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Welcome to the 2021 version of my Bucs Passing Game Production Predictions! Running in place of my typical Wednesday morning Bucs Briefing column, this article will detail where I expect each Bucs pass catcher’s production to finish when the 2021 season ends. Last year, I wasn’t too far off when you account for injuries.

Important to note: these predictions assume a 17-game, healthy season for all players. Because of that, I’m not anticipating much action for rookie wide receiver Jaelon Darden or second-year running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn this season. Obviously injuries will occur, I’m just not trying to predict them in these projections.

Bucs Offensive Skill Players

Quarterback

Tom Brady

Attempts: 619
Completions: 409
Completion Percentage: 66.1 percent

Yards: 5,108
Touchdowns: 36
Interceptions: 9

Many are expecting Brady to eclipse his 40 touchdown passes from a year ago, but those numbers are more random than we like to admit. What can be relied upon is Brady’s yardage totals and completion percentage, both of which I believe will increase from a year ago. With an extra game to work with and a more efficient, pass-heavy offense, Brady should stand out in both areas.

Due to better chemistry with his receivers, I’m guessing Brady’s interception numbers dip a bit, too. Most of the quarterback’s picks last season were the result of miscommunications or being hit as he threw. If the Bucs gel better as a unit this season, Brady’s turnover numbers could dip again. He may not throw 40 touchdowns, but Brady will once again be everything the Bucs hoped he would be.

Wide Receiver

Mike Evans

Catches: 71
Yards: 1,037
Avg: 14.6
TDs: 9

Brady spreads the ball around so much, that expecting a massive season for any one target is probably foolish. In this Tampa Bay offense, everyone will see the football plenty. Evans won’t have any issue with that, especially considering he’ll still be the top big play option for the offense. His yard per catch numbers will come back up a little bit in 2021 after the inconsistencies of last season.

Chris Godwin

Catches: 82
Yards: 1,123
Avg: 13.7
TDs: 7

I expect Godwin to be the volume target in the Bucs offense. As a result, he’ll be the most likely candidate to go over 1,200 yards this season, although I’m predicting he comes up short. Godwin’s all-around game will shine this year as he readies himself for a potentially huge free agency period.

Antonio Brown

Catches: 72
Yards: 905
Avg: 12.6
TDs: 5

I don’t expect Brown’s production to match Evans’ or Godwin’s simply due to his comparatively lower usage, but the former All-Pro can still put up big numbers. Brown will come closer to statistically matching Evans or Godwin than many seem to think. The Bucs’ usage of Brown on bubble screens and the short passing game will keep his yards per catch down, but expect a few more big plays from the 33-year old receiver as well.

Scotty Miller

Catches: 19
Yards: 270
Avg: 14.2
TDs: 2

I feel for the Scotty fans out there, but there just isn’t opportunity for a major role in Tampa Bay right now. Miller’s usage plummeted when Brown joined the team last season. With another year of development for Tyler Johnson, it’s hard to envision Miller getting a ton of snaps this year. Barring injury, of course.

Tyler Johnson

Catches: 22
Yards: 288
Avg: 13.1
TDs: 1

It will be a year of patience for Johnson, who could earn the fourth-most wide receiver snaps by season’s end. This versatility will help get him on the field more often than Miller, although they probably end up with similar numbers across the board. If Johnson can take steps toward consistency for the future, that will be bigger than any numbers the Minnesota product can put up.

Jaelon Darden

Catches: 8
Yards: 94
Avg: 11.8
TDs: 0

Unless there is an injury, don’t expect to see Darden play a ton of offense this season.

Tights Ends

Rob Gronkowski

Catches: 33
Yards: 437
Avg: 13.2
TDs: 6

I am expecting Tampa Bay’s offense to run heavily through their top three wide receivers, which will be another blow to Gronkowski’s production. He’s capable of much more as one of the premier big play tight ends in the NFL. The six touchdowns will be the box score indicator that Gronkowski’s value is still translatable to the stat sheet.

O.J. Howard

Catches: 22
Yards: 289
Avg: 13.1
TDs: 1

Howard needs a big season in a contract year, but it’s hard to be optimistic at this point. Even if Howard were in a better place for target share, I’m not sure that would be best for him right now. He needs to mentally overcome his injured Achilles and stack consistent performances more than anything else this season.

Cameron Brate

Catches: 12
Yards: 120
Avg: 10.0
TDs: 2

Ol’ Reliable will have a cameo or two this season. Brady enjoys Brate’s presence in the red zone, so expect a couple scores from the Bucs No. 3 tight end, at the very least.

Running Backs

Ronald Jones II

Catches: 14
Yards: 119
Avg: 8.5
TDs: 0

It could be a resurgent year for Jones, but I still expect modest returns in the passing game.

Giovani Bernard

Catches: 43
Yards: 348
Avg: 8.1
TDs: 3

Bernard should dominate the reception totals by the Bucs’ backfield this season. If he doesn’t, their running backs were deployed inappropriately.

Leonard Fournette

Catches: 8
Yards: 59
Avg: 7.4
TDs: 0

My bold prediction in here is expecting Fournette to get phased out of the backfield by midseason. He’ll still pick up a handful of carries on the year, but the Bucs would be foolish to offer him much of a role given the rest of the talent on their roster.

Ke’Shawn Vaughn

Catches: 3
Yards: 19
Avg: 6.3
TDs: 0

Do I need to say anything?

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About the Author: Jon Ledyard

Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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DerLutz
10 days ago

The rush TDs would be interesting to know. With close to 2 Rush TD and a FG per game, the bucs would average again about 30 points per game what is realistic

Dude
10 days ago

Yeah, I don’t know… Given there’s an extra game this year, Brady being more healthy, and more comfortable with the offense, I believe the offense gets rolling much sooner this year. I see Brady improving on last years stats, barring an injury, of course. However, I do see the ball getting spread around a little more, so I think your on par for Evans and Godwin. But I have a feeling AB will get most of the additional stats that Brady will increase from last year. That’s where a lot of the ‘new’ production will come from. I also see… Read more »

aredsoxfan1
10 days ago

I see Brady throwing more TD than what Ledyard lists, especially if he throws for 5000+ yards.

Bucco Five
10 days ago

You left “fumbles” off of Vaughn’s stats. With 3 catches, that should put the over/under at 1.5.

Naplesfan
10 days ago

Stupid statement here: Many are expecting Brady to eclipse his 40 touchdown passes from a year ago, but those numbers are more random than we like to admit. Dude! There is nothing the least bit random about scoring touchdowns, especially when it’s the GOAT throwing them to receivers as good as ours. Where do you come up with such crapola? SMH squared. A much better prediction, based upon actual facts, logic and circumstances, comes from Dan Orlovsky of NFL Network, and former Bucs backup – he says TB-12 will throw 51 TDs based upon his average production from the last… Read more »

Freeman Strickland
10 days ago

How good will the Bucs defense be?
With a big lead, will Arians go for game management or biscuits and more biscuits?
If the Bucs defense is not as good as it is expected to be, or, if opposing offenses are better than they are expected to be, necessity may demand higher passing numbers.
However, if the Bucs defense holds Super Bowl contenders to just nine points, can Arians justify airing it out after the Bucs hit thirty points; can he even justify keeping all of the starters in the game?

AL121976
10 days ago

550 Rushing yards total? No way, I don’t think I could agree with that one

AL121976
Reply to  AL121976
10 days ago

Pass yds, sorry makes more sense now

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