1) It has been a bit bumpy transition at quarterback, from Tom Brady to former first overall pick, Baker Mayfield. How has Baker looked this season and what are the fans’ opinions on his chance to be the long-term solution at the position?
Mayfield has been inconsistent at times this season, but I would say it’s been more good than bad, especially the past 2 games. He gave the Bucs the lead against Houston, but the defense couldn’t hold it so that’s not on him. As far as the fans go, a lot of the fan base is still very much split on whether to retain Mayfield or not. On one hand, there are those who think that he’s earned at least another in Tampa Bay, while on the other hand, there are those who are ready to move on and draft a QB to be the long-term answer.
Time will tell on what happens with Baker and the Bucs, but these last 8 games could be critical to his future in Tampa Bay.
2) Christian McCaffrey has been a force this season and the Niners have a plethora of other options as well on offense. If you were Tampa’s defensive coordinator, how would you go about attempting to slow down this offense?
In the Bucs four wins, it has been the defense that has stepped up the most during those. In Tampa’s four wins this season, the defense has allowed totals of 17, 17, 9 and 6 points. They are 4-1 this season when holding opponents to under 20 points and were 7-1 last year in those games as well. If the defense can find a way to get off the field on 3rd downs, force some pressure and create a turnover or two, Tampa Bay certainly has a fighters’ chance in this one.
On defense, what would you say is the Niners biggest strength and biggest weakness that Tampa will have to keep an eye on?
I think the unit has performed a bit better than expected. Don’t get me wrong, there are still definitely questions for that group, specifically at left guard and center, but the transition and development that Luke Goedeke has made has been huge, rookie Cody Mauch has had his moments as well. I am running out of words to describe Tristan Wirfs.
I personally had my doubts before the season that he was gonna come in and pick up where he left off when transitioning to left tackle, but boy was I wrong. Wirfs has been spectacular for the Buccaneers and looks like a guy who has been playing left tackle his entire career. The sky is the limit for how good this guy can be.
4) Tampa Bay is getting a lot of snaps from their 2023 draft class, which rookies have impressed you or opposing teams should know about?
Despite being injured all of training camp, the preseason and he even in some regular season games, 1st round pick Calijah Kancey has come as advertised. His first step is just so much faster than anyone else along the defensive line, and he’s made a big impact. 6th round pick Trey Palmer has also flashed at times and is proving to be a really solid value pick on day 3. Those are two guys the Bucs not only hope to contribute a lot in the future, but also this Sunday as well.
5) These two defenses are allowing less than 20 points per game. The total is set at 41.0 according to DraftKings Sportsbook, so do you expect the under to hit, or will there be an unexpected offensive breakout?
My score prediction for the game was 30-17 in San Francisco’s favor, so I guess I would go with the over in this one. While the Bucs defense has done well this season, they have struggled against really good offenses and I don’t think that changes here.