By Kyra Hallett
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are facing off against their division rivals, the New Orleans Saints, Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. While Saints have only won one game this season and their defense is ranked 27th in the league, they will be coming off their bye week with one of the highest scoring offenses in the league. The key will be to try and hinder quarterback Drew Brees.
“You’re not going to stop Drew Brees, but you need to do what you can do to slow him down, and they’re a lot of ways to do that,” said head coach Greg Schiano. “They’re good everywhere on offense.”
This will be a challenge for the Bucs’ defense. Last week “we played better in the secondary,” said Schiano. “So far, we have played some good red zone defense,” and they will need to continue to do that against the Saints. If you can prevent Brees from throwing touchdowns, it makes it easier to beat them. Schiano said, we “have to play run defense.”
One player that has been impressive the last two games is cornerback E.J. Biggers. “I think he’s played well. He’s gotten his hands on the ball, he’s denied his man receptions, I’m pleased so far. I don’t think he is 100 percent yet, I think he’s still going to get better,” said coach.
One player that could be coming back soon is defensive end Da’Quan Bowers. Wednesday was his first day of practice since injuring his right Achilles tendon while working out in the offseason in May. On Wednesday, Bowers “did some stuff,” said Schiano. “He looked pretty good.” But don’t except to see him this week versus the Saints. They are going to work with Bowers nice and slow, “ease into it,” according to coach. “It is a medical decision” when he can come back said Schiano. “Right now I wanna see if he can come back…I hope he can come back and help us.”
The Bucs will have to continue with the success they had on offense against the Kansas City Chiefs. Quarterback Josh Freeman had his first 300-plus yard game against the Chiefs and this week he needs to “just let it flow and let him see the target and let it go,” said offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan. “He’s at his best when he is in the zone.”
“Every possession is always critical but when you have a premiere player, great offense on the other sideline, we have to make everyone of them count. It starts with ball security,” said Sullivan.
Jamon Meredith played right guard against the Chiefs and he will be there again for the Saints game. “He wasn’t perfect but he definitely maintains the starting job. He played well enough,” said Schiano.
Guard Carl Nicks will be ready to show his old team, the Saints, that he is having a great season with the Bucs. “He’s had an enormous impact on our offense,” said Sullivan. I’m “really happy he’s here.”
Sunday will be the Bucs throwback game and everyone will be decked out in the creamsicle orange. “It’ll be fun to wear them,” said Schiano.
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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.