1. Bucs

Mankins hopes Bucs can run like Cowboys did

Published Oct. 1, 2014

Bucs guard Logan Mankins wants more consistency in the team's running game, and in preparing for Sunday's game at New Orleans, he was encouraged, seeing the way the Cowboys were able to rush for 190 yards in a 38-17 win against the Saints last week.

"Dallas did a great job. We hope we can do as good a job as they did, but every Sunday's a different day," Mankins said Wednesday afternoon.

The Cowboys got 149 yards and two touchdowns from RB DeMarco Murray, but the same Saints defense held Minnesota to 59 rushing yards in a 20-9 win for New Orleans a week earlier. The Bucs -- who rushed for 157 yards against the Rams in Week 2 -- have managed just 64 and 63 rushing yards in the last two games, and Mankins said the offensive line to establish the run on a more regular basis.

"I feel we've been a little inconsistent with how good we've been with the run game. Pretty up and down," Mankins said. "(Opponents) have a big take in that. I think the o-line has to be a little more consistent. The running backs are doing a great job. I feel we need to do a better job for them."

The Bucs have given up three sacks in each of their division losses, against Carolina and Atlanta, but just one sack Sunday at Pittsburgh and in their loss to the Rams. The Saints defense has just five sacks in four games -- only five NFL teams have less -- and Mankins said the line's chemistry is growing as their pass protection continues to improve with familiarity each week.

"It's coming. It's not where we want it yet, but it's getting better," Mankins said. "I think we feel more comfortable with each other each week, so it's improving."