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    • michael89156

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      Titans vs. Bucs: 7 Players to watch by David Rumsey  1h ago watch1_zpspndyvafc.jpgThe New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers officially kicked off the 2015 NFL season last night and now Bucs fan only have to wait two more days to see their no. 1 overall pick, Jameis Winston, live in his first regular season game. The Tennessee Titans will be coming to town and they are bringing their own Heisman Trophy-winning QB, no. 2 overall pick Marcus Mariota.The Bucs and Titans were the two worst teams in the NFL last year, but both have great expectations of improvement this year.This will really be a good test for both teams; if either can’t beat another 2-14 team form last year, how will they fare against the rest of the league?There are certainly questions on the Bucs offensive line and holes could absolutely be exploited against long-time NFL defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.However, Lovie Smith and DC Leslie Frazier feel comfortable going into their second year with this defensive group and hope to take advantage of the Titan’s rookie QB.With two fairly young teams that have question marks all over the field, this game could get a little sloppy at times. Whichever team can handle the pressure better and avoid mistakes will have a huge advantage.There are a few players on each team that could make a big impact (for better or for worse) on Sunday. Who are they and what should you be expecting to see from them when the season finally gets underway for the Bucs and Titans?watch2_zpsvtcfenod.jpgQBs Marcus Mariota & Jameis WinstonThis one is obvious but it has to be addressed. Marcus Mariota and Jameis  Winston were both drafted to be the saviors of their respective franchises and it all starts on Sunday.This will be the second time the two have faced each other in 2015 (Oregon vs Florida State in January’s Rose Bowl), but they may not meet again for another four years unless they see each other in the Super Bowl first (yeah, probably not going to happen).It was no secret that the Bucs were going to draft Winston 1st overall, but not everyone around the NFL agreed that he was the better QB than Mariota. Sunday is obviously just one game but no matter the outcome some people will certainly be saying “I told you so” if their guy wins.Both rookie QBs have shown promise and signs of immaturity on the field during the preseason. The NFL game is so much faster than the college game and these two players will learn on Sunday that the regular season is a lot faster than the preseason.There’s no doubt Winston and Mariota will have a lot of growing to do this season, but this is a great chance to get the season started with a win. Both may be tempted to try and to do much, but each one knows they have to take what they can get.Whichever rookie QB plays better on Sunday could definitely determine the outcome of the game. Don’t expect too many heroics from either, but one or both could definitely make a mistake or two that could potentially cost his team the win.watch3_zpsngqif6fx.jpgMLB Kwon AlexanderIf you’ve been following the Bucs at all this preseason then you know rookie LB Kwon Alexander has burst onto the scene quite unexpectedly. After being drafted in the 4th round it looked like Alexander would be a project that wouldn’t see the field this year.The 21-year old played so well in his first preseason game that he took the starting MLB job away from veteran Bruce Carter and never looked back. Bucs coaches haven’t stopped praising Alexander and seem to feel extremely comfortable with him leading the defense.Alexander is a speedy, athletic play-maker so it would be no surprise to see him do something amazing on Sunday. He is a rookie so we can’t expect him to be an all-pro right away, but I would be pretty shocked if he played poorly against Titans.Watch out for him in the middle of the defense; you’ll probably see him flying in for tackles all day long.melton_zpsg09lapxy.jpgDE/DT Henry MeltonYou may notice that I listed two positions for Henry Melton and that’s why he’s so intriguing. Melton was brought in to add depth to the Bucs interior defensive line, but after a few injuries Melton has been providing help on the outside.There’s a good chance he will start and DE Sunday and the way he plays there could go a long way in determining whether or not the Bucs win. If he can bring an outside pass rush that the Bucs lacked all of last year, it will make things a whole lot easier on the secondary.If Melton struggles on the outside, though, the Bucs could be in real trouble. They don’t have too much depth at DE so they desperately need production from George Johnson, Jaquies Smith and Henry Melton, if they ask him to play on the outside.watch4_zpsri8rzplp.jpgOLB Brian OrakpoBrian Orakpo spent his first six years in the NFL as a Washington Redskin but signed a 4-year, $31 Million contract with the Titans this offseason. He is a fierce pass rusher when healthy and will certainly be utilized when the Titans try to put pressure on Jameis Winston Sunday.Tennessee was 29th in defensive DVOA last year, but they brought in long-time Steelers DC Dick LeBeau to run their defense. Orakpo will fit nicely on the outside in the 3-4 scheme LeBeau likes to run.It’s worth noting that the Cleveland Browns had a lot of success running the 3-4 defense against Winston and the Bucs a few weeks ago. If the proper adjustments haven’t been made, then the Bucs could be in for a long afternoon.Orakpo is certainly a player to watch when the Titans are on defense, but it will really be a team effort if they are going to get pressure on Winston when he throws the ball. They obviously want to force him into mistakes and if they show him some looks he’s never seen before that could definitely happen.What could really set the tone when the Bucs have are on offense is how well they run the ball. Winston has shown he can be lethal coming out of play action, which is a great way to freeze pass rushers like Orakpo.Winston is certainly not seasoned enough yet to be able to navigate through a crowded pocket and recognize every blitz that may come. It will be up to his offensive line to make sure he gets time to throw the ball every time he drops back.watch5_zpsq5t3v4q3.jpgBucs Sleeper: WR Adam HumphriesIt wasn’t until the final preseason game that we really started to realize that undrafted rookie WR Adam Humphries had a chance at making the team. The Bucs had drafted WRs Kenny Bell and Kaelin Clay in the 5th and 6th rounds, respectively, but Humphries play forced the Bucs to put Bell on the IR and release Clay.His speediness (and his no. 11 jersey) make him look like Julian Edelman on the field, but we don’t know yet if his preseason production will translate into the regular season. The Bucs will probably feature him some in the return game, but will they actually use him in the offense?It will most likely be a few games before Humphries starts to make a real impact but don’t be too surprised if he makes some noise Sunday. He has spectacular hands and could be a reliable option for Jameis Winston in the slot.While every other Bucs WR or TE seems to be over 6’5?, Humphries is just 5’11”. That could work to his advantage, though, as he could provide a change of pace from the rest of the receiving corps.sleeper_zpssijab3qk.jpgTitans Sleeper: WR Dorial Green-BeckhamThe second round draft pick hasn’t played his way into the no. 1 or no. 2 WR role in Tennessee yet, but the talent is definitely there.Marcus Mariota will need all the help he can get Sunday so I’m sure he’ll be looking Green-Beckham’s way if he needs a big play.With only Harry Douglas and Kendall Wright above Green-Beckham on the depth chart it seems like he should be ready to take advantage of the opportunity. Watch out for him when the Titans have the ball.link

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    • Anonymous

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      I will be keying on Winston, Kwon and the DE’s. Gotta get some kind of pressure on Mariota. Hopefully Melton, George and Jac can get the job done. And of course Gerald being his usual self.

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