With Bucs training camp quickly approach the PewterReport.com staff asks – and answers – 15 critical camp questions that need to be answered this August as Tampa Bay prepares to embark on the 2019 season. Over the next 15 days PewterReport.com will offer up its thoughts on the topics that the Bucs will need to sort out in order for the team to be successful this season and possibly compete for a long-awaited playoff berth.
These are the things that the PewterReport.com staff will be following closely in camp, and invite our readers to share their thoughts as well in the comment section.
Bucs’ Critical Camp Question No. 15:
Can Breshad Perriman Effectively Take Over For DeSean Jackson?
Not quite. While DeSean Jackson brought some headaches to Tampa Bay during his two years as a receiver for the Buccaneers, there was never any question about his dynamic speed and explosiveness. And while it didn’t work out as planned, one can’t really blame general manager Jason Licht for rolling the dice on the former Redskins and Eagles standout.
For whatever reason, Jackson and quarterback Jameis Winston never really got on the same page with the deep ball, and while Jackson did put up some solid numbers – 91 receptions, 1,442 yards and seven TDs in 26 games – there are still a lot of “what if” questions that will make fans wonder how much better and more effective Jackson could have been had he and Winston connected more often.
Jackson was traded to Philadelphia in the offseason and the former UCF star and former Ravens and Browns disappointment Breshad Perriman was signed to a one-year, $4 million deal in free agency in March.
Perriman has a history of drops dating back to his college days in Orlando, but came on strong in the second half of 2018 with Cleveland with more secure hands. Perriman finished last year with 16 receptions for 340 yards and two scores, but averaged a whopping 21.3 yards per reception, proving that he has his own set of jets. And while it may not be quite in the class of Jackson, Perriman did reportedly run a 4.25 40-time during his college pro day.
Head coach Bruce Arians does love speedy receivers and while they aren’t necessarily the primary target in his offense, the speed element helps clear out the underneath routes and could keep safeties occupied, giving more primary options like receivers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and tight end O.J. Howard more one-on-one opportunities.
Perriman has yet to prove to be in the same class of receiver as Jackson. His season career high in the NFL is just 33 catches for 499 yards, which is nothing to really brag about, and that came in 2016. While he would give Jackson a run for his money in a foot race, he is far from the complete receiver that Jackson is. Still, the Bucs were wise to sign Perriman, who is at a career crossroads and knows in order to really cash in. He will need to at least come close to the 800-yard mark at the minimum to truly replace Jackson’s production.
Team sources tell PewterReport.com out of all the free agent signings, many in the Bucs’ brass are most excited about Perriman and what he could bring to the table in 2019. From a scheme standpoint, Perriman can absolutely take on Jackson’s role, however if he doesn’t improve his hands and route running then defenses won’t respect his presence on the field. This is a make-or-break year for Perriman, but from every indication from the offseason practices we watched, it looks to be a good signing by the Buccaneers and could end up being a steal by the time the 2019 season wraps up.