ATLANTA, GA- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-8) get another shot to take down the Atlanta Falcons (2-7) at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday, November 17, 1:00 p.m. (ET).
Tampa Bay just achieved their first win last Monday by taking down the Miami Dolphins (4-5). This has given the team the confidence they needed in order to trust their coach, if only a little, and the talent that resides on the team.
Key Players to stop
Mike Glennon is somewhat of a surprise to me. The lanky 6’6” quarterback has performed admirably since taking over the starting job from Josh Freeman in week four. Over six games he’s throwing for an average of 217 yards per outing. In these six games he has thrown nine touchdowns but also gave up the ball six times; still impressive for a third round rookie quarterback.
First Doug Martin was placed on injured reserve and now Mike James. The Buccaneers season has taken just as many dips as the Falcons have. Now Atlanta has to prepare for the two backups, Brian Leonard and Bobby Rainey, who will most likely be splitting the carries to reduce any further season ending injuries.
Such a shame too, Mike James was looking very solid in his third start against Seattle where he recorded 158-yards rushing on 28 carries. He even threw for a touchdown on the day as well.
Brian Leonard should see the majority of carries due to the fact that they fed him the ball 20 times for only 57 yards after James left with an injury. He also looks to be better used on passing downs catching from the backfield. On the other hand, Bobby Rainey looked more explosive as he ripped off a 31-yards run and then capped it off with a touchdown from a yard out. The team obviously prefers Leonard but Rainey is still a dangerous change-of-pace back.
Vincent Jackson simply torched this team last time they faced catching 10 passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns. The inaccuracies of Glennon’s deep throws are compensated by the height and play-making ability that Jackson has if he is matched up in single coverage. Now that the team has lost their second workhorse running back they may have to switch back to throwing the ball downfield with Glennon’s shaky arm.
For the defensive side of the ball it’s simple, stay conservative with the blitz’s and challenge Glennon to beat you by taking his time and march down the field. He has proved he can do this a few times but can he sustain these drives without the big play for 20 to 30 minutes out of the game. My answer is no he cannot.
Take Vincent Jackson out of the game all night. Don’t let him go over the top in any situation. The team needs to bracket him with a corner and safety if he ever lines up on the outside. After seeing Falcons defensive backs play the deep ball I realize that they literally look like fish out of water, especially with the height advantage of Jackson; things could get real silly on Sunday.
On the offensive side the Falcons need to get Jackson on the outside first. Have him get some passes and run downfield against a safety or linebacker in single coverage, forcing them to have to man up and take Jackson on man-to-man. He thrives in those kinds of situations, and since the offensive line can’t provide him those opportunities right now, then the team will have to use screens to present this chance for him to have a break out game.
Harry Douglas is going to be a vital part in this game. Roddy White will most likely getting most of the attention from Darrell Revis for most of the afternoon. This will be important in order to attack the middle of the field. If Douglas can make one fast cut while running a post route the Falcons can exploit this area against the Buccaneers for big chunks of yardage. Hopefully from these plays a defender might slip up or miss a tackle, then it’ll be off to the races for Douglas and even Tony Gonzalez if he’s healthy enough to play.