Written by Drew Pogones of Bucs Life News
The 2021 Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense did not disappoint last year. They boasted the league’s #1 passing offense for yards per game, #2 in total yards per game, and the #2 scoring offense in all of football. The offense was led by the 44-year-old quarterback Tom Brady, who is even hungrier this year to avenge the bitter loss to the LA Rams to end of the 2021 season. Brady showed no signs of aging when he attempted the most passes in the NFL (719 attempts), most passing yards (5,316), and passing touchdowns (43).
Enter 2022, where the ever-anticipated Unfinished Business Tour begins! The year gets off to a dramatic start when the GOAT; himself decides to shock the world and announce he is returning to the gridiron to finish some unfinished business in Tampa. Where the good news starts is where some bad news follows – Gronkowski and Ali Marpet decide to retire (and stay retired; for the time being…), Alex Cappa leaves for Cincinnati, and Ronald Jones leaves for Kansas City in free agency. With these departures, an offseason of smart free agency work, strategic cap maneuvering, and a strong draft class become more pivotal than ever.
Now let’s look at the offseason for our Buccaneers as it pertains to offense. Free agency started with a lot of action as the Buccaneers were able to lock down multiple free agents at a great value to help bolster the offensive weapons for Tom Brady. Some of the notable names were Lenny Fournette (re-signed), Russell Gage, Kyle Rudolph, and Julio Jones. Surprisingly, the Bucs were also able to help replace one of our guards by acquiring Patriots guard Shaq Mason via trade. Now comes the draft, where the Buccaneers were able to land another starting guard in the 2nd round, Luke Goedeke, and a running back with the name of Rachaad White with the 91st pick. Other offensive rookies that were selected were: Cade Otton (TE) and Ko Kieft (TE).
Coming into camp, your Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive was looking deadly yet again and poised to replicate their 2021 success, but that feeling took a quick hit only days into training camp. Once again, there was a crushing blow to the team when the starting center, Ryan Jensen, got rolled up on by his teammates in a non-contact drill that caused him to be carted off the field with a serious knee injury. Now, one of the most important areas on the offensive line is left in the hands of Robert Hainsey, a 2nd-year player, who is being asked to move from offensive tackle to center — this means that Tom Brady will have to trust Hainsey to be able to adjust to a new position and anchor the interior part of the line.
So what does this mean for our offense in 2022? As Todd Bowles stated in a press conference earlier, he won’t be ‘putting handcuffs’ on the Buccaneers’ offense. “My attitude is to win the game any way possible,” Bowles told the media. “If we have to throw the ball 50 times to win, that’s great. If we have to run the ball 30 times to win, that’s great. We’ll take what they give us – we’ll always have shots for big plays.” With an unproven interior offensive line and Tom Brady; being yet another year closer to Father Time, it is time to expect the Buccaneers’ offense to even out a bit on the play calling. A lot of pressure can be taken off of Tom Brady and the offensive line if they can depend on the new running back duo of Lenny and Rachaad White. With a respectable rush attack, along with having a VERY strong receiving core, you can bet the Buccaneers’ offense will see a lot of single coverage — which will force opponents to pick their poison.
Folks, we obviously won’t see (nor do we want to see) see the good old fashion “Buc Ball” of the late 90s and early 2000s but if the running game can get going and the defense improves as it should, your Tampa Bay Buccaneers should be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, and the GOAT can achieve the “Unfinished Business” he came back for. Written By Drew Pogones
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(Buccaneers’ offensive stats via https://www.espn.com/nfl/stats/team )
(Tom Brady stats via https://www.pff.com/nfl/players/tom-brady/698 )