Saturday, April 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Missed tackles plaguing Tampa Bay Buccaneers again

TAMPA — One of the indelible images of the Bucs' 2011 franchise-worst defense was the endless missed tackles.

Sunday against the Redskins, something looked eerily familiar. A rash of missed tackles aided Washington's first-half surge, allowing it to take a 21-3 lead.

Coach Greg Schiano said the Bucs missed 11 tackles in the first half alone.

"We didn't tackle well. Why? That's the $64,000 question," Schiano said. "I have some theories why.

"It's got to get done. The result has to be that we get people on the ground. We've been doing better, like I said, (in) the first three games. … It got better in the second half. Markedly better. But we dug a hole."

Another hallmark of 2011: Missed assignments. Schiano said that's what did in the Bucs on the Redskins' final, winning drive. The Bucs blitzed on two plays that let the Redskins gain 35 yards, raising questions because wide swaths of the field were left open. Schiano dismissed those questions.

"They're not calls I wish I had back," he said. "We have to execute them. Suffice it to say we made mistakes on two of those plays that were critical.

"If you look at it now, sure, maybe we should have called this or that. But we didn't execute the call we did call. So we can't judge it."

DAVID SHINES: One player who made his tackles was LB Lavonte David, the rookie second-round pick from Nebraska.

David had 14 tackles, including three for losses, while dealing with a wrist injury that forced him to briefly leave the game and required an X-ray afterward.

David's understanding of the defense and coaches' expectations has made an obvious difference in the past couple of weeks.

"I've been getting better here and there," he said. "Nobody's perfect. But I think the mental errors are getting less and less."

Already one of the fastest defenders, David can use his speed more with better reaction time thanks to a better grasp of the defense.

"When I don't have to think about stuff and I know what's going on, you start to understand the gameplan better, you understand what (the coaches) are trying to do, it gives you the opportunity to play fast," he said.

LEFT OUT: OT Jeremy Trueblood was inactive, Schiano said, because the Bucs needed a more versatile backup lineman.

Now that Trueblood is coming off the bench — Demar Dotson has taken over at right tackle — it's harder to justify his place in the gameday lineup. His spot went to Jamon Meredith, a tackle who can also play guard.

"We felt like Jamon gave us more position flexibility," Schiano said. "It was a tough one. I love Trueblood. I think he's everything we want: Hard-working, (pays) attention to detail, tough. But it's just when you're not the starter, when you're a backup and you dress seven offensive linemen, it's (about) position flexibility at that point. Blood is a team guy and he was disappointed, but he worked his tail off during the game helping us. I'd expect nothing less but I'm glad that he did that."

INJURY UPDATE: CB Eric Wright is being watched after possibly sustaining a concussion in the third quarter. … LG Carl Nicks wore a walking boot after the game, likely to immobilize a toe injury he has dealt with for several weeks. Nicks and several veterans could get some time off during this bye week.

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