Skip to main content

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

5 Bucs to Watch Against the Saints in Week 4

The Buccaneers will face a divisional foe in Week Four and here are five players to watch

5 Bucs to watch week 4

In Week Four, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will travel to the Big Easy to take on the New Orleans Saints in a head-to-head battle for first place in the NFC South at Caesars Superdome. After suffering their first loss of the season against the Eagles, the Buccaneers will face their first divisional foe of the 2023 campaign. Following the 25-11 loss, the Bucs will vie for redemption on a short week. 

"Every game is important for us, but especially the division ones and especially this rivalry, so I can't say enough about it." 

Saints' quarterback Derek Carr is dealing with a sprained AC joint and while he has not been officially ruled out, all signs point to Jameis Winston occupying the starting signal-caller duties against his former team on Sunday. Todd Bowles will have blitz packages dialed up to put Winston in duress, forcing him to make mistakes. The Bucs are currently ranked second in the NFL in turnover differential at +5 (second only to the Cowboys) and are tied for third in sacks allowed (3.0). Tampa Bay has won three of the last five outings in the series against New Orleans dating back to the Divisional Round victory that propelled the Bucs onward to their Super Bowl LV Championship. The Bucs swept the Saints last year and will strive to continue the trend in 2023. Here is an in-depth look at five Buccaneers to observe on Sunday afternoon in the NFC South showdown: 

Rachaad White

The Bucs were unable to achieve a balanced attack in Week Three against the Eagles and through three games, Tampa Bay is averaging the lowest number of yards-per-carry (2.79) in the NFL. With different starters at four positions from a year ago in the Bucs' offensive line, the unit is working to foster continuity up front in the reimagined offense under Dave Canales. Second-year Rachaad White, the club's featured back, is still trying to find a groove as the unquestioned leader of the backfield. White possesses inside/outside versatility and feel for a variety of blocking schemes. He can stack cuts and transitions with ease from a reactive stage to acceleration. On Sunday, he will face one of the best and most well-rounded linebackers in the league in Demario Davis. Davis posted a career-high 6.5 sacks last season and tallied his sixth-straight season with over 100 tackles and double-digit tackles for loss. He is proficient at rushing the passer, disrupting the run and dropping back into coverage to limit tight ends/backs. Davis is quick off the snap and delivers textbook tackles in space. Davis' play recognition is second to none and No. 56 will be on the Bucs' radar come Sunday, but his prowess will be hard to simulate via scout team. 

Luke Goedeke

Carl Granderson, a former undrafted free agent in 2019, has a team-leading 2.5 sacks in 2023. Granderson accumulated seven quarterback pressures in a Week One against Tennessee on 27 pass-rush snaps per Next Gen Stats, and one of them caused a turnover. He has formed a menacing tandem with linemate, Cam Jordan. So far this season, Granderson has rushed primarily from the left edge of the Saints' front, meaning he is going to be the responsibility of Luke Goedeke, the Bucs' second-year right tackle. The Bucs initially utilized Goedeke at left guard after selecting him in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft, but after choosing to move Tristan Wirfs to left tackle, the staff opted to let Goedeke return to his natural position at right tackle, where he played in college at Central Michigan. Goedeke knocks opponents off their spot in the run game with strength and agility. He has great anticipation as a second-level blocker and awareness against pressure packages. Goedeke can anchor in pass sets to counter bull rushes and the Bucs' offensive line has allowed just three sacks of Baker Mayfield through three games in 2023 and the unit ranks sixth in the league in sacks per pass play, at 3.23%.

Chris Godwin

In the Saints' secondary, Both Alontae Taylor (seven) and Marshon Lattimore (six) have the most passes defensed and the most forced incompletions in the NFL, with Taylor coming in with six in the latter category and Lattimore with five. The Saints are a heavy-man coverage team, a testament to their belief in those two lockdowns on the back end. Taylor, who was thrust into a larger role last season following an injury to Lattimore, played an instrumental role in fortifying a Saints' pass defense that ranked second in the league and did not give up a 300-yard passer over the last 11 games. In 2022, Taylor broke up a team-high 11 passes and allowed just a 48.5% completion percentage when targeted. He did not allow a touchdown pass and surrendered only 318 yards on 66 targets last season. During training camp, Taylor cross-trained at nickel corner to enhance his versatility and on Sunday, he will face Chris Godwin. Coming off an ACL tear in 2022, Godwin set career-highs in targets (142) and receptions (104). He eclipsed the 1,000-yard marker and although his stat line may not garner attention in 2023 (13 receptions, 141 yards), Godwin's impact is evident. When it comes to finding soft spots in zone and making contested catches over the middle of the field, there are few better than the Bucs' standout. With great body control, natural instincts and ability to adjust to the ball, Godwin will look to make his mark against the team's nemesis. 

Zyon McCollum

With both starting cornerbacks dealing with injuries, Zyon McCollum could see his third-consecutive start against the Saints' talent-filled receiving corps. McCollum phases the route with patience and is instinctive on the field. One of his most impressive traits is blazing speed for closing. He will likely match up with ascending star Rashid Shaheed in certain scenarios during the Week Four matchup. Shaheed, a former undrafted free agent, has developed into a dynamic complement to Michael Thomas and Chris Olave. Shaheed is lethal off jet sweeps and reverses and is averaging 16.9 yards per reception this season. He is slippery in space when he hits the accelerator and nabbed a 76-yard punt return for a touchdown in Green Bay last Sunday. The two will duke it out on Sunday in NOLA. 

Lavonte David

Saints' five-time Pro Bowl running back Alvin Kamara will make his debut against the Bucs after a three-game suspension. He will certainly be a focal point of the Saints' offense, one that ranks 21st in rushing (93.3). Kamara, the do-it-all phenom, is electric with the ball in his hands. He has the balance and power to run between the tackles, the shiftiness and slash-style to thrive on the perimeter and he is also one of the best pass-catchers with an advanced route tree. Kamara elevates the Saints' screen game, and he has totaled at least 1,300 yards from scrimmage in each of his six NFL seasons. Bucs' inside linebacker Lavonte David will play a vital role in keeping Kamara in check. David is regarded as one of the best coverage linebackers in the NFL with hip fluidity to turn and run with backs/tight ends in man-to-man and if the Saints deploy Kamara out of the slot, David will be tasked with carrying him. David is adept in zone with elite intelligence, route recognition and understanding of spacing/angles. Against the run, David stonewalls rushers at the point and he will be one to watch on Sunday in the Superdome.

Related Content

Latest Headlines