Offseason assessments are still hot, even as we’re in the middle of the offseason. Most of the main changes to team’s rosters have already happened, though, which is why folks can at least make an honest effort to grade teams’ performances this year.
So, let’s go to Sports Illustrated where Emily Kaplan gave the Bucs a B+ for everything they did the past months.
GM Jason Licht had a clear off-season directive: give Jameis Winston as many weapons as possible. Winston is only 23, with two 4,000-yard seasons. However the Bucs are wary of the quarterback’s turnover problem. Winston threw 18 interceptions in 2016, with 10 fumbles (six lost). Many times, it feels like Winston tries to do too much himself. To remedy that, Licht surrounded Winston with playmakers who can relieve some of that pressure.
Licht certainly succeeded in adding playmakers and especially speed to the offense. Whether that’ll translate into a better overall performance remains to be seen though.
One interesting thing Kaplan touches on is the way the team’s running backs will be used. McNichols has a similar build to Doug Martin, but may be more of a stand-out receiving back than running back.
With Martin looking good so far, and Charles Sims’ disappointing performance last year as well as entering the final year of his contract, McNichols is more likely to replace the latter than the former. We’ll see how that plays out, but there’s one problem there: what if Martin gets injured or disappoints?
The uncertainty surrounding the running back position is probably what stands in the way of the Bucs getting A grades for their offseason. But many teams have won without certainty at running back. Perhaps the Bucs will be the next team to do that.