Tampa Bay Buccaneers Last Season Performance
After winning Super Bowl LV, Tampa Bay looked to repeat. The Buccaneers finished the regular season 13-4, earning the second seed in the NFC. Tampa coasted in the wild-card round, defeating the Eagles 31-15.
In the divisional round, the Bucs came out flat. The Rams led 20-3 at halftime. Tom Brady nearly pulled off another historical comeback, but Los Angeles escaped with a 30-27 victory. Tampa Bay’s season ended in disappointment, falling short of Super Bowl expectations.
Ultimately, the Buccaneers had too many injuries. Tampa had a makeshift defense most of the season with various injuries. Then, the offense had major losses towards the end of the season. Chris Godwin missed the final eight games with a knee injury and All-Pro tackle Tristan Wirfs was out most of the playoffs with an ankle injury. It’s near impossible to mesh when the Injured Reserve list is a revolving door.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Key Additions
Few additions were made this offseason. Russell Gage was a notable signing, as he joined on a three-year, $30 million deal. The Bucs’ starting wideout group will be Mike Evans, Godwin and Gage — who comes off consecutive seasons with over 700 receiving yards. In addition, Tampa added depth with the signing of veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph. Eight-year guard Shaq Mason was acquired from New England for a 2022 fifth-rounder.
On defense, Akiem Hicks signed a one-year, $8 million contract. This fills a need on the defensive line, plus, Hicks could be a potent piece alongside Vita Vea. Keanu Neal and Logan Ryan agreed to one-year deals worth around $1 million each. Neal will likely move back to safety after playing linebacker in Dallas. Also, Ryan brings vital experience to the safety room.
In the draft, Tampa acquired defensive lineman Logan Hall, guard Luke Goedeke, running back Rachaad White and tight end Cade Otton. The Buccaneers’ rookies may be less impactful than in recent years. Each pick adds depth, Goedeke could be the only immediate starter.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Key Subtraction
The offense will look slightly different after losing several pieces. Rob Gronkowski decided to retire, but many believe he could return midseason. The tight end room took another hit with O.J. Howard going to Buffalo. After signing Rudolph, Howard’s loss is manageable, but the red zone offense will miss Gronk.
Guard Alex Cappa signed a four-year, $35 million deal with the Bengals before Brady announced his return. Left guard Ali Marpet retired after the 2021 season. Mason will fill in for Cappa at right guard, while rookie Goedeke and Aaron Stinnie battle for left guard. Also, Ronald Jones agreed to a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Chiefs. Tampa used its third-round pick on White to replace Jones at second-string tailback.
On defense, the Buccaneers moved on from aging veterans. Richard Sherman was brought in after Sean Murphy-Bunting and Carlton Davis went down with early-season injuries. Sherman was mediocre at best and missed most of the season with an Achilles injury. Tampa Bay did not re-sign Sherman as he remains a free agent.
Furthermore, Jason Pierre-Paul had probably the worst season of his career. He recorded 2.5 sacks while missing five games due to injury. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh also comes off one of his worst seasons. Both veteran defensive linemen are unsigned.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Analysis
Tampa Bay had one of the NFL’s most experienced coaches with Bruce Arians at the helm. Since 2020, the Bucs hold a 24-9 record. After the 2021 season, Arians stepped down as Head Coach, moving to a role in the front office.
Todd Bowles takes over as Head Coach. He was the Buccaneers’ defensive coordinator from 2019-21. Bowles was Interim Head Coach with the Dolphins in 2011. His last head coaching stint was with the Jets from 2015-18. In New York, he amassed a 24-40 record.
Bowles had outstanding success as coordinator with the Cardinals and Bucs. Tampa’s defense will be fine, but how about the offense? Byron Leftwich returns after being a hot name in the head coach carousel. The Bucs’ offense will be nearly the same with Leftwich holding play-calling and preparation duties.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Injured Players at the Beginning of the Season
Last season, Tampa could not catch a break at cornerback. Murphy-Bunting missed nearly half the season with an elbow injury. Carlton Davis missed seven games as he dealt with a quadricep injury. Jamel Dean also missed a couple of games. Every starting corner missed time at some point. The secondary is finally healthy following an offseason of recovery.
All-Pro tackle Wirfs was pulled from the playoffs after tearing two ligaments in his ankle. Following offseason surgery, Wirfs looks ready for Week 1. Furthermore, Leonard Fournette showed up to camp overweight. He weighs more than 30 pounds heavier than last season. While it’s not an injury, this is a concern.
