Bucs’ defense growing into a competitive unit

by Gary Shelton on December 5, 2016 · 2 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

These days, the Bus' defenses is putting plenty of pressure on quarterbacks.t/ANDREW J. KRAMER

These days, the Bus' defenses is putting plenty of pressure on quarterbacks.t/ANDREW J. KRAMER

Monday, 4 a.m.

Every day, the pass rush gets a bit better. No, it isn't, say, that of the '85 Bears. But it's growing, and it's getting better. It isn't benign anymore.

Every day, the coverage gets a little tighter. No, it isn't the '89 49ers. But it's better, and it's combative. It isn't chasing receivers anymore.

Every day, the linebackers come up with the big play. No, they aren't the '79 Steelers. But they're better, and they tackle crisply, and they know where the end zone is.

Every week, every game, the defense of the Tampa Bay Bucs get better, smarter, hungrier. Every time out, at that time when there is a game to be won, they make plays. Their belief grows. Their competitiveness soars. Once again, you can smile when you see the defense of the Tampa Bay Bucs take the field.

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Winston continues to lead Bucs, but defense helped./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Winston continues to lead Bucs, but defense helped./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

For a month, it has been that way. They made Jay Cutler look confused...again. They shut down Alex Smith. They harassed Russell Wilson. And they snatched one away from Philip Rivers. For a month now, they have been the real deal. Call it the rebirth of the bruise.

If you're asking, no, this defense doesn't have the raw talent of the great Bucs' teams. There is no Derrick Brooks, no Warren Sapp, no John Lynch, no Ronde Barber, no Simeon Rice. But these guys play hard, and they seem to have begun to believe that someone in the huddle is going to make a play during the game. And when is the last time the Bucs were over-achievers on defense?

Think about it. Vernon Hargreaves is better now than he was a month ago. Noah Spence is better. Robert Ayers. Bradley McDougald. This is a work in progress, and the good news is this: It's progressing.

Over their last four games, the Bucs have surrendered 53 points. That's 13.25 points per game. A team can win with that. Over their last four games, the Bucs have 11 takeaways (as many as their first eight games). A team can win with that. Over their last four games, the Bucs have a dozen sacks. A team can win with that, too.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Bill Myers December 5, 2016 at 11:41 pm

I can’t wait for our last series of games! I would so like to sweep those Saints, upset the Cowboys and give the Panthers some much deserve payback! GO BUCS!

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Gary Shelton December 5, 2016 at 11:45 pm

Also, the Bucs could make fun of Kansas State over Josh Freeman.

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