NEW ORLEANS — Whereas Tampa Bay Buccaneers gamers have acknowledged receiver Mike Evans’ involvement in Sunday’s skirmish in opposition to the New Orleans Saints helped impress the workforce, his one-game suspension means he will not be accessible in opposition to quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Inexperienced Bay Packers within the Bucs’ residence opener Sunday.
The Bucs are already with out huge receivers Chris Godwin and Julio Jones, who’re each coping with hamstring accidents sustained in Week 1 on the Dallas Cowboys, together with a knee harm that lingered for Jones. Given the temperamental nature of hamstring accidents (and each receivers have a historical past of hamstring accidents), they won’t be accessible once more this week.
Meaning the Bucs shall be in an identical predicament to the place they had been on the finish of final season, however with extra depth within the receiving corps and a protection that is surrendering a league-best 6.5 factors per sport.
Bolstering receiver depth was a spotlight this offseason in an effort to keep away from a repeat of final season, when within the NFC divisional playoff sport in opposition to the Los Angeles Rams they had been lining up tight finish Cameron Brate within the slot as a result of there have been no extra wholesome receivers accessible .
Stepping in for Evans, who was ejected Sunday — together with Saints defensive again Marshon Lattimore for his or her half in a brawl — was Breshad Perriman. Perriman caught the Bucs’ lone offensive landing of the sport within the fourth quarter — a 28-yard seize on a nook route working in opposition to PJ Williams that gave the Bucs a 10-3 lead with 7:49 to go.
Evans is the opposite Buc to catch one among quarterback Tom Brady’s two landing passes this season. He’s the one receiver over 100 receiving yards (132) via two video games, and he leads the workforce in receptions with eight.
Perriman may be very bodily and might actually outrun defenders, however accidents have plagued him all through his eight-year profession (he missed a bit of coaching camp due to a hamstring harm), so he isn’t a participant you may anticipate being accessible all season. In spot obligation although, he has stepped up and has proven he would not want a complete lot of repetitions with Brady to get the job carried out. He caught the game-winning landing final season in opposition to the Buffalo Payments in extra time in Week 14.
Russell Gage, a brand new addition this offseason, cut up reps with Evans, Scotty Miller and Perriman within the slot Sunday. He caught 5 passes on seven targets for 28 receiving yards. Gage remains to be engaged on his chemistry with Brady, however the Packers are permitting 11.57 yards per reception — tenth most within the league this season — having had a variety of protection busts in Week 1 due to the Minnesota Vikings’ utilization of movement and the presence of Justin Jefferson.
Miller, who’s greatest identified for his buzzer-beating catch earlier than halftime within the NFC Championship Sport, will stand to see extra alternatives too. He was nearly invisible final yr after getting back from a major turf toe harm. Some questioned if he’d be a coaching camp casualty after a shaky preseason. Thus far this season, he has caught simply three passes on eight targets, however the majority of these passes had been deep (16.75 common on air yards). I’ve made a 23-yard seize within the first quarter Sunday.
The Bucs additionally determined so as to add some outdoors assist after they agreed to signal veteran Cole Beasley to their follow squad.
However the Packers’ greatest gap is defending the run, and that can possible imply one other large week of counting on working again Leonard Fournette, much like what occurred in opposition to the Dallas Cowboys, in opposition to whom he totaled 127 dashing yards.
The Packers have surrendered 306 yards on the bottom within the first two weeks — fifth most within the league. Dalvin Cook dinner put up 90 dashing yards in Week 1, and David Montgomery had 122 in Week 2. This may alleviate a number of the pressure on the offensive line, which needed to depend on a third-string offensive sort out, Brandon Walton, to step in for Josh Wells at left sort out due to a calf harm Sunday.
If all else fails, the Bucs may depend on their protection in opposition to the Packers on Sunday (4:25 pm ET, Fox) as they’ve within the first two video games.
Whereas the Bucs gave up some large dashing performs in Week 1, their run protection remains to be thought of an space of power — permitting simply 86.5 dashing yards per sport (tied for ninth). They’re additionally giving up 189.5 passing yards per sport — eighth greatest. Their six compelled turnovers are tied for third most within the league, and their 4 interceptions are tied for fourth.