There is no doubt that the Buccaneers face a strong group of quarterbacks during the upcoming 2020 NFL season. A few of the toughest come from within the NFC South in Drew Brees and Matt Ryan, two quarterbacks that have gone to the Super Bowl already. Fortunately for the Bucs, they have a pretty good quarterback who has been to the Super Bowl in nine of the 18 seasons he has played.
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So, in addition to Brees and Ryan, how does the rest of the quarterback line up look for the Bucs in 2020?
13. Mitch Trubisky
By the time these two teams play in Week 5, it may very well be Nick Foles as the starter. For the purpose of this post, we will assume that Mitch Turbisky is still the Bears starter at that point. In which case, the quarterback taken ahead of Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes lands on the bottom of this list following a season in which he threw just 17 touchdowns in 15 games.
12. Drew Lock
In five starts as a rookie, Drew Lock led the Broncos to a 4-1 record to close out the year. What strides can Lock make in year two? Adding Pat Shurmur as the new offensive coordinator and drafting Jerry Jeudy will help. In addition, an improved defense will help take the pressure off the second-year starter. Ultimately, the Bucs may be happy to face him earlier in the season as opposed to later.
11. Daniel Jones
Daniel Jones had the difficult task of replacing a two-time Super Bowl champion in Eli Manning last season. However, the more difficult task was doing it for a team that really wasn’t that good. Jones showed flashes of his talent at times in 2019 but his future success is still a bit uncertain.
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10. Derek Carr
Rumors early in the offseason had the Raiders as potential suitors for Tom Brady despite Derek Carr on the roster and not facing free agency. That tells you all you need to know about what the team thinks of Carr. With that said, if he ever finds his pre-2016 injury form, we may need to re-evaluate come Week 7.
9. Tyrod Taylor
Much like Daniel Jones in New York, Tyrod Taylor is replacing a legend in Philip Rivers with the Chargers. He has started just three games the last two seasons, all with the Browns in 2018. Prior to that, he had a nice three-year stint with the Bills. With a talented supporting cast and the right offensive system, head coach Anthony Lynn anticipates Taylor will thrive with the Chargers. Another quarterback the Bucs may be fortunate enough to see early in the season as opposed to later.
8. Teddy Bridgewater
In 2019, Teddy Bridgewater went 5-0 with the Saints in place of an injured Drew Brees. One of those five wins came against the Buccaneers where Bridgewater threw 312 yards, four touchdowns, one interception, and completed 76 percent of his passes. Good for a passer rating of 131.2. It was by far his best game of the season. Now, with the Panthers, he will be surrounded by a different supporting cast but still presents a threat. The Bucs will get two opportunities this time around.
7. Jared Goff
In year three under Sean McVay, Jared Goff took a massive step back from the previous two. One of which saw them make a Super Bowl appearance. Some of that had to do with the injuries and inconsistencies across the board on offense, however, in 2020, Brandin Cooks is not there. Todd Gurley is not there. What Goff will show up? Time will tell.
6. Kirk Cousins
Kirk Cousins had a solid season last year in Minnesota as he completed 70 percent of his passes with a rating of 107.4. The best of his career. However, this year, there is no more Stefon Diggs to throw to as he is in Buffalo. Adam Thielen is still there. As is Delvin Cook in the backfield. However, having thrown just 26 touchdowns last year, it’s hard to imagine that increasing in 2019 without Diggs.
5. Matthew Stafford
For the first time since 2010, Matthew Stafford didn’t play a full season with the Lions in 2019. He played just eight games for Detroit before injuries derailed his season. However, despite the shortened season, he still managed to throw for 2,499 yards and 19 touchdowns. Two short of his 2018 total. If healthy, Stafford isn’t far off from the last few quarterbacks on this list.
Buccaneers Opponents: 2019 Quarterback Passing Stats
4. Matt Ryan
Matt Ryan has been pretty good against the Buccaneers in his career, going 16-8 with 36 touchdowns and just 16 interceptions since 2008. However, the Bucs forced Ryan into his worst game of the season last year and one of the worst of his career. Will history repeat itself? Unlikely. That is why Ryan is high on this list as he, along with Julio Jones and the rest of the Falcons offense always poses a problem. The Falcons and the Buccaneers split the season series in 2019.
3. Patrick Mahomes
Reigning Super Bowl MVP, Patrick Mahomes, will present a lot of problems for the Bucs young secondary. Fortunately for them, the matchup comes much later in the season so the group as a whole should have made many strides at the point. Still, keeping Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and Mecole Hardman in check is a challenge for even the best of secondary units.
2. Aaron Rodgers
Is he the Aaron Rodgers of 2011? No, of course not. Is he still one of the very best quarterbacks in the league? Absolutely. Despite a bit of a decline in the play and the Packers’ unwillingness to surround him with talent later in his career, a Rodgers-led Packers offense will always present a threat, especially for a young and developing secondary such as the Buccaneers have. Again, having Brady on your side mitigates that advantage to some extent but a challenge none the less in the second month of the season for the Bucs.
1. Drew Brees
A fairly easy choice at the top spot but Drew Brees gets bonus points for being a division rival in addition to being one of the three best quarterbacks of the past decade. And the Buccaneers get the privilege of seeing him twice as they do every season. Only this time, the Bucs get the checkmark next to the quarterback position as they have the BEST quarterback of the last decade and of all time for that matter. It doesn’t make the defenses job any easier against Brees and the load Saints offense. Especially considering one of the two games is the first game of the season, Brees and the Saints may have an early advantage.