Related Tags: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers
4th NFC South
Grade : F
The Buccaneers were a mess for most of the 2018 season. On paper, this Tampa Bay team had the potential to compete in the NFC South. It looked to be a breakout year for Jameis Winston, who was entering his 4th season in the league. Instead, Winston began the year injured, giving the starting QB role to 15 year veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick began the season strong, going 2-0 with two games with 400+ passing yards. In the following weeks, Fitzpatrick threw a high volume of INTs, giving the starting job back to Winston. From week 8 on, the Bucs went back and forth between Fitzpatrick and Winston, with neither quarterback doing enough to string together a significant amount of wins for the Bucs.
Jameis Winston ended the season with 2,992 passing yards, 19 TDs, and 14 INTs, while Fitzpatrick threw for a similar stat line, racking up 2,366 passing yards, 17 TDs, and 12 INTS. Both quarterbacks turned the ball over at a high rate. Combine this with a below average defense, and you get a 5-11 Tampa Bay Buccaneer season.
2019-20 Season Outlook
The only way to go is up for the Bucs next season. The front office have appointed a winner in head coach Bruce Arians. Arians was last head coach in Arizona before leaving after a lackluster 8-8 season in Arizona in 2017. Arians will have the task of getting the best out of not-so-young Jameis Winston. Unlike last year, Winston will likely not have competition for the starting role, with veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick likely to leave for free agency. This season seems to be make or break for Winston, who will be entering his 5th season in the NFL.
Tampa Bay will have to be active in free agency before next season as well. The Bucs are expected to see wide reciever Adam Humphries, cornerback Brent Grimes, and safety Chris Conte test free agency, leaving holes in these positions. Look for the Bucs to be in the market for a high level receiver and cornerback, with Golden Tate and Ronald Darby on the radar for Tampa Bay.