Bucs get aggressive on defense, beat up on Vikings
MINNEAPOLIS -- If you thought the Bucs defense played with an edge Thursday night, you’d be correct.
And that edge comes from an attitude that is taking hold in the locker room. On defense, the Bucs have a group of players who employ an aggressive approach and, as a result, are succeeding when asked to play that style of football.
Against the Vikings, the blitzes, twists and attempts at stripping the ball resulted in three sacks, seven tackles for loss and three turnovers (including two forced fumbles).
“I think we definitely played with an edge,” defensive tackle Roy Miller said. “They say players mirror the image of their coach. And I think we definitely bring that attitude that (Greg Schiano) brings, especially on defense.”
Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said the team didn’t play things safe as it did against the Saints last week. Rather than send out waves of defenders in the secondary, the Bucs attacked the line of scrimmage.
“It was just a nasty mindset,” McCoy said. “Coach put us in position where a lot of people got one-on-ones. He told us, ‘If I give you guys these blitzes, I’m trusting you to win (the matchups).’ One thing he did promise was that nobody would be blocked by more than one person. So, somebody had to win, and we did that.”
Linebacker Mason Foster said, “I feel like we have a lot of big, athletic, strong guys who play physical. So, we’re letting them go to play loose and play physical. We love it.”
The attacking style took a toll on the Vikings. The two fumbles were a direct result of defensive end Michael Bennett and Ronde Barber consciously stripping the ball from Adrian Peterson and Jerome Simpson.
“We pride ourselves on physicality,” defensive end Da’Quan Bowers said. “We want to hit people. We want to strip the football. Every time we can get (Josh Freeman) the ball, that’s another chance at winning.”