Tampa Bay will take on the Rams in St. Louis on Sunday looking for their fifth win of the season before closing out the season next week in New Orleans. What can the Bucs do to help increase their chances of coming back to Tampa Sunday night sitting at 5-10? Find out what Mark Cook thinks in the Five Keys To Victory.
1. Create Space For RaineyThe offensive line, once was thought to be the strength of the team, has turned into the most disappointing unit. Excuses have been made about missing Carl Nicks, and Davin Joseph still recovering from an injury, but the fact is, it is Week 15 and the excuses just don’t cut it anymore. It is time to step up and make a statement against a formidable defensive line. Tampa Bay cannot win on Sunday against the Rams without have at the very least a functional running game. Take away Bobby Rainey’s 80-yard run against the Bills two weeks ago and Rainey is averaging less than 2.5 yards per carry over the last three games. That won’t cut it in the NFL, and certainly more is expected from a veteran, highly-paid offensive line.
2. Keep Quinn QuietThe secondary in St. Louis can be attacked as they rank in the bottom in pass defense. The question is, will Glennon have time to find open receivers? Robert Quinn has 15 sacks this season and also has created seven fumbles. Donald Penn said it this week in open locker room; he had his worst game of the season last week against the 49ers and is looking forward to redeeming himself. On Sunday in St. Louis, Penn will get his shot.
3. Someone Step UpThe fans all season have heard about the Bucs young receivers and their ability. As pointed out in the first key, it is Week 15, so what are you waiting on? If Tiquan Underwood and Skye Dawson want to have job in the league next season, Sunday’s game will give them a tremendous opportunity to put it on film. The Bucs need someone, anyone other than Vincent Jackson to step up at the wide receiver position. Blame offensive Mike Sullivan all you want, but take Jackson off the roster, and what other skill position player would start for any other team in te league right now?
4. Play With EmotionIt is very easy at this point in the season, with little to play for, to just go out and do the bare minimum and start allowing yourself to daydream about the offseason trip to the Bahamas or wherever the vacation will take place this year. WR Vincent Jackson told PewterReport.com that he as a leader will keep that from happening and that the Buccaneers will come out and play with emotion on Sunday against the Rams. And if the players are behind head coach Greg Schiano, as they say they are, they need to go out and prove it by beating a beatable team. Schiano could certainly use a win or two down the stretch to secure his job.
5. Do Your JobOne of my favorite Schiano sayings is something he screams all the time, “Do Your Job!” At first you think it a silly and juvenile command but in all honesty it is exactly what the players need to hear over and over. The mantra has even found its way inside the walls of the locker room. A number of players have referenced it this year when describing the success and failures of the team. On Sunday, if everyone can just “Do Their Job” and not freelance, improvise or try and be a hero, the Buccaneers have a great chance of getting their fifth win of the season against St. Louis.
PewterReport.com Prediction: Bucs 22, Rams 17
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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