-Running back Ronald Jones has been putting in work this offseason. Sports Illustrated's Luke Easterling compiled a series of videos posted to Instagram from Jones' trainer to show how much the third-year running back is training this offseason. Both Head Coach Bruce Arians and General Manager Jason Licht have voiced their confidence in Jones going into the 2020 season. They also made no secret of wanting a running back who they can rely on to catch passes out of the backfield. That's not something Jones was asked to do in college and even since getting into the league, has only done it on a limited basis.
It led to the team drafting Ke'Shawn Vaughn out of Vanderbilt in the third round of last month's draft. From the looks of it though, Jones is still vying to be that every-down back.
-Chris Godwin, Lavonte David make NFL.com's All-Paid Team of Tomorrow. The team was compiled of players that are eligible for contract extensions.
"Bruce Arians knows the passing game," wrote Anthony Holzman-Escareno of NFL.com. "When he arrived in Tampa Bay, he looked at Chris Godwin and saw 100 receptions. The receiver finished with 86 catches in 2019 after missing the final two games with a hamstring injury. Now, With Tom Brady sailing to town, Godwin should be a beneficiary of the national spotlight.
Michael Thomas, a 2020 All-Paid Team selection, caught more passes (149) than any player in NFL history last season. Not only was he the lone player to earn a higher receiving grade from Pro Football Focus than Godwin, but he was also the only player to average more receiving yards per game. In fact, Godwin was lined up between Thomas and Julio Jones in that category."
And if you think that's a glowing endorsement for Godwin, take a look at what Holzman-Escareno has to say about David.
"Lavonte David might be the most underrated player in the NFL," he wrote (!!). "The conversation of the best traditional linebackers in the game in the last five seasons has typically revolved around Bobby Wagner and recently retired Luke Kuechly. David is their lesser-talked-about peer who has always deserved a place in the discussion. David does every line of the job description well: He is the only NFL player since 2000 to record 20-plus sacks, 20-plus forced fumbles and 10-plus interceptions in his first eight seasons. His 116 tackles for loss since 2012 trail only J.J. Watt and Aaron Donald -- two of the best front-line players the league has ever seen. He also happened to be the highest-graded coverage linebacker by PFF last season (and has been since 2017). At 30 years old, age begins to matter to teams, but there has been no decline in David's play since he entered the league as a second-round pick in 2012. The fact that Davis has made one Pro Bowl and one All-Pro team in his career is lightweight disrespectful. With Tom Brady in Tampa Bay, David will finally have the national spotlight. His accolades and bank account will benefit from the exposure."
I would elaborate, but I think that says it all. And while it's nice to see the two players get some nation-wide recognition, those justifications for the team extending them aren't needed when it comes to Licht and his staff. Both Arians and Licht have noted that getting an extension done with Godwin, who's eligible this offseason, is a priority. As is keeping David a Buccaneer.
-Peter Schrager spoke about Tom Brady's impact on the Buccaneers beyond the X's and O's on Good Morning Football. "He immediately makes young guys like Vea, David, and Devin White household names," said Schrager. "To go from a team with 0 primetime games on ESPN, FOX, or NBC to a team with 5 - is a huge deal for everyone else."
Indeed, the Buccaneers will be thrust into the national spotlight the league-maximum five times this season, hosting both Sunday Night AND Monday Night Football and appearing in three other night games. A direct contrast from the lone primetime matchup they had last year on Thursday Night Football at Carolina. The case of Lavonte David is probably the most encouraging and intriguing. Despite having all the accolades listed above by even NFL.com, David has only one Pro Bowl appearance in his stellar nine-year career. A lot of it had to do with being classified as an outside linebacker while the Bucs operated a 4-3 defense, pitting David up against pass rushing linebackers like Von Miller in 3-4 systems. But even last year, after the Bucs made the switch to a 3-4 under Bowles, David still didn't get the recognition he deserved in the form of a Pro Bowl selection. That may have been a direct result of the lack of exposure Tampa Bay received. No more, says Schrager. Brady means exposure and while people are watching him, they'll notice the plethora of other phenomenal players on Tampa Bay's roster.
-NFL.com's Bucky Brooks calls first-round pick Tristan Wirfs a 'foundational piece.' The Buccaneers had a question mark going into this offseason at the right tackle position and they answered it with their first pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, trading up one spot to nab former Iowa Hawkeye Tristan Wirfs. He's the most athletic offensive lineman to come out of this year's class and perhaps the most athletic lineman in recent history. His Combine performance was off the charts, setting and matching multiple records for his position group and also running a 4.75 40-yard dash at over 300 pounds. The Bucs' pick received a positive reception from media pundits around the country and now NFL.com's Bucky Brooks weighed in.
Bucs Tweet of the Day: For fans of Michael Jordan and the ESPN documentary The Last Dance, you're welcome…