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December 7, 2013 @ 9:38 am
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SR’s Pick 6: Bucs vs. Bills

Written by Scott
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 when the team faces the Buffalo Bills? Find out in SR’s Pick 6.
The Buccaneers (3-9) take on the Buffalo Bills (4-8) and are trying to extend their winning streak to four games. What are the six things PewterReport.com publisher Scott Reynolds is looking for in Tampa Bay’s upcoming game?

Tampa Bay’s offensive line has been overwhelmed in the last two games against stout pass-rushing teams. The Bucs gave up four sacks at Detroit and surrendered a season-high five sacks against Carolina as the offensive line played poorly in both contests and allowed quarterback Mike Glennon to be pressured too often. In order for the Bucs to win on Sunday against Buffalo, the offensive line needs to play the best game of the season and keep Glennon upright.

Buffalo leads the NFL in sacks with 43, led by defensive end Mario Williams, who is third in the league with 12. But stopping Williams is not all Tampa Bay has to contend with. Defensive lineman Marcell Dareus has six sacks, reserve defensive end Jerry Hughes has eight sacks as a pass-rushing specialist, and linebacker Manny Lawson has three sacks, while rookie linebacker Kiko Alonso has two, to go along with four interceptions. Simply put, the Bills have a number of players that can get to the quarterback on any play.

Tampa Bay will try to combat those players and the multiple looks that Buffalo presents on defense with tight ends and running backs to help pass protect. But when the Bucs want to dial up a big pass play and send four or five eligible receivers out into routes, the offensive line will have to do a much better job in man blocking and prevent Glennon from getting pressured or sacked.

Because Buffalo’s pass rush is so dangerous, this may not be the game for Mike Glennon to stand in the pocket on a five- or seven-step drop and launch bombs down the field to Vincent Jackson or Tiquan Underwood. Instead, Glennon, whose accuracy over the past five games is close to 70 percent, will have to be accurate on short, rhythm passes from a three-step drop because he’s not going to have time to hang in the pocket and allow routes to develop downfield.

Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan needs to help Glennon out by incorporating some screen passes against Buffalo to take advantage of the Bills’ pass rush. Whether it is a screen pass to running back Bobby Rainey or a middle screen to tight end Tim Wright, the Bucs must keep Buffalo off balance and make the Bills pay for sending too many defenders at Glennon.

Jackson, Underwood and Wright also need to a do a good job of puncturing the Bills defense by catching the ball, breaking tackles and getting yards after catch. Buffalo’s style of defense could lend itself to giving up big plays if Glennon is on target with his passes and Tampa Bay’s receivers can get vertical quickly and turn short passes into long gains.
The offensive game plans of both Buffalo and Tampa Bay are eerily similar. Both teams have rookie quarterbacks that like to throw deep balls, and both offenses need to establish a strong running game to take pressure off the QB and create a balanced attack. The defensive game plan for the Bills and the Bucs will be to try to make the opposing offense one-dimensional by taking away the run and forcing a rookie quarterback to try to beat them.

The winner of Sunday’s game will likely be the team that remains two-dimensional and balanced throughout the contest. If Tampa Bay’s defense can take away the running game by winning the line of scrimmage on first and second down and tackling much better than it did a week ago at Carolina it will significantly increase the Bucs’ chances of winning. Tampa Bay’s offense can help the defense by jumping out to an early double-digit lead and forcing Buffalo to have to throw the ball to catch up.

Buffalo has a two-headed monster at running back with Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller. Jackson is a physical brute that is tough to bring down, and has rushed for 633 yards and seven touchdowns on 152 carries (4.2 avg.). Spiller is a smaller, fast back that has rushed for 656 yards on 138 carries (4.8 avg.) and two touchdowns with a long of 77 yards. In addition to trying to stop the Bills rushers, the Bucs must also be wary of their receiving ability out of the backfield.

Tampa Bay has been susceptible to getting hit by screen passes by its opponents this season, and must be wary of Buffalo trying to take advantage of the Bucs’ aggressive attempts to get to E.J. Manuel. Jackson has 37 catches for 293 yards (7.9 avg.) and a touchdown this season, and does a good job of reading his blocks. While Spiller only has 23 catches for 104 yards, he had a 66-yard catch last year, which showed how dangerous he can be with the ball in his hands in the open field.

