Monday night's loss to the Eagles exposed -- or confirmed -- a number of different flaws the Tampa Bay Buccaneers need to work on. Among the main sticking points for fans is how poor the run game looked, which is a complaint that extends beyond what happened in Week 3.
It's one thing to go up against the league's best run defense, but nothing about the Bucs run game over the first three weeks has inspired hope that the issues that plagued last season are anywhere close to being fixed. The offensive line is shaky and the playcalling was questionable, but both Rachaad White and Sean Tucker failed to do anything to convince fans that things are going to start trending in the right direction any time soon.
Already there has been chatter among fans about the idea of the Bucs bringing back Leonard Fournette. That has served as a jumping-off point to a larger conversation about finding ways to improve the running back room before it gets too late.
Fournette is a decent idea but he's hardly the only running back available the Bucs could take a chance on. Pandora's box has been opened up again, and a certain running back in Indianapolis is once again e
ESPN dusts off Jonathan Taylor trade rumors after Bucs struggles
Pretty much from the start, the Bucs have been mentioned as a potential landing spot for Jonathan Taylor. It didn't make a ton of sense from a practical standpoint over the offseason but the recent struggles by White and Tucker have seemingly nixed the defense of those two guys being able to shoulder the load without the help of Taylor.
There's also the salary cap situation that stood in the way of a deal getting done, both in terms of what Taylor is owed this year and the massive contract extension he's going to want. None of this has stopped the Bucs from sneaking into the conversation about what will happen if the Colts decide to trade him.
In their weekly insiders column, Dan Graziano begged the question to Jeremy Fowler whether or not the Bucs should get in on the Jonathan Taylor trade market after early struggles by the run game.
"I watched Rachaad White on Monday night and wondered whether Tampa Bay might jump in," Graziano said. "Then I remembered that you and I together have more salary cap space than the Bucs, and such a move probably isn't feasible."
The salary cap element of this is pretty much a non-starter, even if the idea of the Bucs trading for Taylor makes more sense than it did a few weeks ago.
It's clear that the Bucs need to do something about the run game. White and Tucker are decent backs but whatever is going on isn't working, which makes the idea of shaking things up by bringing in a Top 5 back in Taylor intriguing.
Forget the salary cap situation as it stands now, though. The long-term fit doesn't make any sense for the Bucs as they'd have essentially no way of retaining Taylor beyond being just a short-term rental. Taylor needs a new contract, but the Bucs already need to sort things out with Antoine Winfield Jr., Tristan Wirfs, Devin White, and Mike Evans. There's also money due int he future to Chris Godwin and possibly Baker Mayfield -- there's just too many mouths to feed to justifiably add Taylor into the mix.
It's nice idea, and would instantly make the Bucs offense better, but it doesn't make enough sense to seriously consider even if thinking about it feels good.