Ah ha me hearties, if it isn't me favourite land-lubbers. Our Lions are 4-1 and heading to the Sunshine State to play the Bucs in Ray Jay. While they are 3-1 (they've already dropped anchor in port for a bye week), they have played some easy games (including the two one-win teams in our division...) so how good are they really? As you can tell from the title, I don't think much of this team and let me tell you why...
The Bucs could be classed as a simple offence as they have only run two personnel sets on more than 5% of their snaps and have only used five sets overall. The most common is of course 11 personnel, which they employ on 67% of plays. In this set, they throw the ball 69% (nice) of the time for 0.1 EPA per play. The other set is 12 personnel, which they use 27% of the time for -0.16 EPA/play on a 40% pass rate. Overall, the Bucs average 0.01 EPA per play, and throw the ball on 60% of their offensive plays.
Baker has dropped back to pass 141 times so far this season, attempting 125 passes. Eighty-seven of these attempts have been completed (69.6%) with an average depth of target of 8.1 yards. His passes have gone for 7.1 yards per attempt, a 2.3% big-time throw rate, a 2.7% turnover-worthy play rate, a 3.3% drop rate, three batted passes, seven throwaways, forty-four first downs, seven touchdowns and two interceptions. This has earned Baker a 73.4 passing grade from PFF.
When Baker is pressured, compared to when he is kept clean, his passing grade drops half a grade point to 70.6, his completion rate drops by 6% to 65.7%, his yards per attempt jumps by over three yards to 9.5 yards, his ADOT drops by 0.4 yards to 7.8, his big-time throw rate almost increases by a power of five to 5.3% and his turnover-worthy play rate drops by 1% to 2%. Additionally, Baker's numbers improve against the blitz versus when he faces a traditional pass rush. His completion rate drops by 0.6% to 69.2%, his yards per attempt improve by nearly four yards to 9.6 yards, his ADOT increases by over 3.5 yards to 10.7, his big-time throw rate quadruples to 4.9%, his turnover-worthy play rate drops nearly 4% to a flat 0, and his passing grade drops by 4 points to 73.4.
In terms of just pure passing depth, Baker has been at his worst targeting the intermediate area of the field, which he does on 22.4% of his passing attempts. He completes 53.6% of his passes to this area for 10.8 yards per attempt, a 3.2% big-time throw rate, a 9.7% turnover-worthy play rate, fifteen first downs, no touchdowns and both of his interceptions on the season; all for a 62.9 grade. Conversely, he has been best on the 42.4% of his throws that work the short game, earning himself an 86.2 grade. He has completed 90.6% of his passes at this depth for 6.5 yards per attempt, no big-time throws, a 1.8% turnover-worthy play rate, nineteen first downs, five touchdowns and no interceptions.
As for the guys Baker is throwing to, the former apple of Ry's eye, Rachaad White the second-year back out of Arizona State has caught all thirteen of his targets on an ADOT of -2.4 yards, for 6.6 yards per reception (9.0 yards after the catch per reception), 0.86 yards per route ran, three first downs, and a 55.3 receiving grade. At tight end, Cade Otton has caught 80% of his fifteen targets for 7.4 yards per reception (3.5 after the catch), 0.77 yards per route ran, an ADOT of 4.1 yards, one drop (7.7% drop rate), a 33.3% contested catch success rate (1/3), three first downs, one touchdown and a 53.4 grade.
At wide receiver, Mike Evans is the leader in targets with thirty. He has caught 66.7% of these on an ADOT of 14.0 yards, for 16.9 yards per reception (5.2 yards after the catch), 3.27 yards per route ran, two drops (9.1%), a 60% contested catch success rate (6/10), twelve first downs, three touchdowns and an 81.3 receiving grade. Chris Godwin is the leader in catches by one. He has caught 72.4% of his twenty-nine targets for 12.1 yards per catch (5.1 after the catch), 2.07 yards per route ran, an ADOT of 9.4 yards, a 75% contested catch success rate (3/4), fourteen first downs, and an 80.3 grade. Both of Baker's interceptions have occurred when he was targeting Godwin. Despite OurLads listing Trey Palmer as the starter in the slot, Deven Thompkins has had more targets. Thompkins has caught eight of his eleven targets (72.7%) for 7.6 yards per reception (4.5 yards after the catch), 1.09 yards per route ran, an ADOT of 8.1 yards, four first downs, one touchdown and a 68.0 grade.
