The Dallas Cowboys open their season on Sunday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. with DraftKings Sportsbook having the Cowboys as 2.5 point underdogs. In order to be ready for the game, we talked to the fine folks over at Bucs Nation, the SB Nation site for the Buccaneers. We asked them five questions about the game and got five answers.
Blogging The Boys: What do you make of Tom Brady’s mid-training camp absence? Any sense of what was really going on, and did it affect preparations for the season?
Bucs Nation: I don’t make too much of it to be honest. The team stated on several occasions — whether it was head coach Todd Bowles or general manager Jason Licht — that they were made aware of this well before camp began. As for it affecting preparations, I’d say it didn’t even come close to the team missing a beat in that department. If anything it most certainly allowed the staff to get a closer look at guys behind the projected starters more exclusively. Plus, you can tell they didn’t miss a beat during the opening drive against the Texans in Houston with Brady under center. And no, I have no sense as to what really went on other than it was a “pre-planned event” of sorts (whatever that may be).
BTB: There have been some changes on the Bucs offensive line. Give us an idea of what happened there and how it might play out in game action?
BN: A big surprise retirement by Ali Marpet early on in the offseason kind of set the tone for what was to come for Tampa Bay along that unit. Injuries to veteran center Ryan Jensen and projected starting guard Aaron Stinnie are certainly a concern as Stinnie is out for the year and Jensen will miss a considerable amount of time. Fortunately for the Bucs Robert Hainsey is a very good lineman and he’ll take Jensen’s spot. But the guard positions are definitely question marks heading into the season.
BTB: Do you think Chris Godwin will play and how effective could he be if he does? What will Julio Jones’ role be among the receivers?
BN: No, Godwin won’t be playing. In fact, they are keeping him in the no contact jersey at practice. Bowles said he hasn’t been cleared by the medical staff. As for Jones, that’s hard to say right now. That wide receiver group is very deep and he will be Sunday’s third guy. But that means nothing as Brady will still try to connect with him often. He will certainly get looks as most of the attention will be on Mike Evans.
BTB: Todd Bowles is now the head coach. How have things changed under him and tell us about the new defensive coordinator arrangement?
BN: The team hasn’t changed at all. Bowles is still calling defensive plays and the schemes have not been altered. There will obviously be some differences in gameday coaching decisions, but we’ll see what they are when that bridge is crossed.
BTB: Who is standing out among the rookie draft picks?
BN: Without a doubt, it’s running back Rachaad White. He has great playmaking ability in the open field and he will get a good amount of looks on Sundays, beginning this week in Dallas.
Thanks for the knowledge, Bucs Nation.