The LA Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have had two fascinating showdowns in the last two years and Sunday’s round three figures to be the most important NFL game of November, to say the least. Getting the opportunity to watch Matthew Stafford and Tom Brady, with receivers like Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, Mike Evans, and Chris Godwin, being defended against the likes of Jalen Ramsey, Darious Williams, and Tampa Bay’s underrated secondary of young playmakers, and having players in the trenches like Aaron Donald, Vita Vea, and Ndamukong Suh is exactly what I ask for at the football store every year when I go ask for more helpings of football.
And those names are only a fraction of the talent that we get to watch at SoFi Stadium this weekend.
The Buccaneers met with the media on Wednesday and many of those names came up in press conferences with head coach Bruce Arians, tight end Rob Gronkowski, cornerback Carlton Davis, and safety Mike Edwards, who had two pick-six interceptions in the fourth quarter of Week 2’s win over the Atlanta Falcons.
This is what they had to say about Matthew Stafford, Aaron Donald, Cooper Kupp, Jalen Ramsey, and staying hydrated in Los Angeles.
Bruce Arians loves watching Matthew Stafford throw in warm-ups
The veteran head coach has worked with Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Carson Palmer, and Tom Brady, so he appreciates talent at quarterback when he sees it. Arians noted on Wednesday that not only does he love watching Stafford throw the ball, he can’t wait to see him warming up on Sunday.
#GoBucs HC Bruce Arians on Matthew Stafford & pre game: "I love watching him throw. I probably come out and watch him, get a feel for the surrounding too. Do all the things you do for pregame in a new stadium, find all the clocks and things and see whatsup with the new place."— Nick Hamilton (@NickHamilton213) September 22, 2021
Carlton Davis says that the Rams got a “bigger arm and a deep ball” when they made the change from Jared Goff to Matthew Stafford
Davis noted that Tampa Bay will have to be more on the lookout for the deep ball with Stafford at the helm. However, that may have already been an issue for Davis when facing the Rams ...
#Bucs CB Carlton Davis says that Matthew Stafford adds a bigger arm and a deep ball to the Rams offense.— PewterReport (@PewterReport) September 22, 2021
Because Goff consistently went at Davis in their last two meetings, targeting him 11 times in 2019 and 10 more times in 2020. Goff completed 15 of those passes for 201 yards. However, Davis isn’t entirely wrong either: Goff’s average depth of target against Davis was only 7.5 yards in 2019 and 5.7 yards in 2020, which are two of the lowest totals that the cornerback has seen in the last two years.
Now he’ll be facing Matthew Stafford.
Teammate Mike Edwards agreed and said the Bucs would look to limit explosive plays.
Arians expects Jalen Ramsey to be around Mike Evans for “a lot of the game”
Ramsey is in the “Star” position and can basically do whatever he wants now. To some degree. With permission from the coaches. I’m not sure but in any case, he’s killing it in the first two games.
Arians thinks that will mean Ramsey covering Mike Evans for a lot of the game.
#Bucs HC Bruce Arians says he’d be surprised if Jalen Ramsey wasn’t around Mike Evans for a lot of the game. Ramsey does just about everything for that team.— PewterReport (@PewterReport) September 22, 2021
Rob Gronkowski says he needs to be “mentally ready” to block Aaron Donald
Gronkowksi says that Donald’s skill set “is unbelievable” and that the Bucs will be “sure to account for him.”
Mike Edwards is especially concerned with limiting Cooper Kupp’s explosive plays
Kupp has been on a mission this year, catching a 56-yard touchdown in Week 1, and two more receptions over 40 yards against the Colts in Week 2. Kupp has seven other receptions that have gone for at least 10 yards.
In 2020, Cooper Kupp had two receptions that went over 40 yards. Two. He already has three. For that reason, Tampa Bay safety Mike Edwards, who picked off a Matt Ryan pass for an interception in Week 2, then on the next play caught a deflected pass and returned that for a touchdown too, will keep a close eye on Kupp.
#Bucs S Mike Edwards says it’s all about eliminating the explosive plays against the Rams’ offense, especially with a receiver like Cooper Kupp.— PewterReport (@PewterReport) September 22, 2021
Carlton Davis agreed that the Rams have “a lot of playmakers.”
Gronk says that it is important to stay “hydrated and conditioned” on cross country flights
He’s probably just talking about some CBD shampoo and conditioner that he’s selling.
#Bucs TE Rob Gronkowski says that those cross country flights are an important aspect to the game. You have to a be hydrated and conditioned.— PewterReport (@PewterReport) September 22, 2021
Arians still hopes to have Antonio Brown back in time to play
Brown was placed on the COVID-19 reserve list on Wednesday and he must pass two tests, 24 hours apart in order to be cleared for Sunday.
Arians said AB has a chance to still play this weekend if he clears two negative tests and stays asymptomatic but at this point, “That’d be gravy.” They’ll be ready to go with or without him.— Carmen Vitali (@CarmieV) September 22, 2021