First and Five: The Midweek Buccaneer Breakdown


Good Afternoon, Bucs fans. Starting today, we are starting a new midweek column called ‘First and Five’, which will tackle five subjects on a weekly basis. It will focus on subjects that we don’t discuss as much here on the Pewter Plank. Each week, I will breakdown the following: a key player on both the Bucs and their opponent that can push your fantasy team over the hump this coming weekend, a college football player Bucs fans should keep an eye on as a potential draft pick come next May, a key matchup within the game the Bucs will have against their opponent and two other Bucs related topics.

1. This week’s key fantasy players will be…. Mike Evans for the Bucs and Washington’s Pierre Garcon. As Bucs fans know, Evans had his national coming out party last season when the team went to the nation’s capital and trounced the Redskins 27-7 for their second and final win of the season. Evans had seven catches for 209 yards and two touchdowns against a Redskins defense that was just abused all day long. Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston has been slowly growing a strong relationship with the second year wideout since his return in Week Two. Look for that connection to blossom even more in Washington.

Meanwhile, Garcon has been one of Washington signal caller Kirk Cousins’ favorite targets this season. Although he’s averaged around ten points a game through his first six games, the Bucs defense has looked pretty suspect against the pass this season. Look for Cousins to throw the ball often, and for Garcon to have quite a few targets on Sunday.

2. Draft Propsect To Watch: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss (vs Texas A&M)

One of the players that is in consideration for the number one overall pick, Tunsil is an elite prospect who has all the tools to be one of the NFL’s best left tackles in time. However, this weekend’s matchup against the Aggies will throw him back into the fire right away. His one-on-one matchup against pass rush extraordinaire Myles Garrett of Texas A&M will be heavily watched by college football and draft analysts around the nation, not to mention a lot of college football fans. Should Tunsil hold his own against the crafty Garrett, the argument for him going number one overall, in addition to being a better choice than fellow top tackle Ronnie Staley of Notre Dame, might begin to sway his way.

Although Donovan Smith was drafted in the second round to protect Winston’s blind side, he would probably be a better fit on the right side. Tunsil is the prototypical left tackle: big, strong, quick on his feet, and has been able to hold his own against the pass rushers of the SEC, which has most of the nation’s best players at each position. That experience would serve Tunsil well should he have to protect Winston’s back.

3. Here’s a matchup you should keep an eye on this weekend. 

Oct 4, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22) runs with the ball during the second half against the Carolina Panthers at Raymond James Stadium. The Carolina Panthers defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 37-23. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Bucs running back Doug Martin is back to his 2012 form. After Week Five’s dominating performance in the win over Jacksonville, Martin scored three total touchdowns and ran for over 100 yards for the second straight week. The Washington defense is ranked 17th against the run, allowing just over 107 yards per game. The Bucs’ offensive line, especially with their run blocking, has improved each week.

All the ingredients are there for Martin to have another great game. As long as offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter doesn’t get too pass happy (he tends to do that when the Bucs are behind), and keeps feeding the ball to Martin, good things should happen. The Muscle Hamster has returned, Bucs fans. Everyone rejoice.

4. Reinforcements on are the way.

On Tuesday, editor David Rumsey speculated on whether or not the Bucs will return many key players from injury after the bye week.

The biggest return will be cornerback Johnthan Banks, who is the team’s top cover man. The Bucs’ secondary has struggled without him since he was injured in the Week Three loss in Houston. Now that he’s coming back, his assignment will likely include a lot of shadowing Garcon, due to absence of deep threat DeSean Jackson.

Furthermore, franchise defensive tackle Gerald McCoy should be close to, if not at, 100 percent for Sunday’s game. He’s clearly been playing through a painful shoulder injury, but still has been effective in the middle of the Bucs’ defensive line. Having him at full strength should only make him an even more disruptive presence come game day.

5. The best game plan involving Winston: just let him be a game manager.

There will be a day when winning the game will be on Winston’s shoulders only. But that will not happen this year. Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter talked about Winston’s progress in the win two weeks ago with Pewter Report.

“When you don’t turn it over and have a 123 quarterback rating, you’re going to win a lot of games,” Koetter told Pewter Report’s Zach Shapiro. “That’s the main thing. He checked the ball down a few times, too. Progress…. definitely.”

With talented backs such as Martin and sophomore Charles Sims, Koetter can afford to take the pressure off of Jameis’ shoulders when the young quarterback doesn’t turn the ball over. And we saw how effective that plan of attack is two weeks ago. As long as Winston continues his evolution into the franchise quarterback that leadership believes he can become, then when the day to lead his team to victory comes, he will be ready for the responsibility.

Tweet Of The Week

WDAE’s Pat Donovan had this tidbit of information from Winston’s press conference with the media earlier today. Sounds like the right attitude to have when you have to lead a pirate ship to victory each week, right?

Next: Bucs hope to be healthy after bye week