With the unfortunate loss of a budding Tanard Jackson, the secondary may very well struggle fervently the rest of the season. Opposing offenses are going to test Grimm intensely, and his failure would make that position an immediate crisis if it isn't already.
The plight of the defense will require players on both sides to show up, and especially a great deal of offense in an attempt to compensate.
Josh Freeman, above all, needs to keep producing. He's impressed the league already with his early, gutty performances. With the defense seemingly ready to take a step back, the whole team will follow suit if Freeman regresses. What will help him out is a healthy Huggins getting a chance to see the field, and Blount learning the playbook. I lamented an early bye this season however it seems to be arriving precisely when the team needs it. After this week Freeman will have time to heal as will Huggins, and Blount will acclimate himself to the offense. Perhaps by Cincinnati all three men will see the field.
Benn is the man the offense needs desperately at this point. Stroughter will be great in the slot once Benn can rise and become the number two receiver. Whether Benn is growing accustomed to the speed of the game or the playbook, his progress is what is required for the offense to advance as a unit.
Gilmore is the best blocking tight end Tampa has, and Winslow dominates in the air. Stevens, this season, hasn't done either well (and he's never been reliable to block). The running game has suffered from poor line play, and the tight ends certainly haven't helped. It almost doesn't matter who Tampa has in the backfield if those in front of him cannot move the defense.
Special teams does almost everything they're asked. Barth hasn't missed and coverage has been mostly great (particularly against Cribbs).
Linebackers were stellar last week, but Black played as though he were ablaze. He was bringing people down all over the place and railroaded Moore to stop a drive. Creative blitzing and coverage schemes are going to be crucial to make up for the loss of one of the best players on the team. Quincy needs to live in the backfield and in every passers head to avoid Grimm getting picked apart on Sundays (if he can't prove to hold his own, though I pray that he can).
The defensive line had an excellent performance in week two, and that is how they must perform every game. From White to Crowder, everyone on the rotation needs to hit their gaps and follow the ball. It's nice to see them getting their hands up to spike passes, frustrating the hell out of the other side. No weaknesses can be afforded in this defense as the personnel runs thin. Fans were worried about the run defense in August- if play against the pass becomes a concern this season will transform into a horror.
At least Aqib Talib is back. Since his incident he's behaved well just as most of his teammates have. No more slip ups can occur this season if Tampa wants to avoid disappointment.