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Preview Week Five: Buccaneers at Colts

TJ Rushing has looked good so far, but I'd like to see him return one for a TD sometime soon.
I can't recall the last time the Tampa Bay Buccaneers played the Indianapolis Colts in the RCA Dome. I certainly remember the last time these two teams played, and apparently so do many of you. Here's what Tampa resident, and bigtime Colts fan, WayneWayneJr remembers:
Everybody here in Tampa remember the 03 game...everybody. It was the start of the collapse for the Bucs and everyone knows it. I remember watching the game at my house with all my friends jeering at me because the Bucs were going to beat my Colts...but I got the last laugh, and boy did I laugh in every one of their faces!

I was a Buc fan when Tony Dungy turned the franchise around. Granted I was pretty young at the time (being only 22 now). He built an amazing defense and he was a wonderful coach, not to mention a great man. He did so much for the community as well.

I remember when he got fired. It was crazy and caught everyone by surprise. The team was becoming a powerhouse. We had never had a winning team until he showed up....then he gets canned. We didn't get it. (Guys we almost won the NFC Champ. with Shaun King at QB!!) I still hate the Bucs organization to this day for what they did. Let's hope the Colts don't do the same.

Because of Tony Dungy and what he did for the Buc organization, I think deep down inside every true Buc fan routes for the Colts...except this Sunday.

And with that, here's the preview:

Week Five: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Indianapolis Colts
Location: RCA Dome Indianapolis, IN
Kick-off time: 1:00 pm EDT
Broadcast: FOX

MasterRWayne made an interesting point to me the other night: Of these first five games, the Bucs game is the least important. You want to win your opener. You want to win your division games and your conference games. A game like this, against a non-conference opponent, is just not as important. Therefore, with all these injuries, Dungy might be tempted to sit several players.

Sorry, but no. I disagree.

I understand the rationale, but all games now are important, and all games should be approached with the exact same level of preparation and intensity. Every win is critical. If Indy had lost their non-conference games against the Giants or Redskins last year, the AFC Championship game would have been played in New England. Every. Game. Is. Critical. I don't care if its the Titans or Patriots or the Bucs or the friggin' Care Bears. I expect the Colts to win them all because they are that damn good and every win, regardless of the opponent, is that important.

Now, in this instance, that's easier said than done. Much to the surprise of everyone, Tampa Bay is 3-1 while last year's NFC South champions, the Saints, are rotting at 0-3. This is a very different Tampa team than the one Indy shocked back in 2003. It's also very different from the team last year: New QB, their first round pick Gaines Adams, and a familiar linebacker that helped Indy win a Super Bowl last year. Of course, I'm talking about Cato June. Here are the keys:

  • Running game. I know the temptation is there to sit Joseph Addai going into the bye week. No. I want him to play. He needs to play. We pay him to play. He doesn't need to touch the ball 25 times as he's done the last four weeks. Give him 15-20 touches while Kenton Keith runs and catches more. The Colts should run the ball right at Cato June because, well, Cato sucks at tackling. We all love Cato here. We think he's a great guy and a fine linebacker. However, Freddie KO is light years better. Unlike Cato, Freddie can tackle the ball carrier. Novel concept for a linebacker, I know. The Colts should run right at Tampa's front, especially if their safeties play back in a deep cover 2, preventing Peyton from killing them like last time.
  • Secondary. Even though the Colts blew out the Eagles last year, Jeff Garcia played a pretty good game. Now, he's taken full control of the Bucs offense, and he's a major reason the Bucs are 3-1. Key for the Colts is to tackle and disrupt the TB receivers. Joey Galloway is indeed an elite receiver. He's 36 years old, and runs like he's 26. I also know there is a temptation to sit Bob and let him rest. NO! Bob. Sanders. Must. Always. Play. The Bucs could have problems running without Carnell Williams, whose season ended last week after suffering a terrible leg injury. Bucs head coach Jon Gruden will want to throw, and Sanders and the others must punish the receivers.
  • TJ Rushing. TJ had a very good game last week returning kicks and punts. Back in 2003, Brad Pyatt was a big reason why the Colts came back on the Bucs. If TJ can provide the Colts with excellent field position, it makes the offense that much more dangerous against TB's new and revamped defense. TJ's had a good year so far, but I'd like to see him break one for a TD. We need that kind of threat, and TJ certainly has the speed.
For a Bucs fan's take, head over to JScott's Buc'Em blog. I assume the Bucs (and Gruden especially) want some revenge for that game back in 2003. Just as we said during Training Camp, everyone wants a piece of the Colts now. It was always like that, but now the ante is higher.