The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are hoping to right the ship by bringing in a proven head coach in the NFL. In hiring Bruce Arians, the Buccaneers want to see the same results the veteran coach brought to the Arizona Cardinals in 2013 and beyond.
Arians took the reins in Arizona when the team went 5-11 in the season before his arrival—similar to the Buccaneers. In his first season with the Cardinals, Arians led them to a 10-6 record.
The following two seasons he guided the Cardinals into the playoffs. Now, the Buccaneers have their sights set on reaching the postseason for the first time since 2007.
Along with Arians, Tampa Bay brought in Todd Bowles to help fix a youthful defense. Bowles was Arians’ defensive coordinator in Arizona.
The path to the playoffs begins with training camp, which begins on July 26. During training camp, there are a few players who have the most to gain during the practices. Here are those players.
3. Breshad Perriman
The Baltimore Ravens took Breshad Perriman with the 26th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Perriman was expected to be a talented receiver, but he could never find his role in the Ravens’ offense.
Since then, Perriman spent only three seasons in Baltimore and ended up with the Cleveland Browns last year. Now, Perriman is hoping he can carve out a role with the Buccaneers to find a long-term place to call home.
The departure of Adam Humphries in free agency opens up the third receiver spot with Chris Godwin stepping into a larger role. Perriman is among the receivers who will get a shot at securing the third receiver spot, beginning in training camp.
Arians would love to have a 6-foot-2 receiver in the slot as a threat in the passing offense. The fifth-year receiver can make a huge difference with the Buccaneers if he can earn a spot in the starting lineup.
2. Ronald Jones
The Buccaneers thought they had their franchise running back when they selected Jones with the 38th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. That didn’t go according to plan; Jones never got acclimated to the offense during the season.
As a result, Peyton Barber led the way on the ground for the second consecutive season. In 2018, with Barber as the starter, Tampa Bay ranked 29th in the NFL in rushing offense. Jones was used sparingly with just 23 carries in 2018.
This offseason, Jones has become focused on earning his role in the offense. Reportedly, the second-year running back has added nearly 15 pounds of muscle to get himself into better shape.
If Arians’ offense is going to reach its highest potential, Jones is going to have to shape himself into a key component in the offense.
1. Vernon Hargreaves
You hear it for a lot of players, but this year is absolutely a make or break year for Vernon Hargeaves. Since being taken in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Hargreaves has yet to consistently show his talent in the NFL.
In college, Hargreaves was one of the best playmakers at Florida with 10 interceptions in three seasons. On the other hand, in Tampa, Hargreaves has just one interception in three seasons.
Nonetheless, Arians and the coaching staff are giving the fourth-year cornerback a chance to redeem himself in 2019. Earlier this offseason, the Buccaneers exercised Hargreaves’ fifth-year option.
Hargreaves’ journey to becoming a mainstay in Bowles’ defense begins with training camp this month. This may be the last chance for the young cornerback to leave his mark in Tampa. He will need to impress in training camp to secure his starting spot.