As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers prepare for their week one match up against the San Francisco 49ers, several key players will look to leave their stamp on the 2019 season. With a treacherous away schedule and some big home games ahead, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a lot to prove in 2019.
With an arsenal of offensive weapons to go around, here are my 2019 breakout player candidates for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offense.
If you remember my article by the same name last year, you’d find Jameis Winston on that list also. It’s no secret that 2019 is a “make it” or “break it” season for Winston. Head coach Bruce Arians was brought to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in hopes that he could tweak Winston into becoming the best version of himself that could lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers into the post season. Only time will tell if the Bruce Arians effect will take its toll on the Buccaneers, but the big obstacle will be Winston.
Throughout Arians’ coaching career, quarterbacks he has coached have excelled. Look back at former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer. Palmer’s time with Arians were some of his best times in his career. This is why Winston makes the list for breakout player in 2019.
One interesting statistic that not may people talk about is the fact that Winston hasn’t played a full season in two years. He’ll need to be smart with the ball and limit the turnovers that have tarnished his statistical sheet since entering the season. The silver lining in all this is that Winston’s completion percentage has gotten better year after year. This season will be his best if he can take in what Arians, Byron Leftwich and Tom Moore are feeding him.
Season Prediction: 4,235 yards, 38 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, 312 rushing yards, five rushing touchdowns
If it wasn’t for injury riddled back to back seasons, O.J. Howard could’ve started to settle in as a top tier tight end. In 2018, Howard averaged 56.5 yards a game. You may be thinking that this number isn’t impressive enough to think Howard could potentially become a top tier tight end, but remember back to the 2018 Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offense.
Their were four other receivers on the team that had 700 or more yards receiving with Mike Evans highlighting the group with 1524 yards.
The big question here is can Howard stay healthy for an entire 16 games. If you factor in his game average from 2018 and apply it to the six games he missed, he could have finished the 2018 season with a little over 900 yards.
The obvious fact that Howard is a constant mismatch for pretty much any linebacker and defensive back on almost any defense is the reason he makes this list. Bruce Arians has stated before that this is the most talented roster of skill players he has ever had. You have to have confidence in Arians that he’ll be able to use his big bodied tight end to put a hurting on opposing defenses in 2019.
Season Prediction: 1045 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.
It’s been said during the off-season by coach Arians that he believes he has two number one receivers. That second receiver is none other than Chris Godwin. Godwin has been progressively getting better season after season and now that the likes of DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries are both signed with other teams, there’s no questioning the up in production that Godwin will see in 2019.
From 2017 to 2018, Godwin saw his targets go up from 55 to 95 while also adding three more touchdowns and over 300 extra yards. He saw a significant change in his production in 2018 by averaging nearly 30 more yards per game. Winston and Godwin have had two seasons to build upon their already strong chemistry, so it’s not crazy to think Winston will target Godwin in crucial situations.
I believe Godwin will benefit from the double coverage’s that Mike Evans and O.J. Howard will demand, while also having to factor in deep threat Breshad Perriman in the mix. His versatility is what makes him standout the most as a breakout candidate because he can play outside or in the slot. The Buccaneers are littered with so much immense talent that’ll create coverage issues to opposing defenses.
Season Prediction: 970 receiving yards and seven touchdowns.