Know your enemy, Buccaneers: One on one with The Pewter Plank
The Saints travel to Tampa Bay this week to play the Buccaneers. The game is a must-win for the Saints if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive.
In a scheduling quirk, the teams play twice in three games after thirteen weeks apart. The Saints need to win both if they want a shot at the playoffs.
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The Buccaneers, in their first season under head coach Dirk Koetter, have played very well of late. They’re now 7-5, and tied for first place in the NFC South. Their defense especially has turned out a very solid season. With Lovie Smith gone, the unit has abandoned the team’s historical commitment to Tampa-2 coverages. And so far the move has paid dividends. Additions at DE and CB have solidified the defense into a dangerous unit.
Like last year, quarterback-receiver combo Jameis Winston and Mike Evans are backbones of the offense. But the difference is that Mike Evans has come into his own as a receiver. He always had the tools. Now he seems to have brought it all together.
Well, this reporter wasn’t all too familiar with the ins and outs of the Buccaneers season. So to give you all a full picture, we sat down with James Yarcho at The Pewter Plank to get the inside scoop. Here’s what James had to say about his Buccaneers.
Glancing through Buccaneers social media, I see there’s a strong sense of optimism among fans about the team. What most excites you, looking towards both the playoffs and the coming years?
I think what has fans excited is the fact that this team is doing something they haven’t seen in nearly a decade – win meaningful games late in the season and be in contention for postseason football. Jameis Winston brought with him hope for a franchise that has never had a quarterback like him. There have been talented guys to come and go, but never the kind of leader and competitor that Winston is. With that comes Super Bowl aspirations. They’re certainly not at that level now, but fans – even ones that doubted or didn’t want him – believe in Jameis and what he has done, and will do, for this team.
In a similar vein, what are some of the biggest differences in your team from last season? Is it more of the same, with better execution? Or has your team made any systemic changes?
How has your 2016 draft class looked so far? Any disappointments? Any surprise gems?
If you had to name a lesser known player that could have a major impact on Sunday, on either side of the ball, who would that be?
Any predictions for the Saints game? Who do you think wins?
It’s funny, it seems as though for years the Bucs and Saints would split, but it was the road team that would come away victorious. The Saints still seem to be having some defensive issues, but with Drew Brees under center there isn’t a game they can’t win. At the end of the day, I truly believe this Bucs team stays hot. They’re coming off victories in Arrowhead – which is darn near impossible – as well as a complete domination of Seattle followed by a cross-country trip to San Diego culminating in a win. Raymond James is going to be hopping, which isn’t something we’ve seen much of in recent years. Fans are excited, optimistic, and want to see this streak continue. I think it’s close, but the defense will come up with another big fourth quarter play to seal the deal. My prediction is Bucs win 30-28.
Well, you made it this far. But this is only half of the conversation. So please, do yourself a favor and check out what we had to say about the Saints over at The Pewter Plank.