The Tampa Bay offensive line has allowed Baker an average of 2.9 seconds to throw. Their best tackle has been LT Tristian Wirfs with an 88.4 pass-blocking grade and a 99.3% pass-blocking efficiency. On the 149 pass-blocking snaps the offensive line has taken, Wirfs has only allowed two pressures, both of which were hurries. His bookend at RT is former Chip Luke Goedeke, who has a 72.7 grade on the season. He has a 97.5% pass-blocking efficiency, having given up six pressures on the season so far. These were four hurries, one hit and one sack. He also has been charged with three penalties, one of which was declined.
On the interior, rookie RG Cody Mauch has been the best guy according to PFF with his 73.1 grade. He has a 97.2% pass-blocking efficiency, giving up six pressures (three hurries, one hit, two sacks) on the season. At LG, Matt Feiler has been just above average with a 64.7 grade. He has a 97.9% efficiency, giving up six hurries so far this season. The weak link is center Robert Hainsey with a 47.1 grade and a 96.5% pass-block efficiency, having given up nine pressures (one sack and eight hurries) and two penalties (one declined) so far this season.
The Bucs' offensive line is tied for 29th in the league in yards per contact per rush with 2.0, suggesting they don't get much push in the run game. Wirfs has also been the Bucs' best run blocker with a 75.2 grade. Goedeke is next up with a 66.3 grade. Hainsey is just above average in run-blocking with a 61.4 grade. Both guards have been sub-par in the run game, with Feiler earning himself a 50.0 grade and the rookie Mauch earning a 36.3 grade.
White has been by far and away the Bucs' lead back with sixty-three attempts on the season so far. On those carries, he has gone for 3.3 yards a pop, 2.27 of which is after first contact, converted twelve first downs, fumbled once and hit paydirt once. Four of his runs have gone for over ten yards, but his longest run has only been for thirteen yards. White has forced thirteen missed tackles so far this season. All of this has earned him a 75.9 rushing grade from PFF. His backup in terms of carries is rookie Sean Tucker who has toted the ball fifteen times for twenty-three yards (1.5 yards per attempt) and a 55.3 rushing grade. Coming out of Syracuse, maybe he'll play better in the Creamsicles since he's used to wearing orange and we'll get one of his classic post-game tweets from him where he's PL34SED.
White has been best rushing up the right-hand C-gap, gaining 4.7 yards on carries there, and up the left-hand C-gap where he gains 4.0 yards a carry. He is worst up the right-hand B-gap where he only gets 1.8 yards per attempt. He only gets 2.3 yards an attempt in the left-hand B-gap and the left-hand D-gap. Tucker has been worst carrying the ball up the left-hand B-gap where he loses three yards a carry. He also loses yards when carrying the ball up the left-hand A-gap. Tucker is best running off the left tackle, as he gains four yards a carry up the left-hand C-gap.
Baker is playing some of the best football in his professional career, they have weapons in the passing game, and they run the Seattle offensive scheme. Why shouldn't we be scared of a repeat of Week 2? Well, at least Seattle had a run game to fall back on. Tampa Bay are as bad at running the ball as I am at making jokes; their attempts are laughable. Also, one would and should expect that Aaron Glenn learned from that poor showing against Seattle and would know how to properly scheme his defence up against the kind of offence the Bucs will be running on Sunday. Fortunately for our heart rates, James Houston will be unavailable to cover any tight ends deep... All jokes aside, I expect Tampa to have some success in the passing game so things will rely on us keeping their poor run game in check to get them into third-and-longs where our line can pin their ears back, get after Baker and force some punts.
The Bucs defence is much like the offence in terms of personnel as they too have only used five sets so far this season, and only two of these on more than 5% of snaps. The least common of these is their 3-4-4 base package, which they use on 35% of snaps. On these snaps, they face a 49% pass rate for -0.11 EPA/play. Tampa uses 2-4-5 nickel on 62% of their defensive plays. In this set, they allow the opposition -0.08 EPA/play on a 79% pass rate. Overall the Bucs face a 67% pass rate, allowing -0.11 EPA/play.
