Buccaneers vs Dallas Cowboys Week 1 Game preview, game and broadcast details, key players, main storylines, injury updates
SENIOR COACHING STAFF
• Head Coach Todd Bowles
• Assistant Head Coach/Run Game Coordinator Harold Goodwin
• Offensive Coordinator Byron Leftwich
• Running Game Coordinator/Defensive Line Coach Kacy Rodgers
• Passing Game Coordinator/Inside Linebackers Coach Larry Foot
• Special Teams Coordinator Keith Armstrong
• Head Coach Mike McCarthy
• Assistant Head Coach Rob Davis
• Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore
• Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn
• Special Teams Coordinator John Fassel
KEY ADDITIONS TO THE 2022 ROSTER
• P Jake Camarda (fourth-round draft pick)
• WR Russell Gage (UFA)
• G Luke Goedeke (second round draft pick)
• DL Logan Hall (second-round draft pick)
• TE Ko Kieft (sixth-round draft pick)
• G Shaq Mason (trade–NE)
• CB Zyon McCollum (fifth-round draft pick)
• TE Cade Otton (fourth-round draft pick)
• RB Rachaad White (third-round draft pick)
• TE Jake Ferguson (fourth-round draft pick)
• DL John Ridgeway (fifth-round draft pick)
• T Tyler Smith (first-round draft pick)
• WR Jalen Tolbert (third-round draft pick)
• WR/KR Kavontae Turpin (FA)
• WR James Washington (UFA – currently on injured reserve)
• DE Sam Williams (second-round draft pick)
ADDITIONAL CHANGES TO NOTE IN 2022
• As the Bucs continue to maintain enviable continuity within their coaching staff, there is a new person in the corner office. In March, Bruce Arians stepped down after three years as head coach and took on a new role as senior adviser to the general manager. Todd Bowles was promoted to defensive coordinator to take his place. Bowles previously served as head coach of the New York Jets from 2015 to 2018 before joining Arians when the latter became head coach of the Buccaneers in 2019.
• With Bowles, the Bucs needed a new defensive coordinator and they basically named two. Defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers added the run game coordinator title while outside linebackers coach Larry Foote moved to inside linebackers and added the passing game coordinator title. They are actually defensive co-coordinators. Bob Sanders has joined the staff to take over from Foote in the outside linebacker room. Foote made his switch after Inside Linebackers coach Mike Caldwell landed the defensive coordinator job at Jacksonville under new head coach Doug Pederson.
• The Buccaneers had two key players retired after the 2021 season, but only one remained retired. While quarterback Tom Brady finally opted to return 40 days after announcing he was stepping away from the game, his longtime pal Rob Gronkowski walked away for good, bringing about big changes in the tight room. of the Bucs. While veteran Cam Brate returned, OJ Howard left for free agency and the Buccaneers then drafted Cade Otton and Ko Kieft and signed veteran Kyle Rudolph.
• The Tampa Bay defense also saw the departure of two front seven stalwarts from the hugely successful 2020-21 seasons, as neither DL Ndamukong Suh nor OLB Jason Pierre-Paul were re-signed. The team signed standout veteran Akiem Hicks and drafted Houston’s Logan Hall 33rd overall to tackle depth up front and is counting on 2021 first-round pick Joe Tryon-Shoyinka to get the upper hand.
• Long known for fielding a dominant offensive line, the Cowboys will have a new look in 2022, especially after star left tackle Tyron Smith suffered a hamstring tear that sidelined him for much of the season. Dallas also released right tackle La’el Collins in a cap-related move (he landed in Cincinnati) and saw left guard Connor Williams head to Miami in free agency. Dallas drafted Tyler Smith from Tulsa in the first round in April and initially pitted him against Connor McGovern for left guard, but he will now replace the other T. Smith at left tackle. At right tackle, Terence Steele has the chance to take over.
• Dallas also saw a shake-up in its receiving squad, starting when Amari Cooper was also released for capping purposes (he went to Cleveland). With Michael Gallup still not back from last season’s ACL tear and Cedrick Wilson joining Connor Williams in the move to Miami, CeeDee Lamb becomes the undisputed number one receiver, followed by a group of players unproven like Noah Brown, Simi Fehoko and the Rookie. the third round Jalen Tolbert.
• Mike McCarthy is back for his third season as Cowboys head coach and he has also kept coordinators Kellen Moore (offensive), Dan Quinn (defense) and John Fassel (special teams) intact, but there are there was a change in the coaching staff. Robert Prince succeeds Adam Henry as wide receivers coach; Prince previously worked with Moore at Boise State.
