Six Topics Suitable For Debate
1.) Jameis Winston’s Press Conference. For starters, if you haven’t watched it, go watch it. NOW. Then, come back and finish reading. Next, for those that call out Winston for his comments saying it’s “not his place” or he should “look in the mirror”, shut up. You sound dumb. Winston said what most everyone is thinking; the loser mentality must change. There needs to be 53 players playing for one collective goal. Tampa Bay hasn’t had that in over a decade. The “me” guys must go. There is something special in the making here, and Winston is putting it on his own shoulders to ensure it’s not wasted. Kudos to him for being honest about it.
2.) Mike Evans: GROW! UP! Statistically, you had a better season than last year in terms of yards, but not touchdowns. Anyone who watched you this year knows you left around 400 yards and five or six touchdowns on the field with your drops, routes you quit on, or offensive pass interference calls that were completely unnecessary. On top of that, you get ejected from the game and punished your team with 30 yards in penalties because you threw yet another tantrum. You’re a marked man by officials and it’s your own fault. Don’t look to them to bail you out with calls. You’re not getting them. You now have a reputation of a whiner, a crier, and a player who consistently pushes off. Those flags you’re looking for are going to come against you, not the defender. Do your freaking job and shut up. It’s the only way to fix the problem you created.
3.) Doug Martin and Vincent Jackson will return. Believe me if you’d like, doubt me all you want, but I’m calling it now. Both of these players will be in Bucs uniforms next season. Why? Because if they aren’t, the Bucs will do nothing in 2016, except lose double digit games again. The coaches know that. Jason Licht knows that. They will return.
4.) Who is on the chopping block? This will be a social media and sports talk radio hot topic for the next few months. My guess is Alterraun Verner, Jenkins, Conte, George Johnson, Bruce Carter, Rainey, Evan Smith, and Johnthan Banks are all gone. Now, not all of those players will be cut, some are free agents. That being said, it’s time to prepare yourselves for another roster overhaul, especially defensively, so that Lovie can get “his kind of guys” in here. Because, y’know, that’s worked so well thus far.
5.) Bucs, yet again, have a top ten pick…but who do they target? Another topic that will bludgeoned into the ground is who will Tampa take with their first pick? A cornerback? Defensive end? Defensive tackle? Wide receiver? Running back should Doug slip away? I’m leaning towards the desperate need at defensive end. They’re just as desperate for a corner, but we could see a return from Revis and it wouldn’t matter…there is still no pass rush. Start at the front and work your way back.
6.) Is Jameis Winston the rookie of the year? Yes. And if you say anyone else, you’re wrong.
Six Numbers To Consider
3 – Jameis Winston’s ranking for most passing yards all-time by a rookie
1 – Mike Evan’s ranking all-time in most receiving yards in a player’s first two seasons since the merger
6 – Rushing touchdowns by Winston this season, the most in a single season by a Bucs quarterback, second most in a career by a Bucs quarterback
37 – Sacks by the Bucs defense this season, most since 2004
5 – Consecutive seasons the Bucs have finished last in the NFC South. No NFC team has ever finished last in their division five consecutive years since the merger.
71 – Days until free agency officially kicks off
Six Free Agent Targets For The Bucs
Here is a list of the top free agents the Bucs should consider, including some submitted by you guys. These appear in no particular order
1.) Jason Pierre-Paul – One handed, this guy would still be the best edge rusher Tampa has seen since Simeon Rice. Worth a short term deal, not to mention a homecoming for JPP.
2.) Josh Norman (via @BPD68) – Not happening. As nice as it would be, Carolina is not letting him go anywhere.
3.) “Alshon Jeffery?” (via A_Katzman83) – Not really sure why Andrew posted this as a question, considering Jeffery makes a ton of sense. With VJax only having one year remaining, Jeffery poses a threat outside of Evans, helping this offense immensely. He’s been injury prone recently, but would be a stellar add at the right price.
4.) Mario Williams (via @cullison_eric) – Again, makes a ton of sense. And given the horror stories about him recently with Buffalo, it’s either a high risk/high reward situation pitting attitude versus production, or the claims are exaggerated and the Bucs get a pro bowl defensive end at a discount. Win-win in my opinion. @cullison_eric also added Janoris Jenkins as a priority and “non-big names” Wallace Gilberry, Walter Thurmond, and Travis Benjamin.
5.) Eric Weddle – Unhappy in San Diego and finishing the season (wrongfully) on IR, Weddle will be a sought after commodity. The Bucs need all the help they can get in that secondary and Weddle would actually fit in quite nicely. But, would the Bucs risk another higher end, expensive free agent safety? Probably not.
6.) Muhammed Wilkerson – Probably going to be one of the highest paid free agents in this class, Wilkerson would be a massive addition to this defense and the pass rush. Might just be worth the high price tag that’ll certainly come with him…
Six Things To Look Forward To In The Off-Season
6.) Watching the NCAA BCS National Championship
5.) Rays Spring Training
4.) Free Agency
3.) The draft, mock drafts, Justin Pawlowski and Luke Easterling mock draft podcasts, the combine, and anything else draft related
2.) Seeing Sean Payton leave the NFC South (hopefully…)
1.) Sunday freedom with low chance of having a heartbreaking letdown ruining the rest of your week for the next eight months
Six Final Words
With the ninth pick, Tampa selects….