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Buccaneers closer to consistency on offense than their defense

I spoke with Sander Philipse at to get his thoughts on this week’s match up between the Denver Broncos and Tampa Bay Bucs.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With the Denver Broncos heading to Florida this Sunday to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, I spoke with Sander Philipse of Bucs Nation to learn more about this weeks’ opponent.

1) The Bucs look in really good shape with a solid core of young talent and what looks like a legit young QB who is only going to get better. Are they still building, or is their 1-2 record a fluke and why?

I would have thought that the Bucs have enough talent to win now, but the first three weeks say that I'm wrong. I don't expect that to fundamentally change the rest of the season, which means they're still building.

Their 1-2 record isn't in and of itself a disaster, but the fact that they got blown out by the Arizona Cardinals and gave up 37 points to a Los Angeles Rams team that had scored just nine in the previous two weeks points to some pretty fundamental problems. Part of that is due to injuries, especially among the defensive line, but part of it is simply a lack of talent -- especially at safety and in the secondary. And yet another part of it is the fact that the Bucs are installing yet another new defensive scheme, which always takes some time.

2) Lovie Smith is out and Dirk Koetter is in. What is the general consensus so far on the coaching change from Bucs Nation?

Many fans are happy Lovie Smith is gone, and they are (or at least, were) optimistic about Dirk Koetter. Lovie Smith lost 22 games in two years, which isn't exactly positive. At the same time, not all that much seems to have changed. There's more talent on defense this year, but the results are still bad. The offense is a little better, and certainly most people are happy with Koetter's performance there, but how much of that is just Jameis Winston's natural progression? I think most fans are still cautiously optimistic about Koetter, but that'll change pretty quickly if the team doesn't start winning.

3) Doug Martin, Mike Evans, and Jameis Winston look really good on paper. Why isn't this offense clicking yet in the 2016 season?

I wouldn't quite say the offense isn't clicking yet. I would say they've had two good (or at least productive) games, and one really bad one. Doug Martin's injury was a major factor in the lack of production against Arizona, but there are some other issues, too. Vincent Jackson clearly isn't the player he used to be, and he and Jameis Winston can't seem to get on the same page. Winston is still dealing with some accuracy issues, and the Bucs have been very unlucky in the turnover department -- while Winston has thrown six interception, at least two of those came off passes tipped by receivers, and several seemed to be the result of miscommunication.

Doug Martin's injury has hurt, though, as has Winston's tendency to start games slowly. but overall, I'm not too worried about the offense as a whole.

4) Tell us about 2 players on the Bucs that the Broncos fans probably don't know about that well but are really impressing you so far this season.

I'd start with Charles Sims. The third-year back has been excellent as a receiver throughout his career, and has become a real weapon on screen passes. Not only that, but he's now the team's main running back, and has done pretty well in that role as well. He's not going to be Doug Martin, but he's a very useful and explosive player.

Another player who has been more impressive than I expected is wide receiver Adam Humphries, your typical diminutive slot receiver with not a lot of explosiveness who's mostly useful on short passes. But he's been consistently productive, and has really turned into a number two receiver for Jameis Winston. Not bad for an undrafted free agent.

Third, Kevin Pamphile, filling in for free agent signing J.R. Sweezy at left guard. He's held up really well at that position, especially in pass prospect, to the extent that I wouldn't mind him sticking there even when Sweezy recovers from his injury.

5) What are your 3 keys to the game?

Key number one: get a running game going. The Bucs have struggled to consistently run the ball, and that has limited their consistency on offense. Winston has thrown 50+ passes in each of the past two games, and that kind of volume is not sustainable.

Key number two: Protect the quarterback. As obvious as always, but especially important when you're facing Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware. The Bucs have actually done a really good job of protecting Winston, and he's pretty good at avoiding sacks through movement and timing.

Key number three: Get takeaways. The Bucs have all of one interception this season, which is simply unacceptable. You can't win games if you can't take away the ball. The Bucs will doubtlessly give up a bunch of points, but a few turnovers could be the big difference in this game.