Sunday, November 19, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs pass rush still work in progress

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TAMPA — The rush is on — not to the opposing quarterback, of course — for the Bucs to find four defensive linemen who can pressure the passer.

Once known for defensive dominance, Tampa Bay has not recorded 30 sacks since 2007 nor had a player record double digits since DE Simeon Rice in 2005.

With three preseason games remaining, coach Greg Schiano and his staff still are trying to find the right combination.

"We haven't had that yet with a four-man front or a three-man front getting to the quarterback consistently," Schiano said. "Until we do it, there needs to be concern. We need to run with the urgency until we get what we're looking for. I think we're getting better but have a long way to go."

Complicating matters is DE Adrian Clayborn, who missed 13 games in 2012 with a torn ACL, has missed practice time and the 44-16 loss to the Ravens on Thursday with a groin injury.

Schiano has been riding DE Da'Quan Bowers hard in training camp, trying to get him in shape to perform as an every-down player. He was the only defensive lineman to play the entire first half Thursday.

Bowers also has been moved inside to tackle in certain rush packages that include Daniel Te'o-Nesheim and/or rookie Steven Means at end.

"You get your four best guys, and I think he creates a little bit of a physical mismatch on guards," Schiano said of Bowers' move.

Means looks to have promise as an edge rusher on passing downs, but the fifth-round pick from Buffalo is green.

"We'll see how he plays," Schiano said. "It's really very, very early. With Adrian down, that's the reason he got those reps. But Steven certainly has that ability."

The only proven commodity is Pro Bowl DT Gerald McCoy, who will see more than his share of double-teams this season.

Interestingly, the Bucs released former USF DE George Selvie before training camp. He signed with the Cowboys on July 24 and last week had two sacks and several pressures against the Dolphins during a preseason game.

The Bucs were concerned about the condition of one of Selvie's shoulders and didn't want to risk him going on injured reserve. But it certainly hasn't affected him with the Cowboys.

GRIMM NEWS: S Cody Grimm is still showing how an unheralded player can make an NFL team. Filling in for the injured Ahmad Black during a red zone period Saturday, Grimm intercepted a pass that was deflected in the end zone by S Dashon Goldson.

Grimm, the son of former longtime NFL assistant and Redskins Hall of Fame G Russ Grimm, put himself in a bad position when he was arrested twice during the offseason and charged with public intoxication.

For a bottom-of-the-roster player, off-field problems can quickly lead to a release. But Grimm has seemingly put those issues behind him and is making his mark again on the punt return and coverage units as well as competing for a backup safety spot.

Schiano says Grimm has shown his versatility and stayed relevant during training camp.

"He needs to be (versatile)," Schi­ano said. "That's how he makes a living so he can fill in at this and fill in at that. And I think on special teams, he really has a feel, and he's a smart football player."

SAY WHAT? The Bucs might be reluctant to deal with the 49ers again. A few weeks after failing CB Eric Wright on a physical, voiding the trade, they signed him and placed him on the non-football injury list. That's one way of avoiding having to send the Bucs a seventh-round pick.

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