Tuesday, November 20, 2018

New Bucs assistant Brentson Buckner knows challenge of NFC South QBs

New Bucs defensive line coach Brentson Buckner understands full well what a challenge he'll face in trying to bring down three talented quarterbacks in the NFC South this season.

"Not getting much sleep," Buckner said, asked of his expectations in a division that has produced MVPs and Super Bowl teams in two of the last three seasons. "Each one of them poses a different problem."

Buckner, who coached Arizona's defensive line for the last five years before joining the Bucs this week, faced the NFC South in 2016 when his Cardinals led the NFL with 48 sacks. They went just 1-3 against the NFC South that year, piling up 10 sacks in four games but losing to Carolina, Atlanta and New Orleans after beating the Bucs by a 40-7 margin.

"You have Cam Newton, who stands out there and looks at your defensive ends eye to eye, sometimes look down at them, and he can run and throw the ball," he said of the Panthers quarterback. "He makes you play 11-on-11 football, which is a problem in and of itself.

"Then you go to Drew Brees, and you're taller than him, but you never get a chance to touch him, because he's so smart. He plays the game here (pointing to head) and you know you've got to be on your P's and Q's as far as taking away passing lanes and not giving him so much time.

"You go to Atlanta where Matty Ice is Matty Ice. He can go from where he can't connect on a pass, then all the sudden he completes 20 in a row, throws seven touchdowns, because of Julio Jones and that running game. You have to always make sure you're at your best, because one thing all three of those guys do, whatever you're lacking, they find that."

Buckner is tasked with improving a defensive line that managed an NFL-low 22 sacks last season. The personnel will change as well, but said he's excited to work with Gerald McCoy and the rest of the line in the upcoming year.