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September 28, 2013 @ 6:04 am
Current rating: 2.67 Stars/3 Votes

SR’s Pick 6: Bucs vs. Cardinals

Written by Scott
Bucs CB Darrelle Revis will have to cover Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald on Sunday
Bucs CB Darrelle Revis will have to cover Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald on Sunday Cliff Welch/PR
Scott Reynolds


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What are the six things PewterReport.com publisher and Bucs beat writer Scott Reynolds will be looking for in Tampa Bay’s home game against Arizona when they face the Cardinals? Find out in SR’s Pick 6.
The Buccaneers (0-3) host Arizona in search of their first win of the season and will face a banged up Cardinals defense (1-2). What are the six things PewterReport.com publisher Scott Reynolds is looking for in Tampa Bay’s Week 4 game?

Although Arizona’s defense has been ravaged with injuries this week, losing linebackers Lorenzo Alexander, Sam Acho and Alex Okafor for the season and likely being without safety Rashad Johnson, the Bucs offense is also banged up with tight end Tom Crabtree missing the game due to re-aggravating his ankle injury and wide receivers Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson being listed as questionable. Williams suffered a hamstring injury in last Sunday’s loss at New England, and Jackson hurt his ribs against the Patriots.

Ideally, the Bucs need both of those receivers to be able to fight through the pain and play on Sunday to serve as viable weapons for rookie quarterback Mike Glennon, who is making his first NFL start against the Cardinals on Sunday. Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan’s offense is based around having two big wide receivers run vertical routes and out routes and win jump balls against receivers. Unfortunately for Tampa Bay, only Jackson and Williams have the size and talent to do that. The Bucs can’t trot out Kevin Ogletree, Eric Page, Russell Shepherd and Nate Byham and expect a rookie like Glennon to lead them to victory on Sunday.

On Monday the Buccaneers officially activated running back and Olympic sprinter Jeff Demps. Demps has had nearly three weeks to prepare and practice in Tampa Bay and the coaches should have prepared him for at least a handful of plays on offense right now. Demps has been taking most of his reps as a running back, so incorporating him into Sunday’s game on a pitch or a screen pass would be ideal, and a nice change of pace to allow Doug Martin some time to rest.

Having a silver medalist, and what the Bucs believe is the fastest player in the NFL, stand on the sidelines is like having a Ferrari sit in the garage. The Bucs need to use him on offense to help generate big plays. Through three games, Tampa Bay is one of only three teams that has failed to generate a play of 40 yards or more. Demps could help change that.

In the first three games of the 2013 season, Ogletree, the team’s new third wide receiver, who is making more than $1 million per year, has only three catches for 40 yards and one touchdown. To make matters worse he has two drops and disappears for long stretches in games.

First-year wide receiver Eric Page debuted as a wide receiver on Sunday in New England and caught three passes for 55 yards. Page has already made a nice impression on special teams, averaging 7.8 yards per punt return with a 28-yarder against the Jets in Week 1, and averaging 30 yards per kick return. Page is quick and shifty and always gives top effort. With injuries to Williams and Jackson putting their availability in question on Sunday, Page has to step up and play like a starting receiver in the NFL because he may be forced into the starting lineup.

The Buccaneers will be facing an elite wide receiver for the first time this season in Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald. With Carson Palmer at quarterback this year, Fitzgerald is back to his dominating ways with 15 catches for 177 yards and two touchdowns. Tampa Bay cornerback Darrelle Revis will be matched up with Fitzgerald on most downs, but he should be matched up with him on every down for the entire game.

Yet there will be instances when the Bucs want to switch up their coverage and put Leonard Johnson on Fitzgerald, but that would create an unfavorable mismatch. Tampa Bay should want Revis on Fitzgerald every down, but should that not happen, the Bucs need Johnson to step up and shut down the Pro Bowl receiver. Tampa Bay needs to give Johnson some safety help over the top against Fitzgerald, and that means Dashon Goldson and Ahmad Black need to step up in bracket coverage and come up with interceptions or pass breakups on Sunday. Through three games, only strong safety Mark Barron has an interception for Tampa Bay’s secondary, and that needs to change.

With Glennon seeing his first NFL action on Sunday, the Bucs offense needs to have more imagination than it has had over the first three weeks of the season. The predictability of running on first down and having the receivers work the sidelines will play right into defensive coordinator Todd Bowles’ hands. Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan and Greg Schiano need to formulate a game plan that will break tendencies and help Glennon.

