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Catching up with the enemy – Five Questions with Buccaneers Gab Editor Chris Bach

1. How surprised are you at the way the Bucs have played to open the 2010 season?

Not surprising at all. They were competitive down the stretch last year and wound up playing a weak, rebuilding team and a Panthers team that is also rebuilding (only allowing Matt Moore three receivers to throw to last week).

2. What is the biggest improvement for the Bucs heading into 2010 over last season?

The defense was playing quite well down the stretch, so the biggest improvements would be the development Josh Freeman and the addition of a playmaker in Mike Williams. Williams is a player who brings some of the speed and physicality you see in the Bucs secondary and his impact goes beyond his own statline. He’s the first true threat they’ve had in awhile and his downfield presence opens things up for others.

3. What do you like about QB Josh Freeman and what he brings to the table?

Freeman’s seeing the field pretty well and threw a lot more crisply against the Panthers than he did week 1. He is also a scrambling threat with 6 rushes for 77 yards.

4. In your mind is the Bucs biggest concern heading into this game against the Steelers?

The biggest concern is the offensive line play in general. This Steelers defense has so annihilated both the top shelf rushing attacks they faced, that if running is a concern early, it won’t be for most of the game if they toss it out like other teams have to. I’m sure the Bucs are preparing as if they may have to do that. The Bucs need to keep Freeman upright and, to do that, they may need pinpoint throws to make the completions necessary to back the hounds off. Unless the Bucs can put together back-to-back touchdown drives, I don’t think the blitzing will stop all game. The second concern would be that they are starting a rookie at free safety, Cody Grimm, for the first time.

5. Final score prediction and why

Steelers 17, Buccaneers 14. The Steelers will have a road field advantage as their fans will be loud and present, but the only factor that will matter in this game is how Greg Olson and Josh Freeman try to attack the Steelers defense. Steelers fans can’t expect to win this one with their offense as Batch hasn’t had much action in awhile and the Barber/Talib/Biggers combo has 7 passes defense and 4 INTs despite Aqib missing week 1. The Steelers won’t get seven turnovers on the Bucs but I think they will help Batch out by shortening the Bucs drives, thus giving them a gassed defense to face. Tampa will make a few big plays on both sides but won’t beat the Steelers.

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.



  1. The Tony

    September 24, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    The Steelers are not going to let the Bucs score two touchdowns. With the exception of the prevent touchdown we let off late to the Titans, our Defense would have posted two straight games without a touchdown. The fact that our defense shut down the impressive running attacks of both Atlanta and Tennessee, makes me feel that there is no chance of Tampa scoring two touchdowns. Especially if we blitz ruthlessly against Freeman.

  2. George H

    September 24, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    The defense has looked tremendous so far, the blitz has been relentless. A huge reason why the blitz has been so effective is because the secondary has looked great thus far. McFadden has been a huge addition to take pressure of Ike and help solidify the defensive backfield. Of course having Troy back doesn’t hurt either.

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