The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are coming off a Super Bowl victory, one of the most impressive feats in the history of the NFL. At 43 years old, Tom Brady switched teams, started slow, tore his MCL, made the playoffs as a wild card, and won the Super Bowl (with an injury).
While the story of the 2020 Tampa Bay Buccaneers was a fairy tale, there is another tale brewing for the 2021 season. This year’s tale starts when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers arrive at training camp at AdventHealth Training Center on July 25. Here’s a look at three position battles to watch out for as the prep begins for Tampa Bay to run it back.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ brewing position wars
#1 – Kyle Trask versus Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Griffin
It seems inevitable that Kyle Trask will eventually succeed Tom Brady. Training camp will provide the first clue as to how quickly that process will take place. Trask is currently listed as fourth on the depth chart, according to ESPN. If the rookie can surpass Gabbert and Griffin next month, it will show the franchise that he can eventually succeed Tom Brady.
That said, if he struggles against Gabbert and Griffin, the path to Trask’s succession will be a long one.
Of course, Tom Brady will be the starter for the team as long as he chooses. However, if something happens to him, will Trask have shown enough to beat Gabbert and Griffin, therefore showing his ability to go slot into the game at the first sign of trouble?
#2 – Ronald Jones versus Leonard Fournette
There was once a time when Leonard Fournette was in the conversation of the top ten backs in football. Those days seem to be over.
Fournette started only three games last season and earned 367 yards and six touchdowns. Meanwhile, Ronald Jones rushed for 978 yards and seven touchdowns in 13 starts. It would seem that Jones is a bonafide starter.
That said, Fournette’s 1,000-yard season was only two seasons ago, and it would be hard to imagine the Buccaneers not keeping the top spot open to competition. Will Fournette regain top spot as the King of the Hill?
#3 – Rob Gronkowski versus OJ Howard
Most expect Gronkowski to start based on his name alone. However, one cannot ignore that Rob Gronkowski is 32. OJ Howard is 26. Age can catch up with any player once they hit 30. If the Gronk takes a big step back in training camp, OJ Howard could make an appearance as the starter.
While the other Buccaneers position battles will likely conclude at the end of training camp, this is a competition that could quietly go on throughout 2021. Remember, before Gronkowski arrived, OJ Howard was the starting tight end for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.