Todd Monken has his work cut out for him ahead of the week one match-up in New Orleans. He’s working with a backup quarterback, his starting left tackle is injured, and they’re playing a solid defense on the road.
Not the most stellar hand to be dealt.
Monken, however, shows no fear regarding Ryan Fitzpatrick taking the snaps in place of Jameis Winston, and knows that Fitz has proved himself as a viable starter in the past that has won games for the Buccaneers;
“Well I don’t think it’s very big at all. We went 2-1 last year with Fitz as our quarterback. It’s a team game. We’ve got to play well around him. I thought we played well around him last year. I think we’ve played well around him in the preseason, so I don’t see that at all as an issue,” Monken said.
The Buccaneers’ chances may be slim, but they aren’t impossible. A lot will hinge on the defense’s ability to create pressure, Peyton Barber’s ability to control the clock with solid runs, and my X-Factor’s ability to take advantage of the one-on-one looks he will get.
Monken knows this and had nothing but glowing things to say about wide receiver Chris Godwin;
“Well, he’s big, fast, smart, physical, the consummate pro, takes care of his body, always studying the game. He knows all the spots on the field, so it gives him an opportunity to take advantage of his skillset. That’s really what it does. He’s improved steadily from the time he got here until now and you guys have seen it. We’ve seen it and he’s a good player.”
At the end of the day, it’s all about the swagger the Buccaneers have. They can’t walk into the game with the same concerns and fears the fans have. They can’t be worried that they aren’t good enough without Jameis Winston. They can’t be worried that the defensive line won’t be improved enough to pressure Brees. They can’t be worried that the corners are going to be dissected by the Saints’ receivers.
They have to know that they have every bit the chance to win as the Saints do - and that whoever wins this game is going to earn it.
Monken is more than confident in his offense’s ability to put up points and stand toe-to-toe with the best in the league - as long as they don’t shoot themselves in the foot;
“Well, first, as I talked about, is the turnovers. I think that’s the start. That’s where it all starts. I think as you mentioned, the weapons: Chris Godwin’s a year older, O.J. Howard’s a year older, we brought Cam (Brate) back, I think Mike’s (Evans) played better, Hump (Adam Humphries) is a year older, our O-line, bringing Ryan (Jensen) to the mix. So I just think – Caleb Benenoch a year older – that’s probably as much as anything, just you still have the same core guys that are you older players, but I the think the younger players are only going to continue to get better.”
Now, if only we knew that Monken was going to call the plays...