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Midseason report: Grading the Buccaneers halfway through the season

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a 5-5 record after a successful trip to Germany.
Credit: AP Photo/Steve Luciano
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense huddles before a play during an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks at Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022.

TAMPA, Fla. — The Buccaneers’ progress report is here. Where do the different areas of the team grade out at the bye week?

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 5-5 after a successful trip to Germany. They sit atop the NFC South and have the league’s third-easiest remaining schedule. Albeit there are many areas Tampa Bay can improve during the back half of the regular season.

Here are the Buccaneers’ grades after the first 10 games.

Passing offense

With Tom Brady at quarterback, no matter his age, expectations are going to be lofty. This is especially so when the 45-year-old threw for 5,316 yards and 43 touchdown passes the season prior.

After 10 games, Brady is second in the NFL with 2,805 passing yards but 14th in the league with 12 touchdown passes. For comparison, Brady had 15 touchdown passes in the first five games in 2021. This is well below expectations.

The Buccaneers also share the league lead for drops. Uncharacteristic drops have sprinkled into Tampa Bay’s passing game with Mike Evans leading the charge.

Grade: C-

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Rushing offense

In Week 1, Leonard Fournette rushed for 127 yards in Tampa Bay’s win against the Cowboys. It took until week 10 for the Buccaneers to have another 100-yard rushing performance. In the time between those games, the Buccaneers became the NFL’s worst rushing attack. Just a few weeks ago, they were on pace to average the least rushing yards since the AFL-NFL merger.

Rachaad White’s 105-yard day against Seattle has reignited hope that Tampa Bay’s rushing attack can be worth something this season. After the win in Munich, the Bucs are no longer the worst rushing team. They are the second worst, which is progress.

Grade: D-

RELATED: Back-to-back wins: Brady, Bucs beat Seahawks 21-16 in historic Germany game

Passing defense

This is a tricky area to evaluate. The injury bug took a couple of bites of the Tampa Bay secondary in the first 10 weeks. Cornerback Carlton Davis III missed action, forcing rookie Zyon McCollum into the starting role.

Safety Antoine Winfield Jr. and cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting have also missed games due to injuries. Safety Logan Ryan is still on the injured reserve list.

Still, Tampa Bay ranks 11th in the NFL in completion percentage allowed (63.5). They are also second in sacks with 32. The six interceptions are one of the lowest totals in the league, however. That will be an area to improve, coming out of the bye week.

Grade: B

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Rushing defense

It cannot be understated how important defense tackle Akiem Hicks is for the Buccaneers. In his three full games, Tampa Bay allowed less than 75 total rushing yards and zero touchdowns. Without him, the Buccaneers could not stop the run consistently. Things took a sour turn in weeks seven and eight when the Panthers and Ravens rushed for 173 and 23, respectively.

Tampa Bay gave up a combined 107 rushing yards in its last two games. Hicks played in both contests. Opposing teams will continue to struggle on the ground, as long as Hicks is healthy.

Grade: B-

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Special teams:

Kicker Ryan Succop is 22-of-25 in field goal attempts this season, with a long of 54 yards. He has made every kick from 20-29 yards, as well as 40-49 yards. The veteran has also made all of his extra-point attempts, which are not guaranteed in the NFL.

With respect to tight end Cade Otton and Rachaad White, punter Jake Camarda is looking like the Buccaneers' best pick from the 2022 draft. The former Georgia Bulldog is averaging 43.8 yards per punt, ranking sixth in the league. He set single-game franchise records in week nine against the Rams with a gross punting average of 59.5 yards per kick and a net average of 54.2

Grade A+

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