THE BEST HISTORY LINES
Competing for Tom’s attention – It’s clear the Buccaneers offense is full of passing passing talent that Tom Brady can exploit. It’s unclear which of these talented players will become Brady’s favorite target(s). The Buccaneers will soon get Chris Godwin back into action, possibly in Week 1, joining Mike Evans and now sharing a passing attack with Russell Gage and Julio Jones. If one of those four needs a break, the team can call on the fast Scotty Miller, the sneaky Jaelon Darden or the big Breshad Perriman. Rob Gronkowski is gone but Cameron Brate and Kyle Rudolph can deliver production from the tight endpoint. Leonard Fournette caught 69 passes last year but could now share goals with impressive rookie Rachaad White. Head coach Todd Bowles said it might take three or four weeks for a true offensive identity to emerge for the 2022 Buccaneers, and in this case, it’s because there’s almost too options to know which combinations will turn out the best until they are put into practice.
Quick start required – A year ago, the Buccaneers survived a shootout with the Cowboys on opening night, but then had a few extra days to prepare for an Atlanta team in Week 2. They won it, then lost to eventual champions Los Angeles in Week 2 before picking up three straight against New England, Miami and Philadelphia. This year, the Buccaneers will have to return home early Monday morning after their game in Dallas, then leave for New Orleans five days later. Matches against top contenders Green Bay and Kansas City will follow. This is truly a brutal first month on the Buccaneers schedule, which will take maximum effort to emerge with a record above .500. That makes a quick start in Dallas even more critical so the Buccaneers don’t find themselves in an early hole and rushing out of it against increasingly formidable opponents.
Find Micah –Former Cardinals third baseman Fernando Tatis Sr. has already hit two Grand Slams in the same inning against the Dodgers. Looks like the Cowboys did something similar in April 2021 when they drafted Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons 12th overall. Parsons was drafted as an off-ball linebacker and proved to be a force there with 75 tackles, three passes defensed, and advanced coverage abilities against opposing tight ends. But when the Cowboys needed an injury replacement at the edge of the rusher, he was even more destructive there, eventually leading all rookies with 13 sacks. He was named to the first team Associated press All-Pro and was the first ever Defensive Rookie of the Year unanimous selection. The Cowboys coaching staff should continue to move Parsons around to exploit his many talents, which will make it harder for opposing teams to plan a game for him during the week and figure out what he’s doing on any given play. during the game. Brady and company must keep a constant eye on where Parsons lines up and where it looks like he will go.
Which line holds? – The Buccaneers and Cowboys have had similar experiences on their offensive lines in 2022 so far. Tampa Bay had three Pro Bowl tackles last year and the league’s best sack rate allowed, but they enter 2022 with three new starters thanks to the free agency departure of retired Alex Cappa. Ali Marpet and, most recently, Ryan Jensen’s serious knee injury. While the Shaq Mason trade has produced an experienced replacement for Cappa, the Bucs will go with sophomore Robert Hainsey at center and rookie Luke Goedeke at left guard. Both were Day 2 draft picks widely considered future starters, but the future came early. Dallas has long been known for its dominance in the trenches, but will also have several new starters in 2022. Star left tackle Tyron Smith is out indefinitely with a hamstring tear, left guard Connor Williams is now in Miami and tackle right La’el Collins was released in a cap purge. Rookie Tyler Smith, the 24th overall pick in the draft, is now likely to step in at left tackle, but the Cowboys have definite question marks up front. Which of these new frontlines will best mimic their impressive predecessors?
Will they run? – The 2019 Buccaneers had the number one ranked running defense in the NFL. So did the 2020 Buccaneers. Even so, when the Cowboys came to Tampa to kick off the 2021 season, Buccaneers linebacker Devin White expected the Dallas offense to try anyway to impose its will on the ground. That’s not what happened. The Cowboys essentially dropped out of the run early and eventually asked Dak Prescott to throw 58 passes. White said the Dallas offense basically used short passing as a de facto rushing offense, something the Bucs weren’t expecting. This year, the Tampa Bay defense sets no expectations for the Cowboys’ strategic approach to run-pass balance. However, as always, they still think it’s important to stop the run first in order to try to make every opposing attack one-dimensional. It’s not necessarily an easy task when the Cowboys have a two-headed attack from Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. “We expect to stop the run, Coach Kacy [Rodgers] underlined this. We really have to buckle down because they have two great full-backs, two of the [best] back in the NFL. We have to be ready to stop these two guys.”