Bucs preparing for battle with Oakland's defensive front
When the Bucs began breaking down film of the Raiders this week, one particular aspect of the team caught their eye: The defensive front.
That’s where defensive tackles Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly combine for a potent, physical combination the Bucs will have to contend with.
“They’re going to present some issues defensively with those two inside tackles,” Bucs coach Greg Schiano said. “They’re as big and powerful as you’re going to see in this league. The linebackers are playing at a high level. We’re going to have to strap it up. It’s going to be one of those physical games.”
The Raiders make it tough on opponents’ running games. The Bucs are coming off a superb rushing performance, netting a season-high 159 rushing yards against the Vikings. Rookie Doug Martin rushed for 135 yards himself.
But in the past three games, Raiders opponents have averaged 66.3 rushing yards.
“We have a hell of a Raiders team we have to play this week,” left tackle Donald Penn said. “Their front four is very, very good. We have to go out there and battle. It’s going to be tough.
“Those two guys are real good and they’re playing some real good football this year. I think their front seven, including their linebackers, is the strength of their defense.”
Regarding Seymour and Kelly, the Bucs are going to be especially challenged with the loss of All-Pro left guard Carl Nicks. He was the Bucs’ best shot at using one-on-one blocks against either player, and now he’s out for the season.
That likely didn’t go unnoticed to Oakland coach Dennis Allen.
“They’re two big physical defensive linemen who take up a lot of space inside,” he said in a conference call with Tampa Bay reporters today. “It’s hard to single block them. Usually you have to dedicate two blockers, at least initially, on them. That frees up some other people. To be strong and stout like that in the middle of your defense is really a critical factor, and they do a great job in there.”