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Oh Captain, My Captain & the Uphill Battle for the NFC South | Carmen Catches Up

The Buccaneers voted on their captains, which were announced Tuesday, Leonard Fournette joins the running back room and the battle for the NFC South. 


-The Buccaneers have officially chosen their 2020 team captains and Head Coach Bruce Arians revealed them during Tuesday's media availability. This year, players voted on six captains: quarterback Tom Brady and wide receiver Mike Evans on offense, inside linebackers Lavonte David and Devin White on defense and inside linebacker Kevin Minter along with punter Bradley Pinion on special teams.

David and Evans are no strangers to the role, it is the seventh-straight selection for David and fourth-straight for Evans. Brady is in his first year with the team but when you come in with 20 years of experience and six Super Bowl titles, that seems to be a no-brainer.

White is in just his second year with the team but is living up to his leadership abilities that were touted as a strength when the Bucs made him the fifth overall pick in 2019. Minter has been a staple on special teams since arriving in Tampa Bay in 2018 and Pinion was the league's most consistent punter last season.

-The first power ranking roundup is here because it's officially Week One! After all the moves the Bucs made this offseason, they've now firmly nestled themselves within the top 10 conversation entering the 2020 season. Of the major outlets, the Bucs were ranked as high as six and as low as 13.

-Media availability following practice today featured a brand-new addition to the Buccaneers' roster in running back Leonard Fournette. He had been released by the Jacksonville Jaguars and became a free agent, ultimately choosing the Bucs over other potential suitors.

"He's a big, strong back that can really catch," said Arians about Fournette. "He can do everything. He can protect, he's a big third-down back and he's been a solid guy in the league. It just gives us another weapon. Until his role really, really expands, I wouldn't think you'd have to gameplan for him that much, other than just our running game."

Fournette has been used to teams gameplanning for him after being the feature back and a good chunk of Jacksonville's offense for the past three seasons. Now, teams will not only have to deal with him, but an arsenal of other offensive talent that the Bucs' offense boasts.

"I think it's great," Fournette said. "Especially when you have a lot of guys like Mike [Evans], Chris [Godwin], Gronk (Rob Gronkowski), Tom [Brady] and the O-Line. You can spread the ball to guys like that and it's not just you. When the defense has to gameplan, [it's] against eight guys, not just one. I think that opens up a variety of things for a lot of guys on our team on the offensive side of the ball."

Teams that will have to gameplan for those guys twice are those within the NFC South, which could be one of the most competitive divisions in football. Arians said it starts with the quarterbacks and looking around at Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Teddy Bridgewater, it's hard to argue with that. It will be an uphill battle to the top and it starts Sunday when the Bucs take their trip to New Orleans to face the Saints.

"As always – this is one of the best divisions in the league from the top down," said Lavonte David. "I would agree with that. Every year it's going to be a battle. It always comes down to the last game in this division. Each division game, you always try to count it as two games because that's it's played like. It's like you're playing in two games. The battle – it's going to be a four-quarter football game. It's going to be tough [and] physical – that's the type of division that we have. There is talent from top down for each team. Every time each team plays each other, we already know it's going to be a battle. I believe it's one of the best divisions in the league and for me to be able to compete against the guys I'm competing with, it's crazy for me. It gives me the chance to up my talent [and] up my game when I'm going against these certain teams. It gives me a chance to get better on my game."

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