Without Gerald McCoy this Sunday, the challenge of facing one of the league’s most prolific offenses gets even tougher.
The captain of the Bucs defense played his last down of 2014 last Sunday, meaning that fourth-year pro Da’Quan Bowers will most likely get the nod at the three-technique. He was seen lining up with the first-team line during Wednesday’s practice. And while it’s possible that the Buccaneers will get Clinton McDonald back, it’s likely that Akeem Spence, who started in place of the injured McDonald for the past three games, will see a lot of reps, too.
The Packers’ offense that ranks top ten in points, rushing and receiving yards. If there is ever an extra need for the ‘next man up’ mentality, it’s now.
“The way this defense was playing, there can’t be any drop off,” Spence said. “I stepped in and I feel like I’ve been doing a good job these last few weeks. And Da’Quan also. When Gerald went down he stepped in and we were still knocking the run out.”
Knocking the run out this week will be especially important. Packers running back Eddie Lacy is averaging 4.6 yards a carry and closing in on his second 1,000-yard season in as many attempts. Lacy is currently at 940 yards and the Alabama alumnus is also one of the more dynamic backs in the league. He ranks sixth at the position in receiving yards with 396.
It sounds crazy to suggest the defense should try to make Rodgers throw, but doing so would mean that they’ve shut down Lacy and made Green Bay one-dimensional.
“We have to knock the run out and slow Eddy Lacy down,” Spence said. “Therefore they can’t be two-dimensional. Try to make Aaron Rodgers throw the ball 40 or 50 times and just try to beat us with his arm, which he can do, but at the same time, that’s when the front has to takeover.”
And the front four will need to take over in a major way. While they’ve fared well against the run, they’ve struggled for the most part in moving the quarterback off his mark.
If they fail to get pressure on Rodgers, it will be another long Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.
“It’s definitely going to be a challenge for us,” Spence said. “Our corners are going to have to play well this week, and then us on defense, especially up front, we’re going to have to get after Aaron Rodgers. The rush has to get there and we have to try our best to get him on the ground.”
If the Bucs are able to pull off their biggest upset of the season on Sunday it will prove to be a major statement victory and momentum going forward.
“It’ll say a lot,” Spence said. “It’ll say we’ve grown as a defense because that’s one of the toughest offenses in the league, if not the best. Therefore if we shut them down, it will say a lot about our defense and how far we’ve come since Week 1.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: [email protected]
I’ll take the one dimensional Rogers!! LoL
Our “No Dimensional” offense will really confuse the Packer defense. They, like us, will have no idea what’s coming.
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