Not only have we been discussing the potential for this team to return to glory, but we’ve also been saying they could actually be even better this year, versus last.
How is this possible? The return of O.J. Howard, time to heal for key players like Jason Pierre-Paul, Chris Godwin, Ronald Jones II and let’s not forget the knee injury carried during the year by one Tom Brady.
Then you point out the fact the Bucs will have a first-round draft pick playing a supporting (re: rotational) role as Joe Tryon gets his feet wet by backing up JPP and Shaquil Barrett. Add in a little ‘Playoff Lenny’ and Leonard Fournette should certainly be looking to show his post-season performance can be his all-the-time performance.
Jones will be looking to recapture his starting spot in the running back room, and veteran addition Giovanni Bernard should be a nice addition replacing LeSean McCoy from last year’s squad.
Plenty of reasons the team could be better. But we seem to be focusing on the offense a bit too much perhaps. At least, according to Steve Wyche, we are.
“As we saw last year, the final four games, the temperature of this defense changed,” Wyche said. “They gave up five points per game less the final four regular season games. Of their twenty-five takeaways, five came in those final four games. Then you get to the playoffs. They faced three Super Bowl MVPs in Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and Patrick Mahomes. Four touchdown passes allowed, six interceptions, and they did not allow the Chiefs to score a touchdown. This defense is now going to only get better now that they know what they need to do. Everyone knows (their) role. That’s why they’re going to be better this year.”
Those comments from Wyche aired on NFL Network and were shared again by James Yarcho and me on the Locked On Bucs Podcast.
We each also reacted to those comments and the idea it’ll be the defensive side of the ball where we see the biggest growth in this year’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers squad, not the offense.
In the episode, we also discussed the Bucs’ success at the 2021 ESPY Awards and ESPN’s cornerbacks and safety position group rankings.