Another New Day In Tampa Bay

July 30th, 2022

Click on through to shop at Bill Currie Ford GM Sean Sullivan is ready to help you PERSONALLY and give you the Ira Kaufman discount. Just ask!


Continuity be damned.

That’s the operating slogan bouncing off the walls of One Buc Place with the season opener looming only six weeks away.

When the Bucs visit the Cowboys on Sept. 11, Dallas coach Mike McCarthy will be gazing at a far different roster card than the one Tampa Bay presented in last year’s opener.

Last summer, the defending NFL champions were rightfully crowing about their ability to retain all 22 starters. It was a powerful testament to Tampa Bay’s management team and further evidence of Tom Brady’s massive impact in retaining potential free agents.

Change agent GM Jason Licht.

Those stable days are gone, baby, gone.

The Buc team that lines up at Jerry’s World in Week 1 will look far different than the roster that came up a little short in a quest for another Super Bowl ring. This depth chart has been both shaken and stirred and we will soon discover the effects of wholesale changes.

It appears the 2022 Bucs could open the season with nine new starters. That’s a 41 percent overhaul off a team that cruised to the NFC South title and trounced Philadelphia in the opening playoff round.

The knee injury that threatens to wreck Ryan Jensen’s season is the latest change agent around these parts. The starting center job is now likely to go to Robert Hainsey, who played guard in high school and right tackle at Notre Dame.

At this point, tackles Tristan Wirfs and Donovan Smith have to be concerned about what’s happening between them in the trenches. Ali Marpet retired and Alex Cappa is now protecting Joe Burrow instead of Brady, so the interior of the starting offensive line — so crucial for a quarterback of Brady’s limited mobility — is completely new.

Shaq Mason might be an upgrade on Cappa while Aaron Stinnie and rookie Luke Goedeke compete for Marpet’s spot at left guard.

Hold on, we’re just warming up.

Rob Gronkowski appears content to mug for the cameras instead of exploiting defenders in the red zone. In Gronk’s place, Kyle Rudolph has an opportunity to re-establish himself as one of the league’s better tight ends — while admitting he can’t possibly match his predecessor’s skill set.

Antonio Brown is still looking for an NFL job after showing off his wares at a New York strip club called MetLife Stadium. We don’t even know when Chris Godwin will return from a knee injury that required surgery.

Nobody would be surprised if Russell Gage and Julio Jones take the first offensive snaps at Dallas.

Looking ahead to Week 1, the only sure returning starters for the NFL’s No. 2 scoring offense are Brady, Mike Evans, Leonard Fournette, Wirfs and Smith. Byron Leftwich has a lot of work to do adjusting his playbook and tweaking Tampa Bay’s protection schemes.

Both Sides

Newcomer DT Akiem Hicks, at 6-4, 335 pounds.

The Buc defense has also undergone major changes.

Ndamukong Suh and Jason Pierre-Paul are still on the open free-agent market, hoping for one more big payday. Jordan Whitehead, a young ascending safety, was priced out of Tampa Bay when the Jets targeted him aggressively in free agency.

In their places are second-year pro Joe Tryon-Shoyinka and newcomers Akiem Hicks, Keanu Neal and Logan Ryan. Hicks and Neal have been hampered by recent injuries while Ryan gives Todd Bowles a versatile piece in the secondary.

Tryon-Shoyinka boasts impressive athleticism, but he needs more polish and awareness coming off the right edge. Will he take a significant leap in Year 2? The Bucs are betting on him, but don’t be stunned if Jason Licht adds a veteran edge rusher.

It’s often been said that change is a good thing.

Buc fans are about to find out.

Ira loves that lifetime warranty on new and used vehicles!

17 Responses to “Another New Day In Tampa Bay”

  1. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    The only constant is change.

  2. ArgYeMaries Says:

    I sure do hope the Bucs get some LB edge help before start of the season. Tryon-Shoyinka can’t cut it on his own. Better to get the Glazer family wallet out now …

  3. Goatfarmer Says:

    Also a new head coach. Minor little change there. Now it’s Todd “let’s blitz the best QB against the blitz with 30 seconds left” Bowles.

