The Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2023 starting lineup and overall roster will be looking substantially different than 2022’s. Tom Brady, the great Tom Brady, is now gone. His time in Tampa, now ended. His roster spot, no longer. The seismic shift his retirement has created trickled through the coaching staff, organizational philosophy, and the players on the team’s roster. To name a few, here are some noteworthy mentionables from 2022 who are no longer wearing pewter helmets on Sundays. Cameron Brate, Leonard Fournette, Scott(y) Miller, Sean Murphy-Bunting, Donovan Smith, Mike Edwards, Shaq Mason, Julio Jones, Will Gholston, Ryan Succop, and of course Tom Brady. Even Legendary Tampa Bay Buccaneers backup quarterback extraordinaire, Ryan Griffin is no longer on the team’s payroll.
These wide-scale changes in staff would cause any business outfit to look different. By chance, some changes may turn out positive, others will likely not. Let’s take a look at which members of 2022’s NFC South champion Bucs, the 2023 Tampa Bay Buccaneers will miss the most.
Jameis Winston throws into double coverage, but Mike Edwards returns it 68-yards for the TD! pic.twitter.com/5nuP2w9z7C— C|SANTOS (@CSANTOS34812430) May 6, 2023
1. Mike Edwards— Edwards just became a full-time starter for the first time in his career last season. A rotational player throughout his first few seasons in the NFL, Edwards always had an ability to find his way to the ball. During the Buccaneers Super Bowl season, Edwards finished with a pedestrian 11 total tackles, but he accounted for three turnovers and then a fourth in the postseason. Edwards’ role is as a ball hawk. He may not have ever been the best safety on Tampa Bay’s roster during his tenure with the Bucs but he was always a playmaker. In 2021 Edwards returned to his rotational role as Super Bowl champion. The 2019 prospect out of Kentucky got himself another three turnovers during the regular season and again added a fourth in postseason play. 2021 also featured Edwards putting two touchdowns on his stat sheet. Last season, Mike Edwards finished with a career high 82 tackles and provided Tampa with another two interceptions. A defensive back who has a knack for getting the ball in his hands and giving your team’s offense extra possessions is invaluable. Todd Bowles has always done a good job with his safeties since joining the Buccaneers staff, even still, replacing Edwards’ playmaking may prove to be a challenge.
2. Ryan Succop— Kickers matter. Special teams and field goal kicking can win and lose games. In Tampa Bay, they lose games, more often than not. Ryan Succop’s three-year run in Tampa Bay was part of the under-the-radar glue. The Buccaneers had spent years cycling through kickers like they were teaching a spin class, when 2009’s Mr. Irrelevant first joined the team. He was coming off a shortened and horrific season with the Tennessee Titans in 2019. In Tampa Bay, he was the prescription to the pain of so many Bucs fans. His first season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were Super Bowl champions, with Ryan Succop hitting all nine of his postseason field goal attempts. After championship glory, he came back in 2021 with another accurate performance, missing just five kicks on the season. In 2022, Succop struggled. While the former Super Bowl champion had still remained hyper accurate on his short-range kicks, he was exposed from distance.
Last season, Ryan Succop only missed two kicks inside of 50 yards, he was typical steady-Eddie. His downfall came when he was asked to attempt more 50+ yard kicks than in his entire Bucs career prior. Succop went just 2-7 on field goals over 50 yards. Certainly not sensational, but perhaps indicative of Tampa’s sad downtrodden offense. While Ryan Succop was still a reliable kicker within his range, 2022 ultimately cost Succop his job and ended his Buccaneers career. A kicker with a big leg doesn’t necessarily mean a better leg. The Bucs have had ‘big leg’ kickers in the past yet, it was Ryan Succop who stabilized a very shaky position in Tampa Bay.
3. Tom Brady— This one’s obvious. In a ‘down year’ Tom Brady did something no other Bucs quarterback other than Tom Brady in previous editions had been able to do since 2007. He took Tampa Bay to the playoffs, with a division title. The Buccaneers 2022 season wasn’t a Hollywood script. Their offense was ugly at times. The year was full of bleak questions with grim answers. That ugliness and those bleak questions were so much uglier and more bleak because of the team's expectations. Tom Brady is your quarterback, you’re supposed to win. It’s playoffs and Super Bowl or what did you do wrong? Tom Brady is a winner through and through, and one his ‘worst’ seasons put that on full display. Tampa’s quarterback helped drag a team that screamed ‘I’m exhausted!’ with its performances each week, to the postseason. Brady threw for over 4,600 yards and his fewest interception total during his Tampa Bay tenure, keeping his tally in the single digits. Plenty of Bucs fans had decided that they had seen enough of Tom Brady and felt like it was time for him to go home, well now he is home. Be careful what you wish for.
Who do you think the Bucs will miss the most in 2023?
This poll is closed
A. Has to be Tom. I already miss Tom!
B. Ryan Succop was always solid for us. I don’t want to go back to what we had.
C. Mike Edwards has always been underrated, dude makes plays.