The PewterReport.com Roundtable features the opinions of the PR staff as it tackles a topic each week that involves the Bucs.

This week’s topic: Which Bucs Player Has Underperformed In 2019?

Scott Reynolds: OLB Carl Nassib

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 1-1 and the good news for the team is that several star players on offense and defense aren’t playing up to their potential just yet. While some have stepped up, like wide receiver Chris Godwin, who leads the Bucs with 11 catches for 174 yards and two touchdowns, and outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett, who has all four of Tampa Bay’s sacks, the team is waiting for others to make their initial impact in 2019 when the New York Giants come to town this Sunday.

Bucs OLB Carl Nassib – Photo by: Mary Holts/PR
Bucs OLB Carl Nassib – Photo by: Mary Holts/PR

One of the Bucs players that have underachieved has been outside linebacker Carl Nassib, who has just four tackles through two games. Nassib, who was voted as a team captain for the first time in Tampa Bay this year, ranks tied for seventh on the team in tackles, and has yet to record a sack, a pass breakup or a forced fumble or fumble recovery. Nassib had a career-high 6.5 sacks last season in his first year in Tampa Bay after being claimed off waivers from Cleveland.

Now playing in a pivotal contract year, Nassib is hoping to top that sack number and cash in on a big extension in Tampa Bay or a big contract elsewhere in free agency in 2020. With Barrett likely to draw a lot of attention from the Giants after his three-sack performance in Carolina last Thursday night, Nassib might be able to take advantage of one-on-one blocks on Sunday and get to rookie quarterback Daniel Jones. The sooner the better for Nassib.

Mark Cook: WR Mike Evans

The easy pick would be tight end O.J. Howard, and yes, he has underwhelmed to say the least. But Mike Evans’ slow start is even more worrisome.

Coming off a 1,524-yard Pro Bowl season in 2018, most expected Evans to pick up where he left off last year. But through two games, Evans has just six receptions for 89 yards. And nearly half of his yardage total came on one reception last Thursday night on a 41-yard deep pass from Jameis Winston. Take that pass away, and disappointing becomes downright concerning.

Bucs WR Mike Evans and QB Jameis Winston
Bucs WR Mike Evans and QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

To be fair to Evans, he did play Week 1 dealing with flu-like symptoms, and last Thursday night he was matched up with Carolina’s James Bradberry, a cornerback that has been a thorn in his side. Still, Evans had an opportunity to come down with a touchdown pass in the first half of the Panthers game that he catches nine out of 10 times.

And also to be fair, the Bucs offense is still far from firing on all cylinders. New offensive coordinator Bryon Leftwich is still finding his footing as a play-caller, and the Bucs are still trying to establish their identity offensively.

It is still early, and history suggests that Evans won’t keep up this slow pace. With five straight 1,000-yard season in his first five seasons in the league, Evans didn’t forget how to play football. Now it is up to Leftwich, Winston and head coach Bruce Arians to not forget they have one of the best receivers in the NFL.

Trevor Sikkema: TE O.J. Howard

“The easy pick would be tight end O.J. Howard.”

Yeah Mark, and it’s also the right pick.

Through two games, Howard is on pace to have career lows in everything; catches, yards, touchdowns, yards per reception. Not to mention the fact that Howard was the cause of two costly turnovers in the red zone in Week 1 that ended up biting the Buccaneers in the worst way, resulting in a loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

Bucs TE O.J. Howard - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs TE O.J. Howard – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Howard has been on the field plenty. He played in 80 percent of the team’s offensive snaps in Week 1 and 92 percent of the snaps in Week 2. The only two skill players who have a higher percentage of snaps through two games are Chris Godwin and Mike Evans – and Howard is playing right around the same amount of snaps as Evans.

Through two games Howard has the worst Pro Football Focus grade of his career at 29.7 overall. This includes both receiving and blocking.

I’m certainly nowhere near ready to give up on Howard, as he is still one of the most talented tight ends in the game. But talent and production are two different things, and right now Howard is not producing.

