The Tampa Bay Buccaneers must show that they can compete in the trenches if they want to be contenders in 2018.
The red hot Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host the world champion Philadelphia Eagles, in the South Florida heat this Sunday. After showcasing an offensive explosion in the Super Dome, the Buccaneers expect tons of cannon fire in the home opener.
In order for that to happen, the Buccaneers must show that they can compete in the trenches. Here are the three match-ups the Bucs must win to get to 2-0.
Handle the Eagle’s Pressure
The Eagle’s defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is all about stopping the run and putting pressure on the opposing quarterback. He runs an aggressive wide nine front and will blitz occasionally if he has to. Schwartz has the talent up front, spear headed by Fletcher Cox, to wreck any offensive game plan.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers must stay ahead of the chains to sustain any success against this aggressive Eagles’ defense. It is paramount that the Bucs find success in the run game to slow down the Eagles’ pass rush.
The Buccaneers’ offensive line was great against the Saints and are hopeful that the success carries over against one of the leagues’ best. Look for them to use play action on early passing downs and max protection on short plays to help provide Fitzpatrick time.
Stop the Run Pass Options
In order for the Buccaneers to have any success slowing down the Eagles’ offense, they must contain the run pass option. The run pass option is a staple for Nick Foles success in Doug Pederson’s offense. Foles only completed 19 of 34 attempts for a meager 117 yards versus the Falcons. The Falcons linebackers stayed home and took away the passing lanes.
The blueprint is there for the Buccaneers to have success against Foles, but the defensive line must stop the run first. If the Buccaneers linebackers are not forced to bite on play action, Foles will give them opportunities across the middle to make plays.
Buccaneers Weapons Versus Eagles “No Fly Zone”
Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ receivers Mike Evans, Desean Jackson, and Chris Godwin erupted on five catches for 334 yards and four touchdowns on the Saints. Tight ends O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate can also be mismatches for the Eagles defense. They combined for twelve touchdowns a year ago, and in my opinion, O.J is on the verge of a breakout season.
The Eagles’ secondary gave up four big pass plays in week one and have a habit of gambling on routes. Tape from the Bucs’ week one performance should give them slight pause. Look for the Tampa to utilize double moves to take advantage of their aggressiveness. Eagles’ corner backs Jalen Mills, Ronald Darby, and Sidney Jones will have their work cut out for them on Sunday, to say the least.
Rod Thurman is a contributor at Full Press Coverage covering his beloved Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Follow him on twitter @Bucboy for everything bucs and anything football.