Jameis Winston's Suspension Adds to the Buccaneers Training Camp Woes
Jameis Winston's fourth season with the Buccaneers is off to an inauspicious start after the former No. 1 overall pick was suspended three games for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy. Coming off a season in which he completed a career-high 63.8% of his passes, Winston has shown flashes of being the franchise cornerstone Tampa Bay's front office expected him to be.
But after he apologized to the organization and his Uber driver for the incident that led to his three-game ban, he has to prove to the Buccaneers that he can be trusted as the team's centerpiece. Backup Ryan Fitzpatrick will step in as a starter for a rough three-game opening stretch that features games against the Saints, Eagles, and Steelers.
Will Defensive Rebuild Pay Off?
The Buccaneers hype train was going full speed ahead in the 2017 offseason. After a promising 9-7 finish in coach Dirk Koetter's first season in 2016, Tampa Bay was the featured team on Hard Knocks and looked to have postseason potential.
But after a 2-1 start, the Bucs lost five games in a row and couldn't keep up in a division that featured three playoff teams. A major culprit for the regression was the defense, which allowed the most yards (6,049) and produced the fewest sacks (22) in the league. This offseason, the Bucs added defensive linemen Jason Pierre-Paul, Vinny Curry, Beau Allen and Mitch Unrein.
The Buccaneers used the No. 7 overall pick in April's draft on 6-4, 350-pound defensive tackle Vita Vea from Washington in the draft. Vea has the potential to be a massive and powerful presence in the middle of a defensive front. It seems that the Buccaneers are borrowing a page from the Eagles' defensive playbook by building a strong rotation of players along the defensive line.
Who Will Tote The Rock?
The Buccaneers ranked 27th in rushing yards last year and had only one game in which a player ran for more than 100 yards. This offseason, the team released running back Doug Martin, who then signed with the Raiders.
With Jacquizz Rodgers and Peyton Barber as the only notable holdovers, the Buccaneers used a second-round draft choice on Southern California running back Ronald Jones II. A big-play threat with breakaway speed, Jones should emerge as a strong challenger for the starting job in training camp.
Courtesy: USA Today