Taylor Jenkins: ILB Devin White

After being selected with the fifth overall pick in this year’s draft, inside linebacker Devin White was expected to step in and immediately become Tampa Bay’s signal-caller on defense, in addition to being a leader on and off of the field while replacing Kwon Alexander, who was lost to free agency this past offseason.

These are some hefty expectations to throw on a rookie’s shoulders, but they’re the expectations that come with drafting a middle linebacker at such a premier draft spot. White has also — through no fault of his own — been hampered by a series of unfortunate circumstances to start his NFL career.

Bucs ILB Devin White
Bucs ILB Devin White – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

White dealt with a case of tonsillitis that impacted his ability to eat and stay hydrated heading into Week 1 and suffered a knee injury that forced the first-year linebacker to leave the Bucs’ Week 2 matchup in just the first quarter.

While accumulating six total tackles against the 49ers in Week 1, White was far from the game-changing talent that Tampa Bay believes he can be. In Week 2 he assisted on just two tackles before exiting the contest.

Veteran Kevin Minter was serviceable in White’s absence, but the Bucs’ didn’t spend a top-5 pick on the position for serviceable play. White’s status for Week 3 is still up in the air, but Bucs’ fans will be looking for the rookie to return with a vengeance once he’s back to 100 percent.

Matt Matera: WR Breshad Perriman

Wide receiver Breshad Perriman came to the Bucs with a reputation of having a ton of speed but not the best hands, and so far he’s lived up to that. The Bucs have tried to get Perriman the ball, as he has nine targets on the season, but the results have not been what anyone has wanted.

The veteran wide receiver was signed by Tampa Bay to bring speed and the ability to separate, but so far he hasn’t been able to get much separation despite how fast he is. Perriman has trouble making catches even when he’s open, as he was in the end zone last week at Carolina, and he hasn’t been able to make any type of contested catch either when a defender is on him.

Bucs WR Breshad Perriman
Bucs WR Breshad Perriman – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Perriman had just two catches for 10 yards in the Bucs’ opener and followed that up with a goose egg in their Thursday night game. He also had a touchdown pass go right through his hands in the end zone against the Panthers that would have put the Bucs up two scores with one quarter to go. Perriman absolutely should have caught that pass, and the following missed field goal on the next play made his drop sting even more.

If Perriman continues to struggle catching the ball, the Bucs will be put in a bind as the opposing defense can start planning to doubling Mike Evans or designing other ways to limit Chris Godwin. The Bucs may also start considering giving some more playing time to Justin Watson or Bobo Wilson instead. Perriman still has a great amount of speed, but it’s the rest of his game that needs to be picked up.

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Scott Reynolds is in his 24th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his son's Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]

38 COMMENTS

  1. yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes.

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  2. Nassib will make plays, the defense as a whole will improve, my biggest concern is O.J. he helps unlock the rest of offense. They could be more creative with dictating coverage & match ups, is it him or play calling & scheme. probably both. Both of our OT’s worry me, & the amount of flags, pre snap flags! Grrrrrr.

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    • Poor Scheme,Poor Play Call! We know Mike Evans is All Pro, O.J. Howard when healthy Baller, Chris Godwin Pro Bowler given the opportunity. Leftwhich needs to design plays that utilize the skill set of these players. The only one on this list we know can’t Ball is Perriman. He’s making 4mil this year that’s more than Godwin, more than Nassib, and more than O.J. The only reason why it’s disappointing is because he’s a 1st rd talent who’s always Underperformed.

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    • With our T play, or lack thereof, he’s been forced to stay in and block much of the time. If we want to get him involved in the passing game we will need some quicker routes as our Ts can’t pass block to save their lives.

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  3. Given the fact that three of these on the list are receivers, I do not feel we can omit the Offensive line as a unit. The O-line has not afforded the time for an effective passing game. Especially deep route plays that Evans and Periman are best suited for. The O-Line must step up.

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    • sadly, that’s not disappointing though…it’s exactly as expected.

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    • Dont think the OL has actually played as bad as people think.

