The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had one of the best passing offenses in the NFL last season, which isn’t hard to do with Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams to throw to. One of the interesting changes heading to next season is the Bucs possibly using Jackson, maybe the best deep threat in the NFL, as a slot receiver.
It’s all about creating mismatches for Greg Schiano and offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan. The Bucs are trying to force mismatches in coverage all across the field, even if the most natural thing to do seems like placing Jackson outside the numbers and let him do his thing. Jackson caught 72 passes for 1384 yards last season, leading the NFL in yards per reception with 19.2, finishing the season with 8 touchdowns.
Jackson isn’t the only big threat on this passing offense, with Mike Williams, entering his fourth NFL season, being a very big part of it, catching at least 63 passes through his first 3 NFL seasons, including 996 yards and 9 touchdowns last season, looking a lot more accustomed to having Jackson playing next to him.
The third wide receiver is currently up in the air: Tiquan Underwood had somewhat of a mini-breakout season in 2012, catching 28 passes for 425 yards, positioning himself as a solid number 3 option, but the Bucs also have Kevin Ogletree, hoping to rekindle the magic of the first game from last season as he helped the Dallas Cowboys beat the New York Giants.
Jackson, however, is the important figure in all of this. His career average of 17.8 yards per catch is the second best among active players with at least 100 career catches, following Devery Henderson. Beyond these four the Bucs don’t have anything noteworthy to offer, which means an injury to anyone, and especially Jackson and Williams, might be very problematic for them as they attempt to return to the postseason for the first time since 2007.