The Brady Quinn era is about to kick off in Kansas City and the first victims/recipients will be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
To get you ready for Sunday, I sat down with Josh Hill of FanSided’s Bucs site The Pewter Plank. Let’s go inside the enemy camp and get some intel on the Bucs.
1. Obviously both the Chiefs and the Bucs didn’t get off to the starts they would have liked this season. Still, even at 1-4, these teams have a chance to turn it around. You have to believe the winner Sunday can keep their head above water while the loser is likely heading toward more misery.
Well even if the Bucs win on Sunday, really all that does is make them 2-4 ahead of a tough schedule. They get the New Orleans Saints next week and then turnaround real quick and go on the road against the Vikings so this Sunday might be the difference between the Bucs going 1-7 or 2-6. Both of these teams are really similar to each other yet starkly different. Both have run games that could and are explosive at times, but both suffer even behind respectable offensive lines. Both have quarterbacks that are talented yet wildly inconsistent yet the Bucs are still holding hope that Freeman can develop while Chiefs fans seem to be getting kindling to burn Matt Cassel at the stake as a pregame ritual. No mater who wins I think misery is ahead regardless.
2. If you could take one player from the Chiefs and put him on the Bucs, who would it be and why?
I’d probably take Tamba Hali at this point just because the Bucs need a presence on the outside of the line. If I stole him from Kansas City, he’d be converted back to a defensive end to replace Adrian Clayborn who’s out with that knee tear. Hali is so versatile he can really be used anywhere and honestly I wouldn’t be surprised to see Greg Schiano use him in ways he hasn’t been used before. Just look at one of the first changes he made in Tampa, he moved veteran cornerback Ronde Barber to free safety. Hali is a monster in that Chiefs secondary and I’d steal him, if for nothing else, to get him away from my offense.
3. Who are some young players on the Bucs that KC fans may not have heard of yet but should keep an eye on this Sunday?
Mark Barron has quickly become a guy to watch on defense. Last time the Bucs played, he was flying around the field and delivering brutal hits on RGIII and other ball carriers. More than once fellow Bucs writers and I turned to one another and likened him to the great John Lynch and that’s not bad company to be in. Doug Martin coming out of the backfield is alway a threat since he can do so many things, but all the young talent seems to be on defense. Lavonte David is quickly becoming the leader of the defense and he’s in his rookie season, and Gerald McCoy may not still be considered a young player per-say, but he’s finally becoming the run stuffing tackle the Bucs wanted him to be.
4. What is Tampa’s biggest weakness that you think the Chiefs should attack Sunday?
Two things: the secondary and Josh Freeman’s confidence. We all saw what Eli Manning did to the Bucs secondary in week 2 and it’s been open season since then. But that’s tied greatly to Josh Freeman’s inability to stay confident under pressure. He was hit a lot last year and he doesn’t want to keep getting destroyed. Like RGIII throws up his arms to avoid getting hit, Freeman just rushes his mechanics and gets rid of the ball. He’s so hard to figure out because he’ll have five awful drives but take a bad snap with intense pressure and thread a needle to his receiver. If the Chiefs can pressure Freeman and keep him riled up, the defense will eventually wear out from only getting three minutes of rest against ten minutes of work.
5, Where do you feel QB Josh Freeman is in his development?
Surprisingly so, a lot of Bucs fans are starting to leap off his bandwagon. To me, Freeman is in his last season of what I call a grace period. He’s dealing with a brand new system and his first real head coach and even there his coach is learning the ropes with him. Fans are getting massively frustrated with what I stated before, his inability to be consistent or confident. If Freeman stays in this rut he’s in and it carries over to next season, we may start seeing the Bucs move in a new direction. But I still can’t lose faith in the guy because Ron Turner who’s greatest feat was Kurt Kittner at Illinois, so it’s not like Freeman is failing under masterful teaching. You’re talking about a guy here who gave the Bears Erik Kramer, Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton so this isn’t all on Freeman. But still, if he’s the elite guy Tampa wants him to be he should be able to fight adversity.
Bonus: What is your prediction for Sunday’s game?
No offense to Chiefs fans but Brady Quinn doesn’t strike fear into an infant kitten let alone an NFL team. The Chiefs immediately become one-dimensional in theory with Quinn under center but having Jamaal Charles be that one dimension isn’t a bad thing. The Bucs run defense has been pretty outstanding this year, so Charles won’t have an easy task. But Freeman is likely going to get rattled like he always does and if he lets that bother him that run defense will crack if it’s smashed up against enough times. But as the readers of The Pewter Plank know I never pick against the Bucs, so Tampa wins a sloppy game on both sides.