Monday, June 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers go from worst to first in stopping the run

TAMPA — Roy Miller would rather fit in than stand out.

That's the mentality of a nose tackle, an unglamorous job in the trenches. He lines up in a three-point stance, tilted about 45 degrees, in the gap between the center and guard, trying to occupy blockers while not giving ground.

"If you're doing things well, it opens things up for other guys," Miller said. "The way Coach holds us to these standards, guys are scared to make a mistake. Everyone is more accountable. You have to just do your job."

When it comes to stopping the run, the Bucs have been all business. A year ago, Tampa Bay ranked last in the league in rushing defense at 156.1 yards per game. Under first-year coach Greg Schiano, it has gone from worst to first and least to beast.

After limiting the Cowboys to 38 yards on 23 carries — a 1.7-yard average — on Sunday, the Bucs ranked No. 1 in the league at 47.3 per game. That's 11 fewer yards per game than Seattle, which ranks second.

"Stopping the run is doing your job," Schiano said. "If you do your job and control your gap, you dictate the daylight.

"Then it's tackling, and I think they've improved as tacklers. We're not where we want to be, but they've made a huge jump as a tackling defense."

Tackle Gerald McCoy said the long days at the office, which began in the spring, set the tone.

"The whole beginning of spring and training camp was for stopping the run," McCoy said. "That's what we put all of our emphasis on."

Practices were tailored to improve technique. Linemen were drilled on overcoming double-teams. Linebackers worked on escaping blocks.

In Week 1 against Carolina, the Bucs tied a club record by allowing only 10 rushing yards. The second week, the Giants squeezed 94 yards on 25 carries. But Tampa Bay got back on track at Dallas. It recorded 11 tackles for loss, including two each by McCoy, linebacker Mason Foster and end Michael Bennett.

The improved play on the line has allowed Foster (26 tackles, seven for loss) and rookie and fellow linebacker Lavonte David (19 tackles, three for loss) to run and hit.

"I told (teammates) to own it," safety Ronde Barber said. "The only way you can be good at something is if you ultimately take ownership of something.

"Whether you feel it's the right way to do it or not, it's the way to do it. Those guys have bought in, especially Gerald and Roy. They're playing their butts off."

Unfortunately for the Bucs, they now are without end Adrian Clayborn, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last week. Daniel Te'o-Nesheim gets the start today against the Redskins, but George Johnson and linebacker Dekoda Watson might get playing time in certain situations.

"When you lose a guy like (Clayborn), that really ups the challenge, right?" Schiano said. "Because here's a guy who's a great player against the run; very disruptive."

The Redskins will present the Bucs' run defense its biggest test. They are second in the league in rushing yards at 180.7 per game. And Washington's zone blocking scheme will challenge Tampa Bay's ability to stay in the gaps and not allow cutbacks.

Rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III already has rushed 32 times for 209 yards and three touchdowns.

"They run the ball, and they set up play-action. And he's hitting guys because people are biting on the run," Schiano said. "So we have to shut that down or he'll be doing what he does every week."

Comments
Bucs journal: O.J. Howard poised to take off?

Bucs journal: O.J. Howard poised to take off?

TAMPA — There's always a lot of attention on the rookie class this time of year, rightfully so. There's a reason the Bucs focused on defense, and DT Vita Vea, CBs M.J. Stewart, Carlton Davis and S Justin Whitehead all look like they could have ...
Published: 06/16/18
Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow pleads not guilty to kidnapping, rape charges

Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow pleads not guilty to kidnapping, rape charges

Times wiresVISTA, Calif. – Former Bucs and Hurricanes tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. was jailed without bail Friday after pleading not guilty to nine counts of kidnapping, rape and other charges.If convicted on all counts, Winslow, 34, could face...
Published: 06/15/18
Bucs still donít know when Jameis Winston will throw another pass that matters

Bucs still donít know when Jameis Winston will throw another pass that matters

TAMPA — The last pass thrown by Jameis Winston in a regular-season game was his best. The perfectly arced, 39-yard strike to Chris Godwin for a touchdown with nine seconds left gave the Bucs a 31-24 win over New Orleans at Raymond James Stadium...
Published: 06/15/18
Bucs busy on next Ray-Jay renovation with East Stadium Club

Bucs busy on next Ray-Jay renovation with East Stadium Club

The first Bucs home game of the 2018 season is still three months off, but the franchise is busy getting Raymond James Stadium ready with the fourth phase of its $160 million renovation, highlighted by a new East Stadium Club.Construction continues t...
Published: 06/15/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Gerald McCoy sounds off

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Gerald McCoy sounds off

The Bucs wrap up minicamp as Gerald McCoy sounds off on the team getting help for him, defensive line coach Brentson Buckner yelling at the veteran defensive tackle and advice for the young players who now have five weeks off before training camp.Plu...
Published: 06/15/18
Gerald McCoy: ĎStop saying Gerald got help. No, the Bucs got helpí

Gerald McCoy: ĎStop saying Gerald got help. No, the Bucs got helpí

TAMPA — On the last day of minicamp, DT Gerald McCoy made it clear that the new additions to the defensive line are what the entire team needed, not just himself."It's not about me. It's about the team," McCoy said of the addition of five new l...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18
Bucs hit summer break with optimism, eager for training camp

Bucs hit summer break with optimism, eager for training camp

TAMPA — This week's three-day minicamp was the final push in the Bucs' offseason, with about six weeks now until the team reconvenes in late July for training camp and the real preamble to the 2018 season.So what, if anything, can be gleaned fr...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18
Maybe 2018 is the year the Bucs take that step forward

Maybe 2018 is the year the Bucs take that step forward

TAMPA — The Bucs wrapped up a three-day minicamp on Thursday.“I’m going on vacation,’’ Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said.The next time we see the Bucs will be in five weeks. Just around the corner. That’s when, official...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18
Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow arrested on suspicion of rape, kidnapping

Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow arrested on suspicion of rape, kidnapping

Times wiresSAN DIEGO – Former Bucs and Hurricanes tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. was arrested Thursday on suspicion of multiple sex-crimes-related charges, including two counts of rape, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said.The departmen...
Published: 06/14/18
Sealed and delivered: Bucs RB Ronald Jones signs rookie contract

Sealed and delivered: Bucs RB Ronald Jones signs rookie contract

The Bucs' 2018 draft class is now all in the fold, with running back Ronald Jones, second-rounder from USC, signing his rookie deal Thursday.Jones, who won't turn 21 until August after the Bucs go to training camp, was the last of Tampa Bay's eight d...
Published: 06/14/18