When Buccaneer fans looked at the NFL schedule for 2019 the first thing that really stuck out was this road trip. Three billion miles, seven weeks, 59 days. That’s a long time without any sweet home cooking.
The second thing that stood out was the Running backs the team would face on this extended journey. Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara, and Todd Gurley to name a few. This week, the Buccaneers travel to Tennessee to face former Alabama RB and 2015 Heisman Trophy winner, Derrick Henry.
At 6’3″, 240 pounds, a downhill style runner with bruising size and quick feet, Henry can be a load to handle. Because of his big frame and long strides he has the ability to break tackles at any time. The threat as a receiver out of the backfield is low. But not as low as you better be when open field tackling this beast. Containing #22 should be a top concern for the Buccaneer defense this week.
Speaking Of That Defense
The Tampa Bay defense came off the blocks in 2019 against the run. A swarming style of Todd Bowles defense has had some success shutting down the running backs the team has seen this season. Running backs that can catch the ball, like a McCaffrey, put a strain on this Buccaneer defense. Come to think of it, anybody that catches the ball has.
With Marcus Mariota under center, the Buccaneers would have spied the QB, attacked the run, and probably still been soft against the pass. With Ryan Tannehill under center, the Buccaneer defense will have to play the pass even more. This is where the defense has had limited success.
What To Do?
Blow that offensive line up! Shaq Barrett, Will Gholston, Carl Nassib, Ndamukong Suh, everybody must win at the point of attack. This Tampa Bay secondary has talent. Most of that talent is still in diapers, but there have been flashes of brilliance.
Buccaneer fans wait anxiously for this team to dominate and win. To do that, they must first stop the run. Keeping Henry in check will be an important goal for the defense this Sunday.
Maybe they can spoil some Titans home cooking before coming home in two weeks to enjoy some of their own.