TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Looking at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ initial 53-man roster for the 2023 season, one of the things that stands out is years of experience. Thirty of the Bucs players are going into their third season in the league or less.
“Overall, it’s collectively just a great group of players and talent,” said Bucs’ general manager Jason Licht. “We didn’t intentionally go out to get younger, but it just kind of worked out that way.”
“It’s a lot of great energy, and that’s what we young guys bring—a good spark, great energy,” said Bucs’ second-year running back Rachaad White.
“[There’s] a lot of good unknown from young guys too,” said Bucs’ rookie offensive lineman Cody Mauch. “That’s what’s so exciting—the raw talent of a lot of the younger guys. You just kind of get to see how everything works out.”
The Bucs were so impressed with their rookie class that they kept 13 – finding out quickly that they’re ahead of the curve intellectually – in addition to their athleticism.
“I don’t know if they surprise you physically,” said Bucs’ head coach Todd Bowles. “They’re very gifted mentally. Some of them are very surprising because they’ve grasped the system so well. [Rakim] Jarrett and [Trey] Palmer on offense, obviously with Sean [Tucker] as well. Cody [Mauch] was plugged in as a starter, so they grasped the system pretty good, and the defensive guys got a good grasp of it and let their abilities show. We don’t distinguish between age – if you can play, you play, and we can teach you some football. We’re going to teach you some football and those guys earned it.”
“I think that also goes with our vets, everyone in front of us,” said Bucs rookie linebacker SirVocea Dennis, giving credit to the older players for aiding in the young players’ learning.
“They help a lot. Probably a lot of guys think, ‘rookies coming in, no one wants to help a rookie just because whatever it is,’ but our vets help a lot—across the board—offense, defense, special teams. They’re here to help us help them win games.”
In addition to the veteran guidance, these rookies are also in good hands with their coaches showing them the way too.
“Our coaching staff does a great job teaching,” Bowles said. “We have a bunch of teachers over there – from [Kevin] Ross to [Nick] Rapone to [Larry] Foote to everybody on offense. We have a ton of guys that teach, and we teach football. [I] tell the rookies every year, there’s a rookie class that wins the Super Bowl every year, so there’s no excuse being young. Once you’re here, you’re here, and it’s up to us to get them ready to play.”