Usually, I’m out here writing some cheesy-ass intro to help transition into the body of my post.
But not today, folks. Motha$#%^@*! football is BACK!!
So, I won’t waste any more of your time. Let’s talk about what you should watch on Sunday when the Bucs take on the 49ers in Raymond James Stadium.
1. Kyle Shanahan vs. Todd Bowles
Holy cow my mouth is watering right now just thinking about this.
Hold on, I’ve gotta wipe my keyboard down real quick.
OK. Now that’s out of the way, let’s get down to this matchup. You’ve got two of the best minds in football going head to head on Sunday. Shanahan always seems to have something dialed up at the right time and Bowles’ schemes and disguises constantly give offensive coordinators fits.
This should be an all-out battle on Sunday. Both coaches have had extra time to prepare, which should turn up the intensity on the field, but I REALLY can’t wait to see the in-game adjustments and how each coach reacts when a play is made on either side.
It will also be interesting to see Bowles’ return as DC after spending the last four years as the head coach of the New York Jets.
2. The Offensive Line
The Bucs have the fourth-highest paid offensive line in the NFL. It really feels like this shouldn’t be a topic of concern, but alas, he we are.
We are talking about a unit that allowed five sacks in the third preseason game against the Cleveland Browns. But it wasn’t just five sacks throughout the game. It was five sacks in the first 20-something plays of the game. On top of that, players like Alex Cappa looked lost at times. The offensive line did not look good at all.
What’s worse is the depth when it comes to the front five on offense. There is almost no one to rely on if one of the starters were to get hurt. Earl Watford has been a career backup with limited starting time and Caleb Benenoch is.....Caleb Benenoch.
And guess what? The 49ers have a stout front seven on defense. Dee Ford, DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, Solomon Thomas, Nick Bosa (if he plays), and Kwon Alexander are all very, very effective players and the 9ers are going to let them loose on Sunday.
Honestly, it’s a good thing that the line will get tested early and often. Everyone will be able to properly gauge them right off of the bat in terms of reliability and effectiveness.
Whether or not they will be pleased with the results is an entirely different story.
3. An Improved Jameis?
How well Winston plays in 2019 will determine much of the Bucs’ success. While that comes as no surprise, it’s probably more imperative than ever that he takes several steps forward when it comes to his play on the field.
We’ve already seen him cut down on the errant throws and questionable decisions in the preseason, but will that translate into the regular season? No one knows for sure.
What we do know is that if Winston continues his ways of the past, then not much will change in terms of wins and losses. Not much will change when it comes to determining if he’s the quarterback of the future, either.
An improved Jamies likely means an improved Bucs team. He should have success against a below-average secondary, especially when you consider how well he played against basically the same cast of characters last year.
Winston torched the 9ers, completing 29-of-38 passes for 312 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 24 yards on seven carries. His QBR rating of 92.4 was one of his highest marks of the season, as well.
Coincidentally, that was the first start for Winston after he was benched during the Cincinnati game. He completed 64% of his passes for 1,612 yards with 11 touchdowns and three interceptions over the final six games of the 2018 season.
The light seemed to come on over those last few games. We will find out on Sunday if the light is still on.