Meet The Indispensibles

July 25th, 2019

The Sage of Tampa Bay sports now enters his fourth year at JoeBucsFan.com. Where does the time go? He kicks off training camp with a look at the Bucs more important than the others. Enjoy. Ira’s work is presented by Ed Morse Cadillac Tampa and Ed Morse Cadillac Brandon.

BY IRA KAUFMAN

Call them the indispensables, the players the Bucs can’t afford to be without.

Every team has core guys, the ones who do the heavy lifting throughout a grueling 4-month crucible¬† Everyone deals with injuries in the NFL, but we’re talking about INJURIES here, physical issues that force quality players to the sidelines and rearrange the depth chart.

Bruce Arians says one of the keys to success in this league is to build quality depth. You want to avoid a major drop off when someone goes down for an extended period.

That’s easy to say and very difficult to accomplish in a salary-cap league. On the brink of 2019 training camp, here are the essential Bucs who need to stay on the field when the games start to count.

JAMEIS WINSTON

Tampa Bay’s center of attention is the guy under center. This is a no-brainer, of course, because even the harshest of Winston skeptics have to acknowledge his importance.

The Bucs may not win more than 7 games even if Winston remains healthy, but they sure as heck won’t win more than 4 without him. Ryan Fitzpatrick was a solid backup, effective in short doses, while Blaine

Gabbert is 13-35 as an NFL starter.

Keeping Winston upright in Job 1 for Arians and this new coaching staff. They know it, and so do the Glazers, who have a big decision to make about No. 3 in 2020.

MIKE EVANS

Yes, the Bucs have other solid targets for Winston in Chris Godwin, O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate, but Evans is the 6-foot-5 straw that stirs the drink.

He’s Tampa Bay’s best player, by a significant margin, and his presence commands special attention while unlocking a prolific passing game. Let’s be honest here: the strength of this team is throwing the football and Evans is the catalyst.

If Evans is sidelined for a significant period, the impact of Adam Humphries’ departure will be magnified. When Arians arrived in Arizona in 2013, he didn’t have much on offense but at least he had Larry Fitzgerald. Now he has Mike Evans, who may be on that same Hall of Fame trajectory.

LAVONTE DAVID

The back part of this defense figures to be very young and very inexperienced, so David’s leadership is critical. Devin White will rely on David to set his template as a role model, learning how to be a professional.

David’s versatile skills make him a key chess piece for Todd Bowles to move around. He’s a sound tackler, very effective in space and a proven commodity as a blitzing linebacker.

DONOVAN SMITH

Left tackle is a difficult position to fill — and Smith has the lucrative contract extension to prove it. He’s been amazingly durable as a pro and now he needs to raise his game, particularly as a run blocker.

Winston’s fumbling issues are well documented and Smith must be adept at keeping blind-side rushers from executing the sack-and-strip that changes momentum and leads to jittery quarterback play.

NDAMUKONG SUH

It has been suggested more than once that Suh was rather ordinary during the regular season for the 2018 Rams before turning it up in the playoffs. That won’t do in Tampa, where he replaces Gerald McCoy and needs to lead by example up front.

Suh’s best years may be behind him, but he still has some juice left and he has a willing disciple in Vita Vea. If Suh can provide a physical push, he just may take Vea and Carl Nassib along with him.

PEYTON BARBER

Speaking of physicality, Arians can’t say enough good things about Barber’s aggression as a runner who can pound away and wear down a defense.

Even if Ronald Jones takes a major step forward in Year 2, he wasn’t drafted to be Tampa Bay’s primary back. Barber is the hammer that Arians trusts to nail weary opponents.

DEVIN WHITE

He just signed a pro contract and now White must grow up in a hurry.

The Bucs drafted him at No. 5 because he was the highest remaining player on their board, regardless of position.

He’s got the dot on his helmet and he’ll be connecting the dots for Bowles as the defensive signal caller. If Tampa Bay scouts are correct in their evaluations, White will match Kwon Alexander’s passion while taking better angles to the football.

Injuries will test the depth of every NFL team this season and the Bucs will be no different. If the indispensables stay healthy, this could end up being a robust franchise.

8 Responses to “Meet The Indispensibles”

  1. Alanbucsfan Says:

    White will help contain McCaffrey, Kamara, Freeman with his lateral speed.
    Contain those guys and blitzing becomes more effective.

  2. Mike Johnson Says:

    Ira, Still worried about the Defensive line. Sure Suh will flash and have a few good games. But I’m not sure whether Vita Vea is ready for consistency just yet. And we’ve yet to find that replacement for JPP. You can’t blitz all the time. Good teams will make you pay. Sure hope some team out there has one to many DE’s we can utilize.

  3. Bird Says:

    Hoping Vea turns out to be the indispensable over Suh

  4. #1bucsfan Says:

    Mike Johnson I believe between Spence, nassib , Barrett , Anthony , LVD , an white they will either find his replacement or all make up for it as a group

  5. Ndog Says:

    Man everybody is just ripping us. I just listened to a podcast that said we are least talented team in the NFL. Yet during the podcast they didnt ever mention, Vita Vea, Cam Brate, LVD, Marpet and they said that by years end Blaine Gabbert will be the starting QB and it was not due to injury. Yeah like none of the above guys or many others players have any talent. They couldnt even pick a breakout player for us cause they dont see any talent at all out side of OJ and Godwin. That is just complete bull.

  6. Defense Rules Says:

    If ‘indispensables’ are players that a team can’t be without Ira, then we’d need to grow that list some. All those who you mentioned would classify as ‘indispensable’ from the aspect that we have no real ‘depth’ behind them. But wouldn’t Ali Marpet qualify also? How about OJ? Even some of our ‘youngsters’ might qualify as ‘indispensable’ because there’d be a significant dropoff in performance if they went down. We’d all better pray that this team stays healthy this year.

  7. Buczilla Says:

    I think we should “dispense” Peyton Barber to 3rd string and try our damnedest to get a back that puts at least a bit of fear in defensive coordinators.

  8. teacherman777 Says:

    Peyton Barber runs like Marshawn Lynch!

    He hits LBs and DBs, they dont hit him!

    I love RB’s that run ANGRY. I grew up on Alstott!

    I just wish we had a FB. The best year we had was when Lovie made Dirk run the ball with Laine lead blocking.

    Does Bellicheck still use a FB? Yes! Is Bellicheck a God? Yes!

    Get a FB!!!