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In order to go on a postseason run, clutch plays need to be made, often from unlikely sources. You know that the Bucs are going to get those moments from Tom Brady, but for them to achieve the ultimate success, other players have to step up in the big moments as well.

That’s exactly what Tampa Bay has gotten from their role players in order to reach the Super Bowl. High-profile players will get the attention, and deservedly so, but there are plenty of other moments that have helped the Bucs to the Super Bowl. 

Whether it’s guard Aaron Stinnie filling in for Alex Cappa along the line, or Scotty Miller taking the role of an injured Antonio Brown, the depth of the Bucs has been apparent.

“This is a heck of a roster,” Bruce Arians said. “There is no doubt about it. RoJo (Ronald Jones II) goes down, we have Leonard [Fournette], we have ‘Shady’ (LeSean McCoy) and Ke’Shawn Vaughn, who had a good role there for a while. I think at all of the places, I love our depth. Aaron Stinnie has stepped up. We had a lot of trust in him. It goes on, and on and on. ‘Nacho’ (Rakeem Nunez-Roches) has done a great job in Vita [Vea]’s place and getting Steve McLendon was huge for us down the stretch, especially in stopping the run. Jason Licht has done a great, great job of putting depth throughout this whole roster. Even on our practice squad, we’ve got some practice squad guys that could really start for us.”

Another two players that have put their stamp on this postseason are safety Mike Edwards and rookie wide receiver Tyler Johnson. 

Edwards, who has been labeled a ballhawk by Arians, had a big interception over the Saints in the divisional round, and then played an important role in replacing an injured Antoine Winfield in the NFC championship, which loomed even larger after Jordan Whitehead left the game with a shoulder injury. 

“It’s a next-man-up mentality,” Edwards said. “When somebody goes down you have to be just as good as the other person that went down. I took that as a challenge and I felt like I was ready for it. I’m not a slouch, so I definitely want to make plays when I get in, anytime I get in there I want to make as many plays as I can and create some plays for the defense.”

While Johnson had a relatively quiet rookie season due to his place on a stacked wide receiver depth chart, he found a way to make a huge play in each of the last two rounds, making a clutch third-down catch in the fourth quarter to help set up a go ahead field goal at New Orleans, and drawing a pass interference penalty to clinch the NFC title.

“Early on in the year we were talking about how our receiver room is stacked,” Johnson said. “Everybody is just making plays right and left. Definitely whenever our number is called, when our time is up we just want to go out there and make a play because that’s what we love to do. It’s definitely been fun seeing everybody go out there and getting attention, getting the shine, getting the grind on and just be able to go out there and make plays.”

If the Bucs are going to win Super Bowl LV, they might just need one more clutch moment. Injuries haven’t devastated this squad overall during the year, but there have been a bunch of 1-2 game absences by starters that have forced the Bucs to call upon key depth pieces to step into the lineup. One of those players has been veteran CB Ross Cockrell, who was signed to the team about a month into the 2020 NFL season. Cockrell filled a pivotal role of the team’s No. 4 cornerback, and he’s played admirably when called upon this year, starting two games and playing significant chunks of others.

“Ross Cockrell has been one of the best pickups we’ve had the entire season,” Arians told the media this week.

The Bucs had significant depth question marks on their roster heading into the season, especially at running back, offensive line, defensive tackle and cornerback. Licht’s ability to add strong, capable starting veterans across all four position groups was not only critical at the time, but has proven to be one of the biggest reasons the Bucs are contending for their second Lombardi trophy in the Super Bowl on Sunday.

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About the Author: Matt Matera

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Buc76
Buc76(@jjjj)
10 months ago

On offense Gronk is the key for this SuperBowl win we are about to take. Al Davis said we take what we want not what they give us. That’s our attitude. Gronk is in the trenches blocking with our lineman and he’s also catching passes with all of our pass catchers. With him and those guys and Brady with the backs, I think that presence on offense and our D Line against their makeshift offensive line, along with the karma of defending our field and our city, add in Kansas City not being here to adjust to the weather, we… Read more »

BucRy
BucRy(@bucry)
10 months ago

GM of the year!

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy(@eastendboy)
10 months ago

I get it – Arians wants Licht to look good too…unfortunately, one cannot ignore the previous 6 years. The difference between all of those teams and this one is one man only…The GOAT. We had all that same (or very similar) depth for years (producing bottom-feeding seasons), but we had terrible QB after terrible QB (all Licht’s choices) until Arians put his foot down and said ‘don’t re-sign Winston, Brady is going to be my QB”. Anyone trying to give credit for this amazing season to anyone other than Brady (his individual contributions, and his impact on his teammates and… Read more »

bucballer
bucballer(@bucballer)
Reply to  EastEndBoy
10 months ago

I think Tristian Wirfs and Winfield Jr, Fournette, McClendon, AB, Gronk, Johnson would have something to say about ur post! Of course Brady and the Brady effect is real but without the contributions of the above players, I don’t think u find yourself in the SuperBowl. No man is an island. Even if his name is Brady!

