The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made some big strides during the 2019 season and a key reason was a lot of foundational players stepped up their game. Even though they didn’t end up making the playoffs, the team showed some flashes of being a good team going forward. They finished with a 7-9 record and the hope is with a good offseason they will be a playoff contender.
Before looking ahead to the offseason it’s important to look back on players who made big strides forward. Let’s breakdown three players who improved the most throughout the 2019 season.
Matt Gay – Kicker
The Buccaneers drafted Matt Gay in the fifth round and he didn’t disappoint with his big leg. He was 27-35 on field goal attempts which might not sound great, but a lot of the misses came from over 50 yards. From 40-49 yards Gay was 11-14 and from 50+ he was 5-8.
He did five extra points which is something that needs to be cleaned up going forward, but Gay looks like a solid option long term for the Buccaneers. Going forward he should also be more accurate from deep which is a good thing because he has a big leg that is a real weapon.
Chris Godwin – Wide Receiver
There was nothing wrong with Chris Godwin’s game the first couple of years he was in the league, but he really broke out during the 2019 season.
In 2018, he finished with 842 yards and people started to take notice. In 2019 he finished with 1,333 yards and nine touchdowns. He is now regarded as one of the best wideouts in the league. Godwin and Mike Evans are going to be a problem for defenses for years to come, the big question going forward is who will be their quarterback.
Shaquil Barrett – Linebacker
Shaquil Barrett was fine during his first five years in the league with the Denver Broncos, but there was never something that really stood out. He signed a one-year deal with the Buccaneers last offseason and it wasn’t really looked at as an impact move.
He became a full-time starter and quickly blew away any expectations. He finished the season with a league-high 19.5 sacks and 37 quarterback hits. The biggest issue with the big season for the Bucs is if they want him back they are going to have to pay him a lot of money. If he does come back next year, he is a great player to build the defense around.