The Buccaneers can be a scary team this year if two things happen: QB Jameis Winston continues to get better in the red zone and the defense shows massive signs of improvement overall.
The Bucs' offense had its fair share of chunk-yardage plays last year, but too often fizzled when it came to actually putting points on the board.
Per ESPN, "Tampa Bay finished with 379.5 yards per game last season but was 20th in the league in points per game (21.4), making all those big plays futile too often."
While this is marginally in part due to a dismal kicking game last season (prior to the resigning of Connor Barth, that is), there is no denying that Winston must get better at efficiency in the red zone. Winston completed only 42 percent of his red-zone passes in 2015. However,Winston has had an outstanding off-season, and being in the same offense for the 2nd straight year will help his personal growth.
On the defensive side, the new scheme and personnel could lead to some success for that unit for the first time in a long time. Rookie CB Vernon Hargreaves has shown flash plays in practice so far, but rookie DE Noah Spence is one of the most key players to watch out for, as ESPN's Jenna Laine believes he has "enormous potential." Spence was drafted in the second round this year, and has a fantastic opportunity in front of him to learn from veteran DE's like Jacquies Smith and free agency acquisition Robert Ayers.
The talent the Buccaneers have picked up on both sides of the ball over the past few years seems to be reaching a point where it could result in the team making some serious noise. As long as the defense can start to generate more pressure and the offense can improve its red zone efficiency, ESPN's assessment of where Tampa stands going into training camp can come to fruition.
Share your opinion with us on twitter...@TBBucsonScout
Listen to our latest podcast here: