-Apparently, NFL research is begging the question of if the Bucs have too much star power on offense. File that under things I didn't ever think I'd see.
With the amount of Pro Bowl selections among offensive players as the qualifier, the Bucs now stand at 23 – quarterback Tom Brady counting for a whopping 14 of those all-star nods. NFL Research then looked at teams with a similar amount of success and what the result of their seasons were.
There was the 2001 Raiders, who lost in the divisional round of the playoffs. That offense, coached by quarterback guru Jon Gruden, had Rich Gannon at quarterback and Jerry Rice at wide receiver. Like Brady, Rice accounted for a large majority of those 23 Pro Bowl nods having been selected to 12 already by that point.
Then there was the 1997 Cowboys, who had Troy Aikman at quarterback throwing to Michael Irvin and handing off to Emmitt Smith. Between those three and few others, there were 22 Pro Bowl nods among them. Primetime Deion Sanders and Darren Woodson were also on that team – not that they helped out the offense Pro Bowl numbers, but that just goes to show how stacked they were.
The 2013 Atlanta Falcons also had 22 Pro Bowl selections on their offense, who still had quarterback Matt Ryan at the time. Ryan had tight end Tony Gonzalez and wide receiver Roddy White to throw to at the time. Gonzalez had already collected 13 Pro Bowls by that point and earned another one that season.
-Tampa Bay tight end Rob Gronkowski, introduced as the "Idiotic Genius" by his brother (so it's ok) was on the Gronk'd Up podcast, hosted by that same brother Chris, to talk about now being a member of the Buccaneers.
Before getting to Rob's transition to the Sunshine State, the bros took a detour and talked about Rob's current WWE 24/7 title, which Rob calls one of the most 'legendary honors' he's ever held. This is coming from a three-time Super Bowl champ, by the way. The way the 24/7 title works is that it can be challenged at any time, by anyone, as long as a referee is present. That gave Rob some ideas…
"Imagine coming out of the meeting room, I'm like looking to my left in the hallway coming out of the tight end room," Rob said. "Looking to the right to make sure no one else is out of meetings yet and all of a sudden, I think I'm in the clear and I start walking down the hallway because other players are in their meetings and all of a sudden Coach Arians just comes out of nowhere with a flying elbow, takes me out and pins me and becomes the 24/7 champ. That would be legendary. I would be honored to lose to him."
-The Bucs were named one of NFL's top five offenses by NFL.com. Chris Wesseling broke down position groups by grades and formulated a top 10 list of NFL offenses. The Bucs came in right at number five. Bucs quarterbacks, led by 20-year veteran Tom Brady, received a 'B' grade. Tampa Bay's receiving corps earned an A+, because how could any offense with both Chris Godwin and Mike Evans on it receive anything less? The tight ends were also roped into the group, adding guys like Rob Gronkowski to the mix.
Here's exactly what Wesseling has to say.
"5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Quarterback: B | Tom Brady, Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Griffin
If Brady goes down, the suddenly swank Bucs can kiss their ballyhooed coming-out party goodbye. If Brady stays healthy, we'll have a better idea how much his skills have eroded after languishing last season in a broken offense with precious little playmaking ability at his disposal. I don't buy the trendy notion that the 42-year-old has seen no noticeable drop off in arm strength and mobility. His passes outside the numbers tend to dive at the catch point, and he's too often a sitting duck in the face of pressure. That said, he has mastered situational football and maintains a preternatural feel for attacking the right area of the field at just the right moment. As the roster stands now, this is among the most talented pass-catching groups of his storied career.
Backfield: B- | Ronald Jones, Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Dare Ogunbowale, Raymond Calais
Jones was one of the most improved runners in the league last season, exploding through holes and breaking a slew of tackles. The problem is pass protection, a task he wasn't trusted to perform with aplomb while Jameis Winston was under center. Now that Brady is running the show, that role takes on added responsibility for a quarterback with a long line of expert chip-blockers from Kevin Faulk to Danny Woodhead to James White. Vaughn is an interesting flier as a third-down pick, but don't be surprised if a savvy veteran is brought in to round out this group.
Receiving corps: A+ | Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski (TE), O.J. Howard (TE), Cam Brate (TE), Tyler Johnson, Scott Miller, Justin Watson
There were weeks last season when Evans made a run at Saints record-breaker Michael Thomas as the most dangerous big receiver in football. There were other weeks when Godwin made a run at Evans as the best all-around receiver on the roster. There may not be a better one-two punch out there. What can we expect from Gronkowski, fresh out of the WWE's squared circle? For the bulk of the 2018 season, he was outplayed by new teammate Howard, who was well on his way to a Pro Bowl berth of his own before a foot injury ended the younger tight end's season in November. With yet another Lombardi Trophy on the line, though, Gronkowski came through with game-changing plays against the Chiefs and Rams in the AFC Championship Game and Super Bowl LIII.
Offensive line: B- | Donovan Smith, Ali Marpet, Ryan Jensen, Alex Cappa, Tristan Wirfs, Joe Haeg, Josh Wells
This will be an interesting experiment, watching Brady behind an offensive line that too often had Winston scrambling into and out of trouble. Although Marpet is a top-tier guard and Wirfs is loaded with potential at right tackle, the other three positions tend to be hit-or-miss depending on the competition level."