4. Establish a reliable running game
You would have to go back to 2015 to find the last time this team really made some noise when it came to the ground attack.
That year, four-year pro Doug Martin finished second in the league in rushing yards (1,402) and the Buccaneers averaged 135.1 yards rushing per outing – fifth-best in the NFL. That number dropped to 101.1 yards per outing one year later and each of the past three seasons the Buccaneers have failed to average at least 100 yards on the ground.
All told, in their last 64 outings dating back to ’15, the club has failed to reach the century mark in more than half (36) of their games.
This past season, running backs Ronald Jones (172) and Peyton Barber (154) combined for 326 of the club’s 409 total running plays. The former ran for 724 yards, the latter 470 yards and each reached the end zone six times. But now Barber is a member of the Washington Redskins.
So can Jones, a second-round pick in 2018, carry a bigger load? He made strides after a rookie campaign in which he played in only nine games and finished with 44 yards on 23 carries.
It would not be a surprise to see the team add a versatile running back in April’s draft. And look for the offense to be a bit more balanced with the new quarterback in town, one that likes to utilize that position in the passing game as well.
Next: No. 3