Everything seemed to click for Tampa Bay in their 38-15 win over the Seattle Seahawks. Quarterback Josh Freeman threw five touchdown passes. Running back LeGarrette rushed for 164 yards on just 18 carries.
But on Monday head coach Raheem Morris showed some love to his defensive line. Even though they did not record a sack, the defensive line was stout yesterday allowing Seattle to gain just 90 rushing yards on 28 carries (3.2 avg.). Defensive tackle Frank Okam was a major reason for that due to his improved play.
“We just played harder and better,” said Morris. “Last week was really Frank’s first game going out there and playing for us. When you put a young guy out there for the first time they are going to have struggles and issues… but the more confident they get the more times they go out… when they go out there you can’t get all down on them and take them out or make them feel like they did something wrong, but you just have to find ways to make them better and that is what our coaching staff has done.”
Okam, who made just his second NFL start, recorded seven tackles, including two for a loss. Another player who stood out according to Morris was defensive end Michael Bennett.
“He played well. He made a couple mistakes, but made a couple splash plays that were clear on the field by getting a tackle for a loss on the first third down,” said Morris. “Those guys are playing better, faster, and harder as a group. I was very proud of what they were able to do.”
Bennett actually started the game at right end yesterday over veteran Stylez G. White. The 31-year-old White has been the Bucs most productive pass with 4.5 sacks and two forced fumbles this season, but he has not exceeded expectations in what is a contract year for him.
Morris said that Bennett got the start yesterday because he wanted to keep competition high at that position, which is spot that Bennett had not played much at all.
“He practiced it last week because I told him I was going to put him there, but you guys have seen him play left end and a little three technique,” said Morris. “He went to right end yesterday and provided a little spark for us in the run game.”
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