Five Core Players

June 9th, 2023

No respect.

A lot of folks believe — and Joe is among them — that the Bucs have too much talent to tank.

This is why some national NFL analysts have coined the phrase “half-tanking when describing the Bucs.

Kyler Traskfield is getting absolutely no love from folks outside Tampa. The way the Bucs are selling Traskfield to NFL broadcast partners and national media heavy hitters it is not resonating. At all.

Seth Walder of BSPN, a guy who never met a number he didn’t like, has decided to rank the top-five core players on each NFL team. Studying the Bucs, he likes the roster, with the exception of Traskfield, which he believes will sink Tampa Bay.

Here are Walder’s five core Bucs:

Roster core: WR Mike Evans, OT Tristan Wirfs, CB Jamel Dean, DT Vita Vea, OLB Shaquil Barrett

Average core age: 27.6

The Bucs have a strong non-QB core. But not having a quarterback in the mix hurts the Bucs’ ranking, and frankly, the prospect of Baker Mayfield or Kyle Trask doesn’t elicit much hope for 2023. If the Bucs had a little more at QB (Tannehill, perhaps?), they would be a sneaky dangerous team in a weak NFC South.

Perhaps the main reason why the Bucs got Baker Mayfield is because he is cheap. The Bucs simply don’t have the Team Glazer loot to go quarterback shopping. And is Ryan Tannehill really better than Mayfield? Really? His salary is obscene for his (ahem) talent.

Joe can’t fully agrees with Walder’s core Bucs. Mike Evans, Tristan Wirfs, Jamel Dean, and Vita Vea, yeah, sure. Joe would definitely add Lavonte David. Devin White?

(Man, does any NFL player get so regularly shat upon more by national NFL media folks than David?)

Shaq, before his blown Achilles, wasn’t having a great year last season. Joe also wouldn’t add Ryan Jensen or Chris Godwin because of injuries.

Joe loves Antoine Winfield but he didn’t have a great 2022 season, likely because he too was banged up.

How much does Traskfield drag down the Bucs in Walder’s mind? He has the Bucs ranked as having the 26th-best roster despite liking the non-QB roster.

When did Traskfield p!ss in his cornflakes?

Enjoy the latest Ira Kaufman Podcast, loaded with all kinds of Bucs insight from The Sage of Tampa Bay Sports and Joe.

29 Responses to “Five Core Players”

  1. Defense Rules Says:

    I’m totally surprised that anyone would consider Shaq more valuable than Godwin. Head shaker

  2. PewterStiffArm Says:

    Tannehill?, really! Why does his name continue to come up in national conversations? I would put Doug Williams back in a uniform before this guy. I like our chances thank you very much. I think Baker is going to surprise some folks and I am not discounting Trask either. One game at a time with a new offense will teach us all if the front office made the right choices.

  3. ATLBuc Says:

    Davis and Dean should be included

  4. shankasorous Says:

    “Kyler Traskfield is getting absolutely no love from folks outside Tampa.”

    Well, Mayfield had the worst QBR in the NFL the last two seasons. And perhaps they’ve been reading JoeTrashesKyle the last couple years. 😛

  5. ATLBuc Says:

    Davis and Dean should be included

  6. Ugotrobbed Says:

    Who cares! Most of these so called “experts” just piggyback off other opinions, and don’t follow or research the team. But I would rather have the national media poo-pooing us rather than blowing us up as Super Bowl or even Division champion favorites.

  7. Joe in Michigan Says:

    shankasorous Says:
    June 9th, 2023 at 6:28 am
    “Kyler Traskfield is getting absolutely no love from folks outside Tampa.”

    Well, Mayfield had the worst QBR in the NFL the last two seasons. And perhaps they’ve been reading JoeTrashesKyle.Com the last couple years. 😛
    This is obviously someone who changed their “name” recently…Why the name change?

  8. Salary Cap Hell Says:

    If Baker follows the O.C. game plan and runs the offense the way Canales wants him to we have a chance at a .500 ball club.

  9. Hodad Says:

    Tanking, half tanking, there’s no such thing in the NFL. Sure you can pull some starters last couple of games of a season to improve your draft status, but a plan to tank a season, or now half a season is just unrealistic. Don’t know why media types like Joe push this nonsense. Take our Bucs. If we only win 7 games it’s because we’re not very good, not because we’re only trying to win 7 games. Too many players, and coaches needing to put out good film to stay employed, makes tanking a myth.

