Over their 42 years as a franchise, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have never been known for their offense. Even in the rare years when the Bucs were a playoff team, it was the defense that led the way. When you think of the 1979 Bucs, sure, you think of Doug Williams, Ricky Bell and Jimmie Giles. That trio, however, only led the Bucs to the 21st ranked offense in the league. In fact, the Bucs never ranked in the top 15 of the league in offense until 1984, when the Steve Deberg led offense found its stride thanks to two wideouts named Kevin House and Gerald Carter.
In the years where the Bucs had an offense that would be considered to be at least average or better, there was a common theme…there were at least two good targets at wide receiver. In the Vinny Testaverde era, there was Mark Carrier and Bruce Hill putting up big numbers for the Bucs. The Bucs didn’t really have an effective offense again until 2002 when John Gruden came into town. in the super bowl championship year of 2002, the Bucs had the triumvirate of Keyshawn Johnson, Keenan McCardell, and Joe Jurevicius putting up big numbers at wide receiver. Johnson exited next year, and Jurevicius battled injuries the rest of his career, so the success of the Buccaneer offense was short-lived.
Presently, there is little doubt that Mike Evans is a bona fide star at wide receiver. In just three seasons, he’s totaled 238 receptions for 3,578 yards and 27 touchdowns. Vincent Jackson, although on the back-end of his career, was a decent #2 receiver, but he lacked the big play ability that the Bucs so desperately need. Adam Humphries has developed into a nice #3 option, but he’s also not a guy that will stretch the field.
Enter DeSean Jackson. The Bucs signed the veteran speedster to a multi-year deal in March, that will top out at over $10 million per season. Jackson give the Bucs something they have been missing for a while on offense…speed. He registered his fifth 1,000 yard season last year in Washington, averaging 18 yards per reception. Over his nine-year career, Jackson has been one of the league’s best deep threats with an impressive 17.8 yards per reception. Although he has a reputation as being injury prone, Jackson has actually been pretty durable, only missing nine games in his career.
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) April 18, 2017
The Bucs barely missed the playoffs last year with a 9-7 record. If they can get their running back situation straightened out, the offense should take off in 2017. With teams no longer able to focus on Evans, quarterback Jameis Winston, will be able to spread it out with Jackson, Humphries, and tight end Cameron Brate. It would not be shocking if the Bucs didn’t upgrade their receiving core next week early in the draft, as well.
The potential of the 2017 Buccaneer offense has to make head coach Dirk Koetter smile. Despite a young, improving defense, Koetter knows the Bucs will have to score points this season to keep up with the defending NFC champion Atlanta Falcons and the rest of the NFC South. Adding Jackson to the offense is certainly a step in that direction.