Biggest Need

March 4th, 2021

The missing link?

When you have a loaded team, your biggest need may bring about a chuckle.

And that’s where the Bucs stand on March 3. With the Super Bowl champions roster still intact — for now — there really is no need on the starting roster.

Think about it: Where is the weakness? There is no weakness. So then to find the biggest need, you look for something obscure.

And that is basically what Andrew Potter of Football Outsiders did. In his study of the Tampa Bay roster, he sees the biggest need for the Bucs is a receiving back.

The one area last season that did come up frequently as a problem was receiving out of the backfield. Leonard Fournette had a solid year on the ground, and an outstanding postseason, but he dropped 15% of his pass targets (per Pro Football Reference) and gained just 235 yards on receptions. Ronald Jones, LeSean McCoy, and Keshawn Vaughn likewise each dropped more than 10% of their targets, and the Buccaneers gained only 500 yards, give or take, from their backs. That is well below the usual production expected from Brady’s backs, who usually account for at least 700 yards as a major part of the scheme.

Of course, Potter drops the name of James White for the Bucs to pick up. Joe will also add the name of Rex Burkhead, who may come cheaper who is also a good receiving back. Both are pending free agents. Duke Johnson already is on the market. With the Bucs pinched by the salary cap, sifting through the bargain bin might be in order.

Now Joe isn’t throwing in the towel on Vaughn. He had a rough start to training camp with The Sickness. On his one touchdown catch, he sure looked damn smooth, unlike Playoff Lenny and RoJo, who almost never looks comfortable catching passes.

Besides, the Bucs drafted Vaughn for his ability to catch out of the backfield. So there is still hope he can be that guy.

34 Responses to “Biggest Need”

  1. Joe in Michigan Says:

    The Bucs’ biggest need is cap space.

  2. Cobraboy Says:

    LOL @ Joe in Michigan.

    I say give Vaughn a chance. Aside from drops and untimely fumbles, the kid showed me he has game.

  3. Cobraboy Says:

    Be cautious on Burkhead. He tore his ACL in November.

  4. Jason Says:

    Hard to show what you got when you ride the pine.

  5. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I’m hoping Vaughn learned an important lesson….you fumble, you sit. Wasn’t suited up for the SB….that had to be tough on the kid.
    We should be wishing him well…..

  6. Marques Says:

    Like Ronald Jones give the kid some time to develope. Don’t be so quick to put dirt on the kids grave. He will be much better year two. Just need to be patient.

    McCoy definitely gone. At this point As much as I appreciate Lenny for what he did I know he wants to get paid and I don’t blame him. Having said that BA did not run him into the ground in fact he was very protective of his health. I’m not sure the next coach will do although he may get paid more but at what cost to his health and longevity as a running back in the NFL. Playing behind Tom Brady, this offensive line and his rotation with Jones and Vaughan might just be the perfect place for him in the long run.

  7. First Down Tampa Bay Says:

    In the limited action Vaughn got, he looked pretty smooth and shifty. I don’t know if I’d be comfortable slotting him in as the backup to RoJo on opening day, but he is absolutely an intriguing prospect moving forward and shouldn’t be overlooked in our offense. Yes, most people will remember his nearly crushing fumble in the NFC Championship, but his other carries, that game included, looked pretty impressive.

  8. Snook Says:

    “Don’t judge a RB just on his first season.”

    – Ronald Jones

  9. DoooshLaRue Says:

    “Now Joe isn’t throwing in the towel on Vaughn”

    Read that as:

    Joe learned his lesson by dogging out ROJO early on while pining for old, washed out familiar names at RB.


  10. Mitch Says:

    If Lenny goes sign James White and rotate in Vaughn. White will tak Shady’s place and be more effective in the pass game while Vaughn could step into Lenny’s role. I saw that he had some juice when he was running last year. He just fumbled in the playoffs and we never saw him again.

  11. zzbuc Says:

    I would disagree that there is no weakness, I think CB position is a weak position we have….I would defenately add atç least one via free agency, of course if we have the money……Also we need depth on pass rush even if we bring back Shaq, probably by the draft in this case……..I think we need to bring important players on both positions…..And in case we lose LVD (most proably) we need a LB…..

  12. Defense Rules Says:

    Sorry, but RBs are a dime a dozen. Put a quality OLine in front of any number of them, and you’ll get production. Our last concern at this point in the season should be our RB position group. We’ve got MUCH BIGGER fish to fry.

    Bad news, but FAs are NOT on our roster come March 17th. Thus our Bucs 2021 ROSTER is full of holes … starters AND key rotational players. We have no more claim to guys like Succop, Shaq, Suh, LVD, Godwin, Brown, Fournette, Stinnie, Nunez-Roches, Minter or any other number of FAs than do the Jacksonville Jaquars, Cleveland Browns or any of the other NFL teams. As a reminder, NFL is a BUSINESS and money talks.

  13. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    First Down

    I believe his fumble was in the Washington game…

    And…..we really won’t be assessing our biggest need until after FA…….my prediction at this point would be LB.

