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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

5 Bucs to Watch Against the Titans in Week 10

The Buccaneers will face another AFC opponent in Week 10 as the Titans come to town and here are five players to watch


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will face off against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. Both clubs sit at a 3-5 record and are coming off heartbreaking losses. Each will strive to revitalize their respective seasons in Week 10. The Bucs will work to snap a four-game losing skid and build off last week's offensive surgency. The Titans, with rookie Will Levis at the helm, will vie to rekindle the momentum from the club's impressive 2-2 start, including victories over the Chargers and Bengals. Here is a breakdown of five Buccaneers to watch on Sunday:

Cade Otton

Second-year tight end Cade Otton has become an integral part of the Bucs' offense in 2023, as more and more defenses allocate resources to Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Otton has played every single offensive snap in two games, a rarity in the modern era. He accumulated a career-best 70 yards on six receptions against the Texans and nabbed two touchdowns. Whether down the seam on a go route or underneath, Otton moved the chains for the Bucs last Sunday. Otton is able to adjust to the catch without breaking stride and can exploit coverage at all three levels.

"Cade is our steady-Eddie," Head Coach Todd Bowles said. "I've said all along, he's one of the most underrated players we have. You look up at the end of the day, he does everything. He has outstanding hands; he has a great feel for the game. He may not be the most athletic or the biggest or the strongest, but he's the most complete and the most solid guy. He does a lot of things well for us. You saw that last week."

Otton is an ascending star for Tampa Bay and will face Titans' linebacker Azeem Al-Shaair on Sunday. Tennessee poached Al-Shaair off San Francisco's talent-filled defensive roster during the offseason and made him a cornerstone of its defense. Al-Shaair currently ranks sixth in the NFL with a team-high 83 tackles and has been effective at collapsing the pocket with one sack and four quarterback hits. With burst, redirection skills in space and ability to slip by blocks to disrupt run lanes, Al-Shaair makes his presence felt week-after-week.

Vita Vea

Winning the battle in the trenches on Sunday will be crucial in limiting Derrick Henry and Bucs' nose tackle Vita Vea will play a key role in containing the human embodiment of a freight train. Henry punishes defenders when he breaks to the second and third level. For the Bucs' defense in Week 10, being able to get push, get off blocks to invade the backfield and dropping Henry before he gets a head of steam/ accelerates, will likely be a deciding factor in the outcome. In all three of the Titans' wins this season, Henry has had 20-plus attempts. He fuels their downhill rushing attack with power and one-cut ability. As Todd Bowles alluded to this week – Henry is bigger than the outside linebackers, bigger than the inside linebackers and bigger than the defensive backs. Henry runs with forward lean and punishes defenders. He has surprising straight-line speed despite his larger frame, and often overwhelms opponents. Vita Vea, the Bucs' imposing interior defender, will be tasked with bottling him up at the line. He overpowers guards/centers when isolated and possesses the ability to quickly shed blockers and has the range to narrow running lanes to make tackles.

Cody Mauch

Jeffery Simmons, the Titans' tone setter, lines up all over their line to wreak havoc. He has amassed 21 pressures through the first five weeks of the 2023 season, only trailing Aaron Donald (23) and Jalen Carter (23), and has generated 15 "quick pressures" this season (tied for the third most among NFL defensive tackles) per Next Gen Stats. With a dangerous blend of power and athleticism, Simmons can split double teams and track ball carriers with a lateral prowess. His lethal stutter-step bull rush is a staple of his pass-rush repertoire. Bucs' rookie Cody Mauch has started every game at right guard. He primarily played left tackle at North Dakota State which has prompted an expected learning curve and acclimation period. Mauch has shown tenacity at the line of scrimmage and the ability to accelerate and finish drive blocks.  

Zyon McCollum

With both starting cornerbacks Jamel Dean and Carlton Davis III in question for Sunday's game with respective injuries, second-year corner Zyon McCollum will likely see increased playing time against the Titans. After the Bucs' allowed Texans' C.J. Stroud to amass 470 yards (the most by a rookie quarterback in NFL history) and five touchdowns, the Bucs' crew is entering Week 10 with an 'unfinished business' mentality. McCollum, who has 23 tackles and four passes defensed in 2023, plays with physicality in coverage and phases routes with balance and standout footwork. This weekend, he will face one of the best in the league in DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins, a free agent pickup, has continued his dominance with the Titans, leading the club in receptions (35) and receiving yards (564). He attacks the ball in the air with elite ball skills and body control. Hopkins can extend his arm at the last second to generate separation and makes contested catches look seamless. He has the short-area quickness to generate separation on hitches and comebacks, while displaying the vertical speed to take the top off defenses.

Rachaad White

The Titans rank 19th in rush defense and are giving up an average of 114 yards a game on the ground. Rachaad White took strides forward against the Texans as the Bucs found success with mid zone concepts and combo blocks in the game. White showcased vision, patience and burst, taking advantage of lanes against Tennessee. He finished with 73 rushing yards on 20 totes, spurring the ground attack in Week Nine. With his slash running style, White is adept at making the initial defender miss and getting north-south in space. White is dynamic on the perimeter catching passes out of the flat and his versatility adds another dimension to the Bucs' offense. This game could provide another opportunity to ignite the ground attack, which will open up play-action, bootlegs and stretch plays.

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