The Buccaneers found themselves back in the win column on Sunday

The Buccaneers found themselves back in the win column on Sunday
06 gru 2018 - 07:49:39 , beating the Browns in overtime, 26-23, at Raymond James Stadium. There were some unlikely heroes throughout the afternoon and although the rookies wouldn?t be considered among the game?s heroes, some of them did make a bigger impact this week. It?s time to look at how Tampa Bay?s 2018 class performed in week seven. RB Ronald Jones IIIn last week?s rookie recap, I talked about how frustrating Ronald Jones had been through the first six weeks (three of which he spent on the inactive list). After his performance on Sunday, things are looking up. There was a lot to like about Jones? day. Even if he was still somewhat inconsistent, there were more bursts of hope this week. He ran six times for 13 yards, which isn?t anything special. But he did have a long of nine and later scored his first NFL touchdown. In the passing game, he caught his only target for a 15-yard pickup. The second-rounder appears to be showing that he might be ready for some more touches. Truthfully, he might need them to get into more of a rhythm with this offense. In Sunday?s game, he took 29 offensive snaps, which was 31 percent of the offense?s total.There were improvements in Jones? game for the most part, but there were some mistakes? one of which could have been costly. With the Bucs on their side of the field in overtime, Jameis Winston threw an interception. Head coach Dirk Koetter later said that the interception was made possible by someone running the wrong route. By the looks of it, that someone might have been Jones. He cut left instead of right, which brought the linebacker into the throwing lane. If it was a timing route for the receiver, there?s really nothing Winston could have done about it. The Tampa Bay defense stepped up on the next possession, making the turnover insignificant. Even still, those are the types of things that will keep Jones from getting more snaps. With Peyton Barber potentially banged up, the Bucs will need their rookie running back to be ready for an increased workload? both physically and mentally. When asked about Jones on Monday, Koetter said it?s clear that progress is being made: CB Carlton DavisCarlton Davis returned from injury in week seven after missing last week?s game in Atlanta. In the first game under interim defensive coordinator Mark Duffner, Davis played well. He got 65 snaps (96 percent) on defense and stayed consistently effective in both zone and man coverage. He was tasked with keeping up with Jarvis Landry for part of the afternoon and held the stud receiver in check for the most part. Overall, Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield threw for just 215 yards against a pass defense that had been horrible under Mike Smith. Duffner may not be the reason for the secondary playing the way it did, but for whatever reason, the back half of the defense put up its best performance of the year. Davis was a major part of that. The Auburn product did an excellent job of reading Mayfield, especially on a key play in overtime. On third down Lavonte David Jersey , Davis dropped into coverage, read the route of tight end David Njoku and jumped at it for a pass breakup that forced a puntgrinning smileyavis could emerge as a top performer on Tampa Bay?s defense very soon if he gets put in the right situations. DT Vita VeaVita Vea does a lot of really nice things that don?t show up in the box score. Tampa Bay?s first-rounder was effective again on Sunday, playing a higher volume of snaps with Gerald McCoy out. He was in for 38 snaps (56 percent), racking up one tackle. But again, it was the eye test that determined the success of Vea?s day against Cleveland. He continued to get excellent push up the middle and just missed his first NFL sack in the second half. On his lone tackle, he got solid push before the ball-carrier escaped in space. Vea didn?t give up on the play, chasing down the runner and bringing him down about 15 yards down the field: Again, not much of what he did well will show up on a stat sheet, but Tampa Bay has to like what it getting from Vea right now. With McCoy likely to miss more time, it wouldn?t be surprising to see No. 50 play even more snaps in the coming week or two. For someone who missed all of training camp, preseason and the first few weeks of the season, the No. 12 overall pick is progressing awfully well. (Going forward, the argument as to whether he was worth being selected in that slot will not be a part of the weekly rookie recap. The fact is, he is a Buccaneer and is coming along well in the middle of the defensive line.)The best of the restM.J. Stewart played 53 snaps (78 percent) on defense and totaled five tackles (four solo)... Jordan Whitehead had three tackles (all solo), playing 23 snaps (34 percent). He appeared to still be a little banged up, which could be the reason he wasn?t all that involved... Linebacker Jack Cichy entered the game on defense after Kwon Alexander went down with an ACL injury. He recorded a tackle before unfortunately leaving the game with an injury of his own. It was reported Monday that he will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL... Justin Watson played two snaps (two percent) on