Players that the Buccaneers need to step up in 2022

Mike Edwards, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Edwards, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

This season is one of the most intriguing in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history. In what feels like the GOAT’s final season in Tampa, the Bucs have mostly brought back the core of their team again and have added a few intriguing pieces to help push our roster further.

Below I will name one offensive player and one defensive player that the Bucs need to have a breakout season if they want to have any shot at winning the Super Bowl this year.

Offense: Russell Gage, WR

On offense, Russell Gage is going to be one of the biggest new faces that should help fill a big need for the Bucs this year.

After joining from our division rival Atlanta Falcons in free agency, seemingly hand picked by Tom Brady as a weapon he recruited, Gage will have his best shot to have a breakout year since the beginning of his NFL career.

Gage will start the season opposite Mike Evans as our WR2 and should see plenty of opportunities in the beginning of the season as teams will likely try to blanket Evans with Chris Godwin likely out due to injury. This should leave Gage frequently with single man coverage situations where it will be his job to beat his man and get open.

Brady went after Gage for a reason, having played against him and watched his tape. Brady saw underrated qualities in Gage. Russell may not be the fastest WR in the league, but he does find a way to get open through smooth route running, understanding his role in the route tree, and figuring out ways to bail his QB out when the pocket collapses.

It is also worth noting that almost 40% of Gage’s routes run last year came out of the slot setting, giving him the ability to get open on nice underneath routes and make the most with the receptions after the catch. This should really give Gage the ability to showcase what he is made for with the GOAT throwing him the ball.

Defense: Mike Edwards, S

Mike Edwards is a young safety on a contract year that will have his first chance being the full-time starter for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

After letting Jordan Whitehead leave in free agency this off-season, Jason Licht did not flounder about how he wanted to fill those big shoes. Mike Edwards is THE GUY.

Edwards has shown flashes of brilliance with limited playing time as he has five interceptions in his three years with only limited playing time. This year could be a bit of a coming out party, and Edwards really has a chance to be a star in the making.

Edwards is a ball hawk,who can play center fielder and against tight ends or backs out of the back field when needed, but he also is a nice support player in the box in the run game when used in that manner.

Tampa Bay gets to the passer; the pass rush has been ruthless for the past few years, and I don’t really see is taking a step back there this year even though a few pieces have changed…. But Edwards really has a shot to take our secondary to the next level by helping out on routes over the top and taking away some of the hesitancy from our corners to play physical at the line of scrimmage because they know they will have support from the back end of the defense.

With these two potential breakout players taking over key roles on our team this year, our team could really take another step forward in their quest to returning to the Super Bowl.

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