Thursday, October 7, 2010

What To Watch

Coming off the bye week there are several situations I will be watching as the Buccaneers go to Cincinnati trying to get their third win of the season.

Who will be active? There are several players who have a chance to be active this week who have either not been active at all so far or have only been active for one game. That list includes Erik Lorig who was recently converted to a tight end/fullback hybrid and Michael Bennett who could provide a needed spark to our pass rush off the bench. If you have read this blog much since the regular season started you know that I have been calling for Bennett to be active every week but its still not a given that he will see action Sunday. If he's up I expect that we will finally see someone rushing at left end with the get off and speed to be able to turn the corner on a consistent basis.

Lorig could be a major asset in our running game since two of the three tight ends we have been playing with are sub par blockers.  If he is up and he can start knocking defensive ends off the ball as an inline blocker it will help open up holes in our so far underwhelming running game.  And if he is any good at it he could find a home there for a long long time.

We also may see larger roles by LeGarrette Blout and Arrelious Benn and Kareem Huggins should probably also get back into the mix. Of course for every guy that is activated someone has to be deactivated so it will bear watching who if anybody loses their playing time this week in favor of one of these guys.

Will Brian Price replace Kyle Moore on third downs? This is a move that probably should have and would have already happened had Price not had the nagging hamstring injury. One thing is for sure and that is we will have to get pressure on Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer this week to be successful on defense. Price gives us a much better opportunity to do so on third downs.

How will the offensive line hold up? After a dismal outing against the Steelers the offensive line will look to rebound against a team that hasn't sacked the quarterback this year but find ways to get a lot of pressure with their blitz packages. How well we run the ball may define whether we win or lose this game.

Is Cody Grimm up for the challenge? Grimm was victimized on an early deep ball against the Steelers and you have to believe that the Bengals will look to target him in the passing game. Even if we play a lot of Tampa 2 Grimm may still have his hands full trying to defend deep balls to two of the best receivers in the game in TO and Chad Ochocinco.

Even though the Bengals have underachieved so far this season a win in Cincinnati could go a long way in legitimizing the Buccaneers' early season success. On the other hand a loss would likely give weight to the perception that the first two games were just a mirage. Perception doesn't win or lose any games but it goes a long way with ticket sales and I think everyone in the Buccaneer organization recognizes that. So I expect nothing less than their best effort on Sunday and then the chips will fall how they may.


  1. Honestly after watching the way we were embarrassed by the Steelers offense, I have little hopes on our defense containing Bengals offense with TO, Ocho and Benson out of the backfield.
    Performance of our QB is anothey key IMO. From the last two games, it looks like Freeman has developed into a reliable game manager that can move the chains slowly and steadily. However, I think this is one of the games he must explode for us to be able to win.

  2. I love Kellen Winslow. He's the most reliable pass catcher on the team and a freak athlete. Yet, we give up quality run blocking when he is on the field. It would be great if Benn at flanker and Sammy in the slot really stepped up and became consistently reliable. That would mean more Gilmore and Lorig blocking and better opportunities for our running backs.

  3. The Bucs are desperate to sell tickets, and I think Tampa will make Raheem one if we don't keep winning. No way will Raheem be back if we have a losing season, the stadium is too empty.
    I agree running the ball will be the KEY to winning this game, and I hope Blount gets the chance to do it. With any kind of a hole, Blount has the power and attitude to drag safety's and linebackers along for a ride, as he did to Pittsburgh.