Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2023-2024 season preview

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year found themselves in the playoffs for one reason only: the rest of their division wanted it less. The anticlimactic twilight of Tom Brady’s was the headline of a team stricken by a series of unfortunate events. With Brady out of the picture and on his way to a nine-figure contract with Fox Sports, the Buccaneers are looking to rebuild in 2023-2024.

There are still enough talented players on this Buccaneers team, though, they may be too good to tank for a player such as Caleb Williams. What is their quest: to make the playoffs by winning a weak NFC South or wash out for Williams?

2022-23 Results

After stumbling into the playoffs with an 8-9 record, the illustrious career of Tom Brady ended with a whimper at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys. The Buccaneers, despite winning the NFC South for the second year in a row, were one and done.

After their loss, it was evident changes needed to be made. Todd Bowles was able to keep his job, but Byron Leftwich was not so lucky. Leftwich was responsible for both the second-best passing attack and the worst rushing attack in the league last season. No one on the team ran for more than 675 yards all season.

Key additions

QB Baker Mayfield

The success of the 2023-2024 Tampa Bay Buccaneers rides on whether newcomer Baker Mayfield can survive behind a patchwork offensive line. After having to bounce around the league as a victim of circumstance and subpar surroundings, Mayfield finds himself back in a starting role on an NFC South team. There is nowhere to go but up for Mayfield after last season.

S Ryan Neal

After spending four years in Seattle, Ryan Neal takes his talents to Tampa to help out the secondary. Neal looks to have a breakout year with the Buccaneers in 2023 after posting career-highs in tackles (66) and passes defended (8).

DT Calijah Kancey

This year’s first-round pick for Tampa Bay figures to already play a key role in the front seven. The defensive lineman out of Pittsburgh figures to start out on the left end opposite Logan Hall and next to Vita Vea. How will Kancey fare being thrown to the wolves, especially after dealing with an early injury?

Key departures

QB Tom Brady

Tom Brady is gone… for real, this timehttps://fantomsportsindustries.com/tom-brady-retires-is-this-truly-the-end/. After retiring, then unretiring, the impending Hall of Famer finished third in passing yards but still went one and done. Brady had a stark dropoff in touchdown passes from 2021 to 2022 (43 to 25). Now, Brady has that contract with Fox Sports to fall back on as he finally can enjoy retirement.

RB Leonard Fournette

A key component of the Buccaneers’ playoff runs fell victim to the aforementioned oft-injured offensive line of last season. Fournette was the leading rusher for Tampa Bay with just 668 rushing yards, which turned out to be 32nd of 32 in the NFL. Fournette’s departure leaves the keys to the car in the hands of Rachaad White.

S Mike Edwards

Last year, Mike Edwards was in a three-way tie with Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean for team lead in interceptions with two. He’s taken his talents to the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs, the team he helped the Buccaneers beat to win Super Bowl LV. Antoine Winfield will look to get used to the aforementioned Ryan Neal.

Projected depth chart

  • QB: Baker Mayfield / Kyle Trask / John Wolford
  • RB: Rachaad White / Chase Edmonds / Sean Tucker / Ke’Shawn Vaughn
  • Outside WR: Mike Evans / Chris Godwin / Deven Thompkins / Rakim Jarrett
  • Slot WR: Trey Palmer
  • TE: Cade Otton / Ko Kieft / Payne Durham / David Wells
  • LT: Tristan Wirfs / Justin Skule
  • LG: Matt Feiler / Aaron Stinnie
  • C: Robert Hainsey
  • RG: Cody Mauch / Nick Leverett
  • RT: Luke Goedeke / Brandon Walton
  • LDE: Calijah Kancey / Mike Greene
  • NT: Vita Vea / Greg Gaines
  • RDE: Logan Hall / William Gholston
  • LOLB: Joe Tryon-Shoyinka / Yaya Diaby / Cam Gill
  • LILB: Devin White / K.J. Britt
  • RILB: Lavonte David / SirVocea Dennis
  • ROLB: Shaquil Barrett / Anthony Nelson / Markees Watts
  • CB1: Jamel Dean / Dee Delaney / Josh Hayes
  • CB2: Carlton Davis III / Zyon McCollum / Derrek Pitts
  • FS: Antoine Winfield Jr. / Kaevon Merriweather
  • SS: Ryan Neal / Christian Izien
  • K: Chase McLaughlin
  • P: Jake Camarda
  • LS: Zach Triner
  • PR/KR: Deven Thompkins

Season outlook

Whether this Tampa Bay Buccaneers team hits rock bottom in 2023-2024 depends on where they stand at the trade deadline. Mike Evans currently does not have a contract extension in place and if Tampa Bay is on the downturn, he may don another jersey for the first time in his NFL career.

This Tampa Bay team does not clear the .500 threshold even if everything goes right. This team’s ceiling looks to be 8-9. As proven last year, it does not matter what signal-caller a team has if the five guys blocking for him falter easily. If they trade away key pieces, this team could be as bad as 3-14. This 2023-2024 Buccaneers will be just good enough not to tank, though, so a record of 6-11 is most plausible.

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