Facing the NFL’s No. 1 defense in points and yards is never easy, but the Bucs will do it last Sunday. 49ers without their best offensive tackle, and when their other tackles struggled with sacks and penalties.
Tristan Wirfsan All-Pro and Pro Bowl pick in his second season only last year, will miss the second game in a row because of an ankle injury, redundancy Josh Wells into obligation. On the left, Bucs has Donovan Smithwho leads all of the NFL’s offensive players with 75-yard penalties.
In any given moment, one of them will likely be tasked with stopping the 49ers’ passer-by Nick Bosa, the current NFC Defensive Player of the Week, who leads the NFL with 14.5 throws and can challenge the league’s one-season record of 22.5. protect midfielder brave cat aged 45 is the priority and Bosa has been eliminated without a condom just once in the whole 2022 season.
“He’s a great player,” the Bucs offensive coordinator, Byron Leftwich, said on Thursday. “Strong, motivated, physical, really good footballer. It will be a difficult task but we are happy to have the opportunity to play against a team like this.”
It is likely that the Bucs will be pardoned against Bosa, as he missed training on Wednesday and Thursday because of a hamstring injury. No other 49ers player has had more than four caps this season, so that should make life for two on Sunday significantly easier.
Smith nearly lost the Bucs win on Monday night, as they bounced back from a 16-3 deficit in the middle of the fourth quarter. Brady seems to have thrown a touchdown pass for Chris Godwin 15 seconds left, but Smith was flagged for holding, taking St passer Marcus Davenport when he chased Brady. The Bucs overcame the penalty and won with three seconds left, but coach Todd Bowles said Smith understood the need to play more consistently.
“That’s a concern,” Bowles said. “He knows he didn’t play his best game. We know he didn’t play his best game. He will recover after that. He understands that. We expect much. more from him and he expects more from himself.”
A week earlier, Smith had struggled in a recent game in Cleveland that saw Brown’s rally force stoppage time and then win there. Smith made a false start in third place in the fourth quarter, leading to a tough game and gave up a sack to Myles Garrett at the end of the fourth quarter, setting up a ball game and grounding momentum bound for the Browns. In stoppage time, he nullified the first throw-in in Browns territory with a penalty for illegal handing as he attempted to tackle Garrett.
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Scores are subjective in nature, but according to analysis by Pro Football Focus, Smith is having the worst season of his nine-year NFL career. A year ago, he was ranked 14th out of 83 qualified tackles, in the top 20% of his position, but this year he is ranked 70th out of 77 tackles. He has not taken a penalty in the first six games of this season, but has conceded nine since Week 7 – no other Bucs player has had more than four all season.
“It’s been tough going up against some of the tough guys in this tournament,” Leftwich said. “He (wasn’t) the only one getting calls in that position. That’s just part of it. But we try to train it and try to improve it… You just have to talk. with him a lot about technique.” Hey, let’s make sure we’re using the right technique and make sure we’re aware of what’s going on and how we’re being beaten.”
Wells, 31, has been here – this is his 13th start in four seasons at Tampa and his 10th in the past two seasons, replacing both Wirfs and Smith when needed. Under those circumstances, Bucs coaches were pleased with how he played consistently in Monday’s win over the Saints.
Bowles said: “He fought… he got in the way sometimes. “Technically he wasn’t always basically right, but I think he played a tough game, he played a smart match and he played a solid match. “Sometimes he holds them back just enough for us to make some plays. I’m very pleased with the way he plays.”
Thanks in part to Brady’s incredibly quick ball removal, the Bucs have given up the lowest rate of layoffs in the NFL this season, with just 3.4% of their dropouts, up slightly from 3.2%. best league last year.
Bosa has never faced Brady before – he made his NFL debut against the Bucs in 2019 and got his first career layoff in Tampa on knockdown James Winston. Brady joked with him on social media, asking him to “have a nice Sunday” in an Instagram comment this week.
“It’s exciting. It’s going to be a tough game,” Bosa said on the pitch after last week’s win dolphin. “Obviously, he’s the best ever, so we’ll get back to work after we enjoy this a little bit.”
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Greg Auman is the NFC South correspondent for FOX Sports, covering the Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers and Saints. He’s in his 10th season joining full-time for the Bucs and NFL, having spent time with the Tampa Bay Times and The Athletic. You can follow him on Twitter at @gregauman.
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