It goes without saying that Calvin Johnson will be the Buccaneers toughest matchup on Sunday. But even if the secondary is able to continue their success and contain the 6-5, 235-pound All Pro, there’s still another guy they’ll have to account for on the outside.
“Golden Tate, he’s a number one receiver, too,” said Johnthan Banks after praising Johnson. “You have two guys you can’t sleep on. They have a hell of a receiving corps.”
In years past, once you were able to surround Johnson, players like Nate Burleson and Roy Williams provided little threat. Now, after signing the speedy receiver away from Seattle last offseason, Detroit has finally found it’s compliment to Megatron.
“I don’t recall them having a second receiver having this type of an impact in years past,” said defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. “To have another guy that you have to contend with it really kind of opens up their passing game and now that they get Reggie Bush back, that will open up some things as well, so it will be a challenge for us for sure and we’ll find out exactly where we are and what we need to do to keep on improving. But Calvin alone, he’s a big challenge, but you add a Golden Tate to their repertoire, it definitely helps their offense.”
Tate has already eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark this season and ranks sixth in the league in receiving. The former Seahawk also has 16 receptions of over 20 yards and 5 over 40, due to his speed after the catch.
“They’ve added a dynamic receiver in Golden Tate, who can kill you,” said Gerald McCoy. “I think he’s leading the league in yards after catch or after contact? I think he is. I mean if he’s not leading, he’s up at the top.”
Over the last two weeks the defense has faced dynamic duo’s such as Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey along with A.J. Green and Mohamed Sanu. And despite the Buccaneers losing in each contest, against their respective teams, the secondary unit was able to hold its own.
This Sunday’s challenge could exceed the prior weeks, but as the secondary unit continues to improve, there comes a new found confidence and excitement for the opportunity.
“Any competitor is going to love the challenge,” said Verner. “When I get to go against guys like that it just brings a sense that you know the ball’s going to come your way. You can’t make any plays when the ball’s not thrown to you, so those type of guys, you know the ball’s going to be thrown quite often.”
“Just getting going out there and getting to compete with Calvin Johnson, being on the same field as Calvin Johnson, it’s an honor, Banks said. “I’ll be ready for it.”
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.
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