We know the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are quarterbacked by Jameis Winston. We know they have a young start wide receiver in Mike Evans. We know former Giant Robert Ayers plays for the Bucs. To learn more about this week’s opponent for the New York Giants we turned to SB Nation’s Buccaneers web site, Bucs Nation.
Sander Philipse answers our “Five Questions.”
Ed: Outside perspective is always good. With that in mind, how surprised are you to see the Giants come into this game at 0-3?
Sander: Pretty surprised -- the Giants certainly did not strike me as an 0-3 team going into the season. In my memory the Giants have always been extraordinarily fickle who mostly rise or fall with Eli Manning's turnovers (that perception may not be entirely accurate, but that's how perceptions work). This season does kind of fit that pattern. Still, 0-3 is worse than I expected -- 1-2 or 2-1 would not have surprised me. A winless Giants team is a little weird.
Ed: Mike Evans or Odell Beckham Jr.? Which wide receiver would you take and why?
Sander: Mike Evans, because he's the one the Bucs have. A little more seriously: Beckham may have the spectacular catches (though Evans is no slouch there), but I think Evans will be more productive in the long haul. He's bigger, has less of an injury history, is extraordinarily quick, especially for his size, and perhaps most notably: he's a year younger.
Ed: What are the strengths of the Buccaneers team? What are the weaknesses the Giants could/should try to exploit?
Sander: I'm not entirely sure, to be honest. We have one great game, and one disastrous game, and offseason expectations, and they all seem to contradict each other. You'd expect the passing game to be a major strength given the team's roster, but it's mostly been lackluster so far. The Bucs defense completely destroyed the Bears offense in week two, and then got destroyed by Case Keenum of all people in week three. Granted, they were a lot more injured in the second game -- but we still can't really deduce much from those data points.
Here's what I will say: the Bucs are very good at stopping the run. They have a disruptive front seven and arguably the best 4-3 linebacking corps in the league. Their pass-rush may be lacking, their run defense isn't. As for weaknesses: I'll go with pass coverage. The Bucs cannot consistently stop receivers, especially with Brent Grimes out. They do have a penchant for turnovers, but they're so reliant on those that if they don't create any they look completely incompetent.
Ed: If you could take one player off the Giants NOT NAMED ODELL BECKHAM and add him to the Bucs, who would it be? Why?
Sander: Jason Pierre-Paul. Pass-rush. The Bucs need it. Desperately.
Ed: There was soooo much interested from Giants fans in O.J. Howard I have to ask what you have seen from the rookie tight end thus far? Is he the real deal?
Sander: Well, he's a very good blocker. Which is good, of course, but the Bucs didn't draft him in the first round just to block -- but that's exactly what's happened so far. Howard has just two catches on the season, mostly because he hasn't been targeted more. I don't think that's anything to worry about -- tight ends often start slow, and even Rob Gronkowski wasn't very productive as a rookie -- but it does mean that I can't really say whether he's the real deal yet, other than as a blocker.