Throwing on first downs instead of running Martin, using the tight end in the middle of the field as a weapon, and running draws with Martin on third-and-short instead of trying to pick up the first down in a two-tight end set are some simple things that can be done to aid Glennon and not make Tampa Bay’s offense so predictable. It will be interesting to see what changes – if any – Sullivan and Schiano come up with now that Glennon is in the lineup, as opposed to when Josh Freeman was under center.

To say that Tampa Bay’s defense has to play well with a rookie quarterback at the helm in his first NFL start would be an understatement. The defense has to do its part and continue its streak of creating turnovers and pressuring the quarterback. More importantly, it has to hold Arizona to 16 points or less, and a pick-six would certainly take less pressure off Glennon.

The Bucs offense has had its struggles, and players like right guard Davin Joseph and fullback Erik Lorig didn’t do a great job blocking for Martin last week. For the Bucs to have any chance of winning on Sunday, Martin needs to rush for at least 125 yards. The problem is that Arizona will be stacking the box with eight defenders in an attempt to shut down Martin and force Glennon to beat the Cardinals. The Bucs can’t let that happen, and need to get an early lead on offense to prevent a tight fourth quarter situation that would force Glennon to have to win the game.
Last modified on Saturday, 28 September 2013 09:40

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  • avatar

    If I were in Vegas I would lay $500 on the Cards today
  • avatar

    Scubog, you actually made it through Owlykat's whole post? I think we'll see a lot of three step drops. Hopefully Glennon gets the ball to Martin, Demps, on short swing passes, that'll loosen up the 8 man fronts. If he can make those simple throws where the back doesn't have to do a flying 180 just to catch the ball, we'll win this game.
  • avatar

    That's the answer Owlykat. Create even more drama by bringing in Tim Tebo...W. Not like that would tend to undermine Mike Glennon's efforts to become the new leader of the offense when folks like you still have this idea that Tebow in a NFL QB. Guess all 32 teams just didn't see that one lucky pass. Demps , on the other hand, intrigues me. Can't wait to see if this staff can create some plays for him. Gruden would make him a "joker." You and I agree about Schiano's belief that he is just smarter than everyone else. Glennon doesn't have to win this game by himself. Let's hope he doesn't lose the game for us.
  • avatar

    Forget about Cowher. It took hin fourteen yrs. to make a team with the Steelers. I don't believe I have that many years left.
  • avatar

    I was the only poster who said at the beginning of our real games that we would be 0-4 by our fourth game and I still stand by that prediction. However, I will be pulling for a Buc's win tomorrow and will be happy if my prediction is wrong, but I watched Arizona's third Preseason Game when they played their first strings for three quarters and they looked really tough in all phases of their game. They say leopards can't change their spots, and I am afraid that goes double for Shiano who is the most hard headed; inflexible Coach I have ever seen who acts like he believes he is a Genius, but I have seen more than enough of his bad decisions to realize he is one of the worst NFL Coaches the Bucs have had to endure and they've had too many in the history of our Franchise. Horse has it right again. We need an interim Coach now who knows this team well and can guide us through the rest of this season and show exactly how good our players are. We don't need to rebuild. If they give Tebo a try they will already have a Veteran QB that can take them to the playoffs this year. However, they can play Orlovsky who had an incredible 75 per cent completion rate in preseason last year and see how far he can take us (but he is 30 yoa and would not have the longevity Tebo could give us) but if neither worked out we could just package our first and second pick and move up in the draft to get a great QB or trade for a promising Veteran QB and we would be exciting to watch! I am pulling for Demps to give us some splash plays tomorrow. Go Bucs! I like Cower as the coach for next year if our interim coach cannot get us to a winning season at least or to the playoffs. The best is yet to come, Fans.
  • avatar

    Owlykat; none worse than Ray Perkins.
  • avatar

    expectations are extremrly low for Shiano and Co. Its going to be real sad to see very good players go down, get nicked up, or suffer career ending injury during a dump season. a year wasted on a damn good roster. Dominic deserves to be canned too. No TE or legitimate #2 signal caller. Cardinales 20 Bucs 9. We cheer field goals remember.
  • avatar

    We should win this game? Third and fourth string WR's and TE's playing with a rookie QB.
  • avatar

    Forget about "the Chin", he spits too much as well.
  • avatar

    These coaches are too stupid to think Ogletree is better than Underwood and they should have changed kickers at this time as well. No tightend to speak of and no adjustments at halftime. The play calling would be better served by someone with brain. Go Bucs!
  • avatar

