As good as the Buccaneer defense is, the other side of the ball is lacking. Football Outsiders ranks their offense at twentieth in the league with the running attack being slightly worse than the passing game. They are better with Jeff Garcia in at quarterback and he looks to be the starter this weekend after missing last weekend with a calf injury. He is averaging 7.2 yards per catch and has tossed 10 TD's against just three picks. He was limited in practice yesterday, he might be just a little rusty coming back. If for some reason he can't go; Brian Griese is the backup and he has thrown a flurry of ints this season.
|2008 - Jeff Garcia||10||94.4||206||309||66.7||2223||222.3||7.2||10||3||26||93||9.3||3.6||0||20||97|
Their running attack is spearheaded by the venerable Warrick Dunn who has 10,000 career rushing yards, 729 yards and 4.2 yards per carry average this year. He is part of a tandem with Earnest Graham and between the two of them they have galloped for almost 1300 yards; but Graham is now out for the season on injured reserve. He want down just after releasing Michael Bennett who the Bolts picked up off waivers. Tampa also has 'Cadillac' Williams in their stable; but he is coming off a knee injury, look for him in goal line situations.
|2008 - Warrick Dunn||13||167||729||56.1||4.4||40||2||41||307||23.6||7.5||36||0|
Through the air the Bucs deep threat is Antonio Bryant with 74 catches for 1044 yards and 6 TDs. They are something of a one trick pony; the next leading receiver is Ike Hilliard with just 380 yards. I would expect Jammer to be put against Bryant with a lot of help from the safety over the top; Bryant has been scorching hot lately. The tight end Alex Smith has 250 yards; but we make a number of average tight ends look like all pros.
One factor that may help defensive scheming is our pickup of Michael Bennett who was with the Bucs for a year and a half; even if he doesn't see the field he should be able to give the Bolts the complete overview of Tampa's offensive scheme. I'm sure they may have added some wrinkles since he left; but you can't just throw out the whole play book.
This is an offensive line that has given up a fair number of sacks. They have given up 29 sacks on the year; hopefully S. Phillips or J. Tucker will be able to put heat on Garcia who is probably going to be just a bit hampered still. Overall these are both teams fighting for their playoff aspirations; it has the makings of a terrific game. The Chargers are 3 point underdogs here and the Broncos are seven point favorites; it will take a lot of improbable events to make the final game in Jack Murphy meaningful; but this has been an improbable season.