Season review The 2019 season will go down as one of real Jekyll & Hyde performances on the field.  One week looking like world beaters on offense or defense, the next week making mistakes all over the places and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.   The end result was another losing season and three games out of the wild card positions but there was no real point when the team looked like ever being playoff contenders. The year began with the appointment as expected of Bruce Arians as the 12th head coach in franchise history replacing Dirk Koetter.  Arians brought in an experienced staff with no less than 26 people on the full coaching roster.   Former Jets head coach Todd Bowles arrived to take over the defense and former Bucs QB Byron Leftwich became the Offensive Co-ordinator, 10 years after he suited up behind center. The draft brought more defensive talent with the fifth overall pick being used on LSU LB Devin White who proved to be everything he was touted in the middle of the defense.  More secondary selections were made with two cornerbacks and another safety arriving to bolster a unit that was torched throughout the previous year.   Long- time defensive captain Gerald McCoy was allowed to leave to join division rivals Carolina with Ndamukong Suh, selected one spot ahead of McCoy in the 2010 draft, arriving to take his place on the defensive line.  A little noticed free agency signing was former Denver LB Shaq Barrett arriving on a one-year deal. The on-field offensive story of 2019 was Jameis Winston who set a franchise record with 5,109 yards passing and led the NFL in that category, but who also became the first player in league history to throw 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in the same season.   Seven of those picks were returned for touchdowns and at least two of the Bucs’ losses could be hung on his shoulders.   The fan base was totally divided on him being a saviour or a sinner and he finished the 2019 season with his long-term future in Tampa once more up in the air. Both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin had monster receiving seasons and were selected to the Pro Bowl but there was disappointment elsewhere on offense with a lack of a consistent running game and no real other threats outside of those two, although Breshad Perriman had three straight 100-yard games when injuries left him as the only viable receiving threat in the final month of the season. The defense began to look much better in the second half of the year as the young secondary progressed through its growing pains.   But the story was Shaq Barrett who led the NFL with 19.5 sacks and set a franchise single-season record in the process.  One four sack game and two others with three and a well-deserved spot in the Pro Bowl was the result.   Suh and second-year tackle Vita Vea anchored one of the best run defenses in the NFL and Lavonte David was his usual all-world self behind the front three. But too often in 2019 the defense was left in poor field posiiton because of Winston’s interceptions and only twice were they able to hold a team to under 20 points.  Only the Week 3 win against the Rams came against a team with a winning record and the two Atlanta games and the loss to the Giants could easily be seen as games that were there to be won.  Rookie kicker Matt Gay had three terrible games and all of them hurt the Bucs in the win column.  Attendances at Buccaneer home games continued to decline in 2019 with another International Series game in London not helping albeit with a large Tampa fan contingent making the trip across the Atlantic.   With Tampa’s other two professional teams having successful seasons, the Buccaneers have become almost the third wheel in professional sports in the Bay Area and the playoff drought stretched to 13 years with this campaign.  One more will tie the era of futility seen from 1983 to 1996.   The 2020 off-season will see the necessary decision made on the quarterback position as other areas of need on the roster have mostly been filled in the last three years.
PLAYERS OUT LB Kwon Alexander (UFA - SF) P Bryan Anger LB Riley Bullough S Chris Conte TE Alan Cross (Retired) DE Vinny Curry CB Javien Elliott QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (UFA - MIA) CB Brent Grimes (Retired) WR Adam Humphries (UFA - TEN) WR DeSean Jackson (Trade - PHI) S Isaiah Johnson LB Cameron Lynch WR Freddie Martino DT Gerald McCoy RB Jacquizz Rodgers LS Garrison Sanborn K Cairo Santos S Josh Shaw (UFA - ARI) C Evan Smith DE Noah Spence LB Adarius Taylor (UFA - CLE) RB Shaun Wilson
PLAYERS IN LB Shaq Barrett (UFA - DEN) LB Deone Buccanon (UFA - ARI) QB Blaine Garrett (UFA - JAC) T Jerald Hawkins (Trade - PIT) RB TJ Logan (Waivers - ARI) WR Breshad Perriman (UFA - CLE) P Bradley Pinion (UFA - SF) T Aaron Stinnie (Waivers - TEN) DT Ndamukong Suh (UFA - LAR) G Earl Watford (UFA - CLE)