Yes, the Dallas Cowboys are a desperate football team. But Bucs’ coach Lovie Smith doesn’t think they’ll be the only desperate team on the field.
“I never quite understood that one team [is] more desperate than the other,” Smith said. “They have six losses, we have five. You would be hard-pressed to find someone in our locker room that didn’t feel like this is a must [win] game. That’s how we’re looking at it.
“What’s going on at their place doesn’t really [matter]. We have our work cut out for us just figuring out what we’re going to do, how we’re going to do it and doing things better. This is a game that we have to have. It’s as simple as that.”
The Bucs will be a bit more desperate without Vincent Jackson, Ali Marpet or Jacquies Smith, all of whom will miss the game.
Marpet, the rookie guard, has been one of the essential pieces in the improvement of the Bucs’ offensive line this year. That line has allowed only 14 sacks, half of those in the team’s first two games. Last year, the Bucs allowed 52. The run average is up to 4.5 from 3.9 last year.
Smith said he has faith in Evan Smith, who started at center for much of the season but now will play in place of Marpet.
“He went in last week and played well. [I’m] very confident and have confidence in him to get the job done. The one thing that is happening with the offensive line, I know it’s one thing on who starts, but I like the seven guys that we’re going to dress. We have depth. Everybody that’s suiting up has played good football for us. Dallas has a good front. They have first-rounders, they have high money guys and they play hard. For us, we have to neutralize their front.”
Game time is 1 p.m. against the 2-6 Cowboys.