The Green Bay Packers are rested and ready for some post-bye football and what a welcome back to football they’ll get. The Packers will renew the Battle of the Bays with a trip to Tampa to take on Tom Brady and the Buccaneers.
Tampa Bay is far less common as an opponent than they were in the halcyon days of the NFC Central; the Packers last saw them in 2017. To help us become a little more familiar with the Packers’ next opponent, we turned to Gil Arcia of Bucs Nation for some insight.
Acme Packing Company: Tom Brady was the story of the offseason league-wide and for good reason. You’ve gotten to see him in five games now. What’s your impression so far? Has he been as advertised?
Gil Arcia: Outside of forgetting what down it was on Thursday Night Football, he’s done well. I think the biggest thing is how the players — primarily the receivers — are involved. Jameis Winston used to do a fairly decent job spreading the ball around, but was erratic and careless with the football. Brady has also spread the ball around, but has done it with far more accurate throws. His ball placement for the most part is unlike what we have seen in Tampa Bay, even on deep balls. He makes the offensive line better as well as they are giving up about 1.5 sacks a game so far through five weeks as opposed to nearly three per game in 2019.
APC: The Buccaneers have no shortage of high-caliber pass catchers, but the name Scott Miller jumped out to me. On a team with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski, and a bunch of others, it’s Miller leading the team in yards per catch by a wide margin. What should Packers fans know about Mr. Miller?
GA: He’s a speedster with hands. Miller has become one of Brady’s favorite targets already and many are saying he is what Julian Edelman was for Brady in New England. He seems to still struggle here and there with his route running, but not very often and once he gets past the corner there should be help over the top or Brady will easily look to go deep.
APC: LeSean McCoy and Leonard Fournette are exciting names, but neither is posting terribly impressive stats so far. What’s your assessment of the Buccaneers’ run game?
GA: The run game has been very good primarily because of Ronald Jones II. McCoy and Fournette offer great complementary football spelling Jones where Fournette has been very productive in his role. Arians initially said Fournette would take several weeks for his role to expand due to the playbook, but has stated he has picked it up well thus far. McCoy has been a bit of a disappointment in that he has missed a block a couple times and dropped a couple passes despite being counted on for third down plays.
Stay tuned for part two of our back-and-forth on Saturday, addressing Tampa Bay’s defense.