    Iam glad they made the change now-gobucsw
  • avatar

    @Bucnut2: I´m completly with you, Except i dont know if Cowher is the guy.. I was too stupid at that time to understand football.. @ScottReynolds: another great piece of evaluation!! congrats!! GoBucs!
  • avatar

    I was using Cowher as an example, My point is our last two coaches, RAH and Greg, have been reaches. Let's get a proven NFL guy!
  • avatar

    @PewterReport: Could you guys expose Shiano and give him one straight question: "Why coach, didn´t you sheme around Freemans strengh and the ability of Vincent Jackson to stretch the field? Instead, relying on a sheme, that is making it easier for other teams to defend the Bucs offense?" - if he says "We think" - and he realy means " I think" _ .."it gives us the best chance to win". Then the glazers need to come in- pull him away from the podium and say "we thank coach for his efforts and wish him well,..."
  • avatar

    Yea, let's go 0-16 so every pro bowl player we have will want to exit Tampa. Great idea; for what ? To get that creep Johnny Football? Here's an idea. Why not give Glennon a few games to see what he can do before we cast judgement? The Chin wouldn't come to Tampa if he was paid $20 million a year tax free. He likes where he is at his cushy tv analyst job. If he comes back to the NFFL it will be to Carolina. He's made that clear. Another thought. Since Joseph is coming back from a serious knee injury why don't we give him a while to get back in the swing of things.
  • avatar

    Pro bowlers are all locked up with long term contracts, they have no choice. WE NEED a franchise QB. Please note my post, let's talk 2 years from now. Glennon will be driving a beer truck and our franchise will be mired in protracted mediocrity. We need to make bold moves. Pocket QB's in today's NFL need to be extremely accurate to be effective, Gllenon is not. I have a question, name me a QB who became more accurate in than college. I bet its a short list.
  • avatar

    @ Sclobernocker- to ADAPT means to be flexible,to change.I can see this happening with everyone on the Bucs EXCEPT for our HC and OC..Both of them seem unable/unwilling to change their approach..wasn't that part of Schianos argument with Freeman? The Chin or Chucky 2.0 please.....
  • avatar

    I don't understand what you guys are talking about. We will adapt to buc football without Schiano. The guy is a dumpster fire in a bad neighborhood and the firefighters won't go in to put it out. Nothing to see here, just another college coach about to be fired. On the other hand FSU plays tonite.
  • avatar

    IMO, I think Joseph is overrated. I know he is a pro bowl guard but he seems not to get the job done of late. A win is a must and we will now see what Schiano and his man can due With Vjax or Williams out we are in big trouble. I hope I don't have to leave the game early in disgust..
  • avatar

    Kinderrt, Good post about Joseph. He was an alternate in 2008. His 2011 Pro Bowl selection (played in Jan. 2012), seems ages ago.
  • avatar

    I have all the confidence that the players can win this game. I have zero confidence in Schiano, Sullivan, Sherman and I hope they don't mess this win up. We should win this game. If we do lose this game, then it is time to fire Schiano and bring in a Head Coach that will instruct Sullivan and Sherman to find another scheme. I would suggest Butch Davis as the New Head Coach with the understanding that if he wins 5 games he will get a contract extension. Go Bucs! Win this game!
  • avatar

    Horse, I like most of what you said except the part about Davis. I'm with you that Schiano and Sullivan need to go. Where I differ is that I'm hoping that we go 0-16. The reason is that we need to be in a position to draft a franchise qb and Glennon, IMO, is not. In addition I believe its time to hire a REAL NFL coach, think Cowher. There is a lot of talent on this team but we can't win without a franchise QB. When we drafted Free I posted on this site that since he was a first round pick we would invest at least 4 years in him before finding out he's not an NFL qb. Its not all Freeman's fault, this is a VERY poorly designed offense. Sorry for being so opinionated but I think we need to fix our problems once and for all.
  • avatar

    @Bucnut2: I´m completly with you, Except i dont know if Cowher is the guy.. I was too stupid at that time..
  • avatar

    Bucs only need to do 1 thing to win this game. ADAPT. Adapt to having Glennon vice Freeman. Adapt to the fact that we may be down a WR. Adapt to the new skills of Demps. We need to show that our HC and OC can do more than shove square pegs into round holes. Show me that you can make some round holes too...
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