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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Koetter says Buccaneers blitz has been winning

Roy Cummings



Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Buccaneers are winning. They’re not winning games, obviously, but on those seemingly rare occasions inside of games when they have pressured the opposing quarterback with six or more pass rushers, they have been winning.

They were at least until they faced the Lions on Sunday.

That’s the word from coach Dirk Koetter, who was asked yet again on Monday why the Bucs haven’t blitzed more as a result of their line’s inability to consistently get to the quarterback. His answer was quite interesting to say the least.

Koetter first explained the dangers that are inherent in launching a six-man blitz, which usually leaves the five remaining defenders on islands in coverage all by themselves. That’s always risky and it’s especially risky when the blitz isn’t effective, which it apparently wasn’t on Sunday.

 “We brought six multiple times yesterday and for the season, when we’ve brought six rushers, we’ve had more wins on those plays than losses,’’ Koetter said. “But yesterday when we brought six, it wasn’t pretty.

 “On their last touchdown, (it was) a second-and-8 play and we got the roughing the passer penalty, which was a bad play. But then on the very next play we brought six and the safety wasn’t in the right gap.

 “So they split us there and there was no one home (and it turned into an) 18-yard run, which was their longest run of the day. Then two other times on third down we brought six and when you bring six, there is nobody to help on crossing routes and they hit one of those for about a 15-yard first down.

 “Then there was another one where the guy kind of bobbled it and we knocked it out. So, there is a catch-22 to bringing pressure. I understand the frustration with that. But understand, we have frustration with that as well.’’

That frustration only figures to grow in the coming weeks. Though the Bucs are hoping for the best, there’s a good chance they’ll have to play their last three games without defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.

McCoy left Sunday’s game early with a biceps muscle injury and while Koetter had not yet received the report on the MRI McCoy had to determine the severity of that injury, the Bucs were not expecting good news.

McCoy was reportedly telling teammates on Sunday that he feared he had torn the muscle, which would almost certainly end his season and might even force him to have surgery to repair it.

Koetter said the Bucs are hoping to get defensive tackle Clinton McDonald (back) back for their next game, next Monday against Atlanta, but that won’t necessarily reduce the need to run more six-man blitzes.

That may make those wishing to see more of those blitzes happy, but as Koetter noted, if there’s even a small gap in the coverage, those blitzes can work more against you than they can for you.

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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