The New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons are in the Super Bowl and that’s a place the Tampa Bay Buccaneers haven’t been since they won in 2002. The NFL is a copycat league and teams have an incentive to emulate what other teams have done to get to the Super Bowl. The Buccaneers are no different. But are the Buccaneers closer to being the New England Patriots or the Atlanta Falcons?
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Resemble the Atlanta Falcons
Jameis Winston has a fiery personality and loves to throw the deep ball at any given moment and he does it quite well. That makes him similar to Tom Brady. However, the Buccaneers’ offense is more like the Falcons.
The offensive line, especially the right side of Demar Dotson, Ali Marpet and Joe Hawley is at their best when they are run-blocking. The weakness of the offensive line is pass protection, particularly the left side of Donovan Smith and Kevin Pamphile. This is the greatest disparity between the Buccaneers and the Falcons. The Falcons’ offensive line might be the best in the NFL. Alex Mack and Andy Levitre love to mash in the running game. The weakness is also pass protection from Chris Chester and sometimes Jake Matthews, but it didn’t hold the offense back.
When the Buccaneers’ running backs Doug Martin and Charles Sims are healthy, they provide a versatile combination. Martin can be a three-down back, but he can be spelled by Sims who loves to catch passes. Martin and Sims are just not game-changers like Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, who both seem like they could break a run open at anytime.
Where the Buccaneers are close to the Falcons is at wide receiver. Julio Jones has become the most unstoppable wide receiver in the NFL. However, Mike Evans is closing to that level quickly. Evans is similar in size to Jones and he can take over the game with frequency. Jones has viable support in Mohamed Sanu, Taylor Gabriel and Austin Hooper. Evans has Vincent Jackson when he’s healthy, Adam Humphries and Cameron Brate.
The Buccaneers are also more like the Falcons on defense. The Buccaneers’ best unit is the linebackers, which features one of the best trios in Kwon Alexander, Daryl Smith and Lavonte David. The Falcons’ best defensive player is also a linebacker in Vic Beasley. Each team also has a solid secondary that’s led by cornerbacks: Brent Grimes for the Buccaneers and Jalen Collins for the Falcons.
The Buccaneers’ best defensive player is Gerald McCoy on the defensive line, but they struggle if he gets taken out of the game. The Buccaneers like to use a rotation with their defensive ends. The Falcons also like to use a rotation with their defensive ends, but they have a more proven group. And while Grady Jarrett is not the best defensive player on the Falcons, he is the best on the defensive line and gets treated like McCoy.
Special Teams and Coaching
The special teams for the Buccaneers are like the Patriots because they both have kickers in Roberto Aguayo and Stephen Gostkowski who have struggled with confidence. But the coaching staff for the Buccaneers is more like the Falcons. Even though Dirk Koetter specializes on offense and Dan Quinn specializes on defense, they believe in letting their players showcase their talent. Bill Belichick prefers players who are precise and disciplined.
It’s not a coincidence that the Buccaneers are more like the Falcons. Both teams play in the NFC South and unlike the Patriots, they are both trying to prove themselves.