5 reasons the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will make the playoffs in 2019
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers begin a new regime under Bruce Arians in 2019. He brought along his defensive coordinator from his time with the Arizona Cardinals in Todd Bowles.
Things are going to be different heading forward, with Arians likely not putting up with Jameis Winston’s antics. I doubt Winston will be eating figurative W’s any more with Arians around.
The Buccaneers are a franchise who have struggled to succeed in recent years. Consequently, the franchise has only had two seasons above .500 since 2010.
In addition, the Buccaneers have failed to reach the playoffs since 2007. That was when Jon Gruden was the head coach, and Jeff Garcia was under center.
Phew time flies by, and for fans, it probably seems like an eternity since they last saw their team playing in January. That could change in 2019 with the culture that will be made with Arians.
Here are five reasons why the Buccaneers will end their playoff drought in 2019 and begin moving in the right direction.
5. No More Switching Quarterbacks
During the 2018 season, we saw Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Jameis Winston start at quarterback. It seemed like there was a different guy under center every single week.
Fitzpatrick began the season as the starter and started in seven games—going 2-5. On the other hand, Winston started in nine games—going 3-6.
If you combine the two quarterbacks, the Buccaneers led the NFL in passing yards. The instability can affect a younger quarterback like Winston though.
Now, Fitzpatrick is gone, and Winston has the keys to the offense to himself. Winston will be more confident knowing there’s no one waiting in the shadows to take his job.
4. The Defense Can Only Improve…Right?
The Buccaneers decided to attack their defensive issues head-on by hiring Todd Bowles as defensive coordinator. In 2018, the defense ranked 27th in total defense—26th against the pass and 24th against the run.
Bowles is a great defensive mind and can turn around a defense instantly. The defense can only go up from their abysmal 2018 season, right?
Bowles was the defensive coordinator for the Cardinals in 2013-2014 when Arians were the head coach. In 2013, the Cardinals ranked top in yards and points allowed.
There’s enough talent on the defense for Bowles to work with. Plus, the NFL Draft will be rolling around soon, where the Buccaneers can add a defensive star with the fifth overall pick.
3. Question Marks in the NFC South
There a ton of question marks that surround the Buccaneers but the rest of the division has their own question marks as well.
First, the New Orleans Saints fell short in the NFC Championship this past season in discouraging fashion. Can they return once again and win the division with an aging Drew Brees? Possibly.
Lastly, the Carolina Panthers are nervous about Cam Newton’s throwing shoulder and how he comes back from surgery. Speaking for all football fans, hopefully, he can remain healthy in 2019.
The Buccaneers could take advantage of a division that is more up for grabs than people think. At the least, a wild-card spot could be in the realm of possibility for Tampa Bay.
2. The Offensive Weapons
Wherever the Buccaneers may lack, they make up for it with their offensive weapons. Winston has no excuse this season with Arians and his arsenal of options on offense.
At wide receiver, you have Mike Evans and Chris Godwin leading the pack. Don’t forget about O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate at tight end either.
Peyton Barber impressed at running back last year, and Tampa Bay is hoping for a better season out of Ronald Jones—their second-round pick in 2018.
The offense should be able to be one of the best in the NFL as long as Winston can perform consistently. They’ll need all the points they can get when facing a team like the Saints twice a year.
1. The Bruce Arians Effect
Everywhere that Arians has gone, he’s been successful in some sort of way. Arians’ career really took off when he got the offensive coordinator job with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2007.
In 2007, the Steelers offense became a top-ten scoring offense and went 10-6 after going 8-8 the previous season. Arians would leave to become the Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator in 2012.
During the 2012 season, Arians was asked to be the interim head coach while Chuck Pagano was suffering from cancer. Arians would lead the team to a 9-3 record while he was the head coach and the team finished with an 11-5 record on the season.
That was enough to finally land him a head coaching gig in the NFL with the Cardinals. During his five-year tenure with Arizona, the firey head coach led the Cardinals to a 49-30 record.
He also got the Cardinals to the playoffs three times and won one playoff game as well. Fans in Tampa Bay are hoping for similar results from Arians in the Sunshine State.