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Texans-Buccaneers: Pro Football Focus Previews The Bucs

In addition to taking a look at our Texans, the stats geeks at PFF also took a look at our opponents this week, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

He's not number 1 just yet, but he did get his first victory and he showed improvement week on week, which is all you can ask for from a rookie QB.
He's not number 1 just yet, but he did get his first victory and he showed improvement week on week, which is all you can ask for from a rookie QB.
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Lovie Smith is a defensive-minded coach. He's proven that throughout his 19 years spent coaching in the NFL. His time with the Chicago Bears was highlighted by strong defenses and giving his offensive coordinator free rein to do as he pleased. Not surprisingly, Lovie's offenses in Chicago had plenty of WTF moments. His time in Tampa Bay has seen Lovie show a little more love to the offensive side of the ball, with high draft picks spent on Mike Evans and Jameis Winston. Despite that, the Bucs currently have the league's worst overall offense with a -44.9 rating through two weeks.

It's early in Winston's career.  He's going to have to continue to develop as an NFL quarterback (and mitigate his gunslinging ways) to have a long, successful career, but he's already shown some progress. Of course, looking at all quarterbacks that have played at least half their team's snaps, Winston's -6.2 rating is 29th, a spot higher than Ryan Mallett, whom we're hoping can rescue us from the depths of quarterback h3ll, so at least Bucs' fans have some hope at that position. Winston was abysmal in his first start, posting a -9.3 rating against the Titans, but he mustered a +3.1 grade against the Saints, which was good enough for seventh among all quarterbacks in Week 2. The inaccuracy Winston displayed in Week 1 (55.2%, bad enough for last in the NFL, even after Brian Hoyer) improved to 71.4% in Week 2.

Winston is not getting much help from his offensive line, though. Left tackle Donovan Smith has managed to be crowned Tampa Bay's worst overall player. His -12.0 rating results in part from the one sack and seven hurries he's already allowed against the Titans (revitalized by  ageless wonder Dick LeBeau) and the Saints (who are making Rob Ryan look like a competent defensive coordinator for once). Smith was bad enough for a -3.1 rating against the Titans and even worse (-4.9) against the Saints. Overall, Smith's Week 2 grade ranked him 54th out of 62 offensive tackles.  His -4.7 grade in run blocking was 60th.

As is the story with any defensive-minded coach, the Bucs understand that a strong defensive line is key to any success. Gerald McCoy is criminally underrated because he plays on a team that's essentially an afterthought, but he's currently boasting a +3.7 grade. Clinton McDonald and Jacquies Smith aren't household names either, but they currently have grades of +3.9 and +3.7, respectively. Linebacker Lavonte David, however, is struggling this season, with a -4.0 rating on his 137 snaps. Last season he posted a +10.1 overall rating, so there's hope he can right the ship before long (just not this week, please).

Cornerback Johnthan Banks ranked second among his position with a +2.8 overall grade, playing well in coverage (+1.5) and against the run (+1.2). The Saints targeted Banks only two times the entire game and he allowed one catch, but managed to keep Willie Snead out of the end zone on a two-point conversion attempt.

Top performers:

QB Jameis Winston (+3.1)

CB Johnathan Banks (+2.8)

FS Chris Conte (+2.2)

HB Charles Sims (+2.0)

DT Gerald McCoy (+1.6)

SS Bradley McDougald (+1.6)

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