I mentioned earlier this week that the Titans have a clear advantage when it comes to their front seven. The Buccaneers will struggle to cope with Jurrell Casey, Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan. However, they did get some good news this morning.
WR Mike Evans is practicing for Bucs today.— Pat Yasinskas (@PatYazESPN) September 11, 2015
If Evans was able to practice today, it's more than likely that he able to suit up on Sunday. Just the presence of Mike Evans presents an issue. He's a massive receiver with great vertical ability. He will give Jameis Winston a big target, especially in the redzone.
Tennessee will have to rely on Perish Cox to slow him down. One thing to keep in mind, however -- this is a hamstring issue. Those tend to linger around. We probably won't see Evans at 100 percent. Add that to a potentially disastrous offensive line and we may see Jameis Winston have a rough debut.
Perhaps the biggest problem that will face the Titans against the Buccaneers is Gerald McCoy. The 27 year old is the center point of the defense. He has racked up 17.5 sacks during his last two seasons -- a rarity for a guy of his size.
The good news for Tennessee is that Byron Bell has taken over at left guard. I know that sounds odd knowing Bell's history, but he will offer more power and strength -- hopefully nullifying McCoy's penetration. Bell and Warmack's strength will be put to the test on Sunday. Brian Schwenke will have to step up as well.
Finally, Lavonte David will be patrolling the middle of Tampa's front seven. David is one of the NFL's best, offering great athletic ability. David can play sideline to sideline and can run with anyone on the field. He's explosive and can accelerate in an instant. He will be shooting through gaps and blowing up plays on Sunday.
The Titans will be hard pressed to go east-west against the Bucs, simply because of David's presence. Screens, streches, tosses and sweeps will be a little more difficult this week. For that reason, maybe Antonio Andrews will get more reps. Instead of trying to run around David, I would use Andrews and go right at him with power; while staying away from Gerald McCoy of course.
The Bucs may have landed the number one pick last season, but the talent well certainly isn't dry there. This is shaking out to be a pretty evenly matched contest. I think whoever gets the run game going consistently will come out on top. It may be a struggle for both teams.