Bucs ready for a large dose of the Giants’ Barkley

by Gary Shelton on September 19, 2019 · 0 comments

in general

Suh braces to stop Barkey./STEVEN MUNCIE

Thursday, 4 a.m.

With no Eli Manning to face, the Bucs figure to get an extra dose of Saquon Barkely in Sunday's game.

Manning, who has often excelled against the Bucs in his career, has been benched for rookie Daniel Jones as he goes into his third game. Jones, a controversial draft pick, is certain to rely extra on his running backs, especially Barkley.

Barkley is second in the NFL in rushing with 227 yards, and he's averaging 7.8 yards per carry. Last season, Barkley was sixth in the NFL with 1,307 yards.

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The Bucs have played well against the run, limiting Christian McCafferty to 37 yards on 16 carries. Barkley brings a bigger threat, however.

“Saquon is an elite back – one of the reasons he was a top draft pick," said the Bucs' Ndamuknog Suh. ?It’s going to be a big challenge for us. Week in and week out, we’ve got to stop the run – that is most important – and then we have to get after the passer.”

Barkley rushed for 142 yards in last season's Giants' win over the Bucs.  In 18 career games, Barklely has more than 100 yards nine times, including both games this year.

"Gap integrity is huge," Bucs' coach Bruce Arians said. :We can’t have guys trying to do too much because he’ll find that spot, and we have to do a great job of tackling. That was what I thought the best thing we did the other night against (Christian) McCaffrey, was we got a lot of hats to the ball. Vernon (Hargreaves III) made the great play at the end, but during the game we had a lot of hats running to the ball. That, and then take care of those short passes where they get him out in space – I think he’s more dangerous there than anywhere."

Arians said not to discount the importance of Vita Vea against the run.

"That’s the thing – Vita, he’s the other guy that’s getting a lot of push," Arians said. "We’re getting inside push from [Ndamukong] Suh and Vita, so those outside guys are getting closer and closer. He’s playing extremely well. The best thing about him – he stayed in good shape. He was in great shape when he showed up.  The injury set him back mentally a little bit, but not physically – he stayed in good shape.”

Bucs' quarterback Jameis Winston talked about how hard it can be for a rookie quraterback.

“I’m pretty sure he is going to be prepared," Winston said. "He had a great quarterback coach at Duke with Coach (David) Cutcliffe, so he is prepared for this moment. At the end of the day, we are facing against that defense. I’m focused on that defense. I hope the best for him. I know Eli is going to be helping him out. I have tremendous respect for both of those guys, but we’ve got to focus on their defense. They have a lot of different looks. The good thing is they are very similar to the defense that we have here, so we’ve just got to be ready for that.”

Winston talked about his own growth,too.

“For me, every week it’s just footwork," Winston said:. I’m just trying to hone in on my footwork [and] be decisive with the football every single week. I know if I do that, and if I have great rhythm with the receivers and tight ends and can be decisive with my decisions, we are going to be hard to beat.”

Arians said his team is moving in the right direction.

"I think we’re committing fewer and fewer penalties and our mental errors – we’re not beating ourselves," Arians said. "That was the problem in the first [game], and I’ve seen us practice so much better and win a ball game without beating ourselves when we could have. We could’ve lost that game easily saying how close we got, and close isn’t good enough. I think our guys our realizing close isn’t good enough and losing is not acceptable.”

Arians said he didn't think the quarterback change will make a lot of difference.

"No, we’ll just get ready for their offense," Arians said. "It changes our pass rush thinking, because this guy’s real mobile and he’s a heck of a runner – he’s a hell of an athlete. There might be a read option or two, although I doubt Pat (Shurmur])puts him in danger of getting hurt running the ball much. I think those are always threatening things that could happen in a ball game that you have to prepare for mentally.”

Arians said a victory has made a difference in the Bucs' mindset.

"Yeah, obviously," Arians said." When you win a game like that, practice is fun. Yesterday might’ve been the best practice we’ve had since I’ve been here, and today was not far from it other than the heat got us the last 30 minutes – and it’ll make a coward out of all of us. [We had] two good practices back to back. That was the whole point coming into this week – we can’t relax now just because we won a ball game. It’s just one game. It’s over with – take care of today’s business.”






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