-Happy Halloween, Bucs fans. Yesterday was of course, the NFL trade deadline and while the Bucs may not have made any trades, the flurry of yesterday’s transactions and the precluding ones since the season started, will affect Tampa Bay in the form of the teams they have to play. Let’s take a look at which team did what in chronological order of when the Bucs play them:
The Carolina Panthers: This happened last month, but the Panthers traded for offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse to help with an offensive line plagued with injuries. Not that 6-foot-5, 245-pound quarterback Cam Newton can’t take a hit (and has), Newhouse likely came in to help with the run game and opening up opportunities for running back Christian McCaffrey, who has broken out separate times in the rushing and receiving game this year. He’s had one 100+ yard game, which came against Cincinnati in Week Three. The Bengals have one of the worst rushing defenses in the league, and the Bucs rank in the top ten, so hopefully even with the addition of Newhouse, they can prevent McCaffrey from having a big impact this coming Sunday in Charlotte.
The Washington Redskins: These guys may be the most improved team since the season started and were clear winners yesterday in their acquisition of former Packers’ safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. I still can’t type that name without giggling. Regardless, Clinton-Dix has made a name for himself as one of the more reliable safeties in the league and has started every game for the Packers since the 2015 season. He nabbed himself a Pro Bowl selection in 2016 and was a leader in Green Bay’s young secondary. Now, he’ll be paired with another exciting young safety in D.J. Swearinger on the Redskins, fortifying Washington’s defense further.
The New Orleans Saints: The Bucs’ division-rival took part in the New York Giants’ fire sale a week ago, trading for cornerback Eli Apple, who was the No.10 overall pick of the 2016 draft. The major weaknesses, while they are minimal, of the Saints lie on defense and in their secondary in particular. When the Bucs played New Orleans in Week One, Tampa Bay receivers managed 417 yards on the Saints’ defense. All but one of the Bucs’ five touchdowns came through the air and the game saw multiple 50+ yard receptions, including a 58-yard bomb of a touchdown to wide receiver DeSean Jackson who got completely behind the Saints’ secondary, one of two on the day for him. Apple has played better this year, even on a struggling Giants team, and he will make it that much harder for a repeat performance come Week 14 when the Saints come to town.
The Baltimore Ravens: Another buyer at the deadline were the Ravens, who the Bucs will visit in Week 15. The success of Baltimore’s season thus far has come thanks in large part to their defense. They have a whopping 27.0 sacks and recorded 11.0 in one game against the Tennessee Titans. On the offensive side of the ball, while they rank eighth in total yards, their running game leaves something to be desired. Enter Ty Montgomery, the former Packer who was somewhat demoted in favor of Aaron Jones, and controversially took the ball out of the end zone on a return against what the team had allegedly instructed him to do and ended up fumbling the ball, therefore handing the game to the Los Angeles Rams this past week. A fresh start seems to be what the embattled running back needs and the Ravens need more balance. He’ll have a few weeks of experience to get adjusted to his new team before the Bucs could conceivably face a more complete Ravens team on Dec. 16.
The Dallas Cowboys: Again, this didn’t happen yesterday but certainly made a splash around the NFL world last week when wide receiver Amari Cooper was traded to the Cowboys from the Oakland Raiders. It confirmed the total rebuild of the Raiders and gave the Cowboys what they were missing after they let Dez Bryant walk this offseason. Whether or not Cooper was worth the first-round pick Dallas gave up for him remains to be seen. He had a down season in 2017, amassing just 680 receiving yards after back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. This season, despite the turmoil in Oakland, he had two 100+ yard games but swung the pendulum in the other direction in four other games. He’s been extremely inconsistent. He either goes off or comes up essentially empty. Again, a change of scenery may serve him well and may give Prescott the weapon he needs to complement Ezekiel Elliott to make the Cowboys’ offense viable. The Bucs will see them in Week 16, plenty of time to see if the Cowboys can get in the NFC East mix.
-The Buccaneers got into the spooky spirit on their day off yesterday in a couple different ways. The Buccaneers Rookie Club took part in a Jr. Bucs event then went reverse trick-or-treating at Moffitt Cancer Center, bringing candy to patients and visiting with them.
There was also a Hurricane Michael Relief Drive going on at AdventHealth Training Center, where donations were being taken for the panhandle as they recover from the devastation. Players like Vinny Curry, Donovan Smith, Riley Bullough and Javien Elliott were on hand helping out. Former Buccaneer Vincent Jackson was also there with his Jackson in Action 83 Foundation, as was the Derrick Brooks Foundation.