Denver Broncos: Behind enemy lines for Buccaneers week

TAMPA, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 10: Ronald Jones #27 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers high-fives fans after scoring a touchdown in the first quarter of a football game against the Arizona Cardinals at Raymond James Stadium on November 10, 2019 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 10: Ronald Jones #27 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers high-fives fans after scoring a touchdown in the first quarter of a football game against the Arizona Cardinals at Raymond James Stadium on November 10, 2019 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

Denver Broncos Country walks the plank to gain insight into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

We are just a little under 24 hours until kickoff between the Denver Broncos and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

At Predominantly Orange, we love getting a fresh perspective from fans of our opponents.

On this week’s edition of Behind Enemy Lines, Shelby Manning of PO sits down for a Q&A of Ashlie Abrahams, voted best on Buccaneers Twitter and host of the Talk the Plank Podcast.

Q: What was your initial reaction to Tom Brady signing with Tampa Bay? What emotions did you feel?

A: I was shocked when Tampa signed Brady. I thought Jameis was coming back and think he still would have if Brady didn’t become available. When the initial shock subsided, i was excited! Tampa Bays offense has been among the best in the league the last 3 seasons and having someone like Brady, who is known to take care of the ball, should only make the offense better and help them win more games.

Q: What rookie do you feel is making the biggest impact so far in Tampa Bay?

A: It’s only been two weeks, but man, Antoine Winfield Jr is as-advertised! Nothing against our offensive rookie Tristan Wirfs, who is also playing outstanding, but Winfield has been a huge issue.

The Bucs haven’t had that defensive leader in the secondary since John Lynch, and Winfield has already made his presence felt on both the pass rush and in coverage. He may be 5’9, but he plays like a 6’2 hard-hitting safety. If he can continue to improve we have ourselves our own Honeybadger.

Q: What are your realistic expectations for this Tampa Bay team with Brady at the helm this season? Do you think Super Bowl is the ceiling?

A: I feel like every year the Super Bowl is the ultimate ceiling for every team. In my opinion, signing Brady/trading for Gronk/signing Fournette were all “ALL IN” moves. For this to have paid off, Tampa needs to make the Super Bowl in the next two years.

They didn’t sign Brady for just the playoffs and he didn’t come just for a wild card round. The talent they have on both sides of the ball is absolutely SB worthy, but can they play to that potential?

Q: Do you have any concerns about the matchup between the Denver Broncos and Tampa Bay Bucs? Do the Denver Broncos have any strengths you feel could exploit Tampa Bay?

A: Don’t let the injuries fool you, Denver has some DOGS. Jerry Jeudy (Questionable to play at the time I send this) was arguably the best WR in CFB last year. His footwork, hands, and shiftiness are enough to make any defender dizzy. Noah Fant will also be someone I see Driskel targeting early and often, as he did in Denver’s first two games. Bradley Chubb is a monster, so Tampa will need to keep an eye on him off the edge.

Being down 0-2 makes you play that much harder for a win. I expect some gritty, tough play from the Broncos in front of their fans

Q: What do you think is each team’s key to victory?

A: Denver Broncos Keys to Victory:
Pressure Brady. He’s not as mobile as Jameis was. And making him uncomfortable could force some turnovers especially with the offense still working on chemistry
Screens: For whatever reason, Tampa struggles against screen plays. If the Broncos can get Melvin Gordon or Jeudy in space, they can get some chunk plays
Slow down Mike Evans: You might be saying, “What about Godwin?” While he does return to the lineup this week and had caught 98% of his targets in 2019, The chemistry between him and Brady may still need some work. Last week, the Evans + Brady combo looked lethal with 7 receptions for 104 yards and a back-shoulder TD. No AJ Bouye hurts, so Denver will need a plan to try and make Brady hesitant to throw his way.

Pressure Driskel: Okay so, yes. Both teams must get pressure to win this game. The Broncos have given up the 4th most pressures in the league through two weeks and now face a Tampa defense who had 4 takeaways and 5 sacks last week against the Panthers. If they can get into the backfield, I see it being a long day for Driskel + Co.
Feed the TE: This week it was talked about how little targets Gronk gets and the lack of TE play in general. This would be the week to utilize them more. Having both Evans + Godwin back will command the defenses attention and garner some open real estate for the Bucs TE’s like we saw in week 1 against the saints where OJ Howard had a 15-yard TD. If the Bucs are going to be the offensive powerhouse they think they can be, they have to utilize all of their weapons.
Establish the Run: Tampa had its first rusher with 100+ yards + 2 TD since Doug Martin last week. While they’re known for their passing attack, being one dimensional is predictable. If they can again get RoJo + Fournette going, I think it sets up the big passing plays like the flea-flicker we saw last week.

Q:  Are you expecting a Shaq Barrett revenge game?

A: You know Shaq Barrett wants this game bad. Not that the Denver Broncos did him dirty, but as he said, he wants to show the Broncos what they let go. He’ll be going up against the lineman who has given up the most sacks in the league through two weeks (4) so this is a good opportunity to start his campaign for back to back sack champions. I expect Denver to try and spoil the homecoming, though.

Thanks so much for sitting down and chatting with us, Ashlie. A little more about Ashlie…

Ashlie Abrahams is a writer for All Things Buccaneers and Belly Up Sports. She is the host of the Talk the Plank Podcast. She was elected the best Buccaneers follow in a Twitter account tournament earlier this year. Even more impressive, she does this all in between being on the frontlines of medical care as a full-time EMT.

We give a Mile-High salute to Ashlie for her service during this pandemic! Thank you, Ashlie!

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Check out her podcast and follow her on Twitter for some great football content.