NFC Showdown @ RayJay


Bucs vs Packers – Sunday 1:00 PM – Raymond James Stadium


  • Questionable – DT Ryan Simms, WLB Derrick Brooks, CB Aqib Talib, K Matt Bryant
  • Out – Joey Galloway
  • Doubtful – Davin Joseph, BJ Askew

This is a painful list to look at.  I mentioned it earlier this week in a post.  Joseph I didn’t expect to play, but the rest of the players on this list are integral parts of the team.  Whether or not Matt Bryant plays on Sunday is inconsequential, not to the Bucs, but in the grand scheme of it all.  Once again, thoughts out to Matt Bryant and his family. 

"“We’re going to let Matt deal with this matter personally, with his family,” said Gruden. “We’ll have a kicker on Sunday, I can assure you of that. We hope it’s Matt; at the same time we’ll let him have enough time here to settle this very difficult time. We’ll support him. Whichever way we decide to go, we’ll support him.”"

Points of Emphasis

  • The return game needs to get settled one way or the other.  Dexter Jackson has looked horrific and ranks last in the NFL with a 3 ypr average on punt returns.  He ranks 20th on kickoffs.  These numbers are not good enough.  Both things the Bucs have talked about doing this week I believe are our best choices.  Michael Clayton returning kickoffs and Ike Hilliard returning punts within the 30 or so.  Dex can return punts when we have them backed up.   Sad that we spent a second round pick on a returner/receiver that doesn’t play receiver and we’re having to gameplan around as opposed to gameplanning for. 
  • WE NEED MORE SACKS.  The secondary did not play well last week by any stretch, but this defense is predicated on pressure, and there hasn’t been enough of it.  With 7 regular Dlineman, pressure should be a given. 
  • CATCH THE DAMNED BALL.  We got to start pulling in passes.  That killed us last week. 
  • The Packers line up in 3 WR 66% of the time, so our Nickel defense has to step up.  If Talib is healthy, I actually feel our base nickel package is stronger than our 4-3 package.  Difference between the two being in the 4-3 Derrick Brooks is on the field, and in the Nickel he is generally replaced by Talib, and Ronde moves to the nickelback.   DB I love you baby, but you’re an occasional tackling liability. 
  • I think this is the game that Warrick Dunn has more touches than Ernest Graham.  We have to spread this team out towards the sidelines and Dunn is perfect for that.  Rangy LB’s Nick Barnett and AJ Hawk are about as good as they get at WLB and MLB and getting them moving towards the outside with Dunn will open things up later in the game for Ernest Graham and Michael Bennett who will be active this week in place of BJ Askew.   Jerramy Stevens for the same reasons just mentioned willlso be a key to this game,  but in the middle of the field as opposed to the sidelines.

Key Matchup

Tanard Jackson  and Jermaine Phillips vs Packers Receivers

When we line up in our traditional Cover 2 or Tampa 2 sets, Tanard Jackson and Jermaine Phillips will be the most important players on the field.  Aaron Rodgers has shown that he is not afraid to unleash balls downfield to one of my favorite young receivers, Greg Jennings.  TJax and Flip will be responsible for these deep balls on most occasions.  This teams receiving core is lethal and we can not get beat for big plays.