By Tom Krasniqi
When you talk about the explosive offenses around the NFL, the Lions come to mind immediately. They have a 3,000 yard passer, a 1,000 yard receiver and a running back with more than 1,000 yards from scrimmage. And there are 6 games left in the season. That’s firepower right there.
The 2-8 Bucs will have their hands full on Sunday when they visit the 6-4 Lions at Ford Field. Defensively, the Bucs need to find a way to limit Detroit’s big plays on offense. Easier said than done.
The Lions offense is more than just WR Calvin Johnson and QB Matthew Stafford. Running back Reggie Bush gives them explosive plays out of the backfield as both a runner and a receiver. The Lions have a big time size advantage at the WR/TE position. Johnson is 6-5. WR Kris Durham is 6-6. TE Brandon Pettigrew is 6-5. Rookie TE Joseph Fauria is 6-7. That could pose a problem down in the red zone.
Bush really makes this Lions offense go. He’s averaging 4.5 yards per carry and has 36 receptions out of the backfield. The Bucs know he will be tough to contain, especially in space.
“Whenever he gets his hands on the ball, everybody has to corral him,” linebacker LaVonte David said regarding Bush after Friday’s practice. David says the key is to stopping Bush is not letting him off to a good start.
In his only meeting against the Bucs, Stafford threw for 305 yards and 3 TDs back in the 2011 season opener at Raymond James Stadium. Two of those TD passes went to Johnson.
The Bucs will be shorthanded in the secondary with safety Dashon Goldson suspended for Sunday. Keith Tandy will start in his place. That figures to be a noticeable drop-off in talent.
The Lions offense might be the best offense the Bucs have seen this year. Back in Week 2, the Bucs held the high powered Saints offense to just 16 points.
“I probably wouldn’t say they [Lions offense] are as good as New Orleans, but they’re up there,” David said when asked to compare both offenses.
As for the final injury report, Bucs LG Carl Nicks (foot) and LB Mason Foster (concussion) are out. CB Johnthan Banks (shoulder), DE Da’Quan Bowers (concussion), RG Davin Joseph (knee), LG Jamon Meredith (ankle), WR Chris Owusu (foot) and DT Akeem Spence (wrist) are probable.
Notable injuries for the Lions: DE Israel Odonije (knee), RB Joique Bell (Achilles) and FS Glover Quin (Achilles) are questionable. WR Nate Burleson (forearm), S Louis Delmas (knee), TE Brandon Pettigrew (knee), DE Ziggy Ansah (ankle), DT Andre Fluellen (thigh) and WR Calvin Johnson (knee) are probable.
News & Notes:
- With Foster out, Schiano says the team will use different combinations at linebacker. Adam Hayward is expected to get the start.
- Bucs WR Vincent Jackson believes the Bucs offense can make some plays against the Lions defense: “You respect everybody but you fear nobody. You go out there ready to attack.”
- The Lions have two impressive linebackers in Stephen Tulloch and DeAndre Levy. Both are tied for the team lead in tackles with 81 and Levy is tied for the NFL lead with 5 interceptions.
- Bucs rookie quarterback Mike Glennon is playing smart football. Over his last five games, he has thrown 8 touchdowns and just one interception.
- This Sunday, the Bucs travel to the Motor City as they take on the Detroit Lions. You can catch the game on 620 WDAE and 95.3FM with our coverage beginning at 9am with Countdown to Kickoff.
- For the latest Bucs news, keep it locked all day long on 620 WDAE and 95.3FM, your home of the Bucs and the best Bucs coverage. Don’t forget to check out the Bucs blog at 620wdae.com for the latest news and audio clips.