As you might expect of a rookie, Buccaneers Quarterback Jameis Winston had more than his share of problems working effectively against the blitz last year.
He completed only 50-percent of his passes (79-of-158) for 1,314 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions and was sacked 13 times for a passer rating of 79.5 against pressure.
It’s no wonder then that Buccaneers coach Head Coach Dirk Koetter expects the Cardinals to spend their Sunday afternoon this week testing Winston with their own array of blitzes and pressure packages.
“I’m expecting that we’ll see more pressure than we saw last week,’’ Koetter said when asked what he thought the Cardinals defensive intentions would be. “Arizona has always been a pressure team.
“I mean, from what I’ve heard coming from the media side there, it sounds like they wanted to pressure (the Patriots) more than they did last week. So I think they’ll try to eat Jameis up a little bit.’’
The Cardinals need to be careful not to get eaten up by Jameis. His poor numbers against the blitz aside, Winston did manage to make some plays against pressure last year. And when he did he made big plays.
Winston averaged an impressive 16.6 yards per completion against the blitz in 2015 and his 8.32 yards per drop back was just a bit off the league-leading 8.45-yard mark Cardinals QB Carson Palmer produced.
The challenge for Winton this week, though, may prove to be a little more difficult than usual, mostly because the Cardinals work out of a 3-4 defensive alignment, which is something he rarely sees.
“Yeah, they run that 3-4 and they’re not afraid to bring all five of those front (guys),’’ Koetter said. “They try to make it five one-on-one blocks up front and man to man coverage with the free safety.
“I mean, that’s kind of their main thing and they have good personnel and it’s worked for them in the past. So how we respond to the pressure, it could be big for them, or it could be big for us.
“That’s why this week will be more of a get-the-ball-out-on-time game for us. Last week was more of a check down game. It’ll be less of a check-down game and more of a be-on-time and get-rid-of-the-ball game this time.”