The next obstacle on the Bucs schedule is the Miami Dolphins, who bear plenty of resemblance to the Patriots. New England opted for a man coverage heavy approach against the Bucs, something few teams have attempted. It worked at times, mostly in the red zone, but was less effective than major media outlets would like you to believe. The Bucs receivers got open plenty, but lost over 100 yards receiving on drops or penalties that negated catches.
Still, Tom Brady threw for 269 yardsand Tampa Bay moved the ball inside the Patriots 30-yard line six times. That’s the sign of a good process, even if the red zone results weren’t there. This week, the Bucs get to challenge a schematically similar secondary in Miami.
Bucs QB Tom Brady – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
“It’s very similar,” head coach Bruce Arians said. “I think this secondary is a lot better than the one we just played. They spent a lot of money in the secondary. I think Coach [Brian] Flores has done a heck of job with that defense and it’s a very similar defense. We have to play a hell of a lot better inside the 30-yard line than we did last week, and then we’ll be fine.”
Flores, a Bill Belichick disciple, runs man coverage at one of the highest rates in the NFL. The Dolphins have two top-8 cornerback contracts in Xavien Howard and Byron Jones, but neither have played their best this season. Their secondary has tons of potential, even if New England’s has executed better in 2021. The Dolphins are 17th in passing yards allowed per game, while the Patriots are 4th. Obviously that entails more than just the secondary in coverage, but they are a big part of it.
The Bucs square off against the Dolphins on Sunday at 1 pm EST.
Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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