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NFC Championship Q&A: Who’s standing out on the Buccaneers’ offense?

Tom Brady headlines Tampa Bay’s offense, but there’s more to the story than that.

NFL: DEC 21 Packers at Buccaneers Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Packers’ 38-10 loss in Week 6 is by many measures the low point of their 2020 season. But if you parse the box score and take a close look at how those 38 points came to be, you’ll see the Packers didn’t really make the Buccaneers do all that much work to build that lead. So things should go better this time around, right? Right?

Maybe, and maybe not. The Buccaneers have spent most of the season gradually but steadily improving on offense, and they present a real challenge to a Packers defense that, though it has improved, is still a liability at times.

So other than Tom Brady, what should the Packers be watching for? We turned to Bucs Nation’s Gil Arcia for insight.

Acme Packing Company: From an outside perspective, the Buccaneers’ offense seems more Tom Brady than Bruce Arians right now. Is that the case? And, if so, how has that transition shaped the Buccaneers’ season?

Gil Arcia: I think it’s a mix of both. Offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich is still calling the plays, and Brady has complete trust in them. Now there have been times where Brady has checked out of the initial play but that is something we know a (good) quarterback does if he doesn’t like something at the line. However, with that being said, Arians and Leftwich have obviously given way to Brady’s input. I’d say it’s a healthy mix of both sides feeding off each other and it has worked.

APC: As of this writing, Mike Evans, Antonio Brown, Ronald Jones, and Chris Godwin are all dealing with injuries and have been varying degrees of limited in practice so far. Even assuming some or all of them play, what version of these players should we expect to be getting?

GA: I don’t pay attention to injury reports to be honest unless there was a major injury that is worth monitoring. The two of big concern here are Jones and Brown. Jones hasn’t been close to 100-percent and after going into the game last week in New Orleans he pulled up at the end of a big run a little weird so his progression through this week was one I was watching. Same for Brown. Even though his MRI returned no structural damage, I’m not sure what to expect out of him as head coach Bruce Arians stated he’ll be a game-time decision. Evans and Godwin will be fine, although Evans may not be 100-percent but close. I think the Bucs will take the same approach with their backfield this week as they did last week which is to start Leonard Fournette (who has played exceptionally well) and limit Jones.

APC: Week 6 is a long time ago. Have any noteworthy players emerged on the Buccaneers’ offense that we should be aware of?

GA: Brown, without a doubt. He wasn’t brought in until Week 9 of the regular season and started getting acclimated with the offense in the final quarter of the season finishing with four touchdowns receptions in the final three regular-season games and also caught a touchdown pass against Washington in the Wild Card round. If he plays, he adds a nice element to Arians’ offense.

Stay tuned for part two on the Buccaneers’ offense later on today.