TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (5-11)
OPEN CAMP: July 25, Tampa, Florida
LAST YEAR: Started 2-0 without Jameis Winston, who was serving suspension for violating NFL’s personal conduct policy, but won just three of nine games young quarterback started rest of way to miss playoffs for 11th consecutive season. Led league in passing offense, but had one of NFL’s worst rushing attacks and finished 12th in scoring. Worse, leaky defense had problems stopping run and pass while allowing 29 points per game, second most in league. Defensive coordinator Mike Smith was fired during season and coach Dirk Koetter was booted at its conclusion.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: LB Devin White and Shaquil Barrett, DL Ndamukong Suh, LB/S Deone Bucannon, P Bradley Pinion, WR Breshad Perriman, CBs Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean, S Mike Edwards, RB Andre Ellington, OL Earl Watford, K Matt Gay.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: DT Gerald McCoy, LB Kwan Alexander, WRs DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, DE Vinny Curry, CB Brent Grimes, RB Jacquizz Rodgers, P Bryan Anger.
CAMP NEEDS: Winston enters final year of contract he signed as No. 1 overall pick in 2015 draft. He’s playing for his third head coach with Bruce Arians replacing Koetter. With salary of nearly $21 million, there’s pressure on Winston to prove he’s long-term answer at quarterback. He not only has to acclimate to new system in camp, but play well and win. Meanwhile, new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles has installed 3-4 scheme, and there’s emphasis on getting White, Murphy-Bunting, Dean and Edwards ready to contribute as rookies.
EXPECTATIONS: Tampa Bay hasn’t made playoffs since 2007, second-longest drought in league. Arians, who retired after leading Arizona Cardinals from 2013-17, is fifth coach since Jon Gruden was fired in January 2009 to take crack at making Bucs relevant again. Hope is Arians’ proven track record as QB guru will help Winston realize potential while also lifting team out of NFC South cellar.