Saturday, June 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Eric Wright starts making an impact for Tampa Bay Buccaneers

TAMPA — Cornerback Eric Wright's reputation is based largely on his ability as a cover man on the outside and in the slot. But on the second defensive series of Friday's night 30-7 preseason loss to the Titans, Wright showed something else he hopes people remember.

Wright darted into the backfield to drop RB Chris Johnson for a loss of 2 yards, providing more evidence of a total package.

On a night tackling was a major concern for the Bucs, Wright recorded three stops in 1 ½ quarters.

"It was just a typical run play," Wright said of the Johnson tackle. "I was just able to read my keys and get in there and make the tackle for loss. I was playing corner, and they had a tight formation. I was real close to the line of scrimmage, so I was able to beat some blockers and get to the running back."

With the Lions last season, Wright was the team's third-leading tackler with 74 total. Equally notable: 67 of those were solo stops.

"I've always recorded a lot of tackles," Wright said. "It's just something that's a part of the position and it's a part of the game, whether you like it or not. You have to do it. Personally, I take pride in it, and I want to be as well rounded as possible — play inside, outside, in run support, whatever the team needs me to do."

With coach Greg Schiano's emphasis on aggressive defense, Wright's efforts will be unnoticed. In practices he has been featured on occasional corner blitzes, in some cases getting to the quarterback unimpeded.

Wright is expected to take plenty of snaps in the slot, too, meaning he'll see action in the running game.

FIRST LOOK: Rookie SS Mark Barron wasn't satisfied with his debut Friday — he missed the preseason opener with a toe injury — but acquitted himself well. Barron registered a tackle and knocked down a pass intended for TE Jared Cook.

"I could have played a little faster," Barron said. "That all comes with the experience."

Barron said coaches aren't putting pressure on him, but just being the seventh overall draft pick comes with pressure.

"There are certain things (coaches) expect from me," he said. "I kind of already have that pressure internally to come out and do those things."

SIDELINED: Two key offseason defensive line additions sat out, DTs Gary Gibson and Amobi Okoye.

Gibson (undisclosed injury) and Okoye (knee) have been in and out of the lineup since camp began. Their inability to remain on the field is a concern on a thin, inexperienced line.

HEAD COUNT: The Bucs said 45,633 tickets were sold for Friday's game, well short of Raymond James Stadium's capacity of more than 65,000. The Bucs need to sell about 44,000 general-admission seats (not including suites and club seating) to reach the 85 percent required to lift a local TV blackout. The "tickets sold" figure used by the team includes all classes of seating.

Stephen F. Holder can be reached at [email protected] View his blog at tampabay.com/blogs/bucs.

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