  10. Beej Says:

    I look at both Tannehill and Mayfield as mebbe a 6.5 on a scale of 10. If you run most the time, they’re adequate

  11. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Here we go again…..Tanking? Half-Tanking?………Losing culture…..

    We made the decision not to tank when we didn’t trade any top players…..and signed LVD & Dean.

    We will play as well as we possibly can and live with the draft pick we get……then trade picks if we need to to secure a QB next year.

    You think there is any way Bowles…..Mayfield loses on purpose?…..not a chance in hell….

  12. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    And just how many INTs does Davis and Dean have between them in 2 years? That alone is why they aren’t ranked in ANYONE’s Top 5.

  13. realistic-optimistic Says:

    Joe also wouldn’t add Ryan Jensen or Chris Godwin because of injuries.

    Godwin absolutely belongs on this list instead of Shaq. He had 100 grabs and 1000 yards on that injured knee. There is no doubt he’s one of the 5 core players on this team. Love LVD too, but at 34 he’s no longer a core player. I definitely disagree with Shaq being on this list given his current situation.

  14. Jonny Says:

    Joe, Ryan Tannehill is better than Baker and not a guy to be ashamed of leading your offense. The year he had talented and healthy WR corps, Titans ended Pats dynasty and Lamar Jackson’s hot streak on Tannehill’s arm. Since then he’s had to deal with injured WRs and eventually complete trash on WR and a declining RB.

  15. Just Leave Trask Alone Says:

    It’s funny when some users on this site started citing the stats on Mayfield and what the numbers actually show that set off a chain reaction of harder sell articles on Baker.

    I don’t know if it is a coincidence, but at the same time various other pubs came out with sale job articles.

    Makes you wonder.

    I get it – this is a business and they want to create a buzz to sell tickets. Apparently, there is a prevailing belief they can leverage Baker to sell tickets and if you assume that the next logical step to take is any attempt to drag reality into the Baker discussion is deflating and unwanted.

    Joe is very confident there is no conspiracy to “sell” Baker Mayfield, or tickets, or the Bucs’ company lines. LOL–Joe

    Easier to sell Baker then an unproven Trask who sat on the bench for 2 years, but Tampa is a hop skip and a jump to Gainesville so there is a notable Gator fanbase who are annoyed their record holder isn’t getting his shot.

    So what do you do? You say “we have a QB competition” while all of the Bucs-friendly outlets push Baker hard. Some plausible deniability there to appease all sides.

    Of course if you say you are having a QB competition then in order to maintain credibility you actually need to have one.

    Of course this all gets turned on its head once players step on the field in pads.

    Also keep in mind if the Bucs are going to play spread em and shred em on offense that’s what Trask ran at Florida under Dan Mullen. It was a very complex offense that disguised looks well and played on a lot of high low concepts ran from different groupings, motions and personnel.

    Take for example the game v Georgia and their #1 ranked defense that Trask absolutely shredded with wheel routes of all things. Mullen said he never called the same play twice in that game. Think Canales is going to have the wheel in the playbook? If there is a strength to this RB corps – they all have good hands and can run routes.

    Pretty sure we’re going to see a lot similar stuff under Canales who talks about exploiting matchups. What Mullen did was force the defense to commit post snap and then let Trask follow those cues. Crafting plays that finds holes in the defensive formations they face. Pre-snap read sets the choice for the QB and then post snap deliver based on where coverage shifts to. Trask is a big kid and call see down field.

    So I don’t think it’s going to be Bake running the boot like Shawn King here. If it is we run everyone out into unemployment. Unacceptable. If they go spread em and shred em and with high complexity that’s Trask’s wheelhouse. Mayfield had success behind a power running game thriving off play action. That’s not what Canales is bringing here.

    All this lines up well for Trask IMO.

    There’s a lot of talk about getting the QBs on the move – but those kind of plays are single read type stuff usually meant for QBs with more athleticism than brains unless you’re Steve Young. Not super sold that’s the overarching plan – more like changing the look a defense sees on occasion to slow the pass rush. This offense is going to put a talented receiving core running routes all over the damn place and that “point guard” QB better be able to make the reads, hit guys in stride and throw outside the hashes. Basically the 2020 Florida Gator offense. Very very similar strengths on offense.

