Keys to Cannon Fire: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tennessee Titans

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TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 18: Quarterback Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers reacts on the field during the second quarter of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons on December 18, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

After a much needed week of rest, the Buccaneers are back to work. This time in preparation for the Tennessee Titans. They come in as the 26th ranked offense but also as the 8th ranked defense. That offensive rank feels like it’s on the verge of a spike as well with a new Quarterback behind center. The bye has given Coach Arians and Co. some extra time to prepare. Let’s check out what the keys to victory are this week for yet another road challenge.

Last week was the first week that the Titans came on to the field without Marcus Mariota under center. It’s been a rough year for the Oregon Duck. It’s actually been a rough career thus far. Plagued by injuries and inconsistent play, the Hawaiian-Heisman never reached the potential that the Titans hoped for in return for drafting him #2 overall in 2015.

Enter Ryan Tannehill who ended his run in Miami after a handful of injuries. One that ended his season in 2017 and ultimately his career as a Dolphin as he never really recovered there. In March of this year, the Titans made the offer to acquire Tannehill as an insurance piece to Mariota, which has now turned in to the likely bridge to the next Quarterback to be drafted.

That’s if Tannehill doesn’t play like he did last week. Week 7 was the first game for the Titans this season where a 300 yard passer completed 6+ passes to more than one receiver and won the game. In week 3, the Titans passed for 300 yards with Adam Humphries and Delanie with six receptions each. Note that they still lost while scoring only one touchdown.

Now, does this mean Tannehill is a key to Cannon Fire? Nah. There’s some more pressing threats here. Though let’s be real. The Buccaneers haven’t exactly fared well in recent past against backup Quarterbacks.

A Clean Game from Jameis Winston

Honestly, this needs to be the key to every week. Look at games where Jameis has been relatively mistake free? 50pt games aren’t sustainable expectations but if that’s the ceiling when you click on all cylinders in this offense? Wow.

With a less than average run game to rely on, Jameis has to be the leader of the offense. Unfortunately for him/us or Tampa Bay in general, that hasn’t been a winning formula for the past five seasons.

Everyone knows what Jameis is capable of doing. Flashes of why he was taken #1 overall are shown every single week. There are also moments in every game where concerns coming from his days at Florida State rear it’s ugly head. Trying to make plays that aren’t there. Not making the safe, smart decision of throwing the ball away instead of right in to a defenders arms.

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We are in year five of Jameis’ career. This is who he is. This coaching staff can either continue to believe they can remedy those problems or they can mitigate them by having a better run attack. Right now, it appears to be the former. Based on that, we can either expect a very long day again from Jameis or an absolute monster of a showing on the stat sheet. There is never an in-between.

Young Secondary Stepping Up

Here is the good news with the Buccaneers Defense. They are the best in the league against the run. Nobody is better. They have shut down the likes of McCaffery (twice), Barkley, Kamara and Gurley when it comes to rush yards allowed. with 6 games played, the defense has averaged 68.8 yards allowed.

The bad news is bad though. Like really bad. Perhaps the reason why the run defense is so stellar is contributed to the fact that the Secondary has basically stayed at home on Sunday.

Tampa Bays defense is the second worst defense in the league. Everyone can throw for 300 or more yards on them. If you own Aj Brown or Corey Davis in fantasy, it should be a damn near lock starting both in your lineups against Tampa Bay.

There are bright spots however. Carlton Davis has provided the 4th rating for catches allowed this year, though he has also tied for 3rd most penalties (7). Jordan Whitehead is also proving to have a nose for the ball with 14 Tackles, 7 pass deflections and a interception.

Individual stats are great, but they aren’t doing enough to prevent almost 2,000 yards and 11 Touchdowns allowed.

In the past two drafts, the Buccaneers have addressed the secondary:

  • 2018 – M.J Stewart, Carlton Davis and Jordan Whitehead
  • 2019 – Sean Bunting, Jameal Dean and Mike Edwards

Six draft picks allotted to fixing the secondary and in those two years, the Buccaneers ended as the worst in passing and have not left that leader board as of today. These new additions need to show up soon or they could be another ghost of Tampa Bay while bring General Manger Jason Licht along for the ride.

That is really it this week. This Titan’s team is very beatable. They have stood up against good teams but have also shown their flaws. The run defense should continue their run of dominance against Derrick Henry and Matt Gay has been pretty reliable.

Sounds football and mistake free drives, combined with a return of Shaq Barrett (where has he been?) and this game should result in a nice flight home to One Buccaneer place.

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