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

Roy Cummings



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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