Welcome back to another edition of ‘The Super Bowl Race In The Perspective Of Chase, a close to daily NFL article previewing your favorite teams season! A lot has changed for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the past few seasons, going from mediocre, to Super Bowl champs, to contenders and then back to mediocre. And that brings us today, a world where Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask are the two top arms on the reigning NFC South, and an older defense not anywhere close to the level they were at a few seasons back. So how bad will Tampa Bay be? Will they be the worst team in the NFL? Or will some of their older talent like Mike Evans and Chris Godwin still help this team stay competitive? Here is everything you need to know about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers going into the 2023 season!
It has to be answered: Should Tampa Bay stick with Mayfield all season long if he does struggle?
The Buccaneers are not the winningest franchise of all time. Jameis Winston is their all time leading passer and John Gruden is their winningest coach. But Tampa finally got a talent, and one that is the greatest quarterback to ever play the game. Tom Brady won a Super Bowl, had a career statistical season, retired, un-retired, and then capped off his career with a season where he completed close to 67% of his passes, for close to 4700 yards, 25 touchdowns and just nine interceptions. While the Bucs 8-9 campaign and first round exit wasn’t that intriguing, Tom Brady was still unbelievable in his final year in the league!
In the running game, Leonard Fournette racked up 668 yards and three touchdowns and over 1,000 total scrimmage yards, and rookie Rachaad White added on close to 500 yards of production. In the receiving game, Mike Evans racked up 1,000 yards for the ninth straight season in the ninth year of his career! Evans, 30, is fifth all time in receiving yards when turning 30, only behind Julio Jones, Calvin Johnson, Randy Moss and DeAndre Hopkins, and he is 4th all time in receiving touchdowns when turning 30, only behind Randy Moss, Jerry Rice and Davante Adams! Chris Godwin got just over 1,000 yards, and Julio Jones didn’t even reach 300.
Defensively, Lavonte David and Devin White each totaled a team leading 124 tackles, proving they are still at the top of their game unlike some suspected going into 2022. Antione Winfield did a very nice job in the secondary, and on the defensive line, Vita Vea (6.5 sacks), White (5.5 sacks) and Anthony Nelson (5.5 sacks) all stepped up huge, helping Tampa rank 9th in sacks and 9th in total yards allowed in 2022.
But going into the offseason, like expected, Tom Brady finally decided to hang up the cleats. And with no young quarterback talent behind him, Tampa Bay needed to figure out who they were going to have as Brady’s successor. Tampa Bay has decided on Baker Mayfield. And I know that sounds bad, but he does have the potential to possibly have a nice season. Mayfield, despite a horrific start in Carolina last season, played much better once he played with the Rams, even if the advanced statistics don’t say it. If you put him next to Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, I’m not saying he’s going to have a good season, but he not be as bad it looks like he is right now.
Also in the offseason, Tampa signed Chase Edmonds, and re-signed Lovante David and Anthony Nelson. But that was about it. So it all comes back to Mayfield, and how he will be able yo manage this offense. I’m not quite sure what we should expect. Again, he could be okay, but he can also be bad. My one piece of advice for Tampa Bay would be to move on from Mayfield even after just a few bad games and start to develop some other quarterbacks. We haven’t seen any time from Kyle Trask. Who knows what he can do in this league? I wouldn’t stay with Mayfield through ups-and-downs!
Overall, this season could be interesting. Tampa Bay has talent around Mayfield…but they were still 8-9 with Tom Brady. And now the Saints, Falcons and Panthers are all better football teams than they were a year ago. Look, Evans will probably catch 1,000 yards worth of receptions again because he’s done that for a decade now, Godwin will probably have a good season, Rachaad White could break out and the defense will probably have another nice campaign. But I just d0n’t see Tampa Bay competing for a postseason. And I think this time next year is the start of Tampa Bay’s tanking process!
Prediction: Tampa Bay finishes last in the NFC South, move on from Mayfield and start tanking in the offseason!
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Twitter: Chase Coburn (@coolsportskid)
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