Winston’s suspension could be a blessing in disguise for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
There has been a dark cloud hanging over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers since the NFL suspended star quarterback, Jameis Winston. He will miss the first three games of the season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. During the time of Winston’s suspension, the Buccaneers face three divisional winners from a season ago.
There’s no doubt that Winston leaves his teammates in a very tough situation. The Bucs brass has been so focused on developing the team around Winston, that they left other important phases of the team inept. Although the NFL is a QB driven league, its proven you need to have a good defense and strong rushing attack to win.
Analyzing Winston’s Support Throughout Buccaneers Career
Ever since Winston was drafted number one overall in 2015, the Buccaneers defenses ranked 26th, 15th, and 32nd in the NFL. When the defense ranked 15th in 2016, the Bucs went 9-7 and they were one win shy of a playoff birth.
Throughout the duration of those same seasons, the Bucs rushing attack ranked second, 24th, and 27th in the league. During Winston’s rookie year, the Bucs had the fifth best rushing attack, which accumulated over 2100 yards on the ground. That teams superb runningback play, led to the team having a top five offense and Winston making the Pro Bowl.
Key Reasons to be Optimistic Heading into the 2018 Season
The Buccaneers General Manager, Jason Licht, vigorously attacked the off-season to strengthen the team’s areas of concern. After re-signing defensive back Bent Grimes, Licht was very aggressive in trading for the dynamic defensive end Jason Pierre Paul. Then he added Vinny Curry, Beau Allen, and Mitch Unrein through free agency. All of those guys are known for being very physical at the point of attack and are excellent in stopping the run first. He wasn’t finished there though as Licht also added even more support with his top four picks in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Licht used his drafting wizardry to flip the team’s seventh overall pick into the 12th, 53rd and 56th picks. He selected the top interior defensive tackle, Vita Vea, and two physical defensive backs in M.J. Stewart and Carlton Davis. The Bucs brass also selected the electric running back Ronald Jones out off USC with their original second pick. Jones had over 70 explosive runs in just 40 games at USC.
Jason Licht has done enough to accumulate talent to give the Buccaneers a chance to compete. Now that the Bucs know they’ll be without Winston, the coaches should put all of their focus on developing the defense and rushing attack. It’s on them to make these areas a strength. If they do that, then this team has a chance to survive without Winston. And when he comes back, he can rack up wins because he has proven he can win with adequate support.
Rod Thurman is a contributor for Full Press Coverage covering his beloved Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Follow him on twitter @BucBoy for more from him and everything Bucs Football.