3 Buccaneers players who can't afford to take a step back in 2024

These three players may be nearing the end of the road in Tampa Bay if they have a disappointing 2024 season.
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Philadelphia Eagles v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Philadelphia Eagles v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Perry Knotts/GettyImages
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Over the past two months, The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have navigated through an action-packed and successful offseason without any major losses. With most of their key players returning for the 2024 season, Tampa Bay will have a chance to win their fourth straight NFC South division title.

That said, it will be a more challenging path for the Buccaneers this season after the NFL released Tampa Bay's 17-game regular-season schedule on Thursday. Matchups against Kansas City, Baltimore, San Francisco, and Detroit will be important tests for Tampa Bay, as well as two games against the new-look Falcons and Saints.

Even though Tampa Bay didn't see much player overturn from last season, the team may not see a similar trajectory next offseason. That often comes from underproducing players failing to perform in make-or-break seasons, as is the case with these three current Buccaneers.

3 Buccaneers players who can't afford to take a step back in 2024

Rachaad White, RB

In large part due to a pitiful offensive line, Tampa Bay's running game ranked near the bottom of the league last season. Collectively, the Buccaneers averaged a league-worst 88.8 rushing yards per game on 422 attempts, equating to a putrid 3.8 yards per carry mark, also the worst in the NFL.

Not all the blame can go on the offensive line, and some of it rightfully goes to RB1 Rachaad White. Statistically, White had a solid second season in Tampa, rushing for 990 rushing yards, six touchdowns, and 3.6 yards per attempt on 272 carries, all career-highs. White also caught 64 passes for 549 receiving yards, three touchdowns, and 8.6 yards per catch through the air as a true dual-threat running back.

With over 1,500 scrimmage yards in 2023, White's sophomore season seems to hold some validity to it, especially considering general manager Jason Licht's comments on White earlier this offseason. It's worth noting that it took White 336 total touches to get 1,539 scrimmage yards, an immense amount of touches for not a lot of production.

In the 2024 NFL draft, the Buccaneers drafted Oregon running back Bucky Irving with the No. 125 pick in the fourth round. Irving comes to Tampa Bay after earning two All Pac-12 First Team selections after thriving as the Ducks' workhorse back, totaling 2,950 yards and 26 touchdowns on 273 touches from scrimmage in 27 starts.

Although it seems that the Buccaneers will use a committee approach with White and Irving in the backfield, the reality is White's and Irving's skillsets are undersized dual-threat backs with great speed and agility. Coupled with the fact that Irving will play under a cheap rookie contract through the 2027 season, and it makes White feel replaceable for Tampa Bay.

Unless White produces a breakout third season under new offensive coordinator Liam Coen, then the former Arizona State Sun Devil could find himself on the hot seat in Tampa Bay.