The PewterReport.com Roundtable features the opinions of the PR staff as it tackles a Tampa Bay Buccaneers-related topic each week.

This week’s topic: What do you want to the Bucs to accomplish vs. the Lions on Friday night?

Scott Reynolds: Tampa Bay’s Pass Rush Come Alive
Buccaneers general manager desperately wanted to upgrade the team’s pass rush in the offseason after Tampa Bay recorded a league-low 22 sacks in 2017. Licht added a pair of run stuffers in free agency in Beau Allen and Mitch Unrein, in addition to signing defensive end Vinny Curry and trading for defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. Licht added another defensive tackle in the draft in first round with Vita Vea, and welcomed the return of a bigger, healthier Noah Spence, who is slated to become the team’s designated pass rusher. So far we haven’t seen the results when it comes to this revamped unit’s pass rush.

Bucs DE Jason Pierre-Paul - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Bucs DE Jason Pierre-Paul – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

In two preseason games, opposing quarterbacks have dropped back a combined 80 times yet the Bucs have just three sacks. Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy recorded the first sack of the preseason in Miami, while reserves Spence and Patrick O’Connor split a sack. Last week in Tennessee, Curry had a sack called back due to a penalty, but the Bucs only registered one quarterback capture against the Titans, and that was by reserve DaVonte Lambert. The Bucs have logged nine quarterback pressures, led by two from Curry, but it hasn’t been enough.

In an rough-and-tumble NFC South division that features three great quarterbacks in Atlanta’s Matt Ryan, Carolina’s Cam Newton and New Orleans’ Drew Brees, who happens to be Tampa Bay’s Week 1 opponent, putting pressure on the passer and recording sacks is paramount to victory. Three sacks in two games isn’t going to cut it. That’s leftover crap from the 2017 season. I want to see the Bucs’ pass rush come to life against Detroit with the starters playing at least a half. Pierre-Paul needs to get home and take the QB down, as does Curry. Spence needs to come alive and be that situational pass rusher the team envisions he’ll be this year. Defensive coordinator Mike Smith should even send a blitz and have linebackers Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David get into the QB hunting season. Getting three or four sacks against the Lions would go a long with in helping the confidence of the defensive line and showing the fans that this unit has turned the corner and that more quarterbacks will fall in 2018.

Mark Cook: Get Out Alive

Reynolds isn’t wrong. The pass rush, despite a huge upgrade on paper at least, has yet to come alive. We saw that last preseason and it continued on into the regular season where the Bucs only notched 22 sacks.

But honestly, at this point, I just want to see this team come out of the game on Friday healthy. The teams that stay the healthiest during a season always have a better chance of playing late into January. The Bucs have already suffered a number of annoying injuries in training camp, and this week received a major scare when left tackle Donovan Smith went down with what looked to be a serious knee injury. This team is no doubt deeper at a lot of positions, but offensive tackle is not one of them. And even if all the backups were healthy, you are talking about the quarterback’s blind side protector. Smith has been criticized for this play, even by PewterReport.com at times, but other than losing a quarterback for the year, this team is no position to overcome a Smith season-ending injury.

The team will play their starters into the third quarter most likely, and everyone in the stadium – especially the coaches – will be holding their breath on every single snap until the backups are inserted in the third quarter. This team deserves some good luck with injuries. Fingers crossed on Friday Dirk Koetter isn’t talking a significant injury to a Buccaneer in his post game press conference.

Trevor Sikkema: Ronald Jones To Carry the Load

Ronald Jones should get 20 carries on Friday night. He likely won’t, but he should.

11 yards on 12 carries isn’t going to cut it, and right now that’s what Jones currently has for the Buccaneers. Jones’ lack of production isn’t from a lack of talent. It’s from a lack of experience and a lack of confidence because of that. The Buccaneers need to do everything they can to try to spark the confidence in Jones, and that won’t happen by having him watch from the sidelines.

I understand that the third preseason game is often the “dress rehearsal” and that most of the starters will play most of the game. But the Bucs already know what they have in Peyton Barber. He won’t gain anything by getting a few extra preseason carries. For Jones, however, those extra carries could mean everything.

Right now Jones is as useful for the Buccaneers as if he were inactive on game day. I know that’s harsh, but that’s reality. The only way you’ll accelerate his learning curve is by getting him live action. They have two more live action opportunities before the games start to really count. They’ll need a confident Jones when they do.

Feed Jones — early, often and all game.

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seat26
seat26
3 years ago

Show that all that money and draft picks spent on a DL and secondary was worth it. In other words, Show us a consistent smothering Rush, and coverage that frustrates Detroit. The Offense looks relatively solid, but so far the Defense doesn’t look that improved.

wnb0395
wnb0395
Reply to  seat26
3 years ago

How can we get an accurate rating of the defense with so many injuries? Vea, Unrein, Allen, and now Evans out hurt. We are so depleted we are starting Gholston at DT. Our best Corner (Grimes) hasn’t even played a snap yet and Hargraves has been out also. Now Evans is gone also. We wont know what we have in this defense until everyone is playing and healthy.

