Targeting Witherspoon

September 5th, 2019

Opening-day target

You know it’s bad when living 49ers legend Jerry Rice calls you out on local sports radio.

Mr. Rice did just that yesterday, going out of his way to do what the Bucs should do Sunday: target 49ers cornerback Akhello Witherspoon.

Yes, Joe is immersed in all things Niners, the Bucs’ opponent opening-day opponent at the Den of Depression. Rice joined 95.7 FM in the San Francisco area yesterday and the hosts said goodbye to Rice after a solid 13-minute interview. Well, Rice would have none of it; he wasn’t done.

Rice had more on his mind and said he wanted to talk about areas that the 49ers front office didn’t focus on this offseason.

He went right to the safety position where Rice thought the team should have upgraded, and while he complimented No. 1 cornerback Richard Sherman, he said No. 2 cornerback Witherspoon “really didn’t play that well” last year and the team hasn’t gotten better there.

Witherspoon represents opportunity for the Bucs receivers. They should be able to eat him up, and he seems to know it, so he told NBC Sports.

“With a bigger-bodied guy like [Mike Evans], you just have to put the ball in his area and he has that go-get-it mentality,” Witherspoon said. “That’s something that makes him special. He’s kind of like that DeAndre Hopkins style, where he’s not going to get a step on you, but even if you’re in perfect coverage he can still make a play. That’s where I see his biggest plays come.”

Witherspoon (6-2, 195) also has good size, but one area in which he must improve is his physicality. He knows he will be faced with one of his bigger tests of the season in Week 1.

Said Witherspoon: “That’s the key — just not being afraid of a bigger guy, and going up and challenging him early and often.”

The Bucs have plenty of weapons to exploit a Niners secondary that’s nothing special. Their pass rush might be overwhelming, but there will be receivers open. Jameis Winston lit them up last season, going 29-for-38, with 312 yards and two touchdowns. And there’s no reason that can’t happen again.

Witherspoon needs to be more physical. Good luck with Evans and Godwin, pal, and maybe even O.J. Howard split out wide.

21 Responses to “Targeting Witherspoon”

  1. Figures Says:

    Oj Howard should be a focal point in this offense. Dirk didn’t use him enough.
    He’s a mismatch 90 percent of the time. He should be a priority every week.

  2. Todd Says:

    Dear Lord (not Cornelius),

    Never want to wish life away…so don’t get me wrong…but would you please fast forward to Sunday to about 3:30pm or so?

    Thank you in advance.


  3. EvolvingBucsFan Says:

    Hope our O-line Holds, if they can be somewhat cohesive we have a good shot.

  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I agree that OJ Howard should be used more…….overused would be preferred.

    I can see two sets being the most successful….

    A 2 TE set with OJ & Auclair (if healthy) to block along with Evans & Godwin at WR

    OJ, Evans, Godwin & Brate……with either Brate or OJ blocking.

    Jameis will need some extra protection.

  5. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Sounds like a challenge for Big Mike and Jameis. I am looking for Mike to get
    past his man and Jameis to hit him in the open. ROJO has to do a better job in blitz pickups when he is on the field along with the O line limiting the amount of sacks they give up.
    I wonder if if BA will bring out the tackle eligible play, as he did for Vinnie JR. to get the running game going. The wear and tear on Dot seems to be taking its toll.
    Its one of the reason I have wanted to see his replacement in the wings.

  6. BA FAN Says:

    Or put Ogunbowale in with Jameis just to block whoever breaks in going for the sack. And if none do but all receivers are covered he can be the short pass target because he can get yardage with players hanging on him and has great hands.

  7. Go Bucs 72 Says:

    Not scared of the 49’ers what so ever. Bucs will start off with a win. It’s game 2 that’s the tough one.

  8. dmatt Says:

    I really believe with that the weapons we have on offense is the reason BA took this team, he’s gonna go full blast n put the NFL on notice with an awesome performance by the offense. BA does not have a 3-5 yr goal to develop this team. It’s now or never. He’s gonna throw the kitchen sink at every team we face this year. No more Bears/Panthers/ tease n play against last year’s Bucs defense, cause under BA n Bowles there’s a new sheriff in town n they r taking no prisoners. Forget about preseason performance n focus on “real games matter”. Out with the old and in with the new.

  9. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Plenty of reasons to get Ogunbowale in the game ,IMO. There are still weaknesses in ROJO’s game that will be hard to hide on gameday.

  10. NOSBOS Says:

    I hope between Peyton,RoJo and Dare there will be at least 30 rush attempts. If so we win going away.

  11. NOSBOS Says:

    Chris Carter stated this morning on his show. 11x last season teams ran the football less than 20 attempts. 7 of those 11 resulted in losses. We have fresh legs in the backfield, early on hope Lefty makes it his priority to use them.

  12. 813bucboi Says:

    dont have to have an all star secondary with a front 4 like the 9ers….their talented and deep…..

    9ers will mostly double ME with witherspoon & a safety and put sherman on godwin….

    2 TE’s sets…routes up the seem against the LB’s will be our best mismatch imo….

    GO BUCS!!!!

  13. LordCornelius Says:

    In my 4 fantasy leagues I have

    Jameis Winston X 3
    Chris Godwin X 2
    Mike Evans X 1
    OJ Howard X 1

    I’m all in lol. I wanted Howard in every league but he only fell in a good spot in one draft. Got Evan Engram 2X in drafts where Howard went right before me.

  14. JimmyJack Says:

    813…….Not so sure about Sherman Manning up on Godwin. At least not all game. As I recall Bruce been asking Godwin to play slot. Sherman can’t come inside all day. Who the heck would cover the sideline?

    Byron would dare them to leave an entire sideline weakened. Highly doubt they draw Sherman inside but if they do there we got the weapons to absolutely own the vacated sideline. 49ers will be very sorry they ever doubted we could expose such a large weakness.

  15. JimmyJack Says:

    I quit fantasy football a few years back. But learned it did have one Golden rule……..Nobody give a flying crap about your team except you. Sorry Lordy.

  16. JimmyJack Says:

    Also noticed once I stopped playing FF it made Bucs games so so so much funner to watch.

    As much as I could ever try it was impossible to watch a Bucs game at 100% devotion. Full concentration is not an option when money was in the way. The first year I didn’t play ai could not believe how different the experience of watching a Bucs game was.

  17. JimmyJack Says:

    In respect to fantasy football it did get me through the Raheem and Schiano years quite nicely. In retrospect I’m not so upset I allowed myself the get distracted from the Bucs game quite often.

  18. 813bucboi Says:


    i agree…

    wont be all game and sherman doesnt switch sides….

    thats why i said our mismatches will be up the seem….

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  19. 813bucboi Says:


    football is better without fantasy…..

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  20. ATLBucs Says:

    He has not done his homework if he thinks 13 can’t get a step on him. Look for hi to get beat long, early.

  21. 74 Bucs fan Says:

    The bottom line is that we win if our O Line does its job. Give Jameis time to hit his weapons and we’ll be fine.