  16. Fred McNeil Says:

    LVD most certainly still is a core player on this team. I doubt he can keep his stellar play up much longer, but right now…he is crucial.
    Not to offend the Trask homers, but Kyle is an unknown. Maybe he’s the next Aaron Rodgers. Maybe he’s not. I don’t know. Outside of Central Florida does anyone besides hi mother know his name? Who’s Ryan Tannahill’s backup. Yeah, I could look it up, but I don’t care enough to bother.
    Speaking of Ryan Tannahill, who says he’s better than Baker? Besides ∆@jonny∆ that is.
    No offense Jonny, tannahill is a nobody. Baker was a somebody once. Can he do it again? I don’t know that either. But I believe he can come back stronger than ever.

    BTW, theres no such thing as “half tanking.”. Those clowns should gargle Imodium AD.

  17. Resilient Says:

    Core players: LVD / Evans / Vita / Wirfs / Winfield Jr. / Godwin

  18. Fred McNeil Says:

    Ya know…maybe the future of the NFL isn’t going to be $50 million quarterbacks and $20 million inside linebackers like DW45. It doesn’t make sense to have two or three great players and nobody else; especially when the injury bug bites. Maybe the future is having 53 very very good players instead of a few All-stars.

  19. Fred McNeil Says:

    BUCS core…Evans David Godwin Jenson and maybe Via and maybe Winfield.

  20. Richard Says:

    Joe….Joe Joe and Joe….D White as a possible core player? PLEASE…YOU BOTH KNOW BETTER!!!!

  21. StickinUp4Centers Says:

    How is Winfield not on that list? The defense is notably worse when he is out.

    Tannehill is a wash from Mayfield.

  22. SlyPirate Says:

    What does “Core” mean?

    I’d say talent, importance, lack of depth …

    1. Wirfs
    2. LVD
    3. CDIII
    4. Vea
    5. Winfield

    Evans and Godwin are great but they are duplicitous and the Bucs have WR depth. Neither QB is heads or tails above so fairly exchangeable at the moment.

  23. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Gotta say…I would rather have had Ryan Tannehill when he was Mayfields age. In my opinion, his time with the fins ruined him. He show a LOT of talent, but the fins failed him completely.

    But the ship has sailed on that one.

    There is absolutely a conspiracy at OneBuc against starting Trask. Said it the moment they signed Baker Mayfield. Now they are doing their best to make Mayfield look better than Trask.

    This reminds me so much of the Steve Young situation years ago. Young was viewed as not good enough in Tampa, so the Bucs traded him to the 49ers and the rest is history.

    I’m not saying Trask is nearly as good as Young. Not saying he isn’t. He’s a truly untested QB on our roster…and we should see him in at least 4 regular season games before getting rid of him. 6+ games if possible, while the roster is somewhat healthy.

    I’ve been saying this all along: the competition is fake.

    The Bucs signed Mayfield because he was a cheap veteran. They always intended to start him because that’s how Bowles rolls.

    Maybe they don’t like the idea of Trask being so inexperienced. Maybe they want to tank and they are afraid Trask will win just enough games to lose Caleb? I don’t know the reason…but it’s more than obvious that this competition is rigged.

    However…I am confident that Baker will blow it and 6-8 games in, we’ll see him pulled out. Hopefully Bowles doesn’t go after another vet and actually give Trask his shot.

  24. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Oh, and Ryan Tannehill is better than Baker Mayfield, even now. I’m not saying he’s much better, but he is better.

  25. 1#bucsfan Says:

    I for one never thought this was a real QB competition. Bowels isn’t going to let his career hinge on a player who has never taken a meaningful snap in the nfl. Not going to happen. Baker is our starter unfortunately. I’d like to see what we got on trask and I’m not talking preseason either guys still arnt fully ready then. I wish baker the best because he’s on our team.

  26. Steelers fan Says:

    The coaching staff may put Mayfield out there the schedule is very tuff before the bye. But they know Trask is the man here and he will get his shot to prove it and he will.

  27. Larrd Says:

    “Five core players” is an idiotic concept, IMO. It is not the NBA.

  28. ScottyMack Says:

    I personally believe that Godwin is going to have a great year. Perhaps his best ever and that his numbers will surpass Evans this season.

  29. FairMinded Says:

    Do you guys watch any football aside from our games? Tannehill for me is a better QB than Mayfield. I’ll be rooting hard for Baker or Trask but not getting my hopes up for this season