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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

TJ's Take: 3 Keys to Beat the Bears


Pick up where you left off with Sacks and Takeaways*
As a Buccaneers fan, you wish that you could have kicked off the Bears game about 15 minutes after things were over at FedExField last Sunday, because the defense was playing at *that
high of a level! Six sacks and three turnovers, including a Johnthan Banks interception return for a touchdown in the 1st quarter, was a HUGE difference in defeating Washington. Sunday against the Bears will be no different. If the pass rush can hurry Jay Cutler into quick, and at times, ill advised throws, then that's where picks will likely happen.


Get familiar with the key players on Chicago before the Bucs take on the Bears on Sunday.

Feed Mike Evans the football**
Until teams demonstrate that they can slow down Mike Evans in the offensive gameplan, the Bucs have to continue to dial up plays down the field for him. He has been impressive against the last three secondaries he's faced, and the mindset has to be "don't go away from him until they prove they can stop him." Obviously, Vincent Jackson is another great weapon, but we have seen two trends develop recently. As VJax has been doubled, it's left Evans alone with one smaller defensive back (advantage Bucs). And secondly, it's created confusion/indecisiveness with the opposing safeties on which standout receiver to try and help on (BIG advantage Bucs). The Bears may choose to start doubling Evans in this game, but until they do and until it takes him away, you must continue to involve the rookie standout in the pass game. Chances are you will have several opportunities to throw some balls down field to him (and Vincent). Can't wait to see it unfold!

Finally, don't make that big of a deal out of "Return to Chicago"
As much as Head Coach Lovie Smith and QB Josh McCown have done to downplay coming back to Chicago to play against the Bears, it has to have some significance for them. Of COURSE, they want to win this game more than just another regular season road game. To their credit, they have said the right things leading up to the match-up, but you know for both, they would like nothing better than to take it to their former team. Therein lies the key: As Josh McCown said this week on Buccaneers radio, don't overdo the "I'll show you" mindset. For him, it's "just play." And do so within game plan and not by taking unnecessary risks. Obviously, Lovie isn't playing, but he must make clear to his guys that are out there for him that same point. The team needs to play aggressive, smart, and execute the gameplan.

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