offense and 24 snaps (73 percent) on special teams... Alex Cappa and Shaun Wilson were once again inactive.Bucs vs Eagles: Five keys to victory Tampa Bay shocked everyone in week one with its performance. The Buccaneers exploded on offense, defeating New Orleans, 48-40. Ryan Fitzpatrick was simply magical in the win, possibly playing his best game ever in his 13 years of professional football. The 35-year-old finished with 417 passing yards and four scores. Though the defense as a whole didn?t look good against New Orleans, the defensive line looks like it could become formidable as the season continues. The Buccaneers need to get healthy across the front-four, if they do, watch out.Tampa Bay enters the second of three games without starting quarterback Jameis Winston. It will be no easy task when the defending Super Bowl Champions, the Philadelphia Eagles, travel to Raymond James Stadium for the Bucs home opener.1. Can Fitzpatrick stay hot?Everyone has the same question as the Buccaneers prepare for the Eagles. Can Fitzpatrick stay hot?While I don?t think we?re in for another 400+ yard performance, I expect Fitzpatrick to stay relatively consistent. Going against one of the top defenses in the league, the former Harvard star is once again going to need his receivers to make plays.They were excellent at doing that a week ago as Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson combined for 293 yards and three touchdowns. Chris Godwin and Adam Humphries look like the perfect second fiddles to the duo of Evans and Jackson.If Fitzpatrick can make plays against this Philadelphia defense Authentic Chris Conte Jersey , Tampa Bay will likely improve to 2-0 for the first time in eight years.2. Bucs offensive line vs Eagles defensive lineThe revamped offensive front was a highlight of this offense a week ago. Tampa Bay didn?t allow a sack and gave up just four tackles for loss all game.That?s a far cry from where this unit was a year ago as the Buccaneers gave up 40 sacks in 2017. The Eagles have one of the top defensive fronts in the NFL, especially on the interior with Fletcher Cox and Haloti Ngata. They sacked Matt Ryan four times in their season-opener and hit him a whopping 15 times. That?s exactly the kind of thing the Bucs can?t allow to happen to Fitzpatrick on Sunday.I think the key aspect here is opening up the run game. If Tampa Bay can improve its success on the ground (112 yards on 31 carries in week one), they?ll be a force to be reckoned with.Likewise, if the Eagles shut it down, it could be a long Sunday. 3. Increasing pass-rushing successThe Bucs front-seven was excellent against New Orleans when it came to pressuring Drew Brees. Obviously, the future hall-of-famer lit up Tampa Bay regardless of that pressure.In week two, I want to see the Buccaneers generate more success when it comes to rushing the quarterback. What exactly is success in this context? Sacks, quarterback hits, and tackles for loss.Tampa Bay ranked dead LAST in the NFL in 2017 with just 22 total sacks. That?s simply awful and it?s one of the many reasons this defense has struggled. The Buccaneers had one sack and five QB hits in week one, they?re going to need to up the ante against Philadelphia. That?ll be a little more complicated with Vita Vea out and Jason Pierre-Paul limited in practice.4. Limiting the success of Nick FolesDespite what he did a year ago after Carson Wentz tore his ACL, Nick Foles isn?t some prodigal savior. He got hot at the right time, but with Foles at the helm, Philadelphia is more beatable than they?d be if Wentz was back and healthy. The former Arizona star finished just 19/34 for 117 yards and an interception a week ago. Missing top receiver Alshon Jeffery, the Eagles offense wasn?t very explosive against Atlanta. Foles longest pass went for 18 yards and the rushing attack wasn?t much better, its biggest play being a 21-yard scamper from Corey Clement. Philadelphia doesn?t have an offensive player that can take over a game like Alvin Kamara or Michael Thomas. If Tampa Bay can make them earn every yard, Philadelphia will struggle. The Buccaneers have to stayed glued to guys like Zach Ertz and Darren Sproles (if he?s available) in coverage to limit big plays, which is easier said than done.5. Forcing three and outsWith Tampa Bay likely fielding a short-handed defense that?ll be without both starting cornerbacks against Philadelphia, it?s vital for them to get the Eagles off the field as fast as possible.The weather is going to be a factor on Sunday afternoon. We know how Florida is. Hot, humid, and unforgiving. It?s the type of weather that can wear a team down, especially when they?re missing important players like Brent Grimes and Vernon Hargreaves.It doesn?t help with Vea out. And it?s not any better than JPP missed Wednesday?s practice and was limited Thursday.Tampa Bay forced New Orleans into just two three and outs over 11 drives in week one. On the other side, Philadelphia had three three and outs over 11 drives in its win against Atlanta. It all comes down to what?s highlighted above. If the Bucs can bring consistent pressure to make Foles uncomfortable and limit what his playmakers bring to the table to force them behind the chains, I like their odds on Sunday.



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