Friday, November 16, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Saints provide new Bucs secondary with first big test

TAMPA — The ominous warning looms over the southwest corner of Raymond James Stadium.

No Fly Zone.

It's not meant as a beacon to aircraft approaching Tampa International Airport. It's a marketing campaign promoting what the Bucs believe has the makings of the best secondary in the NFL.

The dominant image of the oversized mural is three-time All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis, his arms extended from his side as if signalling an incomplete pass. There are smaller images of safety Mark Barron extending to intercept a pass and All-Pro safety Dashon Goldson braced to make a tackle.

It's a bold campaign — considering the Bucs had the league's worst pass defense last season — and is, perhaps, intended as a warning to opposing receivers who might be accustomed to friendlier skies.

If you're looking for why the Bucs committed $137.25 million ($38 million guaranteed) to Revis and Goldson, today's game against the Saints provides a clue.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees sliced and diced the Bucs for eight touchdowns, 684 yards and a 69.7 completion percentage while being sacked only once over two wins last season.

Revis says the No Fly Zone will be strictly enforced.

"You're licking your chops for this type of game," Revis said. "New Orleans, they have a great passing attack. We know what we're going to face, and we just (have) to cover those guys, play tight coverage and make it difficult for Drew."

Revis, coming off last season's torn left ACL, did not play in the preseason. And he admitted he's still working himself back into shape after participating in 54 of 73 snaps in the season-opening loss to the Jets.

"I'm still dusting off the cobwebs," he said. I've got to get back to my comfort zone. People might have said I looked fine out there; that it looked easy for me.

"I've just got to keep on improving. That's just working hard every day in practice."

However, Revis still has made an impact.

"He's just so calm," Bucs cornerback Leonard Johnson said. "You watch him work, and you can't help but raise your level."

Brees has taken notice.

"They look really good," he said. "Mark Barron, obviously, was a rookie last year, so he's one more year a veteran. I thought he was a very good player last year. But he's only going to continue to become better and better, especially, I think, with the complement of the whole group.

"Dashon Goldson is one of the best free safeties in this league. He's been a solid player for a long time. Obviously, Revis is one of the best corners in the league."

Brees, 34, has explosive weapons at his disposal, including receiver Marques Colston and tight end Jimmy Graham. Revis is expected to match up with Colston. Barron likely will move closer to the line of scrimmage to shadow Graham.

"I think there are big opportunities for the secondary playing against elite quarterbacks like (Brees)," Revis said. "We know they're going to put the ball in the air."

The Bucs defense played well enough to win last week against the Jets, sacking rookie Geno Smith five times, forcing a fumble and snaring an interception.

The rebuilt secondary, which also includes second-year pro Leonard Johnson and rookie Johnthan Banks, also left an imprint. Goldson was penalized and fined $30,000 for his hit on Jets tight end Jeff Cumberland, who received stitches under his chin. Barron drew a personal foul for a hit on receiver Jeremy Kerley, who sustained a concussion and missed Thursday's game at New England.

While the penalties extended drives and ultimately helped lead to an 18-17 loss, they did send a message.

"I don't want penalties nor do I want fines. I want us to play the games within the rules," Bucs coach Greg Schiano said. "I respect the game of football.

"Does it affect receivers? I think, if you're human, it does. Nobody wants to get crocked."

Facing the gunslinger

Drew Brees' games against the Bucs while with the Saints:

. Oct. 8, 2006, Saints 24, Bucs 21: 21-of-33, 171 yards, one TD, no INTs.

. Nov. 5, 2006, Saints 31, Bucs 14: 24-of-32, 314 yards, three TDs, no INTs.

. Sept. 16, 2007, Bucs 31, Saints 14: 26-of-44, 260 yards, one TD, one INT.

. Dec. 2, 2007, Bucs 27, Saints 23: 17-of-23, 179 yards, two TDs, no INTs.

. Sept 7, 2008, Saints 24, Bucs 20: 23-of-32, 343 yards, three TDs, one INT.

