- The Bucs Defense faces another young quarterback- It didn’t feel like the Bucs had much of an advantage over young Sam Bradford when he threw his second touchdown to put the St. Louis Rams up 17-3 in the second quarter. Then the Bucs seemingly caught their breath, realized that they were better than the Rams and stormed back for a dramatic victory. The defense only got to Bradford once, but they held serve in the scoring column long enough for the cavalry (Josh Freeman) to come. Arizona Cardinals quarterback Max Hall has been cleared to play today and will present another opportunity to completely confuse a young quarterback. They just have to get to him. The Cardinals running game isn’t particularly strong, so there is an opportunity to make them one dimensional, which could bode well for the Bucs defense.
- Larry Fitzgerald vs. Aqib Talib- Much of the Bucs success will also depend on their ability to manage this match-up. I say manage because I don’t think Talib can hang with Fitzgerald, few cornerbacks can. Now, obviously, it’s not Dance Star Kurt Warner throwing it to Fitzgerald, but Hall has shown an ability to get the ball down the field. Talib and the rest of the secondary needs to find a way to minimize the number of 7-15 yard catches they give up. Anything shorter? The Bucs can live with that.
- The maturation of LaGarette Blount- Much has been made of Blount’s 6.5 yard per carry average against the Rams, but it’s not a breakout performance. Show me a consistent pattern of those types of performances. Show me an ability to consistently pass block and I will believe. By the way, I totally believe he will get there and change the dynamic of this offense, but it’s going to be a building process.
- Can the Bucs make it five in a row on the road?- Only once have the Bucs won five road games in a row. Two of those wins were earned by the Bucs 2002 Super Bowl team. The Bucs are very confident that they have the formula for winning these games. However, today’s game will present a greater challenge than the victories over the Carolina Panthers and the Cincinnati Bengals. But like many things, if you feel that you are good enough to do something, you are. The Bucs believe they are a great road team.
- Can the Bucs ride the momentum?- We say this after every victory. But can they? Can they capitalize off of a dramatic win? Can the defense continue to pitch a shutout, as they did down the stretch against the Rams? Can Freeman continue to move the ball as he did at the end of the game last week? The challenge is greater but fully within the Bucs’ grasp.