By Tom Krasniqi
The Bucs defensive players see the impact by just turning on the film. The splash plays are there from the Bills offense. And they have speed everywhere.
“Very fast, very fast,” Bucs linebacker LaVonte David said after Thursday’s practice when it comes to evaluating Buffalo’s offense. “They have some great backs that mix it up. Fred Jackson is a downhill runner—a power guy who can also break it outside. C.J. Spiller is a speed guy who could break it anytime he touches the ball.”
The Bills’ running back tandem of Jackson and Spiller have combined for nearly 1,300 yards rushing and nine rushing touchdowns. Spiller averaged nearly 10 yards per carry last week in the overtime loss to the Falcons.
Florida State product E.J. Manuel is back healthy and starting at quarterback. The Bucs know the rookie has the size and athleticism to be a very good signal caller for years to come. In 8 games this season, Manuel has thrown 9 touchdown passes against just four picks in 249 pass attempts.
“He’s mature beyond [his years],” defensive end Da’Quan Bowers said on Thursday. “I think he’ll be a great quarterback in this league. He’s one of those guys that you’ll look at and say—wow—He has the ability to do a lot of special things in this league. He has a strong arm, he’s about 6-6, he’s long, he’s quick. He has the tools to be special.”
At wide receiver, Steve Johnson leads the Bills in receiving with 46 catches for 526 yards and 3 scores. Bucs corner Darrelle Revis knows Johnson very well from Darrelle’s days with the Jets.
“He’s real shifty at the line. His routes are real smooth,” said Revis. “He’s not a burner or a fast guy but he finds a way to get open. That’s why he’s good at what he does.”
The Bills will run a no-huddle offense. The Bucs defense has to be ready for their up-tempo style and Greg Schiano’s club also had a real problem last week with missed tackles. And not to mention the forecast on Sunday will be unseasonably warm.
“As we all know, it’s really heated up here the last couple days and it’s going to be very warm on Sunday,” Schiano said during his Thursday press conference heard on WDAE. “Today, we were simulating the no-huddle with running a couple huddles and running guys in and out. I’m sure we’ll have some IVs flowing in the training room. Real feel out there, it was close to 90 [degrees]. That’ll have an impact I’m sure.”
As far as the Thursday injury report for the Bucs, WR Vincent Jackson (hamstring) was back at practice on a limited basis. RG Davin Joseph (knee) returned to practice on a full-time basis. LG Carl Nicks (foot) did not practice. CB Darrelle Revis (chest/shoulder) and DT Akeem Spence (wrist) practiced fully. WR Chris Owusu (hamstring) and DT Gary Gibson (calf) were both added to the injury report and practiced on a limited basis.
The Bills are relatively healthy heading into this week’s game. After missing Wednesday’s practice, DT Kyle Williams (Achilles) practiced fully on Thursday. WR Marquise Goodwin (calf) and TE Scott Chandler (personal) were added to the injury report. Goodwin was limited and Chandler missed practice because his wife was expecting the birth of their child.
News & Notes:
- Bucs CB Darrelle Revis said he’s still feeling some pain in his chest/shoulder: “It’s still bothering me a little bit.” Revis also said he banged his head in the Panthers game and was “knocked out for a second” but he passed all concussion tests.
- Bucs kicker Rian Lindell spent 9 years in Buffalo before he was cut back in August. He admits Sunday’s game against his old team isn’t just another game: “No, it’s a little different. I need to start making some field goals.” Lindell has missed three field goals over the last two weeks.
- Bucs LB LaVonte David is the only player in the NFL with 100+ tackles (107), 5+ sacks (5), and 3 INTs.
- Weather forecast for Sunday calls for sunny and warm conditions with temps in the low 80s. That should bode well for the Bucs. DE Da’Quan Bowers believes the Bills and their no-huddle offense will be at a disadvantage: “Them coming down trying to run no-huddle—I don’t think it’ll last very long. If it do, kudos to them.”
- Bills WR Steve Johnson is one of the few receivers who’s had been successful against Bucs CB Darrelle Revis. In his last five games against Revis, Johnson’s stats read like this: 4-55-1TD, 8-75-1TD, 3-84, 5-72 and 3-31-1TD.
- Bills RB C.J. Spiller rushed for 149 yards last week against Atlanta on 15 carries (9.9YPC) and that includes a 77-yard run. Meanwhile, Bills RB Fred Jackson rushed for 163 yards on 28 carries in his only meeting against the Bucs.
- This Sunday, the 3-9 Bucs welcome in the 4-8 Buffalo Bills to Raymond James Stadium. You can catch the game on 620 WDAE and 95.3FM with our coverage beginning at 9am with Countdown to Kickoff.
- For the latest Bucs news, keep it locked all day long on 620 WDAE and 95.3FM, your home of the Bucs and the best Bucs coverage. Don’t forget to check out the Bucs blog at 620wdae.com for the latest news and audio clips.