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It’s always difficult to make season-ending grades for a team that had so much potential and didn’t quite live up to it. Of course we’re talking about the 2017 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – the team that was featured on Hard Knocks and expected to make the playoffs for the first time since 2007. The end result was a disappointing 5-11 record.

On one hand, you have the shortcomings. You convinced yourself of what could have been with a roster or unit and when things don’t measure up to it, you automatically think that it has to be a failure as a result. But, on the other hand, there are still good things that were done. The Bucs did win some football games in 2017, and even in some of their losses, certain players and position were able to show exactly what they’re capable of.

So how do you balance out each? Well, that’s what PewterReport.com is here to do. On the next few pages we’ll go over each positional unit on the Buccaneers and grade out their performances form 2017 as a whole, both versus their potential and in the reality of how they performed for their team. Let’s start with Tampa Bay’s offense.

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About the Author: Trevor Sikkema

Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: trevor@pewterreport.com
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Mike.Seven
3 years ago

After watching the Titans beat KC and how Marcus Mariota has won his first playoff game from behind, Thinking about management decisions to hire Lovie Smith Winston instead of Mariota Dirk Koetter, keeping whole staff after bad season
it seems the management of this team are pure stupid or they want to be the bottom team on purpose to keep salaries down . It is sad because I really am a Buc fan, but it so hard to watch these morons run this team.

Pete Wood
Reply to  Mike.Seven
3 years ago

And, who tipped that first TD “pass” to the Titans QB?

cgmaster27
Reply to  Mike.Seven
3 years ago

Yup a whopping 57% of his passes completed with an interception, and what any fan with eyes viewed as a fumble. His TD pass to himself was all luck and the reason the Titans won this game was a running game and defense. But you keep telling yourself it was His masterful 200 yard performance that won it for them.

Naplesfan
Reply to  cgmaster27
3 years ago

You Winston fan boys just don’t get it. A quarterback got his team to the playoffs, and everybody in the entire NFL world including all the major media writers, along with the man’s teammates on the Titans, all credited this player as the man of the game, was lauded by others like Peter King for the offensive performance of the entire wild card playoff weekend … and all you want to do is focus on the glass half full. Your unreasoned defense of Winston no matter what compels you to write like a brainless fanboy in complete contravention of what… Read more »

Reynaldo Viera
Reply to  Naplesfan
3 years ago

Mariota had no business making it to the playoffs. He was the 27th ranked QB in QBR and threw 13tds to 15ints. But yes the Bucs made a mistake drafting Winston because Mariota won a playoff game where the officiating was a joke, the Chiefs choked, his running back was phenomenal and his defense allowed 0 nada points in the 2nd half. But yes your absolutely right Mariota is the reason they won the game and he’s the reason they made to the playoffs. That defense, that running game, and that Oline had very minimal impact it was all Mariota.… Read more »

TBAtlas
Reply to  Naplesfan
3 years ago

I didn’t downvote you because I’m some FSU homer. I downvoted you because I can’t believe how amazingly wrong you are top to bottom on Mariota’s performance both this year and in the wild card round. Mariota played 15 games and went for 3,232 yards on 62% completion percentage with 13 TDs and 15 Ints. Winston beat him in basically every important category this year with less games and on a shittier team. You don’t have to be a homer to realize that Mariota had a very down year and wasn’t playing anywhere near a playoff-worthy level. Such play showed… Read more »

Horse
3 years ago

Trevor, thank you. Not bad; I thought you were a little too kind on a few grades, unless you were give a handicap due to coaching ? Was that your intentions?

Horse
Reply to  Horse
3 years ago

giving not give

Naplesfan
Reply to  Horse
3 years ago

The grades given were on average one full grade too generous. When a team goes 5-11, that means nobody gets a grade higher than a c.

TBAtlas
Reply to  Naplesfan
3 years ago

A team’s record has nothing to do with a unit’s performance. Absolutely nothing. They either played well or they didn’t.

FLyBoy
Reply to  Horse
3 years ago

Horse, I agree that Trevor was feeling a little magnanimous on some of these grades.

DCGoth
3 years ago

Grades were way too generous. I only hope it due to, as you mention, the difficulty of evaluating positions after the season the pretty much ended shortly after Irma.

scubog
3 years ago

The grades are right in line with how our groups as a whole would compare to other teams. We all know the obvious weaknesses and strengths. I for one rely more on what I really see than what Football Focus tells me I see. I also see the potential, which is a word that means you haven’t done anything yet, of a few developing players. I see other youngsters whose potential is more wishful thinking on my part, who need to be replaced. The ones that really annoy me are the veteran free agents who just rarely live up to… Read more »

Horse
Reply to  scubog
3 years ago

Scubog, spot on!

