The San Francisco 49ers will take another trip to the east coast as they travel to Tampa to face the Buccaneers. This is a game that will fetaure two players that are going against their former teams. Eric Wright was a member of the Buccaneers when Dashon Goldson left the 49ers to sign a free agent contract with them. Wright was released during the preseason and was signed by the 49ers soon after. Once this happened, December 15th became an important date for both players.
The 49ers are coming into this game on a bit of a role having won a crucial game against the division leading Seattle Seahawks. Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin are yet to hit their stride as a wide receiver duo. There is still time for them to get things going with Colin Kaepernick. Boldin is close to a 1000 yard season which is a something that Crabtree himself did last year.
The defense is really hitting it’s stride right now. They are allowing 103.7 total yards rushing per game. That is thanks in large part to the emergence of Glenn Dorsey at the nose tackle position. Dorsey was a solid player against the run while playing for the Kansas City Chiefs but many were more concerned about how few sacks he accumulated. Ahmad Brooks has also been a factor with his ability to set the edge on the right side of the defense. Another factor is the play of Navorro Bowman. Bowman has etched his mark as the top inside linebacker in the NFL. Patrick Willis is still a force against the run as well. Lastly, Eric Reid and Donte Whitner have done a great job of coming up in run support.
The Buccaneers have a defense that is also rounding into shape. Lavonte David has come into his own as a second year player. The Bucs are giving up 104 yards rushing per game and are actually giving up less total yards than the 49ers. That is because of their pass defense. The high priced secondary is starting to pay off after a tough start to the season. Darrelle Revis is getting closer to his pre injury form. Their rookie cornerJonathan Banks is a long, lanky corner that makes him hard to beat in the vertical passing game Mark Barron and Dashon Goldson form one of the harder hitting safety duos.
This game is one that Dashon Goldson has been looking forward to for quite some time. He spoke about that earlier this week. “Of course I look forward to this game, I look forward to every Sunday. I’m sure my emotions will be flying come Sunday.” The 49ers players appreciate the talent that he has. Colin Kaepernick said; “Dashon’s a great player. He does a lot of great things. He has a lot of range on the back end.” Patrick Willis also said; “Dashon and I, we came in together. We kind of grew in this league together, so he’ll always ne close to me and dear to me as a teammate. I know him like a brother. But, we are very fortunate to have Eric and all the thing’s he brought to this team.”
Eric Reid was brought in to replace Goldson and this week has seen the most comparisons between the two. At this point, Reid has filled in admirably. He has been a very disciplined player on the back end, keeping every thing in front of him. Goldson has recognized how Reid has played. “He’s really good. A raw talent. They’re going to be good for years to come.”
The Bucs have a running back that they like to feature in Bobby Rainey. He is only 5’8″ but is very explosive. Rainey is able to hide behind his linemen and pop out to surprise would be tacklers. He’s fresh off a game in which he rushed for 127 yards on 22 carries. One of his runs was an 80 yard touchdown against the Buffalo Bills.
Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon struggled in his last game. He only completed nine of his 25 attempts. Glennon threw two interceptions but did manage to also throw two touchdowns. He has been a key part of the Bucs turn around. Vic Fangio spent some time talking about Glennon during his press conference. “Well, he’s done a good job running their offense. They run an offense that’s pretty similar to the New York Giants, with their offensive coordinator coming from there. And he’s gotten better and better every week. They’re getting sacked less here lately, cutting down on the interceptions. Seems to me he’s got good command of their offense and he’s got very good arm talent, throws the ball extremely well, short, intermediate and deep. He’s got deceiving pocket presence, too. He can move around in the pocket. I wouldn’t say he’s the [Seahawks QB] Russell Wilson-type scrambler or anything, but he has good pocket feel.”
Darrelle Revis vs Anquan Boldin Based off how things have shaped up over the last few games, Revis should draw the assignment of covering Boldin more this week. Boldin just had a pretty solid game against the Seahawks. He is set to become a 1000 yard receiver. Once again Boldin will go against a corner that loves to press. Revis is a technician when it comes to coverage. This is a matchup that will be one to watch.
