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Flip Side: Motivating Factor For Tampa Bay?


Each week, Lindsay Draper goes Behind the Enemy Lines to discuss what's happening with this Sunday's opponent. This time, she caught up with Bucs reporter Casey Phillips (@CaseyReporting) to answer some pressing questions about the Bucs, who have won just one road game this year.

Tampa Bay is 3rd overall in yards per game, 1st in passing yards per game, and averaging roughly 25 points per game. Why have defenses struggled to keep the Bucs offense in check?

I could probably boil it down to one word. Weapons. Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Adam Humphries, Chris Godwin, Cam Brate, OJ Howard combine to be (in my incredibly biased but not necessarily wrong) opinion the best group of pass catchers in the league. Plus they bring such different skillsets to the table that no matter where you are on the field, you have at least one weapon who seems tailor-made for that down and distance. Jameis has his security blankets in Adam Humphries and Cam Brate. Both aren't afraid to go over the middle and Brate is a touch down and red zone machine. You have Evans who is big and athletic enough to make a catch against anyone anywhere on the field, and Jackson as a constant big play threat that helps give the rest of the guys room to work. Even if one or two guys have an off game, or a team has a "lock down" corner, there are plenty of other guys to pick up the slack.

The Cowboys are playing to win the division on Sunday, and the Buccaneers have been eliminated from playoff contention. How do they get inspired for this matchup?

Players have been very unified in their messaging that it shouldn't be a struggle to get up for a game when you're a professional football player. They all site either their love of the game, the fact that it's what they get paid to do, they are fighting for their job for next year, or playing for their teammates and brothers next to them on the field. Plus for anyone on the roster that was around for the last matchup between the teams, the Bucs definitely left feeling like they let one get away on the national stage and there should be some motivation to redeem that performance.It's been about a month since Jameis Winston won his starting spot back. How has he handled the ups and downs of this season, and how is he playing currently?

It's been about a month since Jameis Winston won his starting spot back. How has he handled the ups and downs of this season, and how is he playing currently?

Once Jameis was allowed to be around the team and in the facility, even if he wasn't starting, he was constantly displaying those leadership skills he is known for. Whether it was high fiving every player going into the locker room before a game and giving words of encouragement, or throwing a ball on the sideline with a teammate who had just dropped a crucial pass, he was doing whatever he could to make the team better. And then once he was benched for performance reasons, he used the time for self-evaluation and produced a stretch of interception free games once he was reinstated as the starter. He has shown an ability to make better decisions with the football and an understanding of what the team needs him to be to win games.