We are just a few weeks away from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers officially getting this upcoming season started. Training camp opens on July 25th, at which point push will come to shove and the talk we’ve heard about the team this offseason will start to break one way or another.
National pundits believe they have the Bucs figured out already, pegging them to be among the worst teams in the league this year. Peter King thinks only the Arizona Cardinals are a worse team, while most other talking heads and experts have Tampa Bay penciled in for a high draft pick next April.
Others, like former GM Rick Spielman and ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler believe the Bucs are being slept on. The roster still has a ton of talent across the board, despite losing Tom Brady, and the NFC South is less an Everest and more of a mole hill in terms of what the Bucs need to climb to be in playoff contention.
Training camp is when we’ll get our first good look at how well some of the new pieces are coming together. New offensive coordinator Dave Canales will be working with new quarterback Baker Mayfield, and both will be trying to use weapons like Mike Evans and Chris Godwin to revive an offense that was rather putrid last season.
Buccaneers running back in danger of losing his roster spot?
Bleacher Report looked at each NFL team and which veteran might be on the roster bubble as training camp opens. There was a former Buccaneers player on the list in O.J. Howard — who is with the Las Vegas Raiders — and a guy who is currently on the team.
Third-heard running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn was the Buccaneers veteran named as someone who might be on the roster bubble.
“For Vaughn, the path to making the roster is clear. He must develop some palpable chemistry with quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask, show that he can be a bigger part of the passing game (12 career receptions), and prove to be more explosive on the ground than he was last year,” Knox writes.
It makes sense that Vaughn is an easy target for this kind of conversation. He’s not very high on the Bucs running back depth chart even though he’s shown flashes of being a decent back in the past. Vaughn’s inability to standout probably has more to do with the combination of bigger mouths to feed and Tampa Bay having one of the worst rushing attacks in the entire league last year.
Vaughn was edged out by Leonard Fournette for the starting role and sat adjacent to Rachaad White before falling behind him as RB2. With Lenny gone, White has been elevated to the role of RB1 but the team signed Chase Edmonds in free agency to be his backup.
That would seem to indicate that Vaughn has an uphill battle to making the roster and could find himself as the odd man out. Then again, Dave Canales comes from a Seattle Seahawks system that collected running backs like rare coins and deployed them with great effectiveness, which bodes well for Vaughn sticking around and being utilized more than he has in the past.
Keep in mind that Skip Peete came over from the Dallas Cowboys to be the Bucs new running backs coach, something that could also benefit Vaughn in terms of finding a role moving forward.
He’s definitely an easy name to toss into the ring as a potential camp casualty, but there might be more ways he makes the team than ways he ends up looking for work before Week 1.