Godwin tore his ACL in December and missed the final five games. Reports have claimed Godwin’s recovery is going well, but no timetable has been presented. More than likely, Godwin will miss a few games to begin the season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Offense
On February 1, Brady announced his retirement after a 22-year career. Only 40 days later, Brady shook the sports world with an “un-retiring” announcement. The Bucs’ offense dodged a major loss with Brady returning.
Guard play is the biggest question mark. Right guard is secure as Mason comes off two excellent seasons. However, left guard is up in the air as Stinnie and Goedeke battle for the starting spot. Both have virtually no starting experience, but Goedeke has upside as a second-round rookie.
Once Godwin returns, Brady will have plenty of options. The run game could decline after losing Jones along with Fournette’s weight gain concern. Overall, this will be a good unit with Brady running the show.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense
The defense made a few changes, most for the better. Edge-rusher Joe Tryon-Shoyinka showed brilliant flashes in his rookie season. Deciding to not re-sign Pierre-Paul seems like the right decision. In addition, Hicks should be an upgrade over Suh at defensive tackle. The defensive front looks daunting with Vea, Hicks, William Gholston, Tryon-Shoyinka and Shaquil Barrett.
Tampa Bay still has one of the best linebacker duos with Devin White and Lavonte David. This will be a big contract year for White. He has two years left on his contract, but an extension could come after the season. With another All-Pro year, White could be rewarded with big money.
Elsewhere, the safety group looks different. Antoine Winfield Jr. enters his third season after a Pro Bowl season. Ryan, Neal and Mike Edwards fill out the rotation.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Special Teams
In 2021, punter Bradley Pinion ranked 31st in yards per punt (43.7). It was time for a change with Pinion producing no elite seasons. The Buccaneers used a fourth-rounder on Jake Camarda out of Georgia. Camarda averaged over 46 yards per punt for three consecutive seasons. Tampa Bay could finally flip the field with ease behind Camarda’s booming leg.
Ryan Succop enters his 14th season and third year with the Bucs. Succop is experiencing a career resurgence after a poor 2019 season. In 2020, he made 90.3% of kicks followed by 83.3% last season.
Jaelon Darden will need a good year after a mediocre rookie season. The return specialist averaged 7.5 yards per punt return and 19.9 yards per kick return.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Prediction for the 2022 Season
The Bucs will be one of the best teams in the NFC. The Rams and Packers are the biggest challengers to win the conference. Tampa Bay should coast in the NFC South as the Saints look like the only potential playoff team.
Making the Super Bowl is well within reach, but winning it is another story. The AFC is loaded with the Bills, Chiefs, Ravens, Bengals, Broncos and Chargers. Tampa Bay will have to go through several elite teams, even defeating the Packers or Rams is a tall task.
The Buccaneers will be a balanced team. If healthy, the defense could be the better unit. The rushing attack and Godwin’s health are big concerns. Both are necessary for Tampa to win a Super Bowl.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Final Thoughts
The Cowboys, Saints, Packers and Chiefs are the first four opponents. With Godwin likely out for a few games, this is a tough pull. The defense will be challenged with some of the NFL’s most explosive offenses. Fortunately, each team has its own issues to solve. For instance, the Cowboys have weak wideouts to start and the Saints could be without Alvin Kamara.
The Buccaneers got younger. This was one of the best things Tampa could have done following a season filled with injuries. Players like Pierre-Paul and Suh are well within their 30s, they are no longer capable of playing an entire season.
The Bucs’ Super Bowl window is quickly closing as Brady’s future looks uncertain.
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers FAQs
Will the Buccaneers win the Super Bowl?
Tampa Bay is definitely capable of winning the Super Bowl. The offense and defense each have star power with few holes on the roster. Being healthy could be 2022’s biggest challenge.
Will the Buccaneers bring back the creamsicle uniforms?
From 1976-96, the Bucs wore orange and white uniforms with a pirate logo biting a knife. The uniforms were donned the “creamsicles.” Tampa has not worn the uniforms since 2013. With the NFL finally allowing an alternate helmet, the Buccaneers announced they will wear the creamsicle uniforms in 2023.
Who will play quarterback after Tom Brady retires?
In the 2021 NFL Draft, the Bucs drafted Kyle Trask with the 64th pick. Trask has not played in any games. If Brady retires after the 2022 season, Trask is in line to start. However, no one has any idea if he will be a franchise QB.
Did the Buccaneers have a Super Bowl win before Tom Brady?
In 2003, the Bucs defeated the Raiders 48-21 in Super Bowl XXXVII. Tampa had an elite defense, allowing 16.5 points per game (3rd). Warren Sapp and Simeon Rice headlined a ferocious defensive line while QB Brad Johnson and WR Keenan McCardell led the passing attack. The franchise has two Super Bowl wins after the 2020 season.