This Sunday, the Cleveland Browns take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. To help preview a few topics from the Buccaneers’ perspective, we reached out to Gil Arcia from Bucs Nation and exchanged five questions with him. Enjoy!
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Browns are 3.5-point underdogs against the Buccaneers.
Chris: “The Buccaneers offense has seemed very mediocre this year, but I feel like Tom Brady hasn’t played bad per se. What is your assessment of their offense?”
Gil: “Well, the odd thing about it it is that Brady should be included as being part of the problem offensively this season. He was off the mark on a lot of throws, his interceptions total should have at least five extra picks if defenders could catch, and where he was going with the football consistently was to short routes or even throws behind the line of scrimmage. Pro Football Focus really broke it down several weeks ago where they charted Brady’s throws revealing that he was second in the league in most throws that were off-target. Also, he was near the top of the league for the most throws short of the first down marker. This was night and day different compared to last year where Brady was third in the league for most throws beyond the sticks. Some of that was detailed here.
While Brady was playing bad, it wasn’t all necessarily him. The offensive line has struggled due to injuries and poor play. The running game has not been able to get off the ground as Leonard Fournette just doesn’t appear to be the same guy as just a season ago. To add to that there have been a couple key drops by receivers in key situations. It has undoubtedly been a collection of problems with Brady included. However, since that all was brought to light, the Buccaneers have won back-to-back games as Brady has looked downfield more and the running game has actually performed better with their last matchup against the Seahawks being the best thus far behind the legs of rookie running back Rachaad White. We’ll just have to see if they keep that going or if the last two games were just an anomaly.”
Chris: “What has been the weakest part of the Buccaneers’ defense in 2022?”
Gil: “This can be the same about any other team in the league, but I’d say it was their secondary with an asterisk next to it. Reason being is that the secondary has dealt with injuries throughout the 2022 season. It was only Weeks 1 and 2 where opposing quarterbacks couldn’t do anything against Tampa Bay’s defense because their secondary was stout. Just last week against Seattle we saw the defense that was dominating in the beginning of the year. A healthy secondary with Carlton Davis and Antoine Winfield, Jr. provided the spark needed in the defensive backfield for their front seven to smother quarterback Geno Smith. That should continue moving forward if they can remain healthy.”
Chris: “Tampa Bay drafted DT Logan Hall with the 33rd overall pick this year, but he hasn’t seemed to play too much. What has been up with him?”
Gil: “What has played against Hall this season is the depth the Buccaneers have along the defensive line. He has shown some flashes of what he can provide the defense, but at the same time has shown often that he is a rookie. He has been pushed off the ball frequently while also showing how he can get into a backfield other times, just not enough. Factor in the reality that he has just been rotating in at a low frequency because of their depth doesn’t help. There is a possibility for more playing time as he has gotten his feet wet, per se. But the truth is that the Buccaneers don’t really need him to be a savior right now due to everyone playing well up front.”
Chris: “Tell us about one player who Browns fans may not have heard of, but who could have an impact on this Sunday’s game.”
Gil: “I’ll beat this drum for the second week in a row. Rookie running back Rachaad White should see increased playing time following his performance before the bye week so he should definitely have an impact in Sunday’s game. He was already immediately viewed as a trusted back on third downs to help in pass protection and had slowly shown his potential touching the ball before they finally featured him a bit more against Seattle. I’d keep a close eye on him because if he is back to getting more touches, he can possibly have a similar performance to that of what he had in Germany.”
Chris: “The Browns are +3.5 as of this question, per DraftKings Sportsbook, with the Bucs favored to win. Who would you pick against the spread?”
Gil: “If I was asked this three weeks ago, I’d pick against the Bucs like I was with the other SB Nation sites because of the fact the offense just wasn’t proving they can do much of anything. However, with their last two games they appear to have gotten things trending upwards. So with that said, I see Tampa Bay covering this week.”
Thanks again to Gil for taking the time to answer my questions.