We’ll continue a series of opponent preview posts for the New Orleans Saints opponents in 2019. Next, we’ll take a look at our second of three NFC South opponents, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Our friends over at Bucs Nation took some time to give us Saints fans the scoop on our division rival.
Week 5 in New Orleans & Week 11 in Tampa
Notable free agent additions:
LB Shaq Barrett, LB Deone Bucannon, WR Breshad Perriman, P Bradley Pinion, DT Ndamukong Suh
6.5 wins - Over. - The Buccaneers have struggled in recent years due to bad coaching. A new coaching staff led by proven head coach Bruce Arians should help Tampa Bay improve from last year’s 5-11 record, and be better than six wins. A different defensive scheme will play a major role in improvements after having horrid defenses in recent seasons.
Most exciting rookie:
Without question, it has to be rookie linebacker and first round pick Devin White. While the Bucs needed help with their pass rush, the selection of White not only fills that need in Todd Bowles’ 3-4 defense but also gives them the much-needed speed from their linebacker group in run and pass coverage.
Position battle to keep an eye on:
The offensive line has been more down than up. And the right guard position has been the most vulnerable of the group. Alex Cappa, Earl Watford, Evan Smith, and Caleb Benenoch are a few names that can be inserted into that role. But there is a lot of work that needs to be done.
Biggest storyline heading into training camp:
Quarterback Jameis Winston is entering a contract year with Tampa Bay under a new coaching staff. Winston has helped carry the Buccaneers offense into several Top 10 rankings in different offensive statistical categories in recent seasons. All that was done under an offensive scheme that demanded low-percentage plays and throws that looked for deep targets first, then short high-percentage throws last. Under Arians’ new offense (with Byron Leftwich as the playcaller), Winston will now have the ability to control the offense and look for short to intermediate routes first. It’ll be interesting to see how and if he can adjust.
Under-the-radar storyline heading into camp:
Sixth rounders typically do not make it through the preseason. Undersized wide receivers that were selected in that round much less. But rookie wide receiver Scotty Miller has a chance to make the roster with his speed and hands. The question will be how his 5’11’’ frame holds up at the NFL level. His chances, however, are fairly decent as the Buccaneers need good depth at the position behind Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.
Notable injuries heading into training camp:
Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul will not only miss camp, but also a good chunk of the regular season. After suffering a neck injury from a car accident in May, Pierre-Paul was told his initial recovery time would take him into the month of November. And under a new defensive scheme, the veteran pass rusher will have to learn the new scheme on the fly when he returns.
Obscure player on the 90-man roster that will be a preseason star (and likely later cut):
Running back Dare Ogunbowale has been a guy that was on and off the active roster and practice squad in 2018 and then later signed a futures contract with the team. He’s a guy that has good hands out of the backfield, and will more than likely have fans fall in love with him this preseason. But with Peyton Barber, Ronald Jones, and Andre Ellignton, Ogunbowale may just be another product of a crowded position and be a final roster cut as the preseason ends.
The Buccaneers seem to be the bottom of the division, but divisional games are always tough, no matter team record.
So what says you, you unbiased Saints fans? Can the Saints take care of business against Tampa? Vote in the poll. Explain in the comments. And make sure you also check out DraftDividends.com, a website for a new book I’m writing currently titled Draft Picks and Dividends: A Fantasy Football Player’s Guide to Understanding the Stock Market.
How will the Saints fare against the Bucs?
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Win at home, lose on the road
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