Tale Of The Tape: Tampa Bay Buccaneers At Atlanta Falcons
- QuarterbackThere’s little doubt that the Bucs are a team that is dealing with a number of controversies, many of which have been caused by head coach Greg Schiano’s combative personality. Mike Glennon is starting at quarterback, and while he may be a better leader than ex-Buc Josh Freeman, he is not the type who can win games with his precise fourth-quarter throws.Matt Ryan nearly led the Falcons to the Super Bowl last year, but the quarterback and his team are struggling badly this year. It will likely get worse with Julio Jones out for the season. Ryan’s strength is his accuracy and his ability to move in the pocket, however those assets are not translating into points and victories this season.
- OffenseThe Bucs would like to get their running attack going with Doug Martin, but he has not been able to give them a consistent burst this season. Vincent Jackson has the size, strength and running ability to be a dominating receiver, but he lacks consistency. Mike Williams is also a decent receiving threat but Kevin Ogletree has been disappointing.The loss of Jones appears to be a devastating blow for the Falcons, but they were 1-4 with him in the lineup. Roddy White has been dealing with injuries all season, and his hamstring is likely to keep him out for this game. Wide receiver Harry Douglas must step up in their absence. The Falcons could get a lift from the return of Steven Jackson, who has been out since Week Two with a hamstring injury of his own.
- DefenseThe Bucs play with speed and aggressiveness and rank 12th in yardage allowed on defense, but a lack of discipline has caused big problems this year. Strong safety Mark Barron has been an asset because of his instincts and tackling ability. Lavonte David may be the most gifted of the team’s linebackers, but he is highly emotional when the game is on the line.The Falcons’ defense has struggled this year due to a lack of strength at the point of attack. They often get pushed around and can’t hold their ground. The pass rush has disappeared and the Falcons are simply awful on third downs. Osi Umenyiora has 4.0 sacks, but the former New York Giant stalwart lacks consistency. Middle linebacker Akeem Dent has 28 tackles and is quite active.
- Special TeamsThe Bucs' special teams play has been ordinary. They don’t have anyone who can provide a big return and there’s simply a lack of explosiveness. Rian Lindell is an ordinary placekicker who is lucky to be employed at the NFL level. Michael Koenen is an average NFL punter.The Falcons are slightly better than average in their coverage teams. Jacquizz Rodgers is a threat as a returner because of his ability to change directions. Matt Bryant is a consistent and dependable placekicker, while Matt Bosher is averaging 47.4 yards per punt.
The Falcons are a team with a myriad of problems and their fans are extremely disappointed. That puts a lot of pressure on head coach Mike Smith and Matt Ryan. They should be able to come up with a win at home against a divisional opponent, but this team has disappointed all season.