After a drama-filled week at One Buc Place, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will finally play some football Sunday afternoon against the Arizona Cardinals. Looking to move to 1-3 before the bye week, the Bucs turn to their third-round rookie quarterback Mike Glennon to get back on the winning track.
The following keys to victory could result in the Buccaneers escaping New England with a win.
Key 1. Glennon Doesn’t Have To Be Dynamite
After cornerback Darrelle Revis jokingly made a Napoleon Dynamite reference when talking about Mike Glennon this past week, it was evident that perhaps the majority of the locker room has embraced the change. With that said, if the rookie’s teammates do their jobs, Glennon could come out of Week 4 just fine.
For Glennon, he just needs to do what he knows how to do and that’s scan the field looking for his best option on the play. He doesn’t need to “wow” anyone, just manage the game. He’ll make mistakes but as long as he makes smart decisions and knows when to throw it away or not take a sack, he should put the Bucs in position to win.
Key 2. Hit The Ground Running
Running back Doug Martin has rushed for 297 yards so far this season. What better way than to help the rookie out by running early and often and wear down the Cardinals defense who will be limited due to injuries.
Arizona holds the third-ranked rush defense allowing just over 73 yards per game. Martin is the second-best rusher in the NFL through the first three weeks. The Bucs should not only use Martin but also get Brian Leonard and Mike James into the mix. Changing it up may help break down that tough Cardinals defense.
Key 3. Limit Palmer
Veteran quarterback Carson Palmer was almost a Buccaneer this past offseason. Instead, he will be facing them.
The 33-year old Palmer has thrown for three touchdowns and four interceptions in his first three games as a Cardinal. Many say he looks like is old self back when he was a two-time Pro Bowler with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Aside from that, the Bucs can’t let history repeat itself. Last season against Tampa Bay he threw for 414 yards and four touchdowns. Granted the Bucs defense has played much better against the pass than in 2012, but have said Palmer is due to break out any moment. The Buccaneers hope this week is not the case.
Key 4. Pitt Style Reunion
Cornerback Darrelle Revis and Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald both attended the University of Pittsburgh but at different times in their lives. They met each other on a recruiting trip Revis was on before entering college, not knowing they would headline a couple games in their professional careers.
Sunday will be the third time both go head to head. In the first meeting, Revis — then with the Jets — was on the field at the same time Fitzgerald caught eight passes for 122 yards. Their second meeting was in the 2012 Pro Bowl where Fitzgerald caught a touchdown pass over Revis.
The last time Fitzgerald was in Raymond James Stadium was Super Bowl XLIII and he caught seven passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns. Although he may not be matched up on him every snap, Revis will look to limit the All-Pro receiver’s threat on the field.
Key 5. Get The Gameplan Right
Many will suggest that the Buccaneers will limit the offense because of Mike Glennon so that he can succeed. But according to Greg Schiano they won’t. And quite frankly, they don’t have to.
Although the scheme and play calling has been questionable at times, the majority of pass plays called were high percentage routes run by receivers in which Josh Freeman could not hit and ones the staff feels Glennon can. Hence the reason why Schiano stated they have no intentions on changing the offense.
What they do have to do is make it more balanced than last week. While the Cardinals defense has been great against the run they can not abandon it. Doing so will make for a rough afternoon not just for Glennon but for the entire team as well.
Gil Arcia (0-3): Cardinals 24, Buccaneers 13
Mark Cook (1-2): Buccaneers 17, Cardinals 16
Scott Reynolds (2-1): Cardinals 20, Buccaneers 13