GoldsonAges
GoldsonAges
3 years ago

Bucs fans need to realize Rojo may not be ready as a rookie. If he’s not ready the worst thing you can do is rush him. That doesn’t make him a bust, either. It makes him a rookie with lots to learn before he’s going to get enough confidence. Red shirt him until he’s ready. Peyton Barber is a stud.

wnb0395
wnb0395
3 years ago

Its hard to get an accurate view of our pass rush and Ronald jones with so many injuries to out D and O line. I really don’t think we will know what we have until everyone is back and healthy (Vea, Smith, Marpet, Unrein, Allen).

fredster
fredster
3 years ago

Defense needs to shine. S line has been run on in ore season and 3 sacks in two games is crap. Time to put up or shut up. Lot injuries already too which is crazy considering injuries d line had last year! I agree on Jones. Why is it critical they rush him into starting line up if not ready? It doesn’t make him a bust to wait. Pewter report says Barber looks like a legit 1000 yard back this year and I agree. As long as the O line stays healthy and can block well. Rodgers is serviceable if… Read more »

Brooks Dunn-Winston
Brooks Dunn-Winston
3 years ago

Because Barber could get hurt and then it’s next man up. Would you prefer Quiz or a confident Rojo? They have to get Rojo rolling.

Ja'crispy
Ja'crispy
3 years ago

I agree with all three points. Give Rojo a bunch of carries, D line needs to get more sacks, but most of all please stay healthy!

blind melon
blind melon
3 years ago

Would like to see first team offense and defense be effective and do their jobs against the Lions 1st string. That said – somewhat concerned about the O-line health/protection and putting QB’s 1 and 2 at risk. Which would lead to running the ball A LOT – Win/Lose or Draw. Less risk is good here and benefits the weakest part of the offense (run game.) Game doesn’t count, but the reps are important, especially for our unproven young bunch of runners. Rojo needs confidence and lots of carries. Barber needs to continue getting reps. Flip Rojo and Barber in 1st… Read more »

Dman
Dman
3 years ago

All I care about is the front four. We’ve been hyped about this group for months and have seen nothing from them. The distraction about whether RoJo is a bust, Jamies not playing for the first three games, etc. have moved us off the central problem with the team last year – the D Line. Just show me something guys, anything.

Buc 1976
Buc 1976
Reply to  Dman
3 years ago

+1

Buc-n-Philly Fan
Buc-n-Philly Fan
3 years ago

Here is an interesting question:

Could the Bucs be in the market for Khalil Mack? We could trade Gerald McCoy and a first rounder and drop McCoy’s salary to be replaced by a higher salary for Mack. This would truly solve the pass rush question mark and the Bucs could afford this move with a few cuts next year. I think this could be plausible and I would welcome it.

Dman
Dman
Reply to  Buc-n-Philly Fan
3 years ago

Interesting thought! I’m ready to move on from McCoy and Mack would be a great addition. Not sure we’d need to give a first rounder with him, maybe toss in D Jax and get Mack and a third rounder net year. Either way, I like the idea.

fredster
fredster
3 years ago

Um at this point I’ll take Quiz over rookie Jones. His hands and pass protection aren’t there either. He was an intriguing pick with his speed but don’t think he’s ready or should be rushed. I really don’t understand why they keep putting him in behind our crappy 2nd and 3rd o line also. You want a clear picture of Jones then sit Barber and run Jones with first string offense more. Barber is good to go and doesn’t need the work. I just don’t see two games getting Jones ready with everything he’s needing to improve on right now.

DT25
DT25
3 years ago

Agree with most on Jones. Get him a majority of the touches behind the 1st line this week. Use him in a variety of formations and play calls. Run him on draws out of shotgun. Screen passes. Swing passes that operate like extended handoffs. Stretch plays. Don’t just line him up in I-formation and run him up the gut. That’s not going to cut it. Get him a variety of creative looks to utilize his burst in space. You do that, we won’t be talking about him in this negative light any more, guaranteed. In fact, it’ll end up looking… Read more »

Brooks Dunn-Winston
Brooks Dunn-Winston
3 years ago

No, Rojo should start and run with the 1s.

Horse
Horse
3 years ago

I would have Jones start and use him the 1st half. In the 2nd half half I would have whoever is going to be the 4th RB on the team play. There is no need to pay Barber or Rogers in this game. My biggest concern for me is Coach Smith Defense; looks to me he is still using his same scheme as before and it’s past its time.. Coach Koetter has to pass on the play calling to the OC because he’s got a bigger problem with the DC scheme and Smith might have to fire quickly. Smiths scheme… Read more »

Jlog
Jlog
3 years ago

To see RoJo prove me wrong by not looking like a bust.

blind melon
blind melon
3 years ago

Sims to IR – more snaps for the youngins’.

Bucsfan1983
Bucsfan1983
3 years ago

Staying healthy.

MCBRICKEL
MCBRICKEL
3 years ago

Agree with all three points, would also like to see Griffen get some first team snaps. Is he the long term number two and can he out play Fitz in the first three games.

plopes808
plopes808
3 years ago

Let’s see Rojo behind the starting Oline and a more aggressive defensive scheme. I’m hoping the strategy is that Mike Smith doesn’t want to show his hand and that’s why he’s still running the same weak defense.

plopes808
plopes808
Reply to  plopes808
3 years ago

also, with Sims on IR we will get to see more of S Wilson and Ogbuwale