Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2014 Record: 2-14, missed playoffs, 0-5 in last five
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1st: 32nd in DVOA* overall offense (31st pass, 31st rush) | 18th in DVOA* overall defense (23rd pass, 8th run)
2nd: Second-worst defense in the NFL against WR1s (8.5 pass attempts per game, 84.7 receiving yards per game), but seventh-best against receiving RBs (7.2 pass attempts, 37.4 yards), according to Football Outsiders’ defense vs. receiver types chart.
3rd: Key loss: LB Mason Foster | Key addition: QB Jameis Winston
4th: It’s a glorious new day in Tampa Bay as top draft pick Jameis Winston is the new quarterback. He already has impressive receiving weapons in place in WRs Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson. Everyone is also making TE Austin Sefarian-Jenkins one of the top sleepers of the year. The passing game, in theory, should open up running lanes for RB Doug Martin. It also doesn’t hurt that the Buccaneers have the easiest, on paper, schedule in 2015. All factors point to improvement for the Buccaneers offense this season, but that won’t be too difficult for the least-effective overall offense in the NFL, which ranked 31st in both passing and running effectiveness, according to DVOA. Defensively, they were in the middle third in the NFL, but they let 100-tackle LB Mason Foster, known for blowing up the run, go to the Bears. This is not a surprise. The Buccaneers have wanted to upgrade from Foster since late in the 2013 season. And he didn’t help his chances by missing seven games in the last two seasons. Bruce Carter is his replacement. Carter had 96 tackles in 2013, but has never played a full 16-game season and has missed nearly an entire season (15 games) in his four-year career. Danny Lansanah was impressive for stretches in 2014, especially in coverage, but had eight games with three or less tackles. Lavonte David, the team’s leading tackler, returns. But they also lost Dashon Goldson, an 80-tackle safety. While the defense may be in a state of flux, that hasn’t stopped teams from making title runs in the past. And one CBS writer thinks the Buccaneers are a candidate to do just that in 2015.
*Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, a Football Outsiders’ advanced NFL metric, measures a team’s performance on a per-play basis. The metric attempts to limit variance and provides a more realistic measurement of how good a team is regardless of matchup or situation, making it a strong indicator of future success. Read more about DVOA.