Aside from their three-interception performance during a losing effort against the Saints in Week 4, the Buccaneers defense has struggled at generating turnovers.
In fact, the unit didn’t pick off a single pass through the first three weeks before that afternoon in New Orleans. And in five of nine games, the Bucs have been unable to record an INT, leading to a measly six on the year.
The all-important takeaway battle has not been a bright spot for the defense, and coaches aren’t denying it.
“We definitely need to get some more takeaways,” said defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. “We were hoping after the couple we got against the Browns that we would get something going, and then we came up empty on Sunday. We’ll keep plugging away, but it’s something we’re emphasizing throughout.
“We think we have good enough athletes on the back end to get some takeaways, and we’re going to need to get it done on the road this weekend. It’s something we’re working as hard as we can at to get turned around. They usually come in bunches. Hopefully that will be the case this weekend.”
With defensive backs oftentimes positioned facing the quarterback instead of the receiver in coverage, proponents of the Tampa 2 contend that one of its benefits is creating turnovers.
From a system perspective, Frazier believes the back-end players are understanding and hitting their marks. But now it’s more about making and finishing athletic plays on the ball.
“I think we’re getting better at having our eyes where we need to be, but we’re not coming away on a consistent basis with the takeaways,” Frazier said. “I think Johnthan [Banks] had an opportunity on the one deep ball [against Atlanta]. They took a shot to the end zone and he was able to get a hand on it. Those are the kind [of plays] that you’d like to see your guy go up with two hands and snag that football.
“That was an opportunity,” he continued. “We just have to get into that mindset when the ball is in the air [that] it’s ours and attack it for an interception as opposed to a pass breakup. We just have to keep drilling that and emphasizing it and get it done.”
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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