The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in New Orleans Sunday to kick off the 2020 regular season against the Saints. As we have done in previous years, we take an inside look into the opposing team by asking five questions to an opposing SB Nation blog.
In this installment of Davy Jones’ Locker, our good buddy Chris Dunnells was kind enough to answer five questions regarding the Saints. Here is the exchange between Bucs Nation and Canal Street Chronicles.
1. How is our boy Jameis doing?! What has been the feel among the players and fans about having him on the Saints?
By all accounts, he’s having a typical “Jameis” offseason with the Saints. He impressed the team with his arm strength during practices, but reportedly threw a couple unnecessary turnovers.
Every player I’ve talked to or heard about who’s discussed Jameis has loved him. They repeatedly talk about how much fun he is to be around and his energy with the team. At the same time, Jameis appears to be humble and enjoying learning from this locker room as well. I asked Jameis about if the Saints offense is living up to the hype of the “Harvard education” in quarterbacking he thought he was going to get when he signed his one-year deal to come to New Orleans, and he said the Saints haven’t short-changed him one bit on that front.
For the fans, I think the majority are on-board with hoping he becomes the quarterback of the future for New Orleans. A large minority still want it to be Taysom Hill - or at least for Hill to be given a chance - and then there’s a small minority that has never agreed with the Jameis signing from the moment it was announced due to Jameis’ previous off-the-field issues with Florida State.
2. Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders was added during free agency and listed to start opposite Michael Thomas. What are the expectations for Sanders in the New Orleans offense?
I expect Thomas and Sanders to put up numbers similar to what Thomas and Brandin Cooks were able to do in 2016, Cooks’ last year with the Saints, when they combined to go for ~2,300 receiving yards. I anticipate Sanders and Thomas should help each other, as opposing defenses won’t be able to key in on Thomas like they did in New Orleans last year, or on Sanders in the passing game, like they did against the 49ers after San Francisco traded for him from Denver.
3. What does bringing back safety Malcolm Jenkins mean for the Saints defense?
It helps provide veteran leadership for players like Marcus Williams and CJ Gardner-Johnson, both of which have talked about how much they can - and will - learn from having Jenkins on the defense. Jenkins has been around the league a while, so he’s seen a lot of different offensive schemes, and he can help teach the Saints young defense how to recognize different plays.
Also, I think the presence of Malcolm Jenkins helped the Saints deal with Drew Brees’s regrettable comments early this offseason.
4. Over/Under: Brady and Brees both throw for over 300 yards.
I’m not sure how this work as an “over/under,” but yes, I think they both do.
5. How do you see this Week 1 matchup between the Bucs and Saints going since there was no offseason team workouts and no preseason?
The Saints are absolutely horrible in Week 1 games. They ended a six-year losing streak on Week 1’s last year, but it took a record-breaking Week 1 kick from Wil Lutz to beat the Houston Texans. The last time the Bucs and Saints matched up in New Orleans on Week 1, Ryan Fitzmagic through for 10,000 yards, so I don’t see a lack of preseason helping at all. I think the Bucs win this one by a hefty margin (but I still think the Saints win the division - don’t get me twisted :) )