Making Arizona’s 3-4 front a particularly difficult task to handle this Sunday for the Bucs offense – especially the offensive line – is the Cardinals Pro Bowl five-technique, Chandler Jones. He’s what is considered a “tweener,” someone who serves as both an edge rusher and a linebacker.
A position often specific to the 3-4 alignment, Jones has the athleticism line up at multiple spots along the defensive line as well as run with tight ends and running backs in coverage. And the Cardinals keep you guessing on where he’ll be every snap.
“He’s quick, he’s long, he’s powerful and they move him around,” Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said Thursday of Jones. “It’s always better for us when we know exactly where a guy is because we can get an extra guy over there, but they flip him.”
Koetter labels Jones as a “spinner,” because he’ll often start in the middle of the field but could end up rushing the quarterback or covering the flat. The Bucs coach also made note of linebacker Markus Golden, who had four sacks as a rookie in 2015 and one last Sunday in their loss to New England. Koetter said Golden, a former second-round pick out of Missouri, is a “really good rusher with an unbelievable motor.”
Photo: Getty Images
But it’s hard to overlook Jones. The former first-round pick by New England has seemed to progress every year from 2012 until now, earning his first trip to the Pro Bowl in 2015. Over four seasons the 6-foot-5 linebacker has recorded 37 sacks, including 12.5 last year for the Patriots, and forced 10 fumbles. He was traded in the offseason for offensive guard Jonathan Cooper and a second-round pick, as New England was in need of both, but that doesn’t knock his value.
Jones is known to give offenses’ fits in the short-passing game while also being a threat to blitz – basically the type of defense Koetter expects from the entire unit this Sunday.
“Last week was more of a check down game. This week it will be more of a get-it-out-on-time game,” Koetter said after practice Friday. “It’ll be less of a check down game and more about being on time and getting rid of the ball.
“I’m expecting that we’ll see more pressure than we saw last week,” Koetter said. “I think Arizona has always been a pressure team … they have good personnel and that’s worked for them in the past. (But) pressure can work two ways. It can be big for them and it can also be big for us.”
To adjust to the three-hour time difference, the Bucs will travel to Arizona on Friday night and switch their walk-through schedule to pacific time, Koetter said.
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]
With guys who want to show off their pass rush skills and do a sack dance……….run it right up his ass.
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