Kancey has been injured since taking eleven snaps Week 1 against the Vikings so he will be disregarded from these stats. In his place, Greg Gaines has been a starter on run downs. He has been Tampa's best run defender on the defensive line according to PFF with a 58.3 grade. On his forty-one run defence snaps, he has made four tackles, three of which were solo, with an average depth of 2.0 yards. Of these four tackles, three have been run stops (7.3% of his snaps resulting in a run stop). As for the other starters, Logan Hall has been the worst with a 28.9 grade. On his fifty-two run defence snaps, he has also made four tackles, three of which solo, but he has also missed one. His tackles however have come close to the line of scrimmage with an average depth of 0.3 yards. Two of his tackles have been run stops (3.8%). The star of their Tampa defence line has been okay in run defence so far with a 57.1 grade on his fifty-two snaps. Vita Vea has made six tackles, five of which were solo, with an average depth of 1.4 yards. He has also missed one tackle. Three of his tackles have been run stops (5.8%).
As for their edge rushers, Joe Tryon-Shoyinka has been the better of their starters. On his fifty-four run defence snaps, he has posted a 59.0 grade. He has made seven tackles, five of which were solo, on an average depth of 2.4 yards. He has also missed two further tackle attempts. Four of his tackles have been run stops (7.4%). On the other side, Shaq Barrett has been slightly worse, with a 57.1 grade from PFF on his forty-seven snaps. He has made all five of his tackle attempts, four of which were solo on an average depth of 3.5 yards. However, he has made no run stops.
In their inside linebacker room, Lavonte David has been the leader in run defence with a 57.7 grade on eighty-six snaps. He has made twelve of his tackle attempts, missing the other three, with nine of his tackle attempts being for solo tackles. He has also made five run stops (5.8%), on an average depth of tackle of 2.2 yards. Beside him, Devin White has fared worse with a 41.9 grade. He has made all sixteen of his tackle attempts, thirteen of which have been solo with an average depth of 5.3 yards. Five of his tackles have been run stops (5.9%).
It is worth bearing in mind that the Bucs are a 3-4 base, so their edges do not always rush the passer on passing downs. Their best edge rusher has been Barrett with a 79.4 grade. He has rushed the passer on 77.8% of his 108 snaps on passing downs. On these eight-four rushes, he has created eleven pressures (one sack, three QB hits and seven hurries), winning 12.% of his snaps. On the other side, Tryon-Shoyinka has been less productive. He has rushed the passer on 77.1% of his 105 snaps on passing downs. On these eighty-one rushes, he has created ten pressures (two sacks, two hits and six hurries) for a 10.4% pass-rush win rate. The third man in the rotation is Anthony Nelson, who has played sixty-five snaps on passing downs. He has rushed the passer on 75.% of these snaps. On these forty-nine rushes, he has won the rep 10.6% of the time for five pressures (one sack, two hits and two hurries).
Up front, Vea has been the leader as expected. He has only rushed the passer on 97.2% of his 106 snaps on passing downs, suggesting some Aaron Glenn versus Seattle level big brain thinking on the part of Todd Bowles. On these 103 pass-rushing snaps, Vea has won 12.6% of his reps, forcing ten pressures (four sacks, one hit and five hurries). Hall has been above average against the pass. On his 111 snaps, he has won 6.7% of his reps for five pressures (two hits and three hurries).
In terms of coverage, Carlton Davis III has been the better of their two outside corners. On his ninety-four coverage snaps, he has been targeting eighteen times for eleven receptions (61.1% catch rate allowed) on an average depth of target of 9.6 yards, for 15.0 yards per reception (6.5 yards after the catch), two forced incompletions (11% forced incompletion rate), and a 68.3 coverage grade. On the other side, Jamel Dean has been worse with a 43.8 grade from PFF. On his 105 coverage snaps, he has been targeted seventeen times with an ADOT of 12.8 yards. He has allowed twelve catches (70.6%) for 16.3 yards per reception (4.2 after the catch), a dropped interception and two touchdowns. He has also been charged with two penalties, one of which was declined.
In the slot, UDFA pickup Christian Izien has been average, picking up two penalties. On his 102 coverage snaps, he has been targeted fourteen times for twelve catches (85.7%), 8.1 yards per reception (5.6 after the catch, ADOT of 3.1 yards), two interceptions, one touchdown and two penalties; all for a 63.9 grade. Further back, the usually great Antoine Winfield Jr. has been average so far this season, posting a 61.7 coverage grade. On his 166 coverage snaps, he has been targeted eleven times with an average depth of 11.0 yards, for five catches (45.5%), 9.2 yards per reception (8.8 after the catch), and four forced incompletions (36%), three of which were pass breakups. His partner in the backfield Ryan Neal has been below average with a 55.1 grade. On his 119 coverage snaps, he has allowed receptions on all six of his targets (9.8-yard ADOT) for 13.2 yards per catch (3.3 after the catch) and one touchdown for a perfect NFL passer rating allowed.
