The Bucs’ offense took great strides in 2015 with a rookie quarterback and new offensive coordinator. In 2016, that coordinator is now the head coach and that quarterback still has work to do.
For the first time in what seems like forever, there is no quarterback problem in Tampa Bay. Jameis Winston stepped up, as a rookie, and played better than many expected. Under the direction of offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, we saw the best offense in Bucs history. But that isn’t enough.
Fast-forward to 2016. Kotter has taken the reigns as head coach and Winston enters his second year in the NFL. Doug Martin is returning, Vincent Jackson will be healthy, Austin Seferian-Jenkins is looking to play his first full season, and Mike Evans is looking to improve on a down year two. One of the biggest keys to this offense taking the next step falls solely on Winston improving his deep pass.
Winston finished near the bottom of quarterbacks in “deep ball effeciency”, aka, passes over twenty yards. He was 28/67 for a completion percentage of 41.8%. Now, not all of those incompletions were his fault, but a lot of them were. Think back: how many times did we witness a receiver get past the secondary and Jameis miss him by five, seven, even ten yards? Too many.
Dirk Koetter addressed these concerns at the owners meetings Wednesday.
"“How many passes do you see, deep down the field that are out of bounds or five yards overthrown? Our term for that is ‘give em a chance’. If we’re going to go to all the trouble to call it, to protect it, to get back there then all it gets down to is ‘we gotta hit this spot and give Mike Evans a chance’, that’s the easy part. That’s what we tell Jameis. It’s probably not, but that’s what we tell him.’There was a couple times when D.D. (Donteea Dye) on a deep post route, ran beautiful routes, and got behind the DB, I think twice in the Chicago game, and Jameis overthrew him.”"
With another year in this system under their belts, improvement isn’t out of the realm of possibility, or even probability. With all of Winston’s weapons returning, plus the return of Kenny Bell, who missed all of 2015, this offense has the potential to be one of the most dangerous in the NFC. However, there is still a need for chemistry to continue developing between Winston and Evans, a combination the Buccaneers and their fans are hoping is a lethal one for years to come.
There is plenty to be excited about on the offensive side of the ball this season. Minus having a true speedster that can create heavy mismatches against opposing defensive backs, this Buccaneer team is certainly headed in the right direction. Who knows; once the draft arrives, the Bucs may use a day three pick on a speedy receiver to give Winston yet another weapon for his arsenal.
Time is certainly on their side. Well, at least until Winston is due a new contract and gets an amount of money we can’t even fathom right now. But what do you think Bucs fans? Is the offense shaping up to be a dangerous one or was last season a fluke? Sound off in the comments below.