Mike.Seven
3 years ago

The whole character level of this team shows years of poor management from the top if you really want comparison just watch the other teams in playoffs this year, the problem looks like the smart owner of this team died left the team to spoon feed fools. Not sure I can stomach another year of this carnival !

surferdudes
3 years ago

I thought the grades were a bit generous. Drafting the N.D. guard, or the Ohio St center wouldn’t be bad in the first round if Chubb is off the board. We need to build both lines up this off season. Anyone know who the best F.A. guards, and centers might be? Same for D ends, and D.T.’s. Might do well picking up another F.A. corner. Coaches, or coaching something needs to be tried. Approach to practice, how this team practices, some things need to be changed, or at least tried. How about letting Monkin game plan, and play call during… Read more »

macabee
Reply to  surferdudes
3 years ago

Surferdudes, two names – Center Weston Richburg/Giants and LG Andrew Norwell/Panthers who made the PFF All-Pro team. Among offensive guards with 170-plus pass-block snaps, Norwell finished second in pass-blocking efficiency at 98.3. Unless the Bucs take LG Quenton Nelson in the draft, this is a the type of FA that makes a difference. These are top UFAs. Richburg will probably make it to FA as the Giants (cap space) can’t keep both he and OT Justin Pugh. Norwell is not likely to make it unless he insists on testing the market. Jason Licht’s strategy of waiting to the end of… Read more »

Wadeless
3 years ago

I don’t see how the RBs couldn’t get a D or an F. Martin had a measly 3 yard per carry average and was a total disaster being showed up by Barber and Rogers who averaged closer to 4 yards per carry. There is no extra gear for any of our RB’s, and while I think we keep Barber as a strong 2nd string player there is no way he is a starter. The other major beef I have is OT and the review of Smith’s performance. Are you guys watching the same games? Smith has been an absolute and… Read more »

BucsJam
3 years ago

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy reading these as much as the next guy, BUT:

these grades don’t reflect anything of validity because positional groups don’t work in a vacuum. Meaning that how a QB plays is highly dependent on a number of factors including how the Oline plays, how the RBs play, the plays called etc.

So trying to grade one positional group unto itself is just an exercise in futility because the groups are too inter-connected.

e
e
3 years ago

Trevor, I like the idea of moving Marpet back to center and drafting Ohio St. C – Billy Price. So goes the OL, so goes the rest of the offense. I hope the Bucs are going to having a heavy DL-OL draft.

BrianDorry55
3 years ago

Man if Our DEs were a D, what do you gotta do to score and F around here!? Not show up for the games?

FLBoy84
3 years ago

Understand your reluctance to grade D Smith harsher at LT, but potential and flashes don’t equal production. Besides skill level, what separates the best from the rest is the internal drive to dominate and refusal to lose. Smith has the skills, but not the latter. He reminds me a lot of Donald Penn when he was here. In Penn’s case it took a release to wake him up and put a permanent chip on his shoulder to elevate his play consistently. Hopefully Litch can get Smith some legitimate competition for his spot and see if that’s enough to kick in… Read more »

FLBoy84
3 years ago

Side note, would be an interesting case study to compare the rosters of Tenn and TB and the moves that’ve been made by Robinson and Licht since Robinson took over as GM in Tenn in 2016.

Buc 1976
3 years ago

I had the opportunity to see Barber play at Auburn.
I can’t remember who they played but he had a great game. If given the chance we might have a good RB. IMO

Chad Spitza
3 years ago

Overall pretty agreeable grades, a lot of units showed streaks of both good and bad. Lastly, you are telling me that if the DE’s were an essay, you wouldn’t fail them? Haha good read Tre

drdneast
3 years ago

Cgmaster, I couldn’t have stated the facts better. BrianDorrey, I has e to agree with u. Do the TE’s get a D for just showing up.other than that D, I thought grades were pretty fair. I was one of those who supported keeping Martin but I now think he has lost his conviction AFTER signing that big contract. Time to say bye unless he wants tho sign for much less with a lot of incentives packed into the deal. I was never in favor of moving Market to center like a lot of the people who post out here were.… Read more »

scubog
Reply to  drdneast
3 years ago

What these guys do DrD is watch on TV and follow the ball because that’s what the telecast shows. Maybe they should atttend a game once in a while and watch the O-line first hand. If they see a flag on the ground and it’s on Donovan Smith, who has the toughest assignment of his linemates, for some reason they give it more critique than the ones called on the rest of the O-line. When they see Jameis holding onto the ball trying to salvage the play they think the O-line, and in particular Donovan Smith, should keep the opponent… Read more »

Horse
Reply to  scubog
3 years ago

Scubog, I agree with you about Smith. I also think Marpet will be much improved this year at Center. At OG is another story. I can see same starting RG staying because 2017 was all about getting back up to his previous playing shape. LG is a big issue, but I would be very surprised if we didn’t address it via Free Agency and also select a future guard in the lower rounds. We just have too much of a need for DE’s and another CB; I hope in the early rounds that’s where we improve our Defense. What’s your… Read more »

jackpc
3 years ago

All in all, excellent grading for the team. Can’t disagree with the problem areas and how to improve them. Bucs should avoid making splashy free agent moves. Teams that win free agency are hardly guaranteed playoffs. They need a solid players or two or three who are not necessarily looking for their retirement money. Drafting a top overall defensive end that can be BOTH an edge rusher and play every down is a key need. So is a defensive stalwart cornerback. Bradley Chubb (DE) of North Carolina and Ronnie Harrison (S) of Alabama will be highly sought prospects at their… Read more »

owlykat
3 years ago

Licht did a poorer job this year than Richardson, who likely propped up Licht before he left and made the difference getting the Titans into the play offs this year. Licht was surpassed by every GM in our Division this year. He needed to be fired but instead got an extension from our naive owners. Smith plays like a second pick LT when we need a first pick LT like most good NFL LTs. Move Smith to LG this year and he will be an All Pro there in this year. Take a Center in the third round and a… Read more »

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