EAST RUTHERFORD NJ - SEPTEMBER 12: DeAngelo Williams #34 of the Carolina Panthers is tackled by Kenny Phillips #21 of the New York Giants on September 12 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford New Jersey. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
It's hard to determine which teams are good and which teams are not based on only a week's worth of data. So for what it's worth, after week one the Bucs defense is ranked 20th overall: 21st in pass yds/game and 17th in rush yds/game. Or offense on the other hand the Panthers offense is ranked 28th overall: 26th in pass yards and 20th in rush yards.
Last week we gained a mere 89 rushing yard, and with Double Trouble in the backfield that's hard to imagine. I can't find stats on how many total plays both Stewart and Goodson had, but I could find that overall Goodson and Stewart had the same number of opportunities. Goodson was thrown to 5 times (3 rec) and Stewart had 5 carries. I know we got behind in the second half but those numbers are hard to believe. I would expect a more balanced approach this week.
Last year we torched Tampa with our running game. To counter this Tampa drafted defensive tackles Gerold McCoy and Brian Price with their first two picks. At least the fans are high on their DT potential but the same can't be said about the DE. The offensive will need our running game to improve this week as the biggest factor getting the win.
Key 1: Our running game to return to dominance.
In order for this to happen the offensive line must return to last season form, well at least the end of last season. Game one last year was eerily similar to game one this year in that the line had major issues. We have talent on the line it just a matter of them putting it together. This is the one area of the team I have confidence to turn their performance around. Dave Magazu, the offensive line coach, has been able to put together quality offensive lines since he joined despite the injuries they have faced. The only question is how long will it take. Hopefully the answer is this week.
Key 2: Offensive line to provide protection and running lanes.
Other than Steve Smith, our wide receivers don't strike fear into opposing defenses. Because of this you can expect double coverage on Smith as usual. If they put eight in the box this leaves our other receiver with only one defender. With both LaFell and Martin's status unknown for the game, it will be interesting to see which receivers are active.
Last week, our TE had the second third most opportunities with 8 targets combined. That was behind 16 carries for Williams, 9 targets for Smith, and tied with LaFell at 8 targets. If a wide receiver doesn't step up then one of the TE must.
Finally the Bucs get back Aqib Talib after a one game suspension and will be paired with Ronde Barber as the other corner back. Regardless, the second WR on the field must step up. I have to admit this line is getting old, but it so true. We need a true number two receiver this week.
Key 3: A viable WR besides Smith.
Did anybody think I would go through an offense post and not mention the QB situation? Risking turning this tread into another Moore vs Clausen debate I will. There is little that can defend his second half performance. But simply put he must improve. When he's not handing the ball off, he must be more confident in his throws. On all of his interceptions he floated the ball which is just inviting an INT.
Key 4: Matt Moore from 2009 must return
With that said here is a happy thought from last week: Panther Touchdown
*Most of the stats were derived from www.rotoworld.com