Connect with us

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

5 Bucs to Watch Against Dallas

Speaking of stopping Ezekiel Elliott, defensive tackle Vita Vea will be part of that effort, too. There was a lot of talk this week about him coming into his own. His ability to make plays laterally helps with the run and will be instrumental in stopping Elliott. He’s starting playing reminiscent to how he played in college, where he was known for his run-stopping ability for the University of Washington. At 347 pounds, he’s more athletic than he should be, so now that the game has slowed down and he’s able to identify plays laterally, he can actually get there with how quick he moves. It was a matter of putting the physical and mental components together, and it seems Vea has been able to do that as of late. Vea had nine combined tackles against the Baltimore Ravens, which is an impressive number for an interior lineman, especially.

“He’s getting better game after game after game,” Defensive Coordinator Mark Duffner said. “That attributes to Coach [Brentson] Bucker and Coach [Paul] Spicer and certainly to Vita and his preparation weekly. He’s playing dominantly at the moment and we’d like that to continue. That helps the entire defense. When you’re strong up the middle, you’re going to be strong overall. We’re anxious for him just to continue to have that kind of production. I think again, it’s reflective of his preparation, but it’s also just again the more reps he’s getting. He’s kind of now more in the midseason for him because of injury and so forth early on in the year. We’re anxious to continue to see him be in that productive mode.”

Bucs fans should be even more anxious to see him and the rest of the Buccaneer defense take on the Cowboy offense and Elliott, especially.

“We’ve got to get 11 hats to the ball and make sure we wrap up,” defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said on facing Elliott. “He’s hard to bring down with just one person, so make sure we are gap sound, control the line of scrimmage and get as many people to the ball as we can.”

Here’s the thing: the Dallas defense thrives on getting pressure on the quarterback. As Coach Koetter said, they are playing with an eight-man front most of the time. Additionally, they are able to rotate their front four and have extremely fast linebackers to back those guys up. With a loaded box, protecting the quarterback becomes paramount.

“Not complicated, but they do play awfully hard,” Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken said of the Cowboys’ defense. “Got a number of really good football players. Definitely our play clock in our head is going to have to be extended because they do play hard. They will finish. They will get after the quarterback in terms of their pass rush. That’s what they’re building on paying at home with the noise on the turf.”

In addition to pass protection, the Bucs will have to find some success on the ground as well. That will mean the offensive line opening up running lanes for running back Peyton Barber to get through. Establishing the run will help play action, which subsequently helps buy the quarterback time if you can cause any of the defenders up front to hesitate or bite on the running back.

“We’ve got to do a great job of running the football, being able to get chip help when we can, and our guys have got to win outside,” Coach Monken continued. “That’s what you have to do, but they’re not complicated. They just do what they do and do it well, which is a sign of a good team. Statistically they’re every bit as good as the Ravens in a lot of categories and you can see it on film.”

Source Link

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Tampa Bay Buccaneers