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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Defense good enough to stop Bucs “Triplets” may not exist

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TAMPA – Mention the word triplets around the NFL and you’re likely to conjure memories of the Dallas Cowboys trio of Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith that earned that nickname back in the 90s.

Either that or you’ll spark thoughts of the more contemporary version currently found in Pittsburgh, where Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell have been given the same moniker.

It may not be long before the Bucs have a group of “Triplets’’ all their own. In fact, former NFL executive and current NFL Network analyst Charlie Casserly suggests they already do.

Casserly hasn’t dubbed them the “Triplets’’ yet but if you listen to him talk about the nightmare matchups the Bucs can create now that they’ve got tight end O.J. Howard and receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson, you get the feeling he or someone else soon will.

“You actually have three guys (there now) that you have to game plan for, and that’s rare,’’ Casserly said during an NFL Network segment earlier this week. “Usually, if you have one, that’s good.

“If you’ve got two you’ve got the defense on its heels. (If) you’ve got three, then you’ve really got the defense on its heels because if they go to take away one, two and three can beat you, too.’’

Casserly went on to point out exactly how defenses will try to slow the Bucs trio, but he also noted that there may not be an NFL defense that’s currently equipped to do that.

“What happens from a defensive point of view is, if you have a shut-down corner – and there are very few of them – then you can go over there and put him on Evans and double-team Jackson. Or maybe you’ll double-team Evans and take care of Jackson.

“But then you have to find some way to disrupt Howard – bang him at the line of scrimmage, give him a slow release. But you have to have the premier corner, the guy who can stop you, (to do that) and I’m not sure that guy exist in the league right now.’’

Cssserly didn’t stop there. He had a lot more to say about how Evans, Jackson and Howard could make the Bucs one of the most dynamic offenses in the NFL this year.

It can all be seen in the video posted on his twitter feed, but from listening to Casserly you get the feeling rival defensive coordinators are already losing sleep over how to defend the Bucs.




Roy Cummings is a native of Chicago, Illinois who grew up in the suburb of Lombard. He and his family later moved to Lakeland, Florida, where Roy attended high school at Kathleen High. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications in 1983 and immediately went to work for the Tampa Tribune. After five years working in a Polk County bureau covering everything from high school sports to college football to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, Roy moved back to Tampa and became the Tribune's first beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning, covering the team from its inception through the first eight years on the ice. He was then moved to the Buccaneers beat, where he stayed until the paper was folded in May, 2016. A two-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year, Roy has extensive experience covering all Tampa professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Giants name top pick QB Jones starter for Bucs game Sunday

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

It only took two lackluster games and losses for the New York Giants to decide to go with the youth movement at quarterback and start number one pick, Daniel Jones this week against the Bucs.

The Giants made it official Tuesday morning that Eli Manning is headed to the bench:

The Giants were beaten decisively for the second consecutive week 28 – 14 Sunday in their home opener to the Bills at MetLife Stadium. Manning had an up and down game going 26-45 for 250 yards 1TD but 2 INTs.

In their week one loss to the Cowboys in Dallas, Jones actually replaced Manning in the second half during an 35-17 defeat. Jones was 3-4 for 17 yards with one carry for 5 yards in “mop up duty” in the fourth quarter. Jones did play extensively and at times well, in the preseason.

There is already great speculation that if/when this move would inevitably made, it would signal the end of Manning’s time in New York. The younger brother of Peyton Manning has won two Super bowls with the Giants but his and New York’s play has been awful on offense with back-to-back losing seasons of 2017 – 18.

The 38 year old Manning is in the final year of latest contract with New York paying him $17 million, with a dead cap hit of $11.7 million if the Giants release him. So, that is not likely at this time. However, there are numerous teams like the Steelers and crosstown Jets who are in desperate need of quarterback help, immediately. It remains to be seen what New York will elect to do with their former hero QB.

Meanwhile, the Bucs come off a hard-fought Thursday night Road win over Carolina and will have extra rest going into this contest with the team that they are very familiar with in the NFC East. This is the third year in a row that they are meeting the Giants. New York having won the November match up a year ago with Manning performing well hitting 17 of 18 passes and throwing 2 TDs in a 38-35 victory.

Jones comes out of the Duke football program coached by David Cutcliffe, who was also Manning’s college coach at Ole Miss. So,  it was almost as if the handwriting was on the wall to pass the torch to Jones at whatever point the Giants felt they needed to move on from Eli.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Brees out with thumb injury for Bucs and Jaguars games

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The expected bad news on Saints quarterback Drew Brees’ injured thumb has come on Monday. And, it means the New Orleans quarterback will miss upcoming October games with the Bucs and the Jaguars.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday morning that Brees will be sidelined up to 6 weeks with the injured ligament in the thumb on his throwing hand:

Brees was injured in the second quarter of Sunday’s 30 – 9 loss to the L.A. Rams at the Coliseum in Los Angeles. He was shown on the sideline with his thumb in a splint (above), as the game worn on and did not return to action.

Brees, who will be a certain first-ballot Hall-of-Famer and who led the Saints to their only Super Bowl appearance/win in franchise history in 2009, has been one of the 2-3 top quarterbacks in the NFL for over a decade. Brees, in his 19th season, currently has the NFL’s all time record for completions and passing yards that he accomplished a year ago. He has a staggering 115 games with 300 or more passing yards and another remarkable 12 straight seasons with 4,000 passing yards that is now in jeopardy with the injured thumb.

The Saints will now turn to veteran back up Teddy Bridgewater who filled in Sunday but did not have much success against the stout Rams defense in the loss. Bridgewater, the former Vikings QB, was 17-30 for 165 yards, as New Orleans never found the endzone in the game.

The Sains also have young third QB Taysom Hill, and he’s also been used as a receiver and a special teams ace by New Orleans.

The Bucs, who were winners Thursday night at Carolina, will travel to play the Saints at the Superdome on October 6th in the first of their two NFC South meetings. The following week, New Orleans will be at TIAA Bank Field to take on the Jaguars in their first appearance in North Florida in eight years.

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