2014 Wrap-up  

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (credit: chatsports.com)

The 2014 season was expected to deliver hope to a fan base that has been trying to grasp a foothold since Jon Gruden was acquired from Oakland.  A roster stocked with names at key positions and plentiful cap dollars led many to covet the job that ultimately was offered to Lovie Smith. Lovie was bringing his patented “Tampa 2” methodology to Tampa and had fellow cohort Leslie Frazier now available to coordinate the unit.  That left the offensive Coordinator as the missing piece of the puzzle. 

Many in Chicago argued that the offensive issues were what ultimately cost Lovie his position with the Bears, as he moved from Terry Shea to Ron Turner to Mike Martz and then Mike Tice. Lovie spent the 2013 season away from the game and when the rumors started about him taking command of the Buccaneers it was sold as a package deal with former University of California Head Coach Jeff Tedford.  Tedford may be best known for developing 1st round picks Trent Dilfer, Joey Harrington, and Aaron Rodgers, while also working with Akili Smith, David Carr, and Kyle Boller

Unfortunately, that hope quickly dissolved as Tedford’s health became an issue and the OC was never able to take charge of the unit, leaving first time NFL coach and Tedford picked QB coach Marcus Arroyo to function as the primary playcaller.  Despite the hand-picked QB, proven weapons like Vincent Jackson and Doug Martin, dynamic young players in Mike Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins, and the boost that should have come from veteran OL Logan Mankins, the group floundered all season.  The result was a unit finished dead last in Football Outsiders DVOA. Starting Center and free agent signing Evan Dietrich-Smith referred to the group as a “toy without directions”.  Tampa clearly was looking for a change moving forward and Coach Tedford and the Bucs mutually parted ways on Dec 5th and Tedford ultimately became the Head Coach of the British Columbia Lions in the CFL.  

2015 Coaching Changes

The Buccaneers stayed within the NFL South to fill their OC vacancy, selecting former Atlanta Falcons OC Dirk Koetter for the role.  That moved was quickly followed by the firing of Marcus Arroyo as the Bucs move on from the Tedford “era”.  Tampa added former University of Tennessee Offensive Coordinator Mike Bajakian as their QB coach and surrounded Koetter with a new Offensive Quality Control, Andrew Weidinger, and Assistant Offensive Line Coach, Butch Barry.  One of the suggested reasons for the selection of Koetter is his vertical passing game philosophy and how that can pair with long, vertical weapons like Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans.   In an interview with internal Bucs media, Koetter outlined 4 of his 10 principles for an effective offense:

1.       Limit Turnovers

2.       Create Explosive Plays

3.       Avoid Sacks

4.       Win on 3rd Down


2015 Roster Changes (as of 3/8/2015)

As the end of the 2014 season approached, Tampa moved quickly to lock up 3rd WR Louis Murphy to a 3 year extension, giving Koetter and the QB 4 stable weapons to work with this offseason.  That QB, however, is very much in question as the Buccaneers saved $4.25M by releasing Josh McCown on February 11th, leaving only Mike Glennon on the roster at the moment.  Other rumored potential Cap Casualties would come in the forms of OT Anthony Collins, DE Michael Johnson, and P Michael Koenen, but none of those moves have been made to date.

At this point the Bucs have only resigned DC Mike Jenkins, DE Larry English, DS Major Wright, LB Jason Williams, TE Luke Stocker and extended a tender offer to one RFA, LB Danny Lansanah.

With a projected $33.2M available in 2015 Cap Space, the Bucs will need to decide on what to do with their remaining free agents which include:

UFAs: DE Da’Quan Bowers, DE Adrian Clayborn, OT Oniel Cousins, DE Larry English, LB Dane Fletcher, LB Mason Foster, DC Mike Jenkins, DE Lawrence Sidbury, TE Luke Stocker, LB Jason Williams, DS Major Wright

RFAs: DC Leonard Johnson , RB Bobby Rainey

ERFAs: FB Jorvorskie Lane, LB Danny Lansanah, DS Bradley McDougald

Let’s take a position by position look at the Tampa Bay roster. Positions are ordered by overall need.