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      • I tend to agree. We’ve played two teams with strong front seven’s and the offensive line needed the help that they got. I’m hoping that with the weaker Giant front seven, we will see more production from the receivers as a whole.

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  4. I agree with everything here. Perriman has been a disappointment, but maybe that will change once the offense gets in a rhythm.

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  5. I’d have to say Justin Evans, because he hasn’t performed at all. I high second round pick everyone hyped as a future pro bowler, has made a career on I.R. so far. When he was healthy I think he made like two plays. Cut him, no one would claim him, and if he ever does get healthy sign him for a fraction of what he’s making on I.R..

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    • and yes

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    • I am not ready to give up on Evans. But Evans will have a role as a nickel and dime defender which is a pretty low bar. :/

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    • Surfer, the best ability is availability. I love that saying. It works in business too.

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  6. Yep, all of em. Imagine how we would do if they all flipped the switch!

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  7. Based on your picks which I agree with, the biggest disappointment is Devin White since he went highest in the draft. Nassib was cut by another team, but Devin White, Mike Evans and OJ are all 1st round picks.

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  8. Perriman is showing us why he was cut. My vote for the most disappointing player is White. I am going to give him some time to show me that I am wrong, but from where I sit, Our first three picks in this last year’s draft are busts.

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    • I may be stupid, or something, but….. Are you saying this year’s draft or last year’s? Last year included Vita Vea. FAR from bust. This year, too early to tell. However, in the first three picks is Mike Edwards, he’s been pretty damn good. As far as White goes, played sick in one game, got hurt in the other. Maybe we should give the kid at least a few healthy games before we start throwing around the bust label

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  9. Ya know I kinda got to throw the red flag on this article. Team’s only played 2 games, new defensive scheme, new offensive scheme, 10-12 new starters, and a 29 new coaches coordinators assistants. Yet here we sit evaluating who is underperforming? Does anyone think Mike Evans isn’t going to draw a lot of attention. Hey Winston only has 402 yrds passing in 2 games, we have run the ball far more times and the new sensation Shaq is a sack machine. Who predicted that? Give them a chance to settle in an get a few games under their belts. So far I am satisfied with the energy, team play, and scheme but not ready to pass judgement on individual performances until they have a lot more playing time on film. Go Buc’s

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  10. Devin White was ill last week and only two games into his rookie season and should not be on this list its things like this that made me leave this publication in the first place

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    • OMG….get a grip partner.

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    • Welcome jonnyG. It’s comical to me how folks here criticize a player’s performance when he was sick and perhaps shouldn’t have even played week 1 and got hurt and couldn’t play week 2. Not doubt they are the same ones who criticized him being drafted in the first place.

      In spite of the 1-1 record, there are a few who so far have not met our expectations and a few who have been a pleasant surprise. To even throw this out there after a mere two weeks is ridiculous. We aren’t 2-0 and the talk of the league like the mirage (you know about those) that fooled us the first two games of last season. So for me, let’s wait until the bye week before we start wagging the “fickle finger of fate” at these youngsters.

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  11. im surprised by the amount agreeing with Devin White but you have to give him some slack dont you? Week 1 was the rookies first game and the second one saw him leaving early due to an inury. You have to put him on this list just cause of the expectations but its been about 5 quarters for white. Its definately Evans and Howard being veterans in the offense, an offense that hasn’t hit its stride and struggled really.

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    • He sucked in preseason too.

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  12. It’s only 2 games! Nobody but Shaq has really wowed us with their play. Let’s give it a little time to gel. New coaches, new schemes, new players, some rookies, and of course Jameis. As Jameis plays so goes the Bucs. Go Jameis please and go Bucs!

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  13. Agree with all of these.

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  14. Howard has been the most disappointing to me.

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  15. JPP is back in Tampa today, but not at Bucs practice (sideline). Is visiting teammates at USF. I don’t know what is going on, but his is not a good sign!

