The Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2016 season can only be seen as a bit of a letdown. Expectations were definitely high following the team’s 2015 campaign. On the surface, 2016 does not seem that bad. The team finished with a 9-7 record. That record may not seem very impressive. However, it is important to note that the Bucs have been around for 41 years and have only been able to compile 12 seasons with a winning record.
Jameis Winston played his second season in the NFL after being the number one selection in the 2015 NFL Draft. He still has a ways to go. Like most young quarterbacks, he is still prone to making critical mistakes in key spots. Fumbles and interceptions by Winston cost the Buccaneers dearly in a number of games in 2016. However, there is no question that he is a rising star in the league. Another season or two of experience and Winston could very easily be one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL.
One of the biggest reasons the Bucs missed the playoffs was the injury to the ACL of receiver Vincent Jackson. The team needed him to be healthy because top receiver Mike Evans was being forced to take too much of the load himself. Many people are expecting the Bucs to go after a receiver in the draft to give Winston another weapon. However, it is unclear who the Bucs will be able to draft at the position they will have in the first round. It is always possible they could decide to trade up.
The future looks bright for this young team that came only one win away from making the playoffs. A playoff birth in 2017 is definitely a reachable goal for the Buccaneers. Obviously, they will need to avoid any key injuries.