The second half of the season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was kind of bizarre last year, because much of it was consumed by speculation that Jon Gruden, the coach who led this team to its only Super Bowl title, might be re-assuming the reins. And that had to be very uncomfortable position for the incumbent head coach, Dirk Koetter, to find himself in. At the end of the day, Koetter kept his job and Gruden headed off to the Oakland Raiders. But his job security is virtually nonexistent, and the Bucs will be under fire right from the get go without their starting quarterback for the first three games, as VietBet customers are well aware.
2018 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Saints Odds:
In the NFL futures odds that have been posted on the Buccaneers by the folks at VietBet, they are +1000 to win the NFC South, +3300 to emerge as the NFC champions, and +7500 to win the Super Bowl.
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2018 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Odds and Betting Preview
Jameis Winston had a taxing 2017 campaign, as he suffered a shoulder injury, tried to play through it, and finally had to sit down for a while. Now, he has to serve a three-game suspension for some bad off-the-field behavior. Winston turned the ball over 18 times last season, but his arm can make a lot of plays that other quarterbacks can’t. It’s just a good thing that Tampa Bay held onto Ryan Fitzpatrick, the peripatetic quarterback who had to step in after Winston went down last year and threw for 1303 yards and seven touchdowns.
Running back Doug Martin is now a member of the Raiders, but since he averaged only 2.9 yards per carry less season and is injury-prone, we wonder how much of a loss that really is. Besides, it is time for the Buccaneers to break in a guy who could become their new franchise runner. Ronald Jones, out of USC, is a very interesting proposition as a second-round selection. He could obviate the need for a “committee” approach if he can get out of the gate early, something that might be of particular need without Winston the lineup.
While the Bucs finished ninth in the league in yards gained on offense, they allowed more yardage per contest (378) than any other NFL team. So obviously that got a lot of attention in the off-season. There were plenty of defensive linemen added; Jason Pierre-Paul, who was once one of the NFL’s better pass rushers when he was with the New York Giants, might start at one of the defensive end positions. Two members of the very deep Philadelphia Eagles defensive line are also coming aboard, as Beau Allen and Vinny Curry come to Tampa Bay. And the first-round draft pick was Vita Vea, a 350-pound monster out of the University of Washington.
The Bucs had a lot of picks in the first three rounds; they brought in MJ Stewart, a corner out of North Carolina and Carlton Davis, another corner from Auburn, both on the second round, with safety Jordan Whitehead of Pittsburgh coming via the fourth round. All of them will compete for playing time, but with Brent Grimes and Vernon Hargreaves in the fold, Tampa Bay ideally isn’t in real bad shape when it comes to dealing with wideouts from the cornerback position.
Jones looks like he might be somebody who can solve Tampa Bay’s problems in developing a consistent ground game. And it looks like they are looking to rotate a lot of defensive lineman around, which was part of the Eagles’ formula for success. If they don’t get behind the eight ball right away without Winston, they’ll improve, but going up against three playoff teams in the same division is going to be a tough nut to crack.
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By Charles Jay
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