Buccaneers Finding The Tools To Fix Their Dinghy?
By Christopher Scali
This Sunday, the well rested Tampa Bay Buccaneers and rookie QB Mike Glennon will face off against the Philadelphia Eagles at home. The Eagles are 2-1 on the road this season, taking down the Washington Redskins and the winless New York Giants. Does Tampa head coach Greg Schiano have the tools necessary to stall the high-flying Chip Kelly offense?
Well, Schiano can rest a little easier knowing that Philadelphia QB Michael Vick will be sitting out with a hamstring injury suffered against the Giants. The struggling Tampa Bay pass defense can let loose on the zone quarterback spy defense. With Vick on the sidelines, this should give the Buccaneers a little breathing room to focus on All-Star RB LeSean McCoy. The Bucs defense is ranked ninth in the NFL at stopping the run, holding opposing teams to 94.3 yards per game. This should enable to Buccaneers to at least contain McCoy, if not totally shut him down. Tampa Bay should protect the flats and stack more players in the box to contain McCoy.
At the same time, the Bucs need to be hitting the reset button on their pass defense as the team ranks 15th in the league, allowing teams to rack up 238 yards through the air per game. Tampa needs to crack down on Eagles backup QB Nick Foles. I am very impressed with what Foles showed last week against the Giants after taking over for Vick. He has great field awareness and arm strength and finished the game with 197 yards and two touchdowns. Schiano needs to bring the heat to get plenty of pressure on the young quarterback, and I feel Tampa Bay’s defensive line can overpower the Eagles offensive line. The Bucs had been struggling with their pass rush heading into the bye week, so we will see if they made some corrections. The Buccaneers need to maintain a fast paced tempo of their own against Chip Kelly's offense, and there is absolutely no room for error.
Bucs CBs Darrelle Revis and Jonathan Banks must have a stellar game against the speedy Philadelphia receivers. According to ESPN.com's Phil Sheridan, Eagles WR DeSean Jackson shared his belief that this will not happen when he said, “I don’t think he [Revis] can run with me. I don’t think he’s as fast as me.”
Jackson may be on to something here as Revis is still on his comeback tour from that ACL injury he suffered in his last season with the New York Jets. This will be a huge test for Revis as this game will show Tampa Bay fans how healthy Revis actually is when defending one of the best receivers in the NFL. Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald did slam Revis in the dust two weeks ago with an 11-yard slant route for a score. That can't happen again this Sunday against the Eagles and all hands need to be on deck.
Schiano knows he is on the hot seat and his job is in jeopardy. He can't lose any more games or he might have a mutiny on his hands. Schiano needs to examine his coaching style as well. From the looks of it, Schiano’s "my way or the highway” style is not clicking with the players. With a 0-4 start, he can’t afford to be this way any longer. Tampa Bay lost each of its games by seven points or less, so the team is not that far off. The Bucs need to bail out this sinking ship to avoid an 0-5 start.
The Buccaneers are well rested and they have their treasure map in hand. X marks the spot for a crucial win!