  14. Capt.Tim Says:

    I think Vaughn will be that Receiving back.
    I think our biggest need is Depth at edge rusher, OT, and DT.
    I hope they draft them, in that order
    Edge, OT, DT.
    Then a big Safety
    We have big corners, and great ( but small) safeties.
    A big, in the box, smash mouth safety would be nice,?on running downs

  15. Robert Says:

    Hate to see Lenny go, but if we can get a better ball catcher who can block…. well best of luck to him. I have faith in Rojo running hard, just afraid he has the dropsies and always will…like a kicker who loses confidence.

  16. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    First year players often play slower because they have not learned the system and have to slow down and think. Usually the second year, it comes more natural and the player is able play much faster. I think Vaughn will respond a lot like Rojo, who finally is able to play and not think so much. Give him a shot at replacing Lenny.

  17. Durango 95 Says:

    Had the displeasure of watching Vaughn tear up the Gators a couple of seasons ago and came away highly impressed. Think I was one of the few including the dysfunctional national sports media that actually liked the selection of Vaughn. Any Bucs fan can tell you that sometimes it takes a little time for some RB’s to finally hit their groove. RoJo seems to have finally hit his, although he did miss games last year and was never able to wrestle his starting gig back from Lenny. Which is not exactly reassuring. Still the team has two backs on its roster that seem to show some promise. Despite both having some chinks in their armor. Just think how nice it would be to have a truly fully versatile franchise number #1.RB

    Not locked in at RB at thirty two but I dang sure wouldn’t hate it.

  18. Durango 95 Says:

    “Sorry, but RBs are a dime a dozen.”

    And more often than not you get exactly what you pay for.. Besides Lenny, I could be wrong but I can’t recall a single late round/ UFA RB the Bucs have developed in the last 10 years.

  19. miken Says:

    james white

  20. Buc4evr Says:

    Last thing I’m worried about is an RB. Let’s get the big dogs signed and then go back to the bargain bin for an RB that can block and catch.

  21. geno711 Says:

    Need a better pass catching back than last year and that should not cost a lot
    No order below:
    Whether that is Vaughn who becomes better in his 2nd season
    James White
    Rex Burkhead
    Kenyan Drake
    Todd Gurley
    Mark Ingram
    Lev Bell
    James Conner
    Mike Davis
    Carlos Hyde
    Jamal WIlliams
    Tev Coleman
    Lenny Fournette
    Brian Hill

    Got to be 2 or 3 of those guys that might want to chase a ring with Brady and the Bucs.

  22. Bird Says:

    James white caught 87 balls in one season just a few years ago with 12 tds running and catching

    His numbers way down last year . Guess why? Thats right – No brady
    Dude can still play and could be had at 2/year. Maybe 2.5/year max

    No brainer cause lenny is good as gone.
    And vaughn will still be in mix. Dont forget rojo deal done after next year.
    Bucs should draft another

  23. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    Give Vaughn a serious opportunity this year.

  24. 813bucboi Says:

    agree with Cobra

    GO BUCS!!!!

  25. LJsDaddy Says:

    Except for Succup, ST is a weakness.

  26. Defense Rules Says:

    Durango95 … “I can’t recall a single late round/ UFA RB the Bucs have developed in the last 10 years.”

    Neither can I. But other teams have (remember Terrell Davis, 6th Rnd pick, running behind the Denver Broncos superb OLine back in the late 90’s?). Our problem for many years was that our OLine wasn’t exactly the best in the world Durango. QBs go high in the draft, so do the Big Uglies, for a reason. RBs? Not so much.

  27. TOM Says:

    Vaughn is average at best. Like someone said RB’s are a dime a dozen. White would be a really good pickup. Burkhart wouldn’t be bad either. Beware of health.

  28. DoooshLaRue Says:

    ROJO, J White and Vaughn

  29. SlyPirate Says:

    The Bucs are good at RB with Rojo and Vaughn. K Vaughn runs violently. He’s already ahead of where Rojo was as a rookie. He’ll be better next year.

  30. JeffreyLane77 Says:

    I like Rojo and Vaughn. If we can’t keep Fournette I will be sad but its understandable. Rojo and Vaughn are two good young running backs. But I also think Brady was using the tightends as his outlet guy this past season. Instead of the running backs. I’m not sure if that was by design or he just didn’t trust the running backs to catch the ball? Also Brady seemed to put a lot of heat on his throws to the running backs. Dude is 8yds away and Brady is slinging it like he’s going 35yds down field. Running backs didn’t have a lot of time to react in those situations. That’s how you get balls tipped up into the air by your own back trying to make a catch he wasn’t expecting to come his way.

  31. Hodad Says:

    Have to add a pass catching back in the draft. A lot of good backs this year. Remember it took Rojo time to adjust, and Vaughn didn’t have a normal off season, don’t count him out.

  32. 74 Bucs fan Says:

    ETN out of Clemson at #32 would work for me.


    DefRules, I used to value your opinion until you wrote RB’s are a dime a dozen. If Bucs had James White or Drake were on Bucs this year the road to the SB would have been an easier one. Go back and watch Atlanta, Pat’s SB. Without White that win never happens. Brown, Simpson, Craig, Bo Jackson, Sanders, Lynch, Williams, Campbell, Thomlison, Peterson, Dickerson the list is endless. ALL are game changers and lead teams to victories.

  34. Mr. B Says:

    Vaughn looks good to me but Najee Harris may look even better.