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After season for the ages, Bucs are going for two

We’ve collected the stories from our Bucs 2021 season preview section in one place for your convenience.
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady (12) smiles during pregame warmups before a preseason game against the Texans Saturday in Houston.
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady (12) smiles during pregame warmups before a preseason game against the Texans Saturday in Houston. [ MATT PATTERSON | Associated Press ]
Published Sep. 3
Updated Sep. 5

Is there a better middle-aged athlete in sports history than 44-year-old Tom Brady?

Is there a player more crucial to the Bucs’ chances of repeating as Super Bowl champs than the seven-time champion quarterback?

Is this the year linebacker Devin White ascends to superstar status?

Will the “Grave Diggers” in the secondary continue to bury Bucs opponents?

Can the defensive line continue to play at the same high standard it has established despite its advancing age?

Is the return of coordinators Byron Leftwich, Todd Bowles and Keith Armstrong as important, or maybe even more so, than those of the 22 starting players?

We answer these and more questions in our 2021 Bucs season preview section, which publishes in Sunday’s Tampa Bay Times.

Here are the covers for the print section. For your convenience, we’ve pulled together links for all of the online stories below.

The covers of the Tampa Bay Times' 2021 Tampa Bay Buccaneers preview section.
The covers of the Tampa Bay Times' 2021 Tampa Bay Buccaneers preview section. [ Designed by Sean Kristoff-Jones. Photos by Dirk Shadd and Douglas R. Clifford | Times ]
The covers of the Tampa Bay Times' 2021 Tampa Bay Buccaneers preview section.
The covers of the Tampa Bay Times' 2021 Tampa Bay Buccaneers preview section. [ Designed by Sean Kristoff-Jones. Photos by Dirk Shadd and Douglas R. Clifford | Times ]

It bears repeating: This could be Tom Brady’s best year ever

Bucs quarterback Tom Brady celebrates with his family as he hoists the Lombardi trophy after the Bucs' win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 55 in February at Raymond James Stadium.
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady celebrates with his family as he hoists the Lombardi trophy after the Bucs' win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 55 in February at Raymond James Stadium. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

The Bucs quarterback is the last to win back-to-back Super Bowls 17 years ago. Can he do it again? Read here.

The Godfather? Star Wars? Alien? These Bucs could be best sequel

Bruce Arians celebrates after the Bucs beat the Chiefs in Super Bowl 55.
Bruce Arians celebrates after the Bucs beat the Chiefs in Super Bowl 55. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

Not since the Steelers in 1979 has a Super Bowl champion returned all of its starters. We rank all 22 of the Bucs anticipated starters. Read here.

Many happy returns? Start with the Bucs coordinators

Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles played eight seasons in the NFL as a safety, mainly for Washington, and started in Super Bowl 22 against the Broncos.
Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles played eight seasons in the NFL as a safety, mainly for Washington, and started in Super Bowl 22 against the Broncos. [ ARIELLE BADER | Times ]
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The Bucs have 22 starters back from their Super Bowl 55 team. But retaining Todd Bowles and Byron Leftwich may make the biggest difference. Read here.

A Super Bowl repeat would propel Bucs into rarefied NFL air

Quarterback Tom Brady is all smiles after the Patriots beat the Panthers 32-29 in Super Bowl 38 in Houston. And for good measure, Brady and New England went out and won the Super Bowl the next year, too.
Quarterback Tom Brady is all smiles after the Patriots beat the Panthers 32-29 in Super Bowl 38 in Houston. And for good measure, Brady and New England went out and won the Super Bowl the next year, too. [ DAVE MARTIN | Associated Press ]

Only eight teams (the Steelers did it twice) in the Super Bowl’s 55-year history have won back-to-back championships. Read here.

What to expect after Tom Brady wins a Super Bowl? Playoffs, maybe more

Tom Brady talks to Terry Bradshaw after the Patriots' 24-21 victory over the Eagles in Super Bowl 39 at ALLTEL Stadium in Jacksonville.
Tom Brady talks to Terry Bradshaw after the Patriots' 24-21 victory over the Eagles in Super Bowl 39 at ALLTEL Stadium in Jacksonville. [ KEVIN REECE | ZUMAPRESS.com ]

If past is prologue, Brady will at least lead the Bucs back to the postseason this year. He accomplished this in New England every season after winning a Super Bowl except one. Read here.

40 TDs? 4,633 yards? That just ain’t normal at Tom Brady’s age

Tom Brady smiles during pregame warmups before a preseason football game against the Houston Texans in August in Houston.
Tom Brady smiles during pregame warmups before a preseason football game against the Houston Texans in August in Houston. [ MATT PATTERSON | Associated Press ]

Is the Bucs quarterback the greatest middle-aged athlete in sports history? The numbers suggest Tom Brady is a one-of-a-kind performer. Read here.

An age-old question: Who was the best athlete over 40 before TB12?

Tom Brady clearly is the best-ever NFL player over 40. But how does he compare to some of his pro peers in other sports?
Tom Brady clearly is the best-ever NFL player over 40. But how does he compare to some of his pro peers in other sports? [ ERIC CHRISTIAN SMITH | Associated Press ]

Tom Brady is rewriting the rules for athletes over 40, but who were the top middle-aged performers before the quarterback arrived in Tampa Bay? Read here.

Think Brady’s flourishing for his age? Check out the Bucs’ defensive line

Ndamukong Suh puts pressure on Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes during Super Bowl 55.
Ndamukong Suh puts pressure on Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes during Super Bowl 55. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]

The team’s oldest position group (aside from quarterback) keeps playing at an ageless level. Read here.

Is this the year Devin White graduates to superstar status?

Devin White had a Bucs-high 140 tackles last year, fifth most in the NFL, and his nine sacks led all inside linebackers.
Devin White had a Bucs-high 140 tackles last year, fifth most in the NFL, and his nine sacks led all inside linebackers. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]

The Bucs linebacker has an old school style of play that conjures up some of the game’s greats. Read here.

‘Grave Diggers’ live on in Bucs secondary

Bucs cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting (23), flanked by safety Mike Edwards (32) and linebacker Devin White (45), celebrates his interception during the second quarter of last season's NFC title game in Green Bay. The Bucs' entire secondary rotation returns intact in 2021.
Bucs cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting (23), flanked by safety Mike Edwards (32) and linebacker Devin White (45), celebrates his interception during the second quarter of last season's NFC title game in Green Bay. The Bucs' entire secondary rotation returns intact in 2021. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

The unit, still one of the team’s youngest, remains hungry for more rings and respect. Read here.

Biggest threats to Bucs’ Super Bowl path? Breaking down the NFC

Bucs linebacker Shaquil Barrett sacks Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers during the NFC Championship Game last season. Will these teams meet again with a Super Bowl berth at stake?
Bucs linebacker Shaquil Barrett sacks Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers during the NFC Championship Game last season. Will these teams meet again with a Super Bowl berth at stake? [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

The Bucs may finally have a leg up in their division, but who could ultimately stand in their way of reaching a second straight Super Bowl? We size up the NFC. Read here.

Biggest threats to Bucs’ repeat chances? Breaking down the AFC

Will the Bucs' Tom Brady and Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes meet at season's end once again? The Chiefs are one of the AFC's favorites.
Will the Bucs' Tom Brady and Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes meet at season's end once again? The Chiefs are one of the AFC's favorites. [ DAVID J. PHILLIP | Associated Press ]

The early favorites in the AFC? The Bills, Chiefs and perhaps a bunch of Alabama rookies. Read here.

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