Last season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense showed some flashes of potential that has led the team to believe the future of their offense is in good hands with Pro Bowl quarterback Jameis Winston, Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin, and former offensive coordinator turned head coach Dirk Koetter. The potential of having one of the best offenses in the league has made the Bucs, who ranked fifth in the NFL a year ago with over 6,000 yards, one of the most popular NFL betting picks.
Going into the season, fans were eager to see what the young trio of Winston, Martin, and wide receiver Mike Evans could do. Unfortunately, injuries prevented all three of them from taking the field at the same time for most of the season.
When Evans was injured, Winston had to rely on Vincent Jackson and Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the first two games. Jackson and Seferian-Jenkins, who had four catches for 110 yards and a career-high two touchdowns, did a good job filling in for Evans, and if they can continue performing at high levels next season, the Bucs will be a scary offense to face.
Seferian-Jenkins will likely have a bigger role in the offense than Jackson next season because he is 10 years younger than Jackson and is one of the few tight ends that can block well and catch. Since he only played in seven games last season because of injuries, the team will have to have a backup plan in place in case the injury bug continues to bite Seferian-Jenkins, and that figures to be Cameron Brate, who had three touchdowns in his second year in the NFL.
Bucs TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
In limited action last season, Seferian-Jenkins, a second-round pick from Washington, showed fans and coaches that he can be an impact player when he is healthy. With the league falling in love with pass-catching tight ends, Seferian-Jenkins is a commodity the Bucs will plan on using for years to come.
Last season, Seferian-Jenkins caught a career-high four touchdowns in seven games and averaged 16.1 yards per catch. Seferian-Jenkins is 6’5” and runs a 40 yard dash in 4.56 seconds. If he can stay healthy, he will make Tampa Bay’s offense very hard to defend against.
Having a healthy Evans and Jackson on the field at the same time will take some attention away from Seferian-Jenkins, which will give him plenty of room to operate in the middle of the field. The Tampa Bay coaches knew how important Seferian-Jenkins will be to their offense in the future, which is why they didn’t rush him back from his injuries. Last season, the Bucs were fifth in total yardage, but were 20th in points scored per game.
A big reason why Tampa Bay was unable to get points when it was in the red zone was because it didn’t have a big target like Seferian-Jenkins on the field. If he is healthy, he will improve the Bucs red zone offense significantly and help them improve their scoring average from last year.
In addition to re-signing Doug Martin, the Bucs also have Charles Sims in the backfield. Sims, who is an excellent pass catcher will be used on passing downs and will give the Bucs another option on offense, which means defenses will have to account for Sims, Jackson, Evans, and Seferian-Jenkins in the passing game at the same time. That’s Koetter’s dream lineup.
If the Bucs can add a solid No. 3 receiver before the start of the season, it will give Winston yet another offensive weapon to work with. Even without a solid No. 3 receiver, Tampa Bay has a lot of offensive weapons and will be one of the most entertaining teams to watch next season.