In the linebacker room, White has surprisingly been the better of the two starters in coverage, albeit by 0.1 grade points. On his 140 coverage snaps, he has been thrown at fifteen times on an average depth of 4.9 yards, allowing ten catches (66.7%), 9.9 yards per reception (7.7 after the catch), one interception and a 66.0 coverage grade. David has played 153 coverage snaps. On these snaps, he has been targeted twenty-three times (ADOT of 3.0 yards) for twenty receptions and 5.6 yards per reception (2.9 after the catch) for a 65.9 grade.
Overall, their pass defence is decent as they don't give up many yards or touchdowns, but they still can give up plays. With the Sun God back and The Butcher LaPorta saying in locker room interviews with reporters that he thinks he will be playing, we should be able to move the ball on them. While their run defence looks leakier, this might be a product of playing the Eagles and Bears who both have mobile quarterbacks and good run games, but we still should have success based on the variety of looks we can offer on the ground. Overall, this might not be the high-scoring game offensively we have seen the past few weeks, but we should still have joy running or passing the ball on a majority of plays.
Tampa's best special teamer is the slot corner Izien, who has posted a 77.1 grade on thirty-seven snaps.
Their long snapper Zach Triner is grading just below average with a 59.7 grade.
Chase McLaughlin has been pretty damn good so far this season, sinking all his extra-point tries and only missing one of his field goal attempts (which was between forty and fifty yards) for a 78.9 grade.
Jake Camarda has been okay so far, earning himself a 68.3 punting grade from PFF. Exactly half of his punts have landed in the opposition's twenty, with two going for touchbacks, two going out-of-bounds, two were downed by the Bucs and three were fair-caught. The nine punts of his that were returned have been taken for sixteen yards a pop. Camarda's punts average 4.47 seconds of hangtime.
Camarda has also handled kickoffs for Tampa. Only 25% of his kickoffs have been returned, with the returner averaging 20.2 yards on said return. Of the other fifteen kickoffs, one has been fair-caught and the others have gone for touchbacks. Said kickoffs have averaged 4.21 seconds of hangtime.
Slot receiver Deven Thompkins has handled returning duties for the Bucs but has been poor at it. He has posted a 54.9 kick return grade and a 48.9 punt return grade.
Three Keys to Victory:
Stop the run- Tampa Bay might have a Titanic-level run game, insomuch that it's a sinking ship and it needs bailing out. However, we should not do them the courtesy of bailing it out for them. Stop the run, get them into obvious passing downs and then get pressure on Baker to force punts from them.
Double Vea- With Jonah out, it's highly likely that Vea will be shading over to that side of our line. We need Frank to help whoever is replacing him (which is probably Awosika). Hall has been meh this season, and as much as I loved Kancey coming out, he's barely 290 pounds soaking wet. The other pieces of the line should be able to handle them, but Vea could take over the game if we let him. Don't.
Use Jamo- Despite how good the Tampa pass defence has been, we can still move the ball on them. While Amon-Ra will be able to sizzle Izien, we should still target Josh Reynolds, Leaf, Marv and even Jamo. Dean is speedy but he relies on that speed. Jamo is able to challenge him deep, opening up underneath routes by shading coverage his way. Use this to our advantage.
Hot Take for the Game: Jamo hits an explosive play himself in the pass game, but his impact on the offence is seen more in his off-ball work with his blocking and impact on coverage, allowing the offence to create at least four more explosive plays.
Prediction: This is a shootout by the Bucs' low-scoring standards, but it's a snooze fest by our higher, more explosive, standards. We will still look fairly dominant though, and the Bucs will melt in their Creamsicle uniforms (hot take: I don't like them).
Detroit Lions 27, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 14
How do you think the game will go? Will the light of Nike (the Greek goddess of victory, not the sports brand) shine on our Lions in the Sunshine State, or shall the Bucs steal a dub from us like the pirates they are? Who do you think will be the stat leaders, and what will the final score be?
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