Tale Of The Tape: Arizona Cardinals At Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- QuarterbackQuarterback Carson Palmer had a difficult time in Week 3 against the Saints in the Superdome, and that’s not a huge surprise. While he threw two interceptions, it’s not time to write off Palmer yet. He can survey the defense, find the open receiver and make the proper throw if his offensive line can protect him.You have to wonder how much more Tampa Bay head coach Greg Schiano has to see from Josh Freeman. He continues to string bad games together and the pressure is impacting his ability to make proper decisions and throw the ball accurately. While Freeman is a solid physical specimen, he appears to be in way over his head and he is not a competent NFL starting quarterback.
- OffenseThe Cardinals have the ability to play well on offense, but they can’t do it if they are dependent on Palmer. They need to get running back Rashard Mendenhall a few cracks to run through and produce at least 75 rushing yards. That will make life a lot easier for Larry Fitzgerald. Michael Floyd would also be a beneficiary because he will only get single coverage.Opposing defense load up against Doug Martin, but he still managed 88 yards against New England in Week 3. Once the Bucs got behind in the second half, the Tampa Bay running game was no longer a credible option. Vincent Jackson had to leave the game with an abdominal injury. If he can’t go, the Bucs will be severely limited.
- DefenseWhile the Cardinals had a very difficult time slowing down Drew Brees and the Saints, they should have a much easier time in this game. Karlos Dansby is the kind of linebacker who has the range to make plays all over the field. Tyrann Mathieu appears to be a difference maker because he had 10 tackles and an interception against the Saints.The Bucs have played fairly well on defense to this point in the season, but they have not been successful because of mistakes at inopportune times. Lavonte David’s untimely late-hit penalty in Week 1 against the Jets cost the team a victory and it has been downhill since then. Strong safety Mark Barron had 11 tackles, an interception and 1/2 sack against the Pats in Week 3.
- Special TeamsPatrick Peterson should be a big-time weapon for the Cardinals in the return game. He has explosive speed and he can string moves together, but he has yet to make any big plays in that area this season. Jay Feely is a strong-legged placekicker, while Dave Zastudil can drop his punts inside the 20.The Bucs don’t have any major threats in the return game, but they rate the edge in this category because they are much better in coverage than the Cardinals. Michael Koenen is a solid punter who gets excellent distance and height on his kicks.
The feeling here is that the Bucs are in big trouble as long as Freeman remains at quarterbacks. He makes too many mistakes and his confidence is at a low point. Mike Glennon may not have a track record, but he would be a better alternative. The Cardinals are the better team here. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor