It’s been four full NFL seasons since Denver Broncos quarterback Jeff Driskel came out of Louisiana Tech, and in the ninth start of his career he’ll face-off against a tough Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense in Week 3 of the 2020 NFL Season.
For Buccaneers fans it would be easy to chalk this one up as a win, fire up the grill, put the drinks on ice, kick back, and expect an easy Sunday of football entertainment. Standing in their way will be Driskel and his Broncos team who know they’re expected to lose, which gives them even more reasons to come out laying it all out on the field in order to get the win.
Driskel started his NFL journey with the San Francisco 49ers franchise, but didn’t get his first regular season action until 2018 when he played in nine games for the Cincinnati Bengals. Five of those came as starts, and the Bengals went 1-4 with Driskel under center.
To be fair though, the 2018 Bengals team was 5-11 before Driskel took over for an injured Andy Dalton.
With Cincinnati, Driskel got his only live action against the Tampa Bay franchise, helping the Bengals win a Week 3 preseason game in 2018.
Then, Driskel moved to the Detroit Lions for the 2019 season, getting three starts there, going 0-3.
For his career, the starting quarterback facing the Bucs on Sunday has completed just over 58% of his pass attempts, thrown for just under 2,000-yards, and has twelve touchdowns to just seven interceptions.
Wednesday on the Locked On Bucs Podcast, Jake Arians of The Draft Network cautioned there are no real ‘slam-dunk’ games in the NFL. Every player on the field is a professional football player for a reason, and it’s not because they are devoid of talent.
So, even though Driskel is getting his first start as a Bronco and doing it with a suspect offensive line, no Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy as his WR1, and no Phillip Lindsay (maybe), the Bucs could find themselves in trouble if they underestimate their opponent.
Of course, it’s not something we expect to happen as the message coming out of the AdventHealth Training Center all week has been about playing four strong quarters of football every week, but especially in this one.
Head coach Bruce Arians commented on the opposing quarterback earlier this week, saying,
“He’s been around for a while. I’ve [faced] him a couple of times. He’s a heck of an athlete [and] has a great arm. I thought he played really well against Pittsburgh – against a really good defense – bringing them back [and] almost had a shot to win it there at the end. He’s a quality guy. He can beat you with his legs and he can beat you with his arm. He’s a smart guy and I thought he handled that situation he was in last week like a pro does.”
Entering the game in relief of an injured Drew Lock, Driskel completed 18 of his 34 pass attempts (52%) for 256-yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Really not bad when you consider again the fact Sutton also left against the Steelers, and Jerry Jeudy was also banged up even though he returned to the game.
Driskel also took six sacks though, something he absolutely can’t do against the Buccaneers defense if he’s going to give the Broncos a fighting chance.
What is a Driskel led offense looking to do against this Buccaneers defense? According to the quarterback himself,
“They (the Buccaneers defense) have really good guys off the edge, but they also are really big and strong, and powerful inside. It’s going to be a challenge. We’re going to have to do some things to get the ball out quickly.”
Quarterback is the most important position on any football team. Plenty of people have said it, and if you don’t have a quarterback you can’t win football games.
Driskel has lost more starts than he’s won, but he’s a fully capable quarterback matching up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense in Week 3, making him this week’s Enemy to Know.