Eagles coach Chip Kelly is known for his up-tempo style offense, one that thrives on keeping the defense off balance and forcing them to quickly recover in-between plays.
Bucs head coach Lovie Smith – Photo by: Getty Images
To prepare for the change of pace, the Bucs offense will mimic Philadelphia’s at times this week so the defense can at least get an idea for what’s to come on Sunday.
“[We] use more of an up-tempo approach in our practices,” head coach Lovie Smith said Wednesday. “You simulate it as best you can. You have to get there. It’s the first time I personally have been part of a group that has played them, so it will be a little bit new, but we want to get set and ready to go right away.”
Players aren’t the only ones affected, as coaches need to speed up play-calling and make sure the team can get in position in time. The tempo can also present a challenge when it comes to substitutions, as Leslie Frazier explained more in depth on Thursday.
“You look at the tape and you see teams getting caught with 12 on the field, not being able to match up or not getting calls in – guys turning around and looking for calls,” the defensive coordinator said, explaining how the offense makes calls from the line of scrimmage as opposed to a huddle.
“It’s something we’ve talked about. We worked on it yesterday in practice. We’ll work on it again today, but that up-tempo, it can create some problems when you talk about substitutions, getting the calls into the defense – all those things are important and we have to keep our composure.”
Keeping its composure, according to Frazier, is the most important thing for the defense to do this Sunday. The Bucs can’t let the speed throw them off their own game.
“The tempo that makes you feel like you’re under more pressure than you actually are,” Frazier said. “We talked about that with trying to simulate it as I mentioned. But they’re not running a lot of plays or giving you a lot of personnel groups. You just have to hold your composure, keep playing and if you’re out there a little fatigued, you have to play through it until we get an opportunity for stoppage.”
Of course, the Eagles offense will be a little different from a personnel standpoint as well. With starting quarterback Sam Bradford set to miss at least one week with a separated shoulder, Philly turns to former Jets starter and first-round pick Mark Sanchez.
While Sanchez has had his share of struggles and setbacks since entering the league in 2009, all of which leading to his departure from New York, the USC product is capable of moving the ball – especially in his first few starts. After taking over for an injured Nick Foles in 2014, Sanchez went 3-1 in his first four starts, throwing for over 300 yards in three of those games with a 6:4 touchdown to interception ratio.
Tampa Bay, who owns a 1-3 record against backup quarterbacks dating back to last season, won’t underestimate Sanchez this Sunday. While they’ll make adjustments to prepare for the Eagles’ tempo, the change under center won’t play much of a factor in the Bucs’ defensive strategy.
“You have to prepare for the quarterback position,” Smith said. “If an offense has a certain philosophy and then is going to change it completely, then it’s a big deal. (But) when they’re running the same plays, I don’t think they are going to be much different with Sanchez as opposed to Bradford. That’s what we’re doing – practicing the same plays that we believe they believe they should win with.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
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Well Buc Fans I believe that my Tampa Bay Bucs will make a difference this week and the rest of the season. With WR Jackson, TE Jenkins may be ready. Can you imagigine with Martin on the ground with Evans & Jackson and Jenkins taking to the air zones. I believe the bucs eill prevail-Go Tampa and out young QB Jameis Winston-GO Bucs
Ok I’m in Bucs by 6!
Bucs by 2
Heard on the radio that VJax was limited in practice today which might mean he will play.
As far as ASJ is concerned, I wouldn’t count on him for anything.
I still remember going to Dungy’s last game at the Vet in ’02. Just wish I would have been able able to make it up there the next year. I worked in DC then and remember two Eagles’ fans at work after Tampa beat SF for the right to play the Eagles. One of them walked by the other and said “It’s in the bag, man!”. Man did they eat crow the next week, that was wonderful.
i was just watching the 02 nfc championship game! go bucs! 2015 playoffs, can you imagine? wooot!!!
p.s. i meant 2016 hah
This will be Chip’s swan song to get to Tennessee. Hopefully we can slow everything down with our run game, and force turnovers on the other side of the ball. 21-17 Bucs!
Even if Jenkins and Jackson are back I think Buc’s pound the football with Martin all day. Would love to see all of the receivers back though. Lot more options if Jameis has to throw the ball. Buc’s win but always close.
This game is hardly a gimme. Eagles have a good defense and there really isn’t that much of a drop off between Bradford and Sanchez.
Still, Sanchez is known for doing Sanchized things so you never know if the good or the bad one will play the next series.
It’s paramount the Bucs stop the run and the get some pressure on Sanchez.
I know McCoy has been getting a lot of heat lately but there are three other players on the DL and they need to step up their game as well.
In fact, they need to step up their game more than McCoy.
I was at the old sombrero when the Buc’s won their first ever playoff game and eliminated the Super Bowl Dreams of the Philly fans. Our OC had a lot more to do with that win than the HC. It was Joe Gibbs before he took the Redskins to two Super Bowl wins and founded his NASCAR team. Beat those Eagles Sunday!!!
I was there too Owlykat.
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