24

L Atlanta 43 – 28

W Chicago 36 – 10

W Kansas City 19 – 17

W Seattle 14 – 5

W Los Angeles 28 – 21

W New Orleans 16 – 11

L Dallas 26 – 20

L New Orleans 31 – 14

W Carolina 17 – 16

 

2017 SCHEDULE

September 10 at Miami

September 17 Chicago

September 24 at Minnesota

October 1 NY Giants

October 5 New England

October 15 at Arizona

October 22 at Buffalo

October 29 Carolina

November 5 that New Orleans

November 12 NY Jets

November 26 Atlanta

December 3 at Green Bay

December 10 Detroit

December 18 Atlanta

December 24 at Carolina

December 31 New Orleans

 

2017 DRAFT SELECTIONS – 6 PICKS

Round 1, Pick 19 (No. 19 overall)

O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama: Jameis Winston likely hoped the Buccaneers would draft Dalvin Cook, because he and Cook played together for a season at Florida State. The Tampa Bay QB should not have any complaints about how this played out, though. Howard has the type of mismatch-creating abilities as a receiver that’s perfect for the modern NFL, and he’s a blocker with an advanced skill set. The run game still is a bit unsettled, but Tampa Bay now has Howard and Cameron Brate to pair in two-TE sets, with Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson outside. Look for Winston to have a huge 2017 season. GRADE: A​

 

Round 2, Pick 18 (No. 50)

Justin Evans, S, Texas A&M: Evans slid a little bit under the radar within a deep and talented safety class, but he is not out of line here. Because of the way he clobbers people, he’s better playing closer to the line. He can drop back and play deep, though, so Tampa Bay can mix and match him with new addition J.J. Wilcox and incumbents like Chris Conte.​ GRADE: B

 

Round 3, Pick 20 (No. 84)

Chris Godwin, WR, Penn State: Jameis Winston might not have to do anything other than drop back and heave it deep this season. Godwin is a go-and-get-it receiver on the outside, joining a pass-catching corps that already included Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and first-round pick O.J. Howard. GRADE: B+

Round 3, Pick 43 (No. 107)

Kendell Beckwith, LB, LSU: The Bucs sent picks 125 and 204 to the Jets for Beckwith, a former teammate of Kwon Alexander at LSU. It might be a redshirt pick, because a.) Beckwith tore his ACL in November, and b.) there’s not an obvious spot for him in the rotation, aside from adding depth.​ GRADE: C

Round 5, Pick 18 (No. 162) Jeremy McNichols, RB, Boise State

Round 7, Pick 5 (No. 223, from Dolphins via Rams) Stevie Tu’ikolovatu, DT, USC

 

KEY PLAYER MOVEMENT

ADDITIONS

DT Chris Baker, Washington

K Nick Folk, NY Jets

WR DeSean Jackson, Washington

QB Sean Renfree, Atlanta

S JJ Wilcox, Dallas

 

LOSSES

QB Mike Glennon, Chicago

S Bradley McDougald, Seattle

DT Akeem Spence, Detroit

 

2016 INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

PASSING: Jameis Winston, 345 – 567 –4,090 – 28TD – 18INT

RUSHING: Jacquizz Rodgers, 129 – 560 – 4.3 – 2TD

RECEIVING: Mike Evans, 96 –1,321 – 13.8 – 12TD

TACKLES: Kwon Alexander, 145

SACKS: Gerald McCoy, 7.0

INTERCEPTIONS: Brent Grimes, 4, Keith Tandy, 4

 

2016 TEAM STATISTICS

OFFENSE

TOTAL: 346.4

RUSHING: 101.0

PASSING: 245.4

SCORING: 22.1

THIRD DOWN%: 43.9

PUNT RETURNS: 9.2

KICK RETURNS: 14.6

 

DEFENSE

TOTAL: 367.9

RUSHING: 117.2

PASSING: 250.8

SCORING: 23.1

INTERCEPTIONS: 17

SACKS: 38

TURNOVER MARGIN: +2

 

POSITION GRADES:

QUARTERBACK: B

RUNNING BACK: C

RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS: B

OFFENSIVE LINE: C+

DEFENSIVE LINE: C+

LINEBACKERS: B

DEFENSIVE BACKS: C

SPECIAL TEAMS: C

 

NUMBERS TO KNOW:

47: Tampa Bay have the lowest rate in the NFL at 47% on runs of third – and – short, fourth – and – short and goal – to – go, that achieved a first down or touchdown.

15.6: Tampa Bay forced turnovers on 15.6% of their defensive drives, second-highest in the NFL.

24: 24% of Tampa Bay’s runs were stopped at or behind the line of scrimmage.

 

WHAT THE SCOUTS ARE SAYING

Tampa Bay appears to be a team on the rise with a young franchise quarterback in Jameis Winston and now management must put enough talent around him and construct a better defense to compete in this division. Winston is starting to become what many NFL experts expected when he was drafted #1 in 2015. He is considered a classic pocket passer and has leadership qualities that connect him to his teammates. Winston must improve his throwing mechanics and footwork if he plans on being a more accurate passer than last year. He still turns the ball over too much with 24 giveaways last year and must improve on his 31 – percent completion rate on deep passes.

Tampa Bay’s offense slipped a little in 2016 without running back Doug Martin and wide receiver Vincent Jackson. Jackson is no longer with the team and Martin won’t join until he completes his suspension for a PED violation following week three of 2016. Winston will still have several weapons in his arsenal including free agent DeSean Jackson, wide receiver Mike Evans and tight end Cameron Brate. Brate had a breakout season with eight touchdowns. With Jackson in the lineup, opposing defenses can no longer double up on Evans. That will make Evans even better in the passing attack.

The offensive line struggled last year and their key to improvement may lie in the return of guard JR Sweezy, who missed last year because of a back injury. He signed a five-year $32.5 million deal with Tampa Bay last spring. Overall, the OL is adequate, but is still a middle of the pack unit overall.

On defense, Tampa Bay struggled early under new defensive coordinator Mike Smith. Once they picked up his scheme, the unit began to flourish. During the second half of 2016, Tampa Bay allowed just an average of 337 yards per game and 17.1 points. With young players gaining experience, this defense could surprise some people and proved to be one of the better units in the NFL. They will rely on linebacker Kwon Alexander who led the team in tackles with 145 and DL Gerald McCoy led Tampa Bay with seven sacks. McCoy should be better in 2017 now that he’ll be working alongside defensive tackle Chris Baker. Baker was signed as a free agent from Washington.

One huge area of concern is the secondary who allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 70% of their passes in 2015 but cut that mark to a respectable 63% in 2016. They did a better job in the take away department tying for second in the NFL with 17 interceptions. The reason for the turn-around was the play of Vernon Hargreaves and Brent Grimes at corner.

PREDICTION

Tampa Bay is good enough to be the third NFC South team in a row to make a trip to the Super Bowl. Their offense, especially the passing game, has enough talent to be one of the most dynamic in the NFL. The defense proved during the second half of last year that it can shut opponents down and make big plays. Tampa Bay is still a run – first team and they will start 2017 with their best back on the sidelines serving a suspension. The early portion of the schedule is favorable through the first three weeks so if the Buccaneers can stay above .500 early they should be in good shape.

 

10 – 6, second place in the NFC South.