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy(@eastendboy)
Reply to  bucballer
10 months ago

I am not suggesting other players on our team are lowsy…nobody makes an NFL roster if they are lowsy. But your post makes my point in spades for me. Look up the stats produced in 2019 from guys like Perriman, Dotson, Howard, Vea (all the guys replaced by the guys you listed as being responsible for our success in 2020) and you’ll see the stats are virtually identical (if not better)….and those 2019 guys had to produce with Winston as their QB. There are also guys that had worse years in 2020 (like Shaq). I’m not suggesting those 2019 guys… Read more »

bucballer
bucballer(@bucballer)
Reply to  EastEndBoy
10 months ago

And ur long winded reply takes us right back to my reply to ur post. Brady came to town and infected the entire organization. Management, Coaches, and his fellow teammates. Brady, surrounded with a very talented and deep roster, has taken the Bucs to the SuperBowl. A legendary Hometown SuperBowl. This most recent draft has produced what may turn out to be the greatest Offensive Lineman in team history. A rookie Defensive Back that may turn out to be a 10 year Starter for this Buccaneer team. Then there is the very talented WR Johnson who is on his way… Read more »

Spitfire
Spitfire(@spitfire)
Reply to  EastEndBoy
10 months ago

Brady came here because of the team Licht has built. Without a solid team to lead there is no chance he would have even thought about coming here. He did his research and knew we were ready to break through with the right leader and here we are. Brady is not the only difference though. His influence has motivated and lifted everyone around him but the everyone has contributed and helped.

BucRy
BucRy(@bucry)
Reply to  EastEndBoy
10 months ago

Wow, so I guess all those players licht drafted/signed has nothing to do with the success of the team this year. Only Arians and Brady cause they don’t need a team to get to this point right? Yeah, screw licht for building a team capable of making it to the super bowl, he had nothing to do with the teams success right?

drdneast
drdneast(@drdneast)
10 months ago

I was watching a film study on the Bucs defense against the Pack and they analyzer was singing the praises of Andrew Adams’ coverage and play on a crucial third down when he swooped down to make the tackle. The guy was impressed about how well prepared a backup safety could be. I have always been an Adams fan since he stepped in to INT the pretentious Cam Newton three times at Ray Jay. He has been cut or waived a couple of times since but he always seems to find himself back on the Bucs roster. Thank god the… Read more »

Spitfire
Spitfire(@spitfire)
Reply to  drdneast
10 months ago

I have always loved Adams’s as well. Ever since then when he came in as a backup his first season here and led the team in INTs, I knew he had somethin to offer. I would prefer Winfield and Edwards or Winfield and Whitehead but having a guy like Adams to step in in priceless. Hopefully they realize that and hold onto him moving forward. Winfield is the key though. He’s only gonna get better but to have a guy that’s great it coverage and at the line? He everything you want in a Safety, but you do need guys… Read more »

Spitfire
Spitfire(@spitfire)
10 months ago

When you look at our roster you realize how great our depth has developed this year. Both guys that existed on this roster and guys we’ve brought in, this team is solid top to bottom. Stinnie will be a great depth piece moving forward but after Haeg stumbled and Shipley got hurt, we will need better Oline depth, but so many depth guys have contributed and filled in this year and it’s been great. I think this off-season we may lose a guy here and there but I think more guys will want to come here and be on an… Read more »

Horse
Horse(@horse)
10 months ago

Yhis year GM gets great credit for what he has done this year and now as I look back, I can also say in 2019 season too! I’m happy it is working out for Jason.

MCBRICKEL
MCBRICKEL(@mcbrickel)
10 months ago

Personnel decisions are difficult. Evaluating talent, managing the cap, judging an interview, when all are on best behavior and identifying the individuals ability, capability of assimilating with the team chemistry. No GM has a perfect record, but ours his grinded it out through highs and lows and put us in a Super Bowl and left us with a bright future. What more can we ask?

scubog
scubog(@scubog)
10 months ago

It just amazes me that no matter what the results are, folks are so insistent on justifying their often incorrect perceptions and trying to advance their worn out agenda. Here, Jason Licht’s team has reached a point in which 30 other teams could not. Yet, the naysayers are still unable to give at least some credit to the GM who has reached everyone’s ultimate goal. When all one can do is find fault in an endeavor (building a roster) that for him and his peers (other GM’s) is always imperfect, they have no credibility. All GM’s make drafting errors and… Read more »

owlykat
owlykat(@owlykat)
10 months ago

The key to understanding and appreciating Licht is he evaluated talent for the Patriots as a Scout and was able to find diamonds in the rough who Bellichick could develop. But until we got BA our other Coaches could not develop talent. Licht and BA together are a potent team capable of getting to the Super Bowl with Brady!

Mb Nfl Double Your First Deposit Football Team Vs Bucs Pewter 728x90 Jpg