The San Francisco 49ers have entered a dead period, with four weeks left until the team reports for training camp. Since we know the schedule, and most 90-man rosters are just about set, now seems like a good time to start previewing each of the 49ers opponents heading into training camp. With the help of the other 31 SB Nation blogs, we’ve come up with preview content breaking down where things stand for each team on a variety of issues. We’ve got a template looking at key additions and departures, big storylines and under-the-radar storylines heading into camp, and injuries to consider.
We’re going to run down the schedule, but I will be saving the divisional opponents for the end. We started with the Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, and Buffalo Bills, and today we move on to the 49ers Week 7 opponent, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 49ers host the Bucs, having won the last two games and four of the last five. The last game was a 33-14 win in Tampa Bay during the 2013 season.
Tampa Bay finished last season 6-10, a season after holding the No. 1 overall pick. They used it on Jameis Winston, who put together a very strong rookie season. He lost out to Todd Gurley in AP Rookie of the Year balloting, but won a fan vote rookie award. Winston finished the season No. 21 in QBR, while Football Outsiders ranked him No. 16 in DVOA and DYAR. His development led to a crazy stretch in the offseason. The Bucs had Lovie Smith as their head coach, but when the Miami Dolphins showed significant interest in offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, the Bucs seemed to feel compelled to fire Smith so they could keep Koetter and promote him to head coach. By the time the 49ers and Bucs meet up, we might have a decent idea if that was a good idea or not.
Here is what our friends at Bucs Nation had to say about their Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Notable free agent additions: Brent Grimes, J.R. Sweezy, Robert Ayers, Daryl Smith, Josh Robinson
Notable free agent departures: Danny Lansanah, Sterling Moore, Logan Mankins (retired)
Draft picks expected to contribute as rookies: Vernon Hargreaves, Noah Spence, Roberto Aguayo
Biggest offseason addition: Mike Smith (defensive coordinator), Brent Grimes
Biggest storyline heading into training camp: Can Vernon Hargreaves earn a starting spot?
Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp: Who will win the third receiver job?
Notable injuries heading into training camp: Louis Murphy, JR Sweezy