For their entire 38-year history, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been a quarterback and offense graveyard. They have ranked among the top dozen offenses in points scored exactly once, in 2000.
By Pro Football Reference's Simple Rating System, Tampa has had a below-average offense in 35 of its 38 seasons. Football Outsiders' DVOA ratings, going back to 1989, have never had Tampa higher than ninth in passing efficiency, a record of futility that only Cleveland can match. Last season, the Buccaneers ranked next to last in passing and dead last in offense overall.
Into the ultimate nowhere-to-go-but-up situation, Jameis Winston enters with some unusual weapons at his disposal. For the fourth time in NFL history, a first-round quarterback will play his first starting season with two 1,000-yard receivers from the previous year. Second-year starter Mike Evans (1,051 yards) and 10-year veteran Vincent Jackson (1,002 yards) give Winston two dangerous targets. That's two more than, say, Geno Smith had in his first year.
And that pair is also better than what previous Buccaneers quarterbacks have had to work with. To see if that's real reason to hope for a different outcome, let's start by looking at previous quarterbacks who have had strong receiving talent. Then we need to figure out how good Evans and Jackson really are in a league where the 1,000-yard marker is not the milestone it once was.