This week we took the walk over to The Pewter Plank to talk to Josh Hill who is Fansided’s resident Tampa Bay Buccaneers expert. Josh talked about Doug Martin, Vincent Jackson, and the Bucs’ 32nd ranked pass defense among other things.
Let’s go Inside the Villain’s Venue with The Pewter Plank.
Predominantly Orange: Doug Martin was high on the Broncos’ draft board. We know about his production (95.5 rushing yards per game). What else are the Broncos missing out on when it comes to him?
Pewter Plank: Martin’s actually a brilliant pass catching running back, and he’s put those skills on display plenty of times during his hot streak. He’s not an all purpose back, because he’ll never be returning kicks, so he’ll never be a Darren Sproles type player, but he’s pretty damn close. Martin’s a viable passing option for Josh Freeman which has in turn really helped Freeman keep calm while in the pocket.
PO: The Bucs have the best run defense in the league, but they have the worst pass defense. How worried are you about coming into Denver to face Peyton Manning?
PP: Well I honestly think Manning’s success against the Bucs will be hereditary, as I see this game playing out a lot like the Giants game earlier this year. What the Bucs need to do is put pressure on Manning, because with no true running back for the Broncos, we pretty much know what the Broncos are going to do the most on Sunday. The Bucs failed to get proper pressure on Eli back in Week 2 and that resulted in a lot of time for Manning to throw. Give a Manning a lot of time to read their options and you’re not going to win. If the Bucs can get pass pressure on Manning, they might have a chance, but there’s no Eric Wright and therefore nothing close to even a number two in this secondary so the best we can hope for is someone auditioning for a job next year to make some big plays.
PO: The Bucs strung four in a row together before losing a heartbreaking division game to the Falcons last week. Is this the kind of team that can bounce back after a loss like that?
PP: I honestly think it is. Something happened with Schiano coming to town that changed the culture in Tampa and it’s times like this that we will see if the culture is sticking. If this were the Rah-Rah Raheem Morris Bucs team I’d predict a Broncos blowout, but for the first time in a while this team has some fight in them, and they all feel like they have something to prove from week to week and that results in hard fought games. Now, I’m not saying that’s enough to beat the Broncos, but if you take away Manning, these teams are very similar and it’s going to be a good game. That will to win and to prove people wrong is a lot more powerful than I thought it was.
PO: Champ Bailey knows Vincent Jackson all too well. Who do you like in that matchup?
PP: I like VJax but not because he’s going to light up Bailey, but because he’s going to keep Denver’s best cornerback occupied all game long and open up other aspects of this team. This Bucs offense is explosive and it can burn teams bad as badly as they can burn themselves. What I loved about the Jackson signing, and I’ve said it all year, is that he will open up other targets and that’s evident in Mike Williams success this year. With two downfield, home run threats, that also means smaller, short yardage guys like Tiquan Underwood, Dallas Clark and even Doug Martin can stretch the field and chew up yardage. Plus, Jackson puts emphasis on pass defense which means the run defense is unsupported to an extend leaving Doug Martin able to attack. This is why I got so excited and tried to convince people this offseason that Tampa’s offense will be dynamic and the Broncos are going to find out that this is a new look Bucs offense and it’s one that you shouldn’t sleep on.
PO: Finally, your prediction for Sunday’s game
PP: When I saw this game on the schedule I penciled in a loss, but to be honest I think the Bucs can win this game. That doesn’t mean I think they will, because they won’t. As long as I’ve been touting this offense as one of the best in football, I’ve been saying that the reason the Bucs won’t be competitive should they make the playoffs is their secondary. I said last week that it would cost them the game and it did, and Manning knows how to pick apart bad defenses. He’s aged, but the dude is like cheese and wine, he only gets more fine and while he won’t destroy the Bucs defense, he’s going to know how to beat them and do it convincingly. The Bucs offense will keep them in it, as usual, and the defensive secondary will lose it, as usual.