2019 NFL Power Rankings:
No. 20 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I'd like to know what people expect of the 2019 Bucs. Or in better words, what must Jameis Winston do to ensure a massive payday from the organization that drafted him No. 1? This year isn't about anything other than Jameis. That's why the Buccaneers hit the bat signal and summoned a quarterback whisperer in Bruce Arians. He understands Winston, having groomed two quarterbacks with similar qualities in two-time Super Bowl champ Ben Roethlisberger and MVP Carson Palmer. The Dirk Koetter-era was a joke. Koetter had no idea how to relate to Jameis, and it seemed off-kilter from the jump. Arians understands he wields a premier young passer. A field general who's lacked a consistent running game, offensive line and consistently played from behind due to putrid defenses. An extraordinary talent whose decision making on the field resembles other gunslingers like Tony Romo and Brett Favre. If we're fair many of their picks were the result of being forced into playing hero ball. Many of Winston's are also in similar situations. If Arians could slow the game down for Jameis, the two could be like Sean Connery and Rob Brown in the movie Finding Forrester.
Well, the running game hasn't improved and won't be for the foreseeable future. Reports on Ronald Jones aren't positive coming out of his second training camp, and Peyton Barber lacks the dynamite to carry the load at tailback. He's the least exciting tailback of all 32 starters and doesn't seem to be more than the 3.7 yards per carry averaged a season ago.
Tampa Bay's aerial assault will be televised. The rocket-armed Winston boasts enough arms to light up the skies in the high-octane NFC South. All-Pro wideout Mike Evans became the youngest wide receiver in NFL history to reach five seasons with at least 1,000 receiving yards in 2018 (25 years and three months). Reaching his sixth campaign with a stack is inevitable with Arians dialing it up. Chis Godwin performed to the point the Buccaneers wasted no time shipping Desean Jackson back to Philly. Fantasy owners love the big-bodied weapon from Penn State and rightfully so. Those two on the outside, paired with the speedy O.J. Howard and Jameis' good buddy Cameron Brate equal caaaaaaashhhh mooooooney.
The defense isn't anything to write home about outside of Ndamukong Suh and the speedy linebacking duo Lavonte David and rookie Devin White. Vernon Hargreaves III has no choice but to perform this year. And that pretty much goes for the rest of Todd Bowles' unit. He can turn water into wine. Let's see what happens in Tampa Bay.
Offensive Players to Watch: Jameis Winston, Ronald Jones, OJ Howard, Chris Godwin
Defensive Players to Watch: Vita Vea, Mike Edwards, Carton Davis, Devin White Vernon Hargreaves III
Fantasy Players to Watch: Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Jameis Winston, OJ Howard (TE1), Cameron Brate (late rounds)
Verdict: If the Buccaneers reach 8-8, pay Jameis his bread.