The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are coming off a dominating week three win over the Denver Broncos and now look towards another team from the AFC West, the Los Angeles Chargers. With the defense turning heads, Lavonte David (Defensive Player of the Month) and Antoine Winfield Jr. (Defensive Rookie of the Month), the offense has gradually started to find their stride. A dangerous prospect for the rest of the NFL.
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With wide receiver Chris Godwin out with a hamstring and Leonard Fournette nursing an ankle, others will have to step up to keep the offense rolling. The good news is Rob Gronkowski had his most productive game as a Buccaneer last week and looked to shake some of the rust he was carrying.
Head coach Bruce Arians spoke about losing Chris Godwin but seemed optimistic.
“We’ve got guys. Tyler [Johnson] got his first action last week, he’s had a couple good weeks of practice. We’ve got Justin [Watson] back, who’s had a heck of a camp. It’s not like we’re empty. So we’ve got enough guys — [Jaydon] Mickens, [Cyril] Grayson — we’ve got enough guys to fill the void at wide receiver. I’m not as concerned with that as I would be if we lost one more.”
In addition, the connection between Brady and receiver Mike Evans continues to evolve and improve each week. Evans will likely draw most of the attention from the Chargers with the absence of Godwin. Ronald Jones, as he did last week, will pick up the slack in the absence of Fournette.
Tom Brady is 6-2 in his career against the Chargers and has completed 67 percent of his passes with 15 touchdowns and five interceptions.
With Tyrod Taylor Out, Justin Herbert Gets The Call
Rookie Chargers’ quarterback Justin Hebert has a tall task in front of him with the Buccaneers defense. Linebackers Shaquil Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul, Lavonte David, and Devin White will make it difficult for the rookie to make reads before the ball is snapped. Add in Ndamukong Suh and Vita Vea and Herbet may see more of the ground than his receivers.
Currently, the Bucs ranked third in the league in sacks. Seven players on the Buccaneer defense have at least one sack including rookie defensive player of the month, Antoine Winfield. Winfield has added added to a unique and already talented defense led by defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.
Head coach Bruce Arians praised defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, and the defense as a whole this week.
”I think Todd is doing a great job of putting players in position to get good matchups,” said Arians. “Will Gholston’s got sacks, Vita (Vea) got sacks, Suh’s got sacks, both outside ‘backers, inside ‘backers and safeties, It’s a matter of pick your poison, who you want to try to block, because somebody’s coming from somewhere.”
Herbert may learn that the hard way. Bad for the Chargers. Good for the Buccaneers.