**Bonus points if anyone knows which movie the first part of the headline is from.
-The NFL announced it plans to release the schedule, including preseason games this week. It will be unveiled Thursday and a reveal show breaking down the entire 256-game schedule by division will air on NFL Network at 8 p.m. ET. The delay in the schedule release, which usually comes out in April, is to allow for a number of tweaks and contingency plans that are being put into the schedule should the season be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. But as of right now, the league is planning to start the 2020 season on time, beginning with its opener on September 10 and concluding with Super Bowl LV in Tampa Bay on February 7, according to NFL Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs Brian McCarthy.
One change that was confirmed on Monday was that there will be no NFL International Series games played and all games during the upcoming season will be played in the United States. Just last year, the Bucs took part in the series, crossing the pond and hosting the Carolina Panthers in London's new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Games were also played at London's Wembley Stadium, as they have been for years, as well as Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.
Provided that the season isn't shortened, the Bucs are scheduled to host the Rams, Chargers, Chiefs, Packers, Vikings, and all of their divisional opponents at home. They will be visiting the Giants, Lions, Bears, Raiders and Broncos in addition to their NFC South rivals on the road. Here's to hoping for earlier games for the Bears, Giants and Broncos.
-Bleacher Report is dubbing the Bucs' offense as one of Brady's best supporting casts already. Before new quarterback Tom Brady has even stepped on the field with his new teammates, he's already widely thought to be surrounded with some of the best offensive weapons he's ever had in his career. Yes, including the 2007 Patriots team.
In 2007, Brady had Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss as well as slot receiver Wes Welker on that team with him. Oh, and that team also went undefeated in the regular season. But the 2020 Bucs are being put right up against that team and though Bleacher Report has the 2007 Patriots winning by a slim margin, it's close.
"Ultimately, the Patriots won because they had proven veterans (Stallworth and Faulk) in positions where the Buccaneers have rookies (Johnson and Vaughn), not because there's all that vast of a difference between skill-position depth charts of the two teams," the article read.
The article also didn't take into account payers like Cam Brate, who the Patriots didn't have a comparison for, having only two main tight ends that had already won their respective battles.
The article also only talks about the offense. While that's the most direct comparison for help around a quarterback, don't discount how much a good defense will also help Brady. Where New England had Vince Wilfork, the Bucs have Vita Vea. Where they had Tedy Bruschi and Mike Vrabel, the Bucs have Devin White and Lavonte David. Where the Patriots had Dean Pees, a legendary defensive mind in his own right, the Bucs have Todd Bowles, another such schemer. The 2007 defense was ranked fourth in the league. We'll see if the Bucs' defense cracks the top five in 2020.
-The Bucs picked up the fifth-year option of 2017 first-round pick O.J. Howard. It leaves Tampa Bay absolutely stacked at tight end. And while you may think the Bucs' offense didn't utilize tight ends as much as even years past, consider that just because the production wasn't exactly there doesn't mean tight ends weren't.
Tampa Bay fielded two tight ends or more on 29% of their offensive snaps. Yes, there were 187 offensive snaps where they Bucs had three tight ends on the field, even. Some of those were goal line and fourth down situations, but the plays are there. Now, Tampa Bay will have the likes of Rob Gronkowski, O.J. Howard and Cam Brate in the tight ends room, along with blocking tight end Antony Auclair and up-and-comer Tanner Hudson. Gronkowski even said in his introductory Zoom press conference call that he loves working with tight ends. Head Coach Bruce Arians mentioned the same on a recent Zoom call.
"Winner, proven winner," Arians said of Gronk. "Great passion for the game. History of really taking care of his room – making sure if any young player needs help he's going to help them."
And now he'll have a full room to help out once he arrives in Tampa.
-Other moves: The Bucs signed nine undrafted free agents to the squad while also claiming kicker Elliott Fry off waivers to add some kicking competition to a special teams room that includes Bucs' 2019 fifth-round pick Matt Gay.
Players added were:
OLB Michael Divinity, LSU
OLB Cam Gill, Wagner College
S Javon Hagan, Ohio
WR Travis Jonsen, Montana State
G John Molchon, Boise State
OLB Nasir Player, East Tennessee State
DT Benning Potoa'e, Washington
C Zach Schackelford, Texas
QB Reid Sinnett, San Diego
Bucs Tweet of the Day: