The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had one of their best games on defense this past Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers totaled five sacks and left a few more on the field. This week I asked the writers of Full Press Buccaneers this question: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had their best game in terms of sacks. What made difference? Can the Bucs repeat that effort against Cincinnati?

Ben Wilson

It was nice to see the pass rush have success against the Browns. The improved
play of the secondary really helped the defensive line seal the deal. We have seen the
pass rush get pressure all season, but rarely have they came away with the sack. Against
the Browns, we saw a much better pass coverage.

The coverage forced Baker Mayfield to
hold the ball longer than we have typically seen this season. Better play in the secondary
was a huge reason for the big game by the defensive line.

Under Mark Duffner, it appears the defensive game plan has been simplified. For
the first time this season we didn’t see receivers running free. With a simpler scheme and
less miscommunication, we should continue to see better play in the secondary. Coverage
and pressure go hand in hand. I think it’s realistic to expect more success from the
defensive line going forward.


Chris Worthen

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers almost doubled their sack total last week against the Browns bringing down Baker Mayfield five times. So what was the difference?

It was simple. Mike Smith is no longer here. He controlled all the calls including the defensive line. My assumption is that Brenston Buckner now has that role and put the defensive line in the best position to succeed. I didn’t see the number of stunts, twists, or games like I’ve seen the past two and a half years.

The fastest way to the quarterback is in a straight line. I expect that mentality to continue.

Getting five sacks a week is a feat in itself. I do think this line is good enough and should get two to three sacks a week. If you missed that article I wrote in the offseason, it’s titled “How Many Sacks Does It Take?”. I proposed this team will and should get about 40-42 sacks this season.

I think overall this defense will improve given that new Defensive Coordinator Mark Duffner will put his players in position to succeed and will listen to what the players want to do on defense. In one week this team went from 31st to 29th in team defense.


Rod Thurman

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers pass rush produced it’s season high, five sacks, against the Browns. The most encouraging thing is that they did it without their all-pro defensive tackle, Gerald McCoy. McCoy was out nursing an injured calf muscle.

The biggest difference to me was that the defense was able to force the Browns into more third and long situations. On third and long, the Bucs were able to use more pressure packages.

Defensive Coordinator Mark Duffner pressured and confused the rookie with defensive line stunts coupled with blitzes. Cleveland’s protection was so concerned with the Bucs defensive line stunts that the disguised blitz was unaccounted for.

I think the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are onto something defensively. As long as Duffner can continue to force offenses into third down, he can use his exotic blitz packages. With that being said, he might want to dial the blitz back little this week versus the Bengals. Andy Dalton is the second highest rated quarterback against the blitz.

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Evann Goitia

On Sunday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a season-high five sacks in their overtime win
against the Cleveland Browns. This is an encouraging sign for Buccaneer fans as Baker Mayfield was sacked on 12% of the times where he dropped back to pass. However, the Browns have now allowed a league high 31 sacks so far this season. Therefore, this high sack rate could prove to be an anomaly moving forward.

Carl Nassib played arguably his best game as a professional, against his former team. He led Tampa Bay in sacks with two, but Nassib is unlikely to be a consistent source of pressure for the remaining 10 weeks of the season. Coverage in the secondary was improved against Cleveland and that helped give the defensive line time to put pressure on Baker Mayfield.

On Sunday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face a Cincinnati offense that has only allowed 14 sacks through their first seven games. Gerald McCoy and Vinny Curry both seem to be unlikely to play this week and Kwon Alexander is out as well after being placed on injured reserve. This means that the pass rush will have to come from unlikely sources.

The Bengals will look to focus on Jason Pierre-Paul, who could potentially break the Buccaneers’ franchise record of five consecutive games with a sack. The Buccaneers defense will have their opportunities to pressure Andy Dalton since this game is projected to be one of the highest scoring games of the week.


Marc Magana

The Buccaneers defensive line had one of their best games on Sunday against the Browns. They racked up five sacks in the victory. While everyone will most likely claim it was because Mike Smith wasn’t there, what we saw from the Bucs defensive line was different than anything we had seen so far.

Vita Vea played a decent game, and Jason Pierre Paul was disruptive like he has been all season. But how about Carl Nassib? On Sunday, they faced a team giving up 4.4 sacks per game and got five. This coming Sunday, they face the Bengals who are allowing the 11th least sacks per game in the league at two. That being said, it would be hard for them to give another five-sack performance.

I see somewhere around three sacks against the Bengals. This defensive line is still learning how to play together. I’ve been saying this since the beginning of the season. With Mccoy and Curry not looking good for Sunday, even less of a chance of a repeat performance. This defensive line will hit it’s stride sooner rather than later, but I honestly don’t think they are there quite yet. By week 10, hopefully, they are playing well and healthy.


Philip Schwegler

Wasn’t it nice to see a dominant defensive performance for one half of football on Sunday? The Buccaneers defense found their stride early, finally, and cashed in on great coverage from the secondary. As everyone who knows a little about football, the pass rush, and the secondary go hand in hand.

Against the Browns this past Sunday, the two units worked well enough together to rack up their first five-sack game of the season. Looking at Cincinnati this Sunday, if Tampa wants to continue their multi-sack games, they’ll have to earn it against one of the most stingy offensive lines in football.

This is where discipline and communication come into effect. The defensive linemen need to play their most disciplined game up front in terms of gap control and manipulating the pocket.

I’ll be looking for Jason Pierre-Paul and Carl Nassib to make some noise off the edge and get those sacks we all love.


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