-The NFL is placing all 32 teams under the COVID-19 Intensive Protocol with the holidays coming up and the number of cases continuing to rise across the country. Beginning Saturday, there will be no in-person meetings unless they can be conducted outdoors or indoors as part of an approved plan. All players and coaches must have a negative test result prior to entering the building each day in addition to having PCR testing also done daily. Masks must be worn at all times inside facilities, including the practice field, by all personnel and meals must be in a grab-and-go style format.
The intensive protocol also prohibits in-person gatherings away from the facility, which is especially relevant with the holidays coming up. The protocol isn't new for most teams. Twenty-eight of the 32 teams have already been placed in it for a period of time since it was introduced October 1.
"According to the NFL, clubs that were in the intensive protocol had more than a 50 percent reduction in overall close contacts with other people at the facility, compared to teams that were not in the intensive protocols," wrote NFL.com's Judy Battista. "That mitigates the risk of virus spread, even if individuals at the team test positive. The NFL also said there have been more than 20 cases of positives tests while teams are in intensive protocols that did not have any high risk close contacts."
-The Buccaneers are coming off a 46-23 win over the Carolina Panthers, sweeping the season series in the process. The offense totaled 544 yards, 210 of which came on the ground. It was in large part due to third-year running back Ronald Jones, who had a career-high 192 yards on the ground along with a 98-yard touchdown run. It marked his fourth 100-yard game this season as he continues to thrive within the Bucs' offensive system.
"The credit goes to him," said Running Backs Coach Todd McNair of Jones. "He's really matured since last year when we first came in. He's shown a lot of maturity [and] a lot of growth. People forget how young he was, even coming in last year. He hadn't really played the year before, so he was like a rookie and he's rookie age. So, a year in the system and I think the offensive coaches sticking with him [and] giving him a lot of positive reinforcement – I think he's just blossomed and his ceiling is still high. He's got a long way to go still."
-On the other side of the ball, the defense got back to their bread and butter in this past week's contest. After letting up 100 rushing yards in back to back games, the Bucs' defense stifled the Panthers and allowed just 65 yards on the ground in Week 10. That's been their calling card and it's been something that coaches think has even motivated opponents.
"Any time you receive recognition for doing something, you kind of place a bullseye on you," said Bucs Defensive Line Coach Kacy Rodgers. "But we talk about it all of the time – stopping the run is not a one-week thing. It's an all-week thing. It's a totally defensive mentality, which kind of starts with Todd [Bowles]. The first thing we're going to talk about is how can we try to slow down the run before we get to coverages or any pass blitzes or anything like that. We really kind of [harp] on it a lot with the guys about how we have to take care of the run. That's just kind of a bedrock principle of ours."
In addition to the defensive line, guys like inside linebacker Lavonte David have been crucial to the team's success against the run. David has experience on his side as the longest tenured Buccaneer and offered a little bit of insight into where he thinks the Bucs stand on Wednesday.
"I think around November things get heightened, obviously," David said. "People start trying to put out their best effort. At the beginning of the season you get a lot of different things from different people, but around this time you know what you're going to get from different people and different teams as far as gameplan situations. The playmaking and all that steps up big time. It's all about the preparation now. Opponents are going to come in and play their best A-Game [and] they're going to give you what they've been doing and what they've been successful at. The thing is, you've just got to be able to stop it."
Bucs Tweet of the Day: