Our Scout.com experts, Bill Huber of Packers Update and Matthew Postins of BucsBlitz.com, go Behind Enemy Lines to take a closer look at Sunday's Week 4 matchup between the Green Bay Packers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Read Part I by Clicking here,
Imagine what this game could've been had Brett Favre been traded to the Bucs instead of the Jets.
But instead of the media circus, the Bucs-Packers game Sunday at 1 p.m. in Raymond James Stadium will be the battle of a pair of 2-1 teams in the NFC.
No doubt, the headliner is Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, who presents a different challenge than the one the Bucs had grown accustomed to the past 16 years.
Bucs coach Jon Gruden says Rodgers reminds him a lot of Favre in terms of his confidence and he's not surprised at his early success.
"It's a lot to chew off, there's no question," Gruden said. "But I think there was a mentality that they've had all along. This guy's a first-round draft choice. They selected him, I think, with the intent that when he's ready he's going to be our future quarterback. They've been very fortunate in Green Bay, they've had tremendous play at that position for some time."
The Bucs will start Brian Griese, who knows a thing or two about replacing a legendary quarterback. Griese attempted to do that in Denver after John Elway retired. But the Broncos were coming off consecutive Super Bowl championships.
"The biggest pressure was to win," Griese said.
Griese has certainly won for the Bucs, triumphing in seven of his last eight starts dating back to 2005.
He threw three INTs at Chicago before rallying the Bucs from a 10-point deficit against the Bears to win the game in overtime. Griese says he has a short memory when it comes to the turnovers.
"Like we talked about Sunday night you have to remain confident and you have to continue to go out and play your game," Griese said. "You have to forget about those negative plays because you still have the opportunity to go out and make up for those things. I just try to do that to the best of my ability and take one play at a time and get the most out of each and every play. Thankfully, guys helped me out and caught some balls and broke some tackles and we ended up winning."
The Bucs had their most success in the two-minute offense last week at Chicago. At one point, Griese attempted 22 straight passes in the fourth quarter. Gruden might go to the hurry-up offense early in the game Sunday to help get Griese in rhythm.
"I don't like being in it except for the end of the first half," Griese said of the two-minute offense. "Because usually when you're in it you're behind. At the same time it gives you the opportunity to move the ball quickly. At the end of the day it's an exciting drill because it's win or lose. It's all or nothing and everything is on the line. I think everybody knows that. It's the excitement that I like."
Like the team he played for in Denver, Griese knows that Rodgers has a team with a lot of expectations after losing in the NFC title game last year.
"They were a team that was very successful last year making it to the final four," Griese said. "I was very familiar with them playing them twice in Chicago. I know their personnel well, and they have a great defense. They have guys up front that push the pocket and they have three linebackers who are solid. They have a secondary that is maybe second to none. I expect their best shot coming off a tough lose to Dallas. I expect their best shot here in Tampa."
Defensively, the Bucs have to limit the number of big plays in the Packers offense, particularly in the passing game.
"Definitely. Explosive plays have been a great part of their offense, and it's up to us to go out there and match up and make big plays," said LB Cato June. "They're going to make some catches; we have to make the big hits. We have to take the ball away. We have to give the ball back for our offense and keep their offense off the field so that our offense is controlling the mode of the game."