The challenge for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week is the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. Who would have thought that going into Week 2 the Buccaneers would be the team with the winning record instead of the Giants? The Giants are a completely different animal than the Carolina Panthers, but Tampa Bay head coach Greg Schiano faces every team the same way — as its own season.
The Bucs offensive coordinator, Mike Sullivan, previously served both as the Giants quarterback coach and wide receivers coach. The Bucs also have Bill Sheridan as their defensive coordinator, who was also with the Giants up until 2009 as a defensive coordinator. Neither team will be predictable, but coach Schiano does feel that having Sullivan will help some.
“We are doing lots of things they are doing,” said Schiano, but “we are going to do what we do.”
Another familiar face for the Giants is running back D.J. Ware. He played four seasons with the Giants, winning two Super Bowls with them before getting released at the end of August. Now with the Bucs, he will be used mostly on third downs, which is what he did in Week One. Schiano said he is getting more acclimated. Ware has something to prove, and that’s that he can still help a team win.
The Bucs and Giants are used to brothers facing off against each other. The Barber twins, Bucs defensive back Ronde and Giants running back Tiki, did it six times while Tiki was in the league. Now, the Bucs have devesive end Michael Bennett and the Giants have tight end Martellus Bennett. This is not the first time the two have faced off. Last year, when Martellus was a part of the Dallas Cowboys, he visited Raymond James Stadium as his team took the win. They have a friendly wager going on, and the brother on the losing team must take the winning brother and his family on vacation.
This week, the Bucs have to look out for two main threats: quarterback Eli Manning and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. Sheridan said, “Eli gets them out of bad plays and into good plays.” The Bucs must find a way to stop Manning, but defending the run is the first priority. The Giants have a great run game and the Bucs know they will use it. The trick is to get in a favorable second and third down to stop them.
Jason Pierre-Paul is “one of the most dominate players in the NFL,” Schiano said. “He can cause lots of problems and the team must know where he is and have a plan against him.”
LeGarrette Blount did not practice Wednesday. He took a hard hit in the game against the Panthers, but was cleared to play for Week Two. He does not have a concussion, but Schiano said that something just didn’t seem right, so they took Blount for an MRI of his neck and back He was diagnosed with a “stinger,” but he’s fine and will be available to practice Thursday. Cornerbacks Anthony Gaitor and E.J. Biggers also returned to action Wednesday.
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Kyra Hallett is a freelance writer and a Multimedia Sports Journalist. She has experience covering Tampa Bay sports in many outlets including Examiner.com. Her dream job would be to work with the athletes and their fans. You can view some of her work at KyraHallett.com or here at Examiner.com.