The Buccaneers return home a beaten and bruised up football team. Their once promising 2-0 start has come crashing down and they are desperate for a win against the Cleveland Browns, a team that has lost 23 consecutive road games. Can the Bucs get right in a hurry or will this season spin out of control?
All week long we’ve heard about how great a guy Coach Mark Duffner is. How players think of him as a living legend who’s been coaching football for over 40 years. The big question is – can Coach Duff help this defense? Sure, he’ll be using Mike Smith’s game plans, but there were plenty of blitz packages and man coverages that didn’t require a defensive back to line up 20 yds off the ball. Can Duff call the right plays at the right time to help out his green secondary and get some pressure on Baker Mayfield?
We’ll find out.
We all saw Baker Mayfield rally the Browns for their first victory since 2016. They won again a couple weeks later in a defensive battle with the Baltimore Ravens, one of the top teams in the league. They also put 42 points on the board on the road in an overtime loss to Jon Gruden’s Raiders. Mayfield is like all rookies, as many glowing moments are followed by head-scratching mistakes. All part of learning how to be a quarterback in the NFL.
Of course, as Greg Auman pointed out, Tampa Bay is a stunning 1-10 against rookie quarterbacks since 2011 and this defense can make any quarterback look like a Hall of Famer.
Winston is now 10 games under .5oo as a starter (18-28). It’s not been all him, for the four years he’s been in the league he’s been saddled with some of the worst defenses in the NFL. However, he’s second only to Blake Bortles in turnovers over the last few years. This season, he’s already thrown 4 interceptions in 6 quarters of play. Sure, you can write that off to rust, but he has to be better with the football.