It’s crazy to think that a quarter of the season has already gone by. The past month has been filled with ups and downs, but we are entering the best part of the year - the part where the good teams really begin to emerge and give us really good football throughout the rest of the year.
The Bucs sit at 2-2 through four games. They could easily be 3-1 with a shot at 4-0 if they didn’t shoot themselves in their collective foot a few times. Regardless of the record, there have been some very good - if not excellent - performances through the first four games.
David Harrison and I decided to grade each position group through the first quarter of the season. Below are the grades and part of the reason why we dished out the grade we did.
You can check out the entire conversation on Episode 441 of the Locked On Bucs podcast. The embed is below, as well.
Jameis Winston has played really well so far this season after a slow start in the season-opener against the San Francisco 49ers. As long as he continues to do that, the Bucs will be in good shape.
Ronald Jones II has been great and adds a winning element to this offense. Peyton Barber has been solid and Dare Ogunbowale has been solid through the first four games, too. But there is still plenty of room for improvement.
Mike Evans and Chris Godwin have been excellent, but this a grade for the overall position group. Right now, there is no such thing as a third, even a fourth, wide receiver in Tampa Bay. That hurts the overall grade.
O.J. Howard has been disappointing, but he should get better as the season rolls along. Cameron Brate has played well in his role and has a 100 percent catch rate while Antony Auclair continues to block well. Overall, the group has solid, but still has work to do.
The fact that Alex Cappa, Ryan Jensen, and Donovan Smith have stepped up their games automatically represents a push in the grade department for this group.
The run defense has been stellar and the entire unit has been really good at pressuring the quarterback. Some sacks would bring this grade up to an “A”.
Shaquil Barrett has been unreal, Lavonte David has been Lavonte David, and Carl Nassib has been pretty good himself. Devin White played well, but has only been on the field for about five quarters so far this season, which holds this grade back from an “A”.
This unit is young and talented, so there is still hope, but the secondary hasn’t been good when you look at the entire body of work. Carlton Davis III is probably playing the best out of the corners and Jordan Whitehead has been a baller, but the rest of the unit really needs to step it up.
There hasn’t been anything special out of this group. Matt Gay has been good outside of blowing the game-winner against the Giants, but that still takes some major points off the board. The kick return coverage has been spotty at best.