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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Sam Bradford offers interesting take on Bucs secondary

20

December

We’ve written at length about the problems the Bucs have faced in their secondary, particularly with their cornerbacks.

They have given up 66 pass completions of 20 yards or more, second most in the NFL.

But why? A part of the equation is the level of responsibility the Bucs place on their cornerbacks. That’s exacerbated by the fact that those corners, right now, are E.J. Biggers, Leonard Johnson, Danny Gorrer and LeQuan Lewis – none of whom are considered elite. But the problem isn’t new, existing even when Aqib Talib and Eric Wright were in the starting lineup.

In talking this week to Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, who faces the Bucs this week, we got a sense of what opposing teams see when they break down the Bucs secondary. A defining characteristic: The amount of pressure the Bucs bring from their defensive backs, often the safeties. The trickle-down effect is cover men being left without help.

“They’re not afraid to blitz those guys,” Bradford said. “I think they probably bring more secondary pressure than any team we’ve seen all year. So, that’s something we’re going to have to be very aware of this week.”

The result?

“I don’t know exactly what their assignments are in all their calls, but with all the pressures they run, there are times when those guys are left one on one quite a bit on the outside,” Bradford added.

This has been something the Bucs have done repeatedly all season long. And the puzzling thing is that the pressures haven’t yielded consistent results. When was the last time you saw a Bucs safety of cornerback take out a quarterback with a blitz?

The questionable tactics have, it seems, undermined a lot of the good things the Bucs have done on defense. The defensive line has played much better than last season, particularly Gerald McCoy (who hasn’t missed a game) and Michael Bennett.

And yet, the Bucs, statistically, have NFL’s 30th-ranked defense.

So, when you watch the Bucs play on Sunday, keep this in mind when and if you see the defense giving up huge chunks in the passing game, remember what you read here and consider its role in those plays.

[Last modified: Thursday, December 20, 2012 12:03pm]

    

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