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After giving away a win in week one on the road against the New York Jets, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host their division rival the New Orleans Saints.
In week one against the Jets, the Buccaneers were penalized 13 times for 102 yards; however, fans and head coach Greg Schiano were not thrilled about three controversial 15-yard penalties on Mark Barron, Dashon Goldson, and Lavonte David for “aggressive” hits. The most demoralizing of the penalties had to be the one on David, which put the Jets in position to kick a game winning field goal.
Additionally, David has been fined $7,875 on because of his “hit” which was on quarterback Geno Smith. I watched the play as it happened and even after watching replays of the play, I think David was trying to make sure that Smith was out of bounds to end the play. I do not think that David meant to be overly aggressive and it certainly does not deserve such a hefty fine.
Schiano is a coach who preaches discipline on the field, and is sure to work with the team, especially the offense, to correct this penalty problem, according to Pat Yasinskas of ESPN, “Greg Schiano said the Buccaneers aren’t going to change how they play defense” and “he’ll remind his team about proper tackling techniques, but he doesn’t want to make the defense any less aggressive.”
In this new era of player safety in the NFL, Schiano and the defense have to walk a fine line between aggression and hits that cost the team yards, however, I applaud Schiano for his comments and his stance. Tampa Bay’s goal this off-season was to go out and vastly improve their secondary, and they accomplished this goal by signing two of the best defensive players in the league. Barron, Dashon, and Revis need to focus on football, ending plays, and winning football games not on whether their tackling incorrectly or too hard.
On the other side, the Saints committed six penalties for 57 yards, and if the Saints and Buccaneers don’t shape up it could be a long day for the officials on Sunday.
The only highlights on offense for the Buccaneers in week one were receiver Vincent Jackson who recorded 154 yards on seven receptions and a lone touchdown pass from quarterback Josh Freeman to receiver Mike Williams in the first half. Other than that the Buccaneers offense left much to be desired.
Freeman was penalized for two delay of games on consecutive plays in the first quarter and the Buccaneers were consistently being called for false starts throughout the game, and the offense only managed 12 first downs. Freeman had an interception in the game and managed to complete less than half his passes completing 15 passes on 31attempts and his 210 passing yards were 46 fewer than rookie quarterback Geno Smith. Doug Martin finished with only 65 rushing yards and finding the end zone only one time while minus Jackson’s performance the rest of Tampa Bay’s receivers combined for 56 receiving yards and the one Williams touchdown.
Lastly, an ill-timed snap in the first quarter caused the Jets to record a safety, and the offensive line as a whole allowed Freeman to be hit five times and sacked three times.
Tampa Bay will not be successful in the NFC South if they do not have at least decent offensive firepower.
In week one, Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints threw an interception but also passed for 357 yards and two touchdowns, while completing 74 percent of his passes. New Orleans is still showing a weak running game as three different backs combined for only 75 yards and no touchdowns. In the passing game in week one, the Saints used a committee approach as seven different receivers had two or more receptions with Darren Sproles and Kenny Stills combining for 174 yards and Marques Colston and Jimmy Graham scoring New Orleans’ two touchdowns.
Being able to depend on several options in the passing game might help give the Saints an advantage over Tampa Bay’s new secondary.
Other than the three key penalties against Barron, David and Revis, the Buccaneers played some decent football in week one. On the good side, the defense gave up only one touchdown, had eight quarterback hits, five sacks, 65 total tackles and forced two turnovers. On the bad side, the defense did allow New York to convert 17 first downs, 90 rushing yards and gave up 256 passing yards to the rookie quarterback Smith.
Tampa Bay has to continue to work on getting all their ducks in a row on defense if they want to be successful against the better teams in the league.
New Orleans’ defense allowed Matt Ryan to pass for 304 yards and two touchdowns, which might make some offenses hopeful for putting up big passing numbers against the Saints. However, if Josh Freeman and the passing game don’t have their act together, they will probably still show a poor performance against the Saints.
The Saints defense did record 51 total tackles, had six quarterback hits, three sacks and did have a nice goal line stand at the end of the game to prevent the Falcons from taking a one-point lead in the game.
The Buccaneers still have many things to improve on and don’t know they will get it done in time to beat the Saints. I see the Saints moving to 2-0 on the season while the Buccaneers fall to 0-2 for the year.