Bucs finish winning season on a high note

Paul Jennewein, Staff Writer

Last week, the Tampa Buccaneers capped off its season at home with a 17-16 win over the Carolina Panthers. In its first winning season since 2010, the Bucs improved leaps and bounds on both sides of the ball. Although far from perfect, the 2016 season gave Tampa a reason to believe once again.

Jameis Winston, the team’s second year quarterback, showed significant growth as a quarterback and a leader, proving that the franchise can be built around. With the help of head coach Dirk Koetter and his favorite wide receiver Mike Evans, Winston finished twelfth in total yards, seventh in touchdowns, and sixteenth in yards per game.

“It’s been great to watch Winston make improve over the course of the season,” Emily Kemp (’20) said. “He didn’t let the rough start define his season.”

The Buccaneers began the season with 1-3 record, making them the worst team in the NFC South. However, in an unexpected turn of events, Tampa finished of the season with an 8-4 run, during which they defeated two play off teams.

On the defensive side of the ball, pro-bowlers Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David led the team to a productive year, especially in the second half of the season.

“They did a great job stopping the run,” said Max Smith (’19), citing the strength that middle linebackers Kwon Alexander and the before mentioned David brought to that area.

Overall, Tampa surpassed preseason expectations and showed that they can compete with the best in the league. Despite the fact that they finished a game short of the playoffs, the Bucs proved that the future is bright for their franchise.