The Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn't have much of an issue producing offensive points against the Atlanta Falcons in game one. Much of the reason for that was that the Falcons had trouble getting a pass rush together. Head coach Dirk Koetter doesn't expect to see that this week against the Arizona Cardinals, though.
"I’m expecting that we’ll see more pressure than we saw last week.," Koetter said today. "Arizona’s always been a pressure team. Sounds like they were maybe wanting to pressure more than they did last week."
"How we respond to the pressure – pressure can work two ways. It can be big for them and it can also be big for us. It will be less of a check down game, more of a ‘be on time with where you’re going to go with the ball.’"
In week one, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers faced a fairly vanilla defense. Like everyone in the Pete Carroll coaching tree (which is related to the Tony Dungy coaching tree), they work with a Cover 3 base team that mostly just lines up and plays, and doesn't do a lot to bring heavy blitzes or confuse the quarterback.
We won't see such restraint from the Cardinals' James Bettcher. That team loves to blitz, and their defensive line also puts a lot of stress on any offensive line. This defense will be a heavy test for Jameis Winston and the Bucs offense -- and it'll be difficult for them to lean on the running game.
However, a heavy blitzing team does always have one big liability: holes in the secondary. Good blitz adjustments and good pass protection can expose blitzes, both with quick throws to beat the blitz, and good pass pro adjustments to create time for deeper routes to develop.
The Bucs also have a third weapon: the screen game. Since Dirk Koetter arrived, the team has finally consistently been productive on running back and wide receiver screens. Charles Sims and Doug Martin have both been significant weapons there, but so has Adam Humphries and even Mike Evans.
The key to a good screen game is drawing in the pass rush, which is why it works so well against teams that really want to pressure the quarterback. It either slows their overall pass rush down, because they'll be looking for that screen, or it just beats them with big plays because the pass rush takes itself out of the play.
That, ultimately, is how the Bucs will have to beat the Cardinals on Sunday. It'll be interesting to see whether they can actually do that.