The Buccaneers were torched on Sunday by Eli Manning and the New York Giants for 510 passing yards in their 41-34 loss at New York. Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan met with the media on Wednesday to discuss what went wrong.
Buccaneers defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan has taken nearly as much heat from Tampa Bay fans after Sunday’s 41-34 loss as the players he coaches.
After his unit allowed over 600 yards of total offense – including 510 yards through the air – many questioned why Tampa Bay's front four had little success in getting pressure on Giants quarterback Eli Manning.
On Wednesday, Sheridan took to the podium in the media room at One Buccaneer Place, and talked about the game plan, explaining why some of the strategies employed ended up backfiring to a degree.
“When you give up the amount of yards we did the other day, it makes you re-think a lot of stuff, Sheridan said. “By the same token – in order to pressure – most of the time you are going to be in one form (or another) of a one-high [safety].
“And our players understand it is never just one thing. If it was – you would correct it. But I know our front [four] takes a lot of responsibility for being accountable in regards to putting pressure on the quarterback. However you want to define pressure, their quarterback handled it well enough and was able to get the ball off before we could knock him down. The bottom line is we didn’t affect him enough. And that puts a lot of stress on the corners when you are not playing two-deep safeties."
Despite the results, Sheridan didn’t sound like the Buccaneers were planning on backing off of their aggressive blitzing schemes.
“We do mix it up and we will continue,” Sheridan said. “You pressure strategically, you just don’t randomly throw pressures out there. You anticipate the protections you are going to get and you game plan that way. You mix it up on your down and distance so they don’t have tendencies on you. There is no doubt it is stressful on the corners, especially with the skill level you see weekly from the wide receivers.”
While cornerback Aqib Talib has taken the most heat for the disaster in New York as the man he was primarily guarding, receiver Hakeem Nicks, had 10 catches for 199 yards and one touchdown, Sheridan was quick to point out it wasn’t just the cornerbacks who are to blame.
“The front seven is equally as responsible for those things and they understand that,” Sheridan said. “It is not an easy task to be out there playing on an island. When we call pressures we expect guys to execute and get on the edge of blockers and affect the quarterback. And their quarterback handled it better than we were able to put pressure on them the other day.”
PewterReport.com asked Sheridan how the Giants offensive line – even being banged up – was able to keep Manning upright during his 51 pass attempts on Sunday.
“I think some of the things we could have done to help our defensive line out was just to give them an opportunity to more conventional (and) straight rush,” Sheridan said. “We tried to game quite a bit, thinking that would be a good run-pass mix. Because on the early downs they had run [the ball] a certain percentage out of three-wide receiver (sets).
“Obviously, as the game wore on they felt they were having more success throwing the ball and it turned into a passing-fest. Their offensive line did a decent job, but our defensive line they probably would have like to have had a chance to straight rush more and not twist and game as much. I think they felt they would have had more success – and in hindsight … we probably could have called another half dozen snaps of straight rush four guys and not twist and game as much as went into the game-planning to.”
Sheridan went on to explain the dilemma the Giants offense presented.
“It is an either-or, you know what I mean?” Sheridan said. “Especially if you are playing a two-deep where you don’t really outnumber them in the box.
“If you mix your front up a little bit, and if they do hand the ball off, then you have a better chance to get the ball slowed down a little bit, as opposed to just letting your four guys scream up the field. It is a combination of scheme and strategy. But going into the game, they had a good mix of run and pass with their three-receiver grouping, and that didn’t show itself as the game wore on because they were having success throwing the ball.”
Copyright © 2011 Pewter Report, PewterReport.com and Pewter Insider. All rights reserved. PewterReport.com, the official site of Pewter Report, is an independent source of news and commentary and is not affiliated with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the NFL.