This is our second installment in our 4 part series, Better know your Enemy. We are now focusing on our second victim of the season hailing from the Confederate NFC South.
We currently are focused on the Scurvy Pirates of Tampon Bay. Reasons to hate them include vicious Alligator populations, flying cockroaches, previous Spanish ownership, illegal immigration, Cubans, Child Molesters, and it just smells
This game unfortunately (stupid NFL) takes place exactly one week after ITLAPD: International Talk Like a Pirate DayBeing a pirate was once a legendary profession. One that carried fear and respect. Likewise The Tampon Bay Buccaneers were also once a team to be reckoned with. They also were home port to our dastardly coach Tomlin. And when he was a deckmate on that salty shore, he aided them to a SuperBowl victory against the Raiders, forever known as the SuperPirateBowl.
Now however, like modern day pirates who buzz around in row-boats and tiny ass tin cans that float in Somalia, the modern day Buccaneers are equally bombed out and depleted. They are in the "perpetual rebuild" stage right now. Their recent draft picks haven't quite panned out as they expected. And their defense has aged and fallen by the wayside.
However, this should not mean we simply skip part 2 of our series, we must remember our Steelers failings with seemingly fecal teams. We are probably the best in the league at playing down to our opponents. Like Super Nanny getting at eye level, we effectively lower ourselves to even the most miniscule of opposition. See the Browns/Raiders/Chiefs games last year.
Our primary failing in those games was special teams and late game defense. Our ST should be improved as it did seem to improve toward the end of the season last year. And the defense is simply a completely different thing without Polamalu. You all probably saw my breakdown on Pola's effect on the 4 minute or less defense, the results were staggering.
In addition this game is played in Tampon Bay so we have to be mindful of that.
So hopefully those big failings will be things of the past. Let us now have a look at what the Bucs bring to the table.
On offense, the Bucs seem to think they have their QB in Josh Freeman. However he has little to throw to outside of Kellen Winslow, who did legitimately have a solid season in this tiddlywink offense. Have one peek at their WR lineup and there isnt a single person that William Gay can't cover. That is saying something.
Their ground game has potential but lacks consistency. Carnel "Cadillac" Williams so far is more of a Ford, sometimes it works just like it should but it breaks down a hell of a lot. And it somehow isnt quite what you thought it would be. Derrick Ward, who benefited greatly in the NYG 3-back system was brought over, and hasn't produced a whole lot. Essentially, our defense should have nothing to worry about against this team.
On defense, the bucs one strength is in their secondary. It is starting to improve and recently drafted Aqib Talib (who is clearly a terrorist) and Tanard Jackson have grown into their own. Each amassed 5 picks on the year, and Tanard took two to the house, showing his ability to be quite opportunistic. In total 7 players registered picks, and this helped Tampon Bay make big plays to keep them in some games. So dont count them out until you put them away.
However this is their only strength. Ranking 10th in Pass Defense is all well and good. But if people dont need to pass, it doesnt matter. TB allowed nearly 160 yards of rushing attack, putting them at 32nd of 32 teams on the rushing defense list.
So hopefully our offense can receive a serious helping hand from the run game. Because once again were without our Admiral Roethlisberger in this swarthy seadog's swimming pool. We need to push the run game as much as possible. This could be a very big game for
Redman Mendenhall. If not, we have to look to Dixon or Leftwich to pass into what can be a formidable defense. And I dont really want to see that quite frankly. This pass defense doesnt rely in major pressure, it relies on solid coverage forcing you to make tight throws where the slightest errors result in INTs.
This game will be a simple one if we simply run the ball and control the clock. I feel we need to, as always, crank up the pressure on a newbie QB, but we should primarily focus on keeping our offense steady and on track. Doing so will lead to a sure win.
Failing to beat teams in the NFC South is basically endorsing slavery, illegal immigration, the gulf oil spill, teenage pregnancy, abstinence education, and obesity. Its not just football, its our duty. I hate the NFC South and it stanks!