Cover 3 is a weekly feature column written by PewterReport.com’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat writer Trevor Sikkema published every Tuesday. The column, as its name suggests, comes in three phases: a statistical observation, an in-depth film breakdown, and a “this or that” segment where the writer asks the reader to chose between two options.
Sikkema’s Stat(s) of the Week
If I could make the stat – or number – of the week the No. 14, I would. If that were the case, I would dive into all 14 coverages that Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter claimed his team ran on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons and wide receiver Julio Jones – he completed that quote by saying “none of them worked.”
But, the fact of the matter is, even though I have a good idea of what I’m looking at when it comes to film, there are going to be some coverages that appear one way on tape that may or may not be what was actually called. Sometimes there are missed assignments or a miscommunication that makes one coverage look like one thing when in reality it’s another.
But, what isn’t subjective are the stats at the end of the game. Specifically for this Cover 3 I’m talking about the 12 catches on 15 targets for 253 yards and two touchdowns recorded by Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones.
This isn’t the first time Jones had gone off against the Buccaneers. Following Sunday’s game, Jones has the most receiving touchdowns of any player against the Bucs since 1994 (10). He is also just 153 yards shy of the most receiving yards against the franchise, and owns the highest catch percentage of any player with 55 or more catches (70.8 percent).
Simply put, Jones owns the Bucs defense.
Jones has played 11 out of his 90 career games against the Buccaneers. That’s 12.2 percent of his total games. He has 1,359 of his career 8,649 yards against the Buccaneers as well. That’s 15.7 percent of his total yards. Since Jones is currently averaging 96.1 yards-per-game over the course of his career, that means that he is averaging more than 100 yards per game every time he suits up against Tampa Bay.
Julio Jones is an incredible wide receiver, he might go down as one of the best to do it when it’s all said and done. But, even though you know Jones is going to get his each Sunday, it doesn’t have to be to the extent that it is with the Buccaneers. And even more confusing is that the two men coach against him on Sunday, Koetter and defensive coordinator Mike Smith, know Jones well because they were his coaches in Atlanta.
So, since I can’t get into all 14 different coverages individually, I’m going to do the next best thing.
On the next page we’re going to take a look at all 15 of Jones’ targets from last Sunday’s game on NFL Game Pass and identify either what worked (not as often) and what didn’t (much more often) when covering him.