Buc Up…with Rob Kriete – SEPTEMBER 5

-It is “Fantasy Football Week” for many NFL fans as leagues traditionally draft their players the week before the season begins. The Bucs have put together a veritable fantasy team this offseason with Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady, LeSean McCoy, and now Leonard Fournette joining a Tampa Bay team that already had offensive punch. On paper, this team looks amazingly deep on offense, but last I checked, there is still only one ball. The onus will be on Coach Arians to get everyone on the “team-first wagon” for this offense to be elite.

– Bruce Arians, talking about Fournette joining the Bucs stable of capable running backs, “That’s one position I don’t think you can have enough good guys. That’s the one area where nicks and bruises really add up and when you can get a player of that caliber – I’ve gotten great reviews from people that know him and have coached him. He’ll fit right in and then we’ll see what role happens and how fast it can happen. RoJo (Ronald Jones II) is our guy, Shady (RB LeSean McCoy) is ready for his role, so it’s just going to be building roles as we go along and having enough quality players to finish this thing.

-Buccaneers General Manager, Jason Licht, has now drafted two kickers that have lasted only one season in Tampa Bay before their release, with Matt Gay last year and Roberto Aguayo with the 59th overall pick in 2016. Ryan Succop, just signed, becomes the Bucs kicker after recovering from knee surgery and will be counted on to make extra-points and pedestrian field-goals that Gay struggled with last season. Not an exceptionally long kicker, Succop has made 93.8% of his extra-point attempts since the league moved the ball spotting back in 2015.

Nov 10, 2019; Tampa, FL USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Matt Gay (9) kicks a field goal during an NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at Raymond James Stadium. The Buccaneers beat the Cardinals 30-27. (Steve Jacobson)

-Recognizing the need for consistency within 30 yards for the kicking game, the Bucs shouldn’t have to count on field-goals of 40 yards or more, Gay’s specialty, with their 2020 offense.

-The Buccaneers all-time scoring leader is kicker, Martin Gramatica, with 592 career points for Tampa Bay.

-On defense, keep an eye on second-round pick, safety Antoine Winfield Jr., who can stuff the running game while playing deep. Winfield can be a difference-maker in the secondary that was significantly challenged in 2019. I will be interested to see how defensive coordinator, Todd Bowles, implements Winfield in his defense.

-The Bucs open their season in New Orleans next weekend, where they have 12 – 19 career record at the Superdome.

-I look forward to hearing the enthusiasm and passion of Gene Deckerhoff every season.

-Prediction of the Week: With two future Hall-of-Fame bound quarterbacks in Brady and Brees squaring off, this matchup will be the most talked-about game in the NFL this coming week, with most pundits choosing the Saints over the Bucs. (My score prediction will be offered next Saturday.)

-The Tampa Bay Buccaneers provided all photos in my column with the exception of the shots of Ronald Jones and Matt Gay.

Be safe, everyone.