Pressure Is On David And Beckwith

September 13th, 2017

Ira Kaufman is the most beloved, revered and esteemed Buccaneers columnist in town. He has hung his hat at world headquarters since July 2016. Tampa Bay’s only Pro Football Hall of Fame voter, Ira busts out columns here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and his award winning podcasts fire Tuesdays and Thursdays.


The Bears have a scary game plan for upsetting the Bucs on Sunday, and it involves a two-headed monster.

John Fox’s club played the Falcons tough in Week 1, dropping a 23-17 decision in Mike Glennon’s Chicago debut, but the offense looked out of character. Glennon threw 40 passes, which is about 10 too many, and the Bears ran only 19 times, about 10 too few.

Still, the number that jumped off the sheet at Mike Smith after the game was Chicago’s average yards per carry: 6.6. That’s not a typo, that’s a flashing warning sign.

Buc fans know all about Jordan Howard, who ranked second only to Ezekiel Elliott in rushing yards last year. Now the Bears have unveiled another dynamic rookie back to complement Howard’s power game.

“He’s a game-wrecker and a half,” Gerald McCoy told me, referring to diminutive Tarik Cohen. “He’s short, but he’s not small, and he’s quicker than he is fast.”

A fourth-round pick out of North Carolina A&T, Cohen opened his pro career with 158 all-purpose yards against the Falcons, who boast a speedy defense. Howard accounted for 52 of Chicago’s 125 rushing yards and the Bears will surely test a Buc run defense that allowed an average of 4.4 yards per carry in 2016.

“Very impressive, both of their backs,” said Dirk Koetter. “I know everyone’s on the rookie’s bandwagon this week, and rightfully so, but let’s not forget Howard was the second-leading rusher in the league. They’ve got a really nice 1-2 punch going.”

The Human Joystick

The Bears will arrive in town with a solid offensive line and pedestrian targets for Glennon, who was sacked four times last week. Cohen was targeted 12 times, catching eight passes, and he needed only five carries to finish with 66 yards on the ground.

“Tarik is very explosive, and you could see that early on in rookie mini-camp,” said Bears coach John Fox. “He loves to play the game and he’s not afraid to work. Our scouting department did a good job locating him.”

In college, the 5-foot-6 Cohen was dubbed “The Human Joystick” for his dazzling change of direction. He reeled off four touchdown runs of at least 83 yards last year and some pro scouts compared him to a young Darren Sproles.

That’s a high compliment and it kind of begs the question why Cohen wasn’t selected until the 119th overall pick.

“They obviously wanted to get that rookie the ball as much as possible — and he’s a guy who can really scoot,” said Smith, who should have all of his projected starters available. “Cohen can create matchup issues for our linebackers. They want him to be an integral part of what they want to do.”

When Howard isn’t pounding between the tackles, the Bears will be determined to get the ball to Cohen in space, That puts a lot of pressure on Lavonte David and rookie Kendell Beckwith to take proper angles while closing in the flat.

Chris Baker

And let’s not forget about Chris Baker’s burden in his Buc debut.

Swaggy was brought to Tampa as a free agent in March to fortify the interior of a defensive line that got pushed around too often last fall. We’ve seen Baker hug a tree. We’ve seen him heckle a kicker. We’ve seen him mug for the camera.

How about a couple of tackles for losses?

The Bucs can make a loud statement Sunday, but the Bears didn’t go quietly against the defending NFC champions.

“Opening day at home,” said McCoy. “It’s going to be a tough one.”

9 Responses to “Pressure Is On David And Beckwith”

  1. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Again Cohen’s longest run was largely on the Falcons #50 who totally blew his backside contain.

    I watched the entire game and came away with a couple of thoughts. The Falcons clearly phoned that game in…they totally took the Bears for granted…or perhaps they’re still trying to get past the gift they gave the Belicheats in the SB…that was a total choke and maybe the Dixie Chicks are still recovering.

    In fairness to them though why would they get pumped up to play Chicago…they got a little too complacent. And I feel certain that if we’re complacent we too can be had…it’s the simply have to show up every game. The Falcons got away with their “C” game on Sunday and it almost bit them in the backside. If we bring our A or even B+ game we’ll be fine.

    I just hope whichever player has the backside contain they do not surrender it to Cohen or he’s off to the races.

  2. Buc4lyfe79 Says:

    Did u actually watch the Bears game from this past week? If so, I have no idea what u were watching. “The Bears will arrive in town with a solid offensive line.” Were you day dreaming on your beloved Chiefs throttling the Pats when u wrote that line or what? When u have a real deal running back, he can make his line look good in spite of themselves you know.

  3. SOEbuc Says:

    Already know LVD is fast and can make those angles. His blitzing up the middle has been looking real nice lately. Just have to wait and see what the very impressive looking rookie MLB that has been moved to SAM can do. Baker may be a joker on the practice field but I’m excited to see what he looks like on game day. I believe in Licht when he see’s players that he feels can fit in this program, both vets and rooks. And please, no Aguayo references till the death of time cus it’s over with now.

  4. teacherman777 Says:

    Beckwith is a game changer!

    Daryl Smith was serviceable and solid but he never flashed. He was slow but strong.

    Beckwith can FLY. He will beat blocks and get in the backfield.

    He will jump routes and tip balls.

    Beckwith could quickly become the biggest game changer on our defense.

    We have needed a great SLB for the past 10 years.

    And we finally have one!

    And if LVD or Kwon get hurt, we finally have depth!

    We can just slide Beckwith into WLB or MLB.

    Grea job Licht! Thank you for building a deep LB corps!

  5. Defense Rules Says:

    StPete hit the nail on the head … “It’s the NFL, you simply have to show up every game.” The ideal outcome would have the Bucs’ offense, defense & STs all shine for this game, but it seems that rarely happens in the 1st game of the season. Seems more likely to me that we’ll have solid ST play, and that EITHER our Bucs’ offense or defense will stand out. So to go out on a limb & prognosticate, Bucs will win 27-17 behind a very solid performance by our defense while our offense has a decent (but not spectacular) opening day performance marked by several big plays by our WRs & TEs.

  6. Doc D Says:

    46 of Cohen’s 66 yards came on one play where Atlanta lost backside contain. Stats can be very misleading. Bucs by 20+ this weekend!!

  7. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I don’t want to jinx him but Brian Anger will show up Sunday as he usually does…..we will see how Glennon likes to start his drives from the 5 yard line.

    Brian Anger… good as it gets.

  8. shouldhavedraftedeifert Says:

    This game doesn’t setup well for McCoy’s run defense style. OCs know that McCoy’s get off creates that middle seam that they exploit all day. I hope we see a lot more McDonald and Baker on those first and 2nd downs, let McCoy rest and go off on 3rd down.

  9. biff barker Says:

    The Bucs need to get points up early and often and put the game on Glennon’s arm.