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Do the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a chance without Jameis Winston?

It’s time to start scouting the 49ers opponents for 2018. Today it’s the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Last week, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston was facing a suspension for the first three games. The suspension regards a 2016 incident where an Uber driver was groped. What’s interesting is that the suspension could be even longer.

This incident originally had his friend and teammate Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby defending him, but the victim’s attorney is saying Darby was not in the car. And Darby himself has come forth to say some circumstances originally reported are not true.

Th e whole thing is a mess and a perfect opportunity for the NFL to make an example of somebody, which means they will no doubt screw it all up. Winston has had character concerns coming out of college. in 2013 he was part of a sexual assault scandal which drug all the way into 2018, and also had multiple incidents of shoplifting.

It’s a laundry list and doesn’t look good. With Winston gone, the Buccaneers will turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick to fill the void leftover. Fitzpatrick is the definition of a backup quarterback, one who can win you a few games, but can never generate consistency as full seasons accumulate.

Besides the quarterback position, Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter is most definitely in the hot seat. While he took the team to 9-7 his first year, the team finished at 5-11 in 2017 and looked lethargic in the process. Koetter is a good offensive mind, but the reason he was promoted to head coach in the first place was to help with Winston’s development. Winston’s touchdown totals increased between 2015 and 2016, but taking his three games out due to injury into consideration in 2017, it’s doubtful he’d find a way to get nine more touchdowns to match his 2016 total of 28. Even with his 13 starts, Winston fumbled the ball 15 times-a career high. If he is truly developing, or a subject of bad coaching is for you to decide.

Regardless of the coaching, or Winston, the Buccaneers have a lot of work to do. Defensively, they rank dead last in yardage, and tied for 22nd in points against. Offensively they need help as well they are ranked 9th for yardage but 18th in points scored. It all boils down to what you’d see with a 5-11 squad: below average. And they didn’t have Jimmy Garoppolo coming to save them the last five games either. Their running game has decayed to the point they have been on the tail end of production in the league (this can be attributed to the defensive performances though).

The Buccaneers have a lot of work to do, besides wide receiver Mike Evans who got a huge payday this offseason, they quite simply lack talent. The roster isn’t devoid of talent, but it certainly lacks it.

Draft picks

Round 1: Vita Vea (DT)
Round 2: Ronald Jones II (RB)
Round 2: M. J. Stewart CB
Round 2: Carlton Davis (CB)
Round 3: Alex Cappa (OT)
Round 4: Jordan Whitehead (S)
Round 5: Justin Watson (WR)
Round 6: Jack Cichy (LB)

Notable free agent acquisitions

Vinny Curry (DE)
Ryan Jensen (C)
Chandler Catanzaro (K)

The Buccaneers went defense in this draft. Vita Vea and Vinny Curry will provide some help for that defensive line. All Vea’s got to do is stay healthy. Curry, well he needs no introduction. Age may catch up to him, but it’s a decent signing, and given the fact the Buccaneers would part ways ways with defensive end Robert Ayers, Curry is a good replacement.

Ronald Jones will get to try what Doug Martin and Jaquiz Rodgers can’t do and that’s get consistency. The Buccaneers running game was awful in 2017 getting them only 1450 yards and Jones can only go up with it.

Ryan Jensen is a solid addition to the offensive line, but he’s only been a starter for one season and a backup the rest of his career. While his lone season was solid, $42 million with $22 million guarenteed is an awful lot for a center. Then again, given that I’m writing this from the perspective of a 49ers fan, I probably have no room to talk.

Way too early gambling line

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The matchup

Tampa Bay seems to be struggling for an identity of what exactly they want to be. One of the fun things with Kyle Shanahan in 2016 was you got to see what kind of a team the 49ers wanted to be—they just weren’t there yet. They had an identity on offense. The Buccaneers? I just don’t know. Even with this draft, it seems more like they are just getting players because they need them. What they have definitely should help the team, but they play in the cramped NFC South, a division with the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, and Carolina Panthers—all three have teams equipped to make it to the playoffs.

The Buccaneers roster isn’t helping them in their own division and it won’t help them against the 49ers either. Winston is a turnover machine and if the 49ers secondary can get close to the ceiling we all hope it has, it’s going to be a very very long day for the Buccaneer offense. I see Winston getting a few touchdowns out, but a lot more turnovers. This one will get ugly, 49ers are winning.

Winston’s suspension will not affect the 49ers, as they play in Week 12, however if the Buccaneers decide to go in a different direction and release Winston due to the incident described above, that means Fitzpatrick comes in, and the last time he faced the 49ers, it didn’t go so well. It will be even worse if that’s the case in 2018.