Five Buccaneers Who Must Step Up
With a disappointing 2-4 start to the season, the Buccaneers have to step up if they’re going to save their season and avoid a 13th straight year with no playoffs. Football is a team effort, but here are five players that have to step up and help lead this team to some wins.
1. Jameis Winston:
Jameis Winston is the most obvious player on this list that has to step up and do a better job to help this team find success. Winston is starting another very rocky season having thrown 12 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in the first six games of the season. In Winston’s first game, he threw three interceptions and then went four games with a 10 touchdown to two interception ratio before having six turnovers in last weeks game in London including five interceptions. If you’re going to be a franchise quarterback, you can’t have those types of games. Winston is in his fifth year in the NFL which is his contract season and at this point it’s not looking like he will reach a second contract with the Buccaneers. If Jameis wants to keep his job as face of the franchise, he has to take the next step as well as take care of the football. The Buccaneers will only go as far as Winston takes them.
Featured Image Credit: Mark J. Terrill- Associated Press
2. Ndamukong Suh:
Suh Hasn’t played bad at all. In fact, he’s been one of the reasons why the Buccaneers are best in the NFL in run defense. However, the past two weeks the Buccaneers have struggled mightily to get to the opposing quarterback and with signing Suh to a $9.25 million deal replacing former captain Gerald McCoy, he needs to reignite the fire that had the Buccaneers destroying offensive lineman the first three weeks of the season. A sack last week was a great place to start.
3. Vernon Hargreaves III:
Vernon Hargreaves III has been the worst player on this Buccaneers Defense by far this season. Not only is he currently one of the worst cornerbacks when it comes to yards given up in the league, he’s constantly getting blown by on routes and seems to be confused most of the game. Hargreaves III is also in his contract year and will find himself without a job if he doesn’t improve. Known mostly as a press corner, it’s been a head scratcher to see Hargreaves III 10 yards off the ball in soft coverage. Whether it be a communication error or something else hindering him, he is the only veteran player in the secondary and needs to act as such if this Defense is going to stop the bleeding.
4. Devin White:
White is another player that hasn’t played bad. In his two career starts, he had tonsillitis and then led the team in tackles against Carolina. White was drafted with the number five overall pick in the draft so expectations are already very high for him. In last weeks game, he was seen getting stiff armed by RB Christian McCaffrey that sent the entire Bucs fan base into a spiral being reminded of Chris Conte’s stiff arm from Vance McDonald last season. White is still learning the Defense and showed flashes last week in the fourth quarter of how great he can be for this defense but unfortunately he’ll need to learn and learn quickly if this Defense is going to mold into a top caliber force.
5. Mike Evans:
Mike Evans has been the best player on the Offense for the Buccaneers since he was drafted in 2014 and has placed himself in a position to be one of the top 10 receivers in the NFL. Evans has struggled at times this season. In the first two games this season, he was sick with a bug and definitely wasn’t himself. In back to back games however, he hasn’t been himself. Against the Saints, he was held to no catches on three targets. A victim of double teaming no doubt, but Evans has fought that off more than once. Then, in last weeks game, Evans dropped a beautifully thrown ball in stride from Jameis that if caught would have likely ended up as a touchdown. Towards the end of the game on a desperation ball in the end zone, Evans seemed to not fight for the ball and seemed visually frustrated as many of the fans were as well. Evans would go on to say “I played like (expletive). Jameis trusted me and I couldn’t come down with the ball” after the game. Mike Evans is still Mike Evans, Godzilla, but he’s the perennial leader of the wide receivers corps and much of the aerial attack feeds off of him. Expect a big bounce back game from him against the Titans helping this team get back on the winning track.