. Nov. 30, 2008, Bucs 23, Saints 20: 25-of-47, 296 yards, two TDs, three INTs.

. Nov. 22, 2009, Saints 38, Bucs 7: 19-of-29, 187 yards, three TDs, no INTs.

. Dec. 27, 2009: Bucs 20, Saints 17 (OT): 32-of-37, 258 yards, one TD, no INTs.

. Oct. 17, 2010, Saints 31, Bucs 7: 21-of-32, 263 yards, three TDs, one INT.

. Jan. 2, 2011, Bucs 23, Saints 13: 22-of-38, 196 yards, one TD, one INT.

. Oct. 16, 2011, Bucs 26, Saints 20: 29-of-45, 383 yards, one TD, three INTs.

. Nov. 6, 2011, Saints 27, Bucs 16: 27-of-36, 258 yards, two TDs, one INT.

. Oct. 21, 2012, Saints 35, Bucs 28: 27-of-37, 377 yards, four TDs, one INT.

. Dec. 16, 2012, Saints 41, Bucs 0: 26-of-39, 307 yards, four TDs, no INTs..

Comments
Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said OC Todd Monken will call plays against Giants

Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said OC Todd Monken will call plays against Giants

TAMPA — Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter said Friday during his weekly radio show that offensive coordinator Todd Monken will resume offensive playcalling duties for Sunday's road game against the New York Giants.Koetter took over playcalling dutie...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Bucs enter Giants game with defense decimated by injury

Bucs enter Giants game with defense decimated by injury

TAMPA — The Bucs will go into Sunday's road game against the New York Giants more decimated by injury than they've been at any point this season, especially on the defensive side of the ball.Three defensive starters — linebacker Lavonte D...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Beleaguered Bucs fans deserve a win Sunday

Beleaguered Bucs fans deserve a win Sunday

Haven't Bucs fans been through enough this season?
Updated: 11 hours ago
Bucs haven’t seen anyone like Saquon Barkley since Barry Sanders

Bucs haven’t seen anyone like Saquon Barkley since Barry Sanders

The Bucs picked a lousy week to potentially be without LB Lavonte David as they face Barkley, who is third in the NFL in yards from scrimmage
Published: 11/16/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Bucs’ Jason Pierre-Paul can’t wait to face Giants

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Bucs’ Jason Pierre-Paul can’t wait to face Giants

With the Bucs heading to East Rutherford, N.J., to play the Giants, Jason Pierre-Paul is anxious to face his former team.
Published: 11/16/18
Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson expects chilly Meadowlands reception

Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson expects chilly Meadowlands reception

DeSean Jackson said Giants fans haven't forgotten his game-winning punt return in the final week of the 2010 season.
Published: 11/16/18
Holder Bryan Anger is Lucy to Bucs’ ever-revolving list of Charlie Browns

Holder Bryan Anger is Lucy to Bucs’ ever-revolving list of Charlie Browns

Bryan Anger has had a toe-eyed view of the Bucs place-kicking woes over the past three seasons as the holder on field goals and extra points.
Published: 11/15/18
Bucs lineman Jason Pierre-Paul practices with club on right hand due to ‘sore finger’

Bucs lineman Jason Pierre-Paul practices with club on right hand due to ‘sore finger’

Bucs defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul participated in Thursday's practice wearing a bulky club on his right hand.
Published: 11/15/18
ESPN ranks potential NFL head-coaching openings; Bucs are second-worst

ESPN ranks potential NFL head-coaching openings; Bucs are second-worst

Bill Barnwell puts the Bucs next-to-last in his ranking of 10 potential NFL head coaching openings.
Published: 11/15/18
Bucs’ Todd Monken on decision to play Ryan Fitzpatrick: ‘We keep our jobs by winning’

Bucs’ Todd Monken on decision to play Ryan Fitzpatrick: ‘We keep our jobs by winning’

Monken said the only reason Fitzpatrick will start against the Giants is because he gives them a better chance to win than with Jameis Winston at quarterback
Published: 11/15/18