The Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense has a new look in the 2020 season, starting with quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski. Brady and Gronkowski were a dynamic duo with the New England Patriots, hooking up for 78 touchdowns together in nine seasons. Bruce Arians is bringing the Brady and Gronkowski connection back together, with a bit of a twist. The "12 personnel" package will be the Buccaneers base offense in 2020, lining up two tight ends on the field. Gronkowski and 2017 first-round draft pick O.J. Howard will earn a lot of snaps and receive plenty of targets.
Per Greg Auman of The Athletic, Arians also said on a conference call with reporters said he even likes "13 personnel" with a third tight end on the field. The Buccaneers have the depth to make "13 personnel" effective with Gronkowski, Howard, and Cameron Brate -- as each tight end has recorded over 500 yards in a season at least once in their careers.
Going into "12 personnel" is nothing new for the Buccaneers in 2020, as Arians used it on 23% of his snaps last season, which was the eighth-highest rate in the NFL (per Sharp Football Stats). Buccaneers quarterbacks had a 106.3 passer rating in "12 personnel" last season, which was Jameis Winston for all but four attempts. Winston had nine touchdown passes to four interceptions in the formation, so Arians had success running "12 personnel" with Howard and Brate.
That base offense should be even better with Brady and Gronkowski added to the mix, even though New England only ran "12 personnel" 5% of the time in 2018 (Brady and Gronkowski's last season together in New England). Brady only completed 24 of 39 passes in "12 personnel" that season, but the Patriots also had Dwayne Allen as the No. 2 tight end. Howard and Brate are a massive upgrade there.
Per Sharp, the Buccaneers only ran "13 personnel" on 19 plays in 2019, but they have the depth at tight end to run it more. This will also depend on who the No. 3 wide receiver will be for Tampa, which the apparent front runners for the job are Justin Watson or Tyler Johnson. The Buccaneers ran "11 personnel" (three WR) 64% of the time and didn't run a single snap in "20 personnel" (two RB, three WR) last season.
With three proven tight ends on the roster, expect the Buccaneers to have a higher percentage of "12 personnel" and a lower percentage of "11 personnel," even if they get the No. 3 wide receiver situation figured out.