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Buccaneers vs. Browns: Getting to Know the Enemy With Bucs Nation

Sander Philipse from Bucs Nation exchanged five questions with us, discussing the Buccaneers' running back situation this week, how poorly the offensive line has played, the future of QB Mike Glennon, and more.

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

This Sunday, the Cleveland Browns take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. To help preview this week's game, I reached out to Sander Philipse from Bucs Nation and exchanged five questions with him. Enjoy!


Chris: "With Doug Martin being in a walking boot on Wednesday, I'm guessing he's not going to play this week. Would Bobby Rainey get the start in his place, or is there another running back waiting in the wings? Do fans even want Martin on the Bucs anymore (we went through a running back's demise too with Trent Richardson)."

Sander: "Whether Bobby Rainey starts depends on how ready to play Charles Sims is. You haven't heard his name this season because he's been on injured reserve-designated for return, since the start of the year. But he was the Bucs' third-round pick and the coaching staff is really high on him. Matt Forte comparisons have been made, and while he's probably not as good, he does have a similar running style -- one that may actually fit the team's zone blocking scheme better.

As for the fans' feelings on Martin: everyone seemed to be happy when trade rumors started surfacing, so that probably tells you all you need to know there."

Chris: "How bad is the Buccaneers' offensive line situation? Please tell me that Oniel Cousins or Garrett Gilkey are getting extended playing time -- they are both former Browns and we know what type of performances they turn in on gameday."

Sander: "Hah, it's a total disaster, but not because of Oniel Cousins -- he hasn't seen the field in the regular season, even though he's active every game. Garrett Gilkey has seen some snaps, mostly splitting time with Patrick Omameh at right guard. Yes, splitting time -- they've been platooning Gilkey for no discernible reason. He only got four snaps last game and managed two holding penalties on those four snaps, though, so there's a solid chance his playing time will be eliminated going forward.

But that won't solve the team's problems. Anthony Collins has been a disappointment at left tackle, and he was a complete disaster against Everson Griffen last game. Logan Mankins looks nothing like the Pro Bowler he used to be. Evan Dietrich-Smith has been replacement level at center. The only player who's played reasonably is right tackle Demar Dotson -- ironically the only holdover starter from last season.

At its core, the line just doesn't have enough talent."

Chris: "For the past two seasons now, I've felt that the Buccaneers have underachieved way more than any team in the NFL. I thought a coaching change this offseason would help, but apparantly it hasn't. Is Lovie Smith's job viewed as being secure, or could he be one-and-done?"

Sander: "There's no chance the Glazers fire Lovie Smith after one season. Not after giving him a five-year contract, overhauling the roster, and praising him the way they've done. They've never fired someone that quickly, and I wouldn't expect them to start now.

That's not to say that everyone's job is safe, though. Some heads are likely to roll after this season, whether it be Leslie Frazier's as defensive coordinator, or Marcus Arroyo's as de facto offensive coordinator. I doubt you'll see the same coaching staff from top to bottom in 2015, but Lovie Smith will return."

Chris: "The Browns have undergone a recent shuffling on their offensive line with the loss of center Alex Mack. How would you rate the Buccaneers' defensive line this season? Is it a weakness or a strength?"

Sander: "Overall the line has probably been a weakness, but it's also been inconsistent, in part due to injuries. Gerald McCoy is about as dominant a defensive tackle as there is, and Clinton McDonald is a very solid nose tackle, too. And even in run defense the Bucs' line has been fine. However, there has not been enough pressure from the defensive end spots. Michael Johnson has been a bit of a disappointment, although injuries have hampered his production, while William Gholston has been starting opposite him -- a second-year fourth-round pick who's better against the run than against the pass. One player to keep an eye on is Jacquies Smith, who flashed a couple of times as a pass rush specialist the last couple of weeks."

Chris: "How do Buccaneers fans feel about the team's quarterback situation right now? Is Mike Glennon viewed as the future, or is everyone banking on drafting a quarterback in 2015?"

Sander: "This is not an easy question to answer, because the Bucs fanbase is divided. There are people who think Mike Glennon will be fine, as long as his supporting cast is better. Others think the Bucs need a franchise quarterback -- and all of that will depend on which players are available when the team is on the clock next year. Who knows at this point?

I will say that the past few games have not been good for Glennon's fanbase. He effectively has nine more games to convince the fans he's the future -- although the people he really has to convince are inside One Buc Place, of course."


Thanks again to Sander for taking the time to answer my questions.