Did you expect anything different?
It’s fall again, October is winding down to candy day, and the Buccaneers Defense is again a strong unit leading the way. Let’s take a look at the defensive stats. Opponent’s red zone scoring against the Bucs, the team is ranked second (2nd). Opponent’s points per game (7th). Opponent’s rushing yards a game (8th). Opponent’s rushing touchdowns a game (7th). Takeaways a game (2nd). In fact, the Bucs had ten interceptions all of last season. This season, through 4 games, the Bucs have 6 picks. The offense seems to be getting all the attention, with retread Baker Mayfield playing inspired football, seemingly turning his career around here in the Bay Area. It’s only been four games, so that’s saying a lot. Things could implode upon him at any time, and he could find himself right back in that situation he was in when he signed the one-year deal with Tampa. His play so far feels genuine and solid. It’s easy to imagine him doing this all season and beyond. His leadership qualities are self-evident. He’s a driven man behind center, while Baker Mayfield and his running of the offense may be the popular-feel-good story of the early season. It is the defense where the rubber is hitting the road and making all that Mayfield is doing a close companion.
One Buc had a plan
Todd Bowles and especially Jason Licht said from the beginning that we still had the players here to make a push for the playoffs. He said the team was not in a rebuilding mode. I do not completely agree with the last statement. If you don’t have the talent to push for a Super Bowl appearance, then you are, let’s call it, in a building mode, at the very least. The team isn’t being torn apart and sold off in favor of younger players, so there is some truth to Licht’s no rebuild statements. Though, it’s apparent the team is in need of more talent to take it all the way again. The handling of Mike Evans’ contract situation has so far been depressing. I know when I say (that), “I hope something can be worked out,” I speak for the entire fanbase. Jason Licht had a plan with Baker Mayfield at the center of it. He gambled on the former number-one overall — gambled that Dave Canales and his offensive scheme would fit Mayfield like a glove, and so far, in three out of four games, it has. Can Mayfield continue with the level of football that he is playing? Until he shows us that he can’t, he will. Mayfield knows that this Tampa stop is probably his last starting gig in the NFL if he doesn’t make it work here. So, his motivation is intense. One thing is for sure — no matter which way Mayfield steers the ship from here, the defense will be right there, making his job easier and generally keeping opponents ripe for the beating. Hats off to the Defense! Once again! Go Bucs!!