Defensive Breakdown: Bucs vs. Redskins
In the fourth and final preseason game against the Redskins, Coach Raheem Morris made it clear that he preferred to rest all his defensive starters. It appears that he has already gathered enough Intel on his players to determine who has earned starting positions for the defense. The first half of the game had an awfully slow start for the Buccaneers. That may be due to the offense not being able to generate any first downs, so the defense saw the field a lot more than they would have liked to. Also, the Redskins had their best talent on the field for the majority of the first half. The Buccaneer’s second and third string players seemed to have had a very hard time stopping the passing of quarterback, John Beck. There were, however, some bright spots that I’ll mention without regard to the cuts that have occurred over the past few days.
A Sure Tackler
Simoni Lawrence was on fire against the Redskins. He recorded 12 tackles, 8 of which were solo tackles. Aside of the tackles he did record, he contributed greatly on all other plays, shutting down his zones. Lawrencehas had a very good preseason and should be highly considered for special teams or at the very least, the practice squad.
Elbert Mack is another player who not only had a great game, but has had a really impressive preseason. After seeing Aqib Talib suspended, many of us started gaining trust in EJ Biggers. Biggers played well when called upon last season, but has struggled to get into his own groove this preseason. Elbert Mack has gladly taken the spotlight, and has been a sure tackler. He struggled a lot against Dolphins, Brandon Marshall, last week, but came back with more confidence and swagger this week. He recorded 9 tackles, 5 of which were solo, and was spotted all over the field defending against yardage.
I know I said that I would write this without regard to the roster cuts, but for this segment I’ll make an exception. I was really surprised to see the Bucs cut rookie safety, Ahmad Black, but could you blame them after seeing how wellHollandplayed? Devin Holland is a beast. Many of you may have gotten your first impression of him the first preseason game against the Chiefs, where he was penalized for an early hit on a defenseless player on a punt. It was a really dirty hit, but let’s not mistake aggressive play for lack of morals. After that, he played hard the rest of the preseason. Hollandrecorded a great interception that was overlooked because it was for a 2-point conversion. I’ve chosen to not overlook it becauseHollandmade the interception inside the endzone, which is often more difficult to do than a deep pass where you have time to align yourself with the position of the ball.
Pass Rush May Be A Strength This Season
I know the Bucs only recorded one sack this game, but did you see the consistent pressure? There were several passes thrown by Redskin quarterbacks that if accurate, could have been TD passes. Most of those passes were forced and overthrown due to disruption by the defensive line. I’m really proud of the choices Coach Morris and GM Dominik have made in upgrading this team’s pass rush. The season starts in one week and we will get the first look at what this defensive line can really do. I expect Michael Bennett to have he best season of his career, and his success to benefit the growth of rookie, Adrian Clayborn. Look out Lions. Here we come!