Who has the edge when the Bucs play Jackson?

by Gary Shelton on December 14, 2018 · 0 comments

in general

The Bucs must contain Jackson./CARMEN MANDATO

Friday, 2 a.m.

Sometimes, it's hard to determine just which team has the edge in a matchup.

Take Baltimore Ravens' quarterback Lamar Jackson, for instance.

On one hand, he is a rookie, and most NFL defenses eat rookies alive. He doesn't throw very well, carrying just a 79.9 rating. That would prevent him from taking full advantage of the Bucs' weakest unit, their secondary. Of 13 quarterbacks the Bucs have faced (two of them twice), Jackson has the second-lowest rating of them all.

On the other, Jackson is a special rookie. He has won three of four games because of his legs, an element that the Bucs' haven't had to face often.

So who has the advantage? Jackson? Or the Bucs?

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“He’s a reincarnation of Michael Vick," defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said. "He looks almost identical to Michael Vick on film. His mannerisms, how he runs with the ball, how he can make guys miss and you never know what he’s going to do. He’s unpredictable with his running style. We’re going to have to make sure our eyes are in the right place for sure and just get after it.”

Bucs' coach Dirk Koetter said Bucs' have to contain Jackson.

"It’s going to be different players on different calls based on what you’re doing with your ends and your safeties," Koetter said. "They make it tough on you. That’s why their rushing numbers have shot up and they’re over 200 yards a game is because you’ve got to contain him, they have a really good downhill running game that hits you quick and then they play-action and bootleg off of it.

"Even when you think you’ve got it contained, when you look at the tape, he just out runs containment sometimes. Teams aren’t used to seeing a guy with his speed. They feel like they’ve got him boxed in and he gets around it. Then they also run him inside your contain. If your try to get your contain too wide, they have plays where he’ll go inside of it with a lead blocker.”

Said McCoy: “We’ve just got to keep him in the pocket. Same thing — pass rush hasn’t changed from the beginning of time. You get pushed up the middle, get guys to collapse the pocket on the end — that’s was pass rush is. Whether he’s a runner or not, we’re just got to keep him in the pocket. Everybody stays in their rush lanes and that’s how we’re going to get it done.”

Running quarterbacks seem to be trying to prove they are durable enough to last.

“That’s been the theory for years — that (they're) not," Koetter said.  "There’s guys that are coming into the league now that are going to try to prove that wrong. Going back to Michael Vick and even before, that’s what people have always said is that system will not hold up because of the pounding.

"You go from Michael Vick to people who will point to RG3 (Robert Griffin III) who’s now ironically enough on their team and playing some. He had that outstanding rookie year in Washington. I’m not familiar enough with whether he wore down – I don’t know if that is it or not. That’s what people say. Obviously, there’s teams that are going that way and there’s going to be more quarterbacks coming into the league that fit that mold.”

The Bucs play the Ravens in Baltimore at 1 p.m. on Sunday.






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