Acme Packing Company was able to ask Gil Arcia of our sister site Bucs Nation five questions about the upcoming Green Bay Packers-Tampa Bay Buccaneers matchup.
Acme Packing Company: The Buccaneers have had quite the wave of injuries to start the season. What’s been the most noteworthy injury, and how have the Buccaneers handled them so far?
Gil Arcia: I don’t think it’s been one particular one, per se, but rather as a whole. The injuries across the offensive line have been unbelievable. From center Ryan Jensen, to guard Aaron Stinnie, left tackle Donovan Smith, and versatile lineman Josh Wells it has honestly been trying times for the Bucs offense and perhaps part of the issue with their offense. Surprisingly, however, quarterback Tom Brady has managed to still have time in the pocket and there have been holes for running back Leonard Fournette to run through. That I think is a credit to both offensive coordinator calling the right plays and Brady making the right line calls.
Their wide receiver depth will now face challenges as well as they’re becoming not-so deep due to injuries. Julio Jones, Chris Godwin, Russell Gage, Breshad Perriman, and Scotty Miller are all battling injuries. So it’ll be interesting to see who plays this weekend and who will be out — and for how long.
APC: What’s going well for the Buccaneers on offense so far? Have things seemed markedly different than they were with Bruce Arians at the helm?
GA: Well, considering the scoring hasn’t been there for reasons previously stated, the offense has actually shown more variety on the field. The Buccaneers have always had a variety of plays, we are just seeing those plays called more. Brady seems to no longer be looking 15-plus yards downfield consistently and seems to be scanning more in all ranges of the field. Bruce Arians had the offense in offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich’s hands, but this year it feels a bit different. Play selection seems better and certain looks appear to be working well within the 20s. The red zone has been another story.
APC: There is no shortage of noteworthy names on the Buccaneers’ defense, but who’s someone Packers fans might not know about that we should be watching?
GA: He may be a bit more ‘known’ this season than last because he’s starting, but I have to say Joe Tryon-Shoyinka. The second-year pass rusher has consistently been in the backfield with his speed and moves he’s put on offensive tackles. If there is one guy to watch, I would definitely watch him. The kid is fun to follow around on the field.
APC: If you were going to slow the Buccaneers’ offense, how would you do it? How would you attack their defense?
GA: Tampa Bay’s offensive line is brittle, for lack of a better time. If I’m the Packers I would blitz and blitz often. Although Tampa Bay’s protection has been decent, with the injuries and inexperience along their line Green Bay should look at causing as much confusion to get to Brady and also clog up any potential running lanes.
As for attacking the defense, the Buccaneers haven’t given up many big plays, especially through the air. However, against the Saints, New Orleans had some success running the ball. With Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon, I would give the Bucs front a heavy dose of both of them and wear them down consistently.
GA: I picked against them last week, and that was against a bad New Orleans offense. This week we’re talking about an Aaron Rodgers-led Green Bay team with a very good backfield going against a very good Buccaneers defense. But because of all the injuries Tampa Bay is experiencing throughout the offense, I am not sure if it’ll be enough for the Bucs to pull out a victory. I’ll take the Packers, 20-16.