The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have completely reshaped their football team. The recent addition of running back Leonard Fournette is the latest piece of the puzzle that head coach Bruce Arians hopes can bring Tampa a Super Bowl. Although Fournette brings three years of experience to the Bucs, Arians said the addition wouldn’t change things for his team, specifically the running backs.
Tampa Bay used to be the laughingstock of the NFL
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers joined the NFL as an expansion team, along with the Seattle Seahawks, in 1976. The Buccaneers were embarrassingly bad from the outset. The Bucs, under head coach John McKay, lost every game during their first season and then dropped the first 12 games of their second season. The team began with a 26-game losing streak.
Through all the losses, McKay was able to find his sense of humor. McKay was a very successful college coach at USC. At USC, McKay compiled a 127-40-8 record. He coached a pair of Heisman Trophy winners in Mike Garrett and O.J. Simpson before heading to the NFL.
After McKay tasted victory for the first time in the NFL when the Bucs defeated the New Orleans Saints to get their record to 1-12, McKay was at his finest. He said he was thinking about the postseason. According to Bleacher Report, McKay said, “Three or four plane crashes and we’re in the playoffs.”
The new-look Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are now a far cry from that 1976 expansion season. If ever there was a team in win-now mode, it’s the 2020 Buccaneers. Tampa Bay was able to sign six-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady to a free-agent deal this offseason.
Brady is 43 years old. He’s clearly playing to win now, and the Buccaneers are doing whatever they can do make that happen. The Buccaneers signed Brady to a two-year deal for $50 million and have been putting some nice pieces around him.
Tampa Bay also traded for one of Brady’s favorite targets in New England. Rob Gronkowski came out of retirement to join Brady in Tampa. The addition of Gronk gives the Bucs another major offensive weapon, along with fellow tight end O.J. Howard and premier wide receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Tampa has also bolstered its running game, adding LeSean McCoy, and most recently, Leonard Fournette.
Leonard Fournette signing doesn’t change RB situation
It didn’t take long for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to scoop up Leonard Fournette after he was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars last week. Fournette, who has two 1,000-yard seasons in his three years in the NFL, was a surprise cut and was quickly added to a Tampa Bay team that already has Ronald Jones, LeSean McCoy, and rookie Ke’Shawn Vaughn in the backfield.
Fournette may have a strong resume, but his addition to the Bucs won’t change anything, according to head coach Bruce Arians. Arians stressed that Jones is the starter and Fournette will be a nice piece to the puzzle.
“That’s one position I think you can never have enough good guys,” Arians said in The Orlando Sentinel. “That’s the one area where nicks and bruises really add up. … I got great reviews from people who know him and have coached him, so he’ll fit right in and then we’ll see what role happens, and how fast it happens. But RoJo’s our guy. Shady’s ready for his role so it’s going to be building roles as we go along, but having enough quality players to finish this thing.’’