TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers open training camp on July 26 at the Advent Health Training Center. Here’s a closer look at a few storylines:
The Bucs need QB Jameis Winston to cut down on turnovers. Can he do that in Bruce Arians’ high-risk offense, where he’ll be asked to take lots of chances?
During mandatory minicamp, Winston threw several interceptions. But Arians believes those were the result of Winston learning a new offense and not having star receiver Mike Evans on the field due to a slight hamstring injury. WR Breshad Perriman, who is expected to play a big role in the offense, missed a few offseason practices as well, meaning younger players who were still learning the offense had to step up. On the plus side, defensive coordinator Todd Bowles was very aggressive early on this offseason with his coverages, meaning Winston was being challenged more than in previous years.
Who will step into pass-rusher Jason Pierre-Paul's role while he heals from a fractured neck?
The earliest Pierre-Paul could return is November, sources tell ESPN. Three players -- Carl Nassib, Shaq Barrett and Noah Spence -- will largely be responsible for filling the void left by the first Bucs player to record double-digit sacks in 12 seasons. While Nassib may be the obvious choice here because of his 6.5 sacks last season, Spence and Barrett are really intriguing names to watch.
Who will become Winston’s safety blanket after WR Adam Humphries' departure?
Humphries boasted the fifth-most catches in the league among slot receivers since 2016 before heading to the Tennessee Titans in free agency. While rookie Scotty Miller fits the smaller, speedier mold of Humphries, Chris Godwin got a ton of reps in the slot this offseason, similar to what Arians did with Larry Fitzgerald when he was with the Arizona Cardinals. This way, he can capitalize on Godwin’s sure-handedness. He’ll still line up on the outside opposite Evans and Perriman. Note that this should only help Godwin’s fantasy value. Arians said he believes Godwin will be a 100-catch receiver this year.
The Bucs did elect to pick up the fifth-year option on cornerback Vernon Hargreaves, which keeps him under contract through 2020, but that was prior to the coaching staff discovering just what a talented secondary they have. In fact, sources tell ESPN that all three cornerback jobs are open. The way it’s looking right now, Murphy-Bunting, who has had interceptions lining up at nickelback and on the outside, may have the best shot at a starting role.
The Bucs' coaching staff feels Jones is a completely different player than he was last year. Running backs coach Todd McNair identified that Jones, who was not known as a pass-catching back at Southern Cal and was a healthy scratch for the first four games last season, had some odd hand angles when attempting to catch the ball. It’s something they’ve worked on quite a bit. Now, he could possibly overtake Barber for the starting job. Jones added 13 pounds of muscle to his frame and his confidence has grown after taking quite a hit last season.