TAMPA – There weren’t a lot of off-season to do lists written up for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this past offseason that didn’t have a pass rusher either at or near the top of it.
Though the Bucs actually tied two other teams (Pittsburgh and Washington) for ninth overall in the league in sacks with 38 last year, they were and still are considered a little thin in that area.
They may not be as thin a lot of people in and outside of the casual fan base believe, though, and they have more than just that technical top 10 finish from a year ago to prove it.
In their last eight games last year the Bucs recorded 21 sacks. That was the fifth most in the league over that span, and you can argue they picked up right where they left off during their season-opening win on Sunday.
The Bucs only recorded one sack in that game – that very impactful second-quarter sack-fumble that Noah Spence created that set up their second touchdown – but they also recorded eight quarterback hits.
And that’s just the official count. When the Bucs coaches broke down the film of their 29-7 victory on Monday they found two more quarterback hits for defensive tackle Gerald McCoy that he didn’t get credit for in the official stat sheet.
That would bring the Bucs quarterback hit count to 10 for the game, including six for McCoy, and the impact of all those hits on Bears quarterback Mike Glennon was not lost on Bucs coach Dirk Koetter.
“Quarterback hits are good,’’ Koetter said. “They’re a good thing. I mean, you’ve got to believe that those had some impact on (those (two Glennon interceptions).
“But our goal is to get one sack in every 14 (pass) attempts and we were nowhere close to that yesterday. But I don’t think anybody that watched that game would say that our rush didn’t affect the game.’’
Koetter went on to say that sack numbers can be a bit deceiving at times and he’s right, but it’s obvious the Bucs find those numbers important or they wouldn’t set a goal of recording one every 14 pass attempts.
By the way, some quick match shows that the Bucs more or less hit that mark a year ago when their 38 sacks came against 548 pass attempts. That works out to one sack every 14.4 pass attempts.
Oh, and down the stretch, when they were among the top five in the league in total sacks through the last eight games, the Bucs reached their goal of recording one sack every 14 pass attempts six times.
Not bad for a team that’s believed by so many to have a rather weak pass rush.