For what feels like an eternity the Buccaneers offense has lacked a legitimate speed threat at the wide receiver position. With Jameis Winston headed into year three it’s critical that the team figures out a way to solve their speed woes, and here are five options.
“Speed” feels like a vague and simplistic way to sum up the woes of the Buccaneers passing attack. After all, speed is only so useful on its own. Kenny Bell had speed, and Tiquan Underwood had speed, and so too did Dexter Jackson. Certainly there are teams in which raw speed can be useful, but the Bucs need just a bit more. A better word for what they lack might be “electricity”.
In the two years since Jameis Winston was drafted the young signal caller has had exactly zero receivers that could take a short pass, make one or several people miss, and then activate their 4.3 speed to burst into the end-zone. They’ve had some respectable wheels in the forms of Freddie Martino and Donteea Dye, but nobody with any kind of juice to pair with that speed.
This is not breaking news to any observer of the Bucs, so you can be sure that the front office is aware of the issue. In fact, Dirk Koetter directly addressed the issue in his end-of-season press conference when asked if the team needed more play-makers.
"We need more speed and when we say playmakers, playmakers and explosive plays are one in the same. Guys that can make explosives, guys that can catch a 10-yard pass, break one tackle and turn it into a 30-yard gain. Our run after the catch is not where it needs to be. And again, anything that we’re saying here is not an indictment on the guys we have because the guys you have are the guys you have and you’ve got to coach the heck out of them. Once again, it goes back to the thing I said in the beginning, I think this team did a good job of playing as close to their talent level. That’s a hard thing to judge, it’s not an exact thing. In my opinion, we played close to our talent level.”"
Koetter and the Bucs clearly understand the limitations of their offense, so we should expect them to make “speedy/athletic play-maker” a priority this off-season. Here is a look at five potential candidates for them to look at.