These are not the same old Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With Bruce Arians now in charge, the Bucs will have a different look Sunday when the New York Giants face them. Gil Arcia of SB Nation’s Bucs Nation answers our 5 questions as we seek knowledge.
Ed: Bruce Arians was hired largely to try and help Jameis Winston. The numbers don’t look good so far. Are the Bucs going to be in the market for a new QB after this season?
Gil: Looking at numbers is an easy way for someone to say they don’t really know what has gone on and Winston has been getting that his whole career so far. That’s like saying Eli is the lone reason why the Giants are 0-2 when in fact his receiving group is depleted and the defense didn’t have an answer for the Cowboys nor the Bills. In Week 1 against San Francisco, Winston’s receivers weren’t getting separation or catching passes. Arians changed things up for practices leading up to the game last Thursday against Carolina and we saw a noticeable change in just four days. This offense suits Winston better since it calls for more short to intermediate routes with the receivers responsible for the “hot” read. And that didn’t happen Week 1. Arians held the receivers accountable heading into Week 2. If things go according to plan, we’ll see a better Winston in 2019 because he doesn’t have to worry about his receiver with the deep routes as his first read in his progression any more. Now he’s told to look short first, everything else second.
Ed: Shaquil Barrett has all four of the Bucs’ sacks and five of the seven QB hits. Is he the whole pass rush? Also, what’s going on with him? In five years his previous career high in sacks is 5.5.
Gil: Barrett isn’t the only pass rush. He’s just been able to benefit from Vita Vea and Ndamukong Suh eating up most of the opposing offensive lines to free up space. This Todd Bowles defense just really fits his skills. The offseason acquisition was a bit of a wait-and-see. There was some hype with the signing and his film showed he was not utilized correctly in Denver. But the first two weeks is still a small sample size. I’d be curious to see how offenses gameplan for him moving forward and how he overcomes it.
Ed: From the outside, your thoughts on the Giants’ switch from Eli Manning to Daniel Jones? How does it impact Sunday’s game?
Gil: Like I stated previously, this Giants start isn’t all on Eli. I don’t agree with the move. I understand that at some point you have to name Jones the starter, but I just think it’s too soon. As for the game Sunday, if this was the defense of old, I would have said I see Jones having a decent game since the Bucs defenses rarely played opposing rookie quarterbacks well (Bucs are 2-11 since 2011 against rookie quarterbacks as of last season). This shift to a 3-4 defense better suits Tampa Bay’s personnel so we’ll see how they play Jones.
Ed: If you could take one player off the Giants’ roster and put him in Tampa Bay’s starting lineup, who would it be? Why?
Gil: Running back Austin Walter because he would be a great practice squad addition as he will be for New York ...
Kidding. Saquon Barkley, of course. Why? Because he is one of those generational backs you may not see again for a while. The kid is crazy good.
(NOTE: Yes, I made the mistake of leaving Barkley on the table this week and making it easy on Gil).
Ed: The Bucs win Sunday’s game if? The Giants win Sunday’s game if?
Gil: Bucs win if they adhere to the game plan on offense and don’t get away from it. Meaning their receivers need to play the same game they played Week 2. I’m not concerned about their defense. Giants win if their offense, or Barkley, controls the game and New York’s defense shows up.