The Bucs defense has certainly found the sentiment of “there’s no place like home” to be true. Backed by a defense that has played significantly better in Tampa, the Bucs have won two straight games, having six interceptions in that time, and cling to playoff aspirations. As they get set to focus on the Saints, it was some people at the forefront of this defensive shift that spoke today.

First up was defensive coordinator Mark Duffner. Out of anyone that deserves credit for how the Bucs improved, it should be him, and one big move Duffner has made was changing the defense to more of a nickel package.

Part of that was out of necessity with injury, but the other is schematically. Duffner got in detail about the subject and how it came to be about.

Of course the stand out players from Sunday’s win were the guys who ended up with the interceptions, Javien Elliott and Andrew Adams. The Bucs have a bunch of players that have shifted around, whether from different teams, the practice squad or defensive positions. Duffner gave an endoremsent for how both players performed.

First was Elliott:

Followed by Andrew Adams:

In the locker room, Jason Pierre-Paul brought up how the Bucs are playing better because they know what it means for their playoff chances. It started with playing for one another, they can’t afford to lose another game, and the defense has picked it up.

Then came as to why they seem to play better at home. The Bucs let up double the amount of points on the road that they do at home. Pierre-Paul said it’s all about playing together.

Next in the locker room is another defensive leader, Gerald McCoy. He agreed with the sentiment of Pierre-Paul, finding the reason for their recent defensive success stemming from togetherness. It’s why they’re close off the field also.

Javien Elliott gave thought as to what brought about his best game of the year on Sunday. It all had to do with preparation and practice, which is why the defense is how the defense is where it is now. Elliott is making the most of his opportunities.

After practice, it was time for head coach Dirk Koetter to take the podium. It feels like it’s been forever since playing against the Saints, and one thing that some have noticed is that the Saints aren’t throwing the ball as far down field as they were once known for. Koetter doesn’t buy into that, and when a team is 10-2 something like that shouldn’t matter.

In this collective effort that has seen the Bucs get eight sacks in their last two games, it’s more than just the head coach or the defensive coordinator. Koetter gave a shoutout for the great job that has been done by all the assistant coaches on the defensive side of the ball, who have had to take on more responsibility.

For the Bucs sake, hopefully this defensive trend continues against one of the most high powered offenses in the league. Their playoff chances still look far away as they play against the leader in their division, but a win on Sunday would certainly put the Bucs in discussion.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. This playoff talk is starting to drive me a little crazy. The Bucs need to take this one game at a time. If they at the long shot win out and beat playoff contenders like the Saints, Cowboys, and Ravens in succession then sure, they can be talked about going 9-7 like the first season with Koetter. But they first have to take care of New Orleans.

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  2. even asking this question reminds of the wildly inappropriate expectations that were spawned by the team’s last 2 game win streak. It took all of 2 weeks to reveal the delusion.

    Do I now think Dirk can save his job? absolutely. 3 or even 2 wins with Jameis at QB and a bunch of nobodies in the defensive backfield makes a major statement about how much Mike Smith and the kicking situation were just destroying any opportunity the team had for success. It also means that Dirk had to make every tough decision you could imagine to make the season respectable and he was willing to do what it took

    7 or 8 wins earns Dirk another try with a (seemingly) reliable kicker and a DC whose approach to the game(hopefully) actually makes sense for this roster in the 2019 NFL. if the bucs had merely the 25th best kicker and defense through the first 8 games this team would be leading the wild card race.

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