At least for a quarter. It will be very interesting to see if the defensive line, who has been performing well in camp, can produce sacks and limit Charles in the few carries he's going to get. I expect sloppiness concerning the linebackers and their teamwork as Mason Foster gets his feet wet professionally (albeit in an abbreviated instance). Also, fans should be looking for defensive line cohesion and how the front seven work together as a unit, particularly against the run.
I would rather watch my favorite team lose in a blowout by way of air raid than by a field goal after getting run over. Having to endure a ten play drive with eight runs feels like having a stroke as the defense internally bleeds. Tampa's intentions have been clear with the past two Aprils, but the men who will be heavily relied upon are young and have been a bit frail.
Hopefully Gerald McCoy will have healed enough from his rotator cuff strain in order to play. As he is the leader of the line, if not the whole defense, McCoy's presence is paramount for the progression of the line and the trust they have to build in game type situations. I barely expect to see Brian Price, if at all, as he recovers. As a consolation, the fans will be able to watch how Roy Miller will handle double teams and the running backs that come his way.
Mason Foster is going to be scrutinized the most on the defensive side of the ball. Most of us have heard/read the pundits are weary of a rookie middle linebacker in charge of reading the offense, calling audibles, and being reliable in coverage. At this point Foster shows he does well in run support- he will have to learn the intangibles quickly in order to maintain a synchronized, fluid defense that won't force DB's or LB's to compensate for his inexperience.
Last year Tampa held up much better against the pass, and the cornerbacks are going to have to worry about Bowe and Matt Cassel's accurate arm. Fortunately, he doesn't throw a very good deep ball. That will keep the pressure off of the least tenured DB, Grimm. This shouldn't be a problem for Talib and the rest of the secondary as Dwayne Bowe is the sole true passing threat outside of Charles swinging into the flat. Cody Grimm and Sean Jones will be starting together again. Grimm has a year of experience off of which to build as well as a year of teamwork and communication with Sean Jones; that will ultimately make them both better while wholly improving pass coverage. E.J. Biggers has pushed hard for the second starting CB spot but probably won't wrangle it from Ronde Barber this year. I imagine Barber is going to start from the slot if he continues to play after this year. Barring a suspension, Talib will be back and maintain his status as the best player on the defense.
Kansas City's offensive line allowed Cassel to be sacked 42 times in 2009 but whittled it down to 26 last season. If that wasn't an apparition, Adrian Clayborn is going to have to show that he has benefited from working with Donald Penn. As Michael Bennett is over Da'Quan Bowers presently, I'm hoping Raheem will substitute in order to get a glimpse of our rookie DE tandem. Shaking up the quarterback is going to make Charles work that much harder to make an impact. Even with a near bottom ranked sack total last year, the Buccaneers managed to rank 7th in the league against the pass.
Their secondary has the ability to hold the Chiefs on Friday, and with the fist two picks of the draft they will fair better than what many expect. We will get a taste as to whether Tampa made enough changes to maintain at least an adequate rush defense this season, or if Charles is just going to be first in line to make us miserable this year.