    @LindseyLamar5
    · 2h
    Great to have my former USF teammate and Super Bowl Champion Jason Pierre-Paul stop by this morning to talk to the team! #GottaLoveTheGame #AlwaysFightThroughAdversity #HornsUp

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    • Mac my uneducated guess is that nothing is going on (yet).

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      • 76Buc, I hope you’re right. Seems odd that that JPP would be in Tampa, pop over and lend support to his USF school mates, but didn’t drop by to do the same for his Buc team mates who will be playing his former team the Giants this weekend. When BA was asked about it, he didn’t think it was a big deal so I’ll go back to sleep. lol. Go Bucs!

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  16. Howard was an elite blocker since coming into the league winning the majority of his blocks.

    The last two games he has been iffy.

    If Howard improves his blocking and pass catching this offense will be special.

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  17. Without question, #1-Winston a huge concern! Season goes as Winston goes, two dropped TD passes doesnt help, but… He is so concerned about not turning over ball, has Zero Moxie. All receivers on this list, don’t throw ball to self. Plus, #2 Leftwich not up to speed yet, and it appears being cautious to limit Winston’s interceptions. Finally, as BA says, “we are a running team”. But OL is average, needs lot of work, ie. OL Draft picks, and RBs also average. What about Melvin Gordon? Is he worth a 2nd or 3rd rd pick? Wonder what they want in trade? what’s fair value? However, Still worried OL aint ready, so do ya believe a better RB changes anything? Guess, biggest underperformers are prior Head coaches who didnt get enough big time talent for OL/DL. i agree with bucballer, best wait and keep enjoying any wins! Draft Big Boys, OL and DL!

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    • Chargers won’t be letting Gordon go for anything less than a 1st, probably.

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  18. I agree with everyone on this list. I’ll give Evans and White a pass though as they have both had issues with illness and injuries. Also, it’s White’s first season as a pro and he carries the added pressure of the green dot so I can see how he could be overwhelmed a little.

    As far as OJ, until our tackle play improves he will probably be kept in to help block and not put up the stats we all have come to expect from him. Nassib should see an uptick in stats as focus will now shift to double teaming Shaq. Between Shaq, Vea, and Suh there will be a lot of blocks taken up and should open things up for Nassib. The only problem I see is he was not playing well as an OLB in Cleveland before coming to Tampa. He played well as a DE last year, so I’m worried that maybe he is out of position. Maybe give him a shot at DE to push Gholston for play time and see how it goes?

    Perriman came in with the same problems he’s shown here so far so hopefully with more coaching and time to build more rapport with Winston he will also improve. In the meantime though, I wouldn’t mind seeing J Wat, Bobo, and Scotty Miller get some chances to shine.

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    • If you put Gorilla Glue on Howard’s hands and sent him out onto the field he’d come back stuck to a Gorilla unless he fumbled it away.

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  19. Evans and Howard will be fine, as they are very good players. But their stats will not / cannot match those of prior seasons if the Bucs are going to be a better team in 2019. It is a new offense, yes, but we also have a better defense that is keeping us in games. And we are having more success running the ball to eat up clock and play keep away from the other team. We all recognize that many of Evans’ (and Howard’s for that matter) came in the final quarters when we were down by multiple TD’s and Winston had to pass 50 times/game. But if we are only throwing 30 times/game and keeping is closer to the vest, then the math suggests Evans will not be getting 1,500 yards. These guys will still have decent stats, but to compare vs last year’s stats will be a losing battle if the Bucs truly are going to be better this year. I’d rather have Evans have 800 yards and win more games than to have him get 1,600 yards and be in the running for a top 5 pick again. Go Bucs!

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  20. So this is the topic after two games?

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  21. It’s been 2 games. How about we wait at least a quarter of the season before an article like this? This is very premature in my opinion. Let’s be fans, and see how this new system on both sides of the ball develops. There’s a LONG way to go.

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  22. Agreed, OneM24. Two games hardly provide trends and patterns. Maybe after 10 games, you’ll have a body of work to review. A bit surprised the staff of PR actually did this piece. They seem above this type of mistake

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