    This team will be fortunate to be at 1-3 after the first four games.

  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Most, if hot all, of these changes were deliberate…….Letting Cappa & Whitehead walk…..JPP, Suh…….
    Couldn’t anticipate Marpet or Jensen.

    It sure looks like Licht has done everything possible to shore up the departures.

  5. Steven007 Says:

    Goat, actually it would be very unfortunate if we were 1-3 after the first four games. .500 would be minimally acceptable. But no reason we can’t win the majority. And yes, I knew what you were implying.

  6. Dick LeBeau Jr. Says:

    And I’m not worried one bit. Every team in the NFL undergoes change year in and year out. I don’t know why we’re acting like this is something new. Not at all worried about the Oline when the Bengals made it last year with what had to be one of the worst lines last year. A team is the sum of all of its parts and as long as everyone plays their role, we should be fine.

  7. A Bucs Fan Says:

    Anthony Nelson will break out this year.

  8. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Michael Gallup supposedly will not play in Cowboys 1st game with Bucs- I hope Bucs don’t trade Darden or T Johnson – especially Darden who may have a Ronald Jones type big improvement 2nd year.

  9. Goatfarmer Says:

    007 – man I hope you’re right. I confess to not being able to let go of the Rams loss, the Jensen loss, the thin depth at ILB, Suh, Gronk, JPP, Marpet, no backup QB for Brady, and petrified about our kicking situation.

    And Cooper Kupp.

    And Matt Stafford. And the murderers row of great quarterbacks.

    Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln loved the play.

  10. #8 Says:

    Ira are we still signing the person you alluded to Wed or did Jensen put that on hold?

  11. Steven007 Says:

    Goat, those are all valid concerns. But I’ve been watching the NFL long enough to know that how the season unfolds is entirely unpredictable. Perhaps Jensen is the one and only major injury we have all year. One could hope. But there tend to be equalizers throughout the league all season. Above someone noted that burrow and the Bengals made it to the super bowl with a trash line. And while true, as we all know Brady does not have the mobility to survive a trash line. So it’s still Paramount that we figure this problem out. I think the rest takes care of itself.

  12. Frank Pillow Says:


    Did the injury to Jensen disrupt the Bucs’ plans to bring in the FA you were alluding to in your most recent podcast? KC signed a known/named OLB/DE type player a couple of days ago that seemed to resemble your not so subtle hints. Btw, you’re simply outstanding. Thanks for all of the years of coverage and doing it with personality to boot!

  13. DoooshLaRue Says:

    I wonder if Hainsey’s total lack of experience at C will translate to less shotgun formations and more play action?
    I mean directly hiking the ball is easy enough to learn but much harder to do in a shotgun formation.
    I mean even Jensen has trouble with that at times.

    Could be a good thing.

  14. Wild Bill Says:

    A year of changes for sure. The Bucs offense will score points. But will Brady survive the full season? Also, will the pass rush be adequate? The defensive line is not deep in talent. One or two injuries there to starters could mean huge problems. And the offensive line, once a solid group is now down another starter from last year. A lot of unknowns to be sure.

  15. Crickett Baker Says:

    They say Darden had the “Play of the Day”, but it looked to me that, at the end of it, he had the ball knocked out of his hands. Hope that was really not the best play of the day. Maybe they are hyping him up for a trade..

  16. steele Says:

    I’m with Goatfarmer. I can’t get over that Rams loss, either. That one is going to stick forever, until it’s avenged.

    Steven007, yes, Bengals got to the SB with a trash line, and arguably lost it in part because of same. What did Cincy do immediately afterwards? Shore up that leaky OL with former Brady pals Ted Karras and Alex Cappa. They now have a top 10 OL, and look like SB contenders again. Bucs have a potential sieve right in front of Brady. They’d better fix it ASAP.

  17. fern Says:

    The kid gonna play well look Scotty miller’s end around td vs Falcons he’s got skills injuries part of football this team will be good really good stop with the negative press