Gerald McCoy vs Alex Boone McCoy is very disruptive at the defensive tackle position. He is able to get pressure on the quarterback as shown by his seven sacks. Boone is tall for a guard but has done an excellent job. He is possibly one of the best in the NFL at his position.
Lavonte David vs Vernon Davis If the Bucs decide to allow cover Davis one on one, David will probably be the one to draw that assignment. David is a very athletic linebacker. He is 6’1″ 233 pounds so he has decent size to matchup against the freakishly athletic player that Vernon Davis is. David is an aggressive player so don’t be surprised if the 49ers look to take advantage of his aggressive approach by using some play action passes.
Donald Penn vs Aldon Smith This is going to be a heck of a matchup on the outside. Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune told me about how Penn used to “throw a blanket on John Abraham” in their twice a year matchups back when Abraham played for the Atlanta Falcons. Aldon Smith is a similar pass rusher but does have a better bull rush and uses his hands better. Penn is a big man but does have good enough footwork to get back into his pass drop and slow down the pass rush of Aldon Smith.
Dashon Goldson will face his former team for the first time. He was a fourth round draft pick by the 49ers in the 2007 NFL Draft. He visited the facility during a one game suspension that he was serving. Goldson said that someone made a comment about whether or not he was spying on the 49ers. Goldson was sure to point out how he thought the comment was ridiculous.
Eric Wright will also face his former team for the first time. The Bucs gave Wright a large contract but released him during the off season after some personal issues arose. Wright is now playing for the team that he grew up watching but he and the 49ers will look to make their visit to Raymond James Stadium a memorable one.
Pro Bowl Offensive Guard Donald recorded his first NFL reception at San Francisco (11/21/10), catching a one-yard pass for a touchdown.
Chris Owusu was a rookie free agent signing by the 49ers. He reported to mini camp and actually looked to be in better condition than A.J. Jenkins, the original wide receiver that the 49ers selected. Owusu also played for Jim Harbaugh at Standford university.
Prior to joining San Francisco, Jim Leavitt was the head coach at the University of South Florida, a position he held since the program’s inception in 1995. In 13 seasons, he led the Bulls to a 95-57 record. Leavitt started the program with a makeshift office that was formerly a trailer. He built South Florida into a contender.
With five takeaways last Sunday in their 27-6 win over Buffalo, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers pushed their season total to 29, already three more than they had in 16 games a year ago. They now lead the league in that category and are on pace to finish with 36 takeaways, the Bull.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers haven’t lost a game at home in nearly two months, and they can make that run stretch at least another eight months if they pull off one more victory against San Francisco on Sunday.
The 49ers can clinch a playoff spot with a win, a Cardinals loss and either a Cowboys or Eagles loss.
Here is your injury report:
Buccaneers (Tampa hasn’t released an status report yet)
DE Da’Quan Bowers (DNP) Knee
LB Lavonte David (FP) Back
DE William Gholston (FP) Head
DT Gary Gibson (FP) Calf
WR Vincent Jackson (DNP) Hamstring
OG Davin Joseph (DNP) Knee/Shoulder
OG Carl Nicks (DNP) Foot
DT Akeem Spence (FP) Wrist
C Jeremy Zuttah (DNP) Shoulder
CB Tarell Brown (LP) Ribs
G Mike Iupati (LP) Knee
WR Mario Manningham (LP) Knee
TE Vance McDonald (LP) Knee
WR Jon Baldwin (FP) Shoulder
WR Michael Crabtree (FP) Ankle
S Craig Dahl (FP) Ankle
RB Frank Gore (FP) Ankle
RT Ray McDonald (FP) Ankle
LB Dan Skuta (FP) Foot
LB Aldon Smith (FP) Shoulder
DT Justin Smith (FP) Shoulder
G Adam Snyder (FP) Not Injury Related
LT Joe Staley (FP) Knee