The Buccaneers will face yet another tough offense this Sunday when they host the Philadelphia Eagles at Raymond James Stadium. Head coach Chip Kelly’s squad is second in the league five weeks into the season and Tampa Bay’s defense has taken notice.
Lead by running back LeSean McCoy, the Eagles are averaging just under 455 total yards per game. With 98 carries and 514 yards, McCoy is having himself a career season as he leads the league in rushing yards and is second in carries.
Bucs linebacker Dekoda Watson acknowledges the weapons that the Philadelphia offense has.
"We're just going to make sure that we pick everything apart,” Watson said. “Like you said, it can be overwhelming, but at the same time, there are certain things that we can pick up. We're going to try to defend certain ways, as far as our game plan and just make sure that we are on top of our game. There's a lot of weapons back there, starting with [quarterback] Michael Vick. [Running back LeSean] McCoy [is] definitely another weapon, and their run game is something serious, so we're just going to definitely have to make sure that we be on our P's and Q's and make sure we tackle."
Because of the bye week, the Bucs have been given extra time to plan and prepare for the Eagles. However, one of their weapons on offense is most likely out for this week and that is quarterback Michael Vick. Vick’s absence for Sunday means that quarterback Nick Foles will be taking his place, and that’s a name that is fresh on the minds of many Buccaneers.
Last season, Foles orchestrated a 14-play drive with 2:44 remaining in the game that featured a one-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jeremy Maclin to beat the Bucs 23-21. There were a few different players on the field then, but it doesn’t take away the taste left in the mouth of many after the Bucs overcame a 10-0 deficit at halftime.
Tampa Bay has given up late leads in three of their first four games that have resulted in losses. Buccaneers defensive end Da’Quan Bowers talks about the work they have put in to make sure something like that doesn’t happen again. Especially against Foles.
"It's definitely a challenge,” Bowers said. “They [have] a great team, they have excellent athletes at quarterback in [Michael] Vick and [Nick] Foles, and then that guy at running back [isn't] a slouch either. It's going to be a tough game for us, but this extra day and this bye week has given us a lot of chances to work on our offense and work on our defensive schemes, so hopefully, it can carry over.
"We definitely need a win. We can't erase the past; we're 0-4; there's no 'ifs,' 'ands' or 'buts' and no situation can make that better. We've just got to come in this week ready to play football. Our next task is the Eagles; we're going to go in with the mindset of starting this one-game season and the Eagles happen to be the first game. We're looking for a win, definitely try to get back in the win column."
The Bucs’ 13th rank defense will definitely have their hands full Sunday. Surely they will try to prevent Foles’ record from improving to 2-5 – where his only two victories would be courtesy of the Buccaneers.