Mike Glennon isn’t the only rookie quarterback that is having a successful initial season in the NFL. Buffalo’s E.J. Manuel, a first-round pick, has also had a nice year after shaking off an early-season knee injury. Manuel has thrown nine touchdowns and just four interceptions. He’s thrown four touchdowns and rushed for another score in the past three games, while only throwing one interceptions.

Tampa Bay needs to pressure Manuel and make him look like a rookie. He’s been sacked 17 times in eight games and has also fumbled four times this season – twice in the pocket, and twice as a runner. The Bucs need a big game from defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who had his worst game of the season last week in Carolina. McCoy and the defensive line need to not only sack the rookie quarterback, but also pressure Manuel into making mistakes and create turnovers.

Tampa Bay head coach Greg Schiano said he regretfully left some tricks in the bag against Carolina in last week’s 27-6 loss to the Panthers. He needs to empty his bag of tricks this week in a game that could very well decide whether he stays in Tampa Bay for the 2014 season or not.

The Bucs’ best win of the season was a 41-28 victory over Atlanta in which the Bucs attempted a halfback pass, a fake field goal pass, blocked a punt and recovered a surprise onside kick. Schiano and his coordinators need to get creative and pull out all of the stops against the Bills. When the Bucs attempted those stunts against the Falcons the home crowd loved it and it created an amped environment that the players used to give them some added momentum.

Last modified on Saturday, 07 December 2013 11:04

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  • avatar

    Here are Scubog's Pick Six. Pick #1.) A Left Defensive End sighting. Of course with all of the Keystone Kops stunting and looping around it's hard to tell who finally rushed from the left side. I know this much, I sure never notice Daniel Te'ONesheim making a play. PIck #2.) A pass on 3rd and 6 that gets a 1st down. Of course Glennon's completion percentage is high when the majority of his offerings are short dump-offs followed by a punt. Pick #3.) No personal foul penalties. Each week we aid our opponent by getting more yellow flags than first downs. It's pretty bad when after a good play by the Bucs we immediately look for the flag. Pick #4.) Score when you have the chance. In the words of former TE Jerry Bell, "When you get that close, you gotta get it in." How many time has Vincent Jackson either fallen down or been brought down before reaching the promised land? I suspect he's a poor lover when he can't quite get there. Pick #5.) Score first and stay ahead. There will be an abundance of Bills fans with their, "Lets Go Buff-a-lo" chant. Please don't subject us loyal Buc fans to that "In-stadium experience." Pick #6.) Score in the 2nd half to seal the win. For some reason Schiano doesn't want to be accused of running up the score, so he holds back in the 2nd half choosing to win on the kneel down play that once worked at Rutgers. This 2nd half inability to score less than Charlie Campbell is mind boggling. OK Greg, Buffalo is like that homely plump girl sitting in the corner who hasn't had a conjugal visit since the 1990's. If you can't hit the jackpot now, you just might be desperate and dateless next season yourself.
  • avatar

    Most worried about #4 especially since Sheridan is so find of blitzing in man and even lavonte our best player looks confused whether or not to cover, who to cover, or to blitz. Seriously, Sheridan sucks and I really hope he is replaced this offseason whether schiano is of not. SR - has the general opinion about schiano staying changed yet again? It seems like only yesterday that he was given a vote of confidence. Also, I think it's a terribly short sighted notion that since wannstedt is doing a great job at special teams coordinator that schiano doesn't want to rock the boat by making him d coordinator! (Mentioned in your fab 5) do you agree with that foolishness???
  • avatar

    "#4. Tampa Bay has been susceptible to getting hit by screen passes by its opponents this season." Conversely, my recollection is that Tampa Bay has thrown only one screen pass all year (it gained 20 yards, but was brought back for holding).
  • avatar

    The bucs Have been bottom feeders long enough in the nfl... As a season tkt holderI am tired of being the doormat for the nfl!!. I prefer the bucs loose the rest of the games , get a really high draft pick for an impact player, FIRE coach Schiano and hire a quality nfl head coach ....maybe Lovie Smith ?
  • avatar

    No, 5 Scott is tough to do because we more than not, make Rookie QB's look like All Pro. I think the key is to make sure Manuel doesn't run. I have followed Manuel before he was Red Shirted and watched him play while I lived in Tallahassee. Manuel is hot and cold and by taking away the run from him will be a big help. The key is that the front four have to put pressure on him and the MLB covers him running.
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