The Buccaneers found a playmaker with their first-round pick in 2014, but Mike Evans needed help. That’s why they drafted tight end O.J. Howard in the first round and signed receiver DeSean Jackson in free agency.
Both will open things up for Evans, but the Bucs believe Jackson could become their game-changer.
Tampa Bay had a mere four passes that went for 40 yards or more last season, and it was the league’s only team without a 50-yard or longer pass completion.
“We added some pieces here and there, and not that we’re unhappy with the guys we have because we have a lot of good role players, but speed was No. 1,” Bucs General Manager Jason Licht told Jonathan Jones of Sports Illustrated. “DeSean is one of the fastest guys in the league, one of the best in explosive plays. It’s a big piece.”
The new pieces give Jameis Winston more options and make the Bucs a decent bet to end their nine-year playoff absence. Dick Koetter is the fifth head coach in Tampa Bay since the Bucs last made the postseason in 2007 when Jon Gruden still was making faces on the sideline.
The Bucs announced last week that Gruden will enter their Ring of Honor at halftime of the team’s Dec. 18 game against the Falcons. The Bucs will induct late owner Malcolm Glazer into the Ring during their Oct. 5 game.