Buc Up!….with Rob Kriete – AUGUST 29

-It is time to “Buc Up” and get ready for what will be a unique and undoubtedly unpredictable NFL season. ItsSportsMagazine.com will bring you this no-huddle-column on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers every Saturday throughout their 2020 season. Welcome! I hope you check in each week as a review of the previous week’s contest as well as a preview of this weeks tilt.

-Tom Brady led a 16-play, 98-yard touchdown drive on his first “possession” as the new Bucs quarterback with NFL teams forgoing pre-season games and scrimmaging against their own team. I will credit a savvy, Hall-of-Famer than express concern for what I expect will be a top-ten, nah, let’s say top-fifteen, NFL defense in 2020.

-Coach Arians was impressed as well, stating, “I thought Tom was very, very efficient. Good job of leadership – I think when you get the first long drive of the year, guys start dragging. He got their [butts] in the huddle and got them rolling and keeping under the 25 second and 40-second clock pretty good – we weren’t close at all. He was commanding that pretty good, and overall, I thought he had a hell of a day. Overall, I was pretty pleased. I think that [opening] drive and a couple other drives showed that we’re not quite in game shape coming out of it. The field was very soft and mushy – we’re used to a hard, fast surface over here on the practice [field], so it was a little different feel, too.”

-The Bucs gave up 449 points in 2019 to finish as the 29th best defense in the league. Coach Bowles’ defense encountered some growing pains last season that seemingly got stronger as the season progressed. With a defined pass-rush and a stronger secondary, the Bucs will be a legitimate contender if they can create a top-15 defense in 2020.

-Even though the Bucs defense gave up many points in 2019, they only allowed 73.8 rushing yards per game last season!

Lavonte David had an incredible impact on this unbelievable stat.

-Tom Brady seems as comfortable in Tampa Bay as a blanket and a sofa on a rainy weekend. Having the privilege of being a part of the Bucs press conferences, I find Tom appreciative and supportive of his teammates, collaborative with his coaches, and, most importantly, hungry for more NFL success. Bucs fans should be comfortable hearing this.

-The Saints hold a 36 – 20 record against the Bucs going into the 2020 season.

-Competing against a veteran quarterback like Brees, Tom Brady said, “I love getting on the field against anybody. I love the sport of football and competing. Whoever it was on the other side of the field, I’d be excited to play. Obviously, when you go against great players like Drew, and a great team like that, you know there’s not a lot of margin of error. That’s the biggest difference. Sometimes you go up against lesser experienced players – at certainly the quarterback position – maybe some defenses or some teams aren’t as well-rounded as others. But, the Saints are not one of those teams. They have a great quarterback, a great offense, incredible skill players, great continuity in their organization. Defense, they rush the passer, good in the secondary, great at linebacker – they’ve got everything. There’s not going to be any margin of error, which is why they’re tough to beat [and] why they’re always in the playoffs, always competing for Super Bowls. I have a lot of respect for them, their program and how they run it. It’s going to be a tough game, but we’ll be excited to take the field when we do in a couple of weeks.”

-Prediction of the Week: I will make a weekly prediction of the Bucs score here once the season begins. As for now, I predict an undefeated pre-season for the Bucs and swampy, “Dagobah-like” weather for all of us in Tampa.

-All photos in my article were provided by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Be safe, everyone.