Bucs FS Chris Conte - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Last Sunday the Bucs created four takeaways in a 36-10 win over the Bears. Replicating that success – or even coming close – will be difficult in Kansas City.
The Chiefs have turned the ball over just eight times this season, five lost fumbles and three interceptions. Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith knows what his unit is up against this Sunday and that only enhances the need to play aggressive.
“[The Chiefs] do a wonderful job in terms of ball security, so it’s going to be important for us to attack the ball,” Smith said. “They have put the ball on the ground a few times (nine), but they’ve recovered it (four times).”
Tampa Bay’s secondary, with the help of front-four pressure, responded well after surrendering 67- and 73-percent completion rates to Raiders’ Derek Carr and Falcons’ Matt Ryan, respectively. Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler finished 16-of-30 for just 182 yards.
That improvement was due in large part to tighter coverage, or, as Smith and head coach Dirk Koetter say, “matching receivers.” That needs to carry over into Kansas City, especially if the defense is going to force a turnover or two.
“We’ve got to continue to have the mindset that we’re going to attack the receivers the receivers and attack the ball carriers,” Smith said. “Their track record says it’s going to be tough to get the turnover production that we’ve had over the last four weeks, but we’re going to work at it and do everything we can.”
The Bucs cornerbacks won’t have to worry about attacking Jeremy Maclin. The veteran receiver is set to miss a third straight game with a groin injury, leaving rookie Tyreek Hill and second-year pro Chris Conley, who have 76 receptions combined this season, to complement Pro Bowl tight end Travis Kelce.
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: [email protected]
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