Look Out, Mr. Bridgewater!

September 18th, 2020

Click on through to visit BillCurrieFord.com. GM Sean Sullivan wants to help you any way he can, including with an Ira Kaufman discount.


Maybe, just maybe, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have themselves a defense.

Todd Bowles isn’t satisfied, of course. He wants more from his guys, and that’s the way it should be. For all the good things Tampa Bay did against Drew Brees, the Saints didn’t turn the ball over and the Bucs lost.

Let’s keep this in perspective.

The Saints have no peers when it comes to ball security. Their eight giveaways all of last season set a new standard in the league’s 100-year history.

Bucs DC Todd Bowles

And don’t be fooled by the 34 points allowed by the visitors. Tom Brady threw a pick-6, the Bucs muffed a kickoff deep in their own territory and field position was a nightmare throughout the opener.

During most of the past 15 years, the Saints have boasted the most prolific offense in football. That attack was just limited to 271 yards, which is why Tampa Bay ranks No. 6 in total defense heading into Week 2.

“They played fantastic,” Bruce Arians said on Friday.

Better yet, this was further evidence Bowles is building a formidable unit. Sunday’s effort marked the seventh consecutive game in which Tampa Bay’s defense played well enough to win.  During that span, opponents have averaged only 294 yards per game, converting third downs at a 33 percent rate.

In an offensive-minded league, those are outstanding numbers. Sunday’s Week 2 opponent has certainly noticed.

“Bowles’ defense … they come off the bus with pressure,” says Carolina offensive coordinator Joe Brady. “They’re fun to watch on tape. You see them fly around and they’re physical. It’s a huge challenge for us this week in all facets.”

What’s behind this defensive resurgence?

JPP is among the keys, writes Ira.

It helps to have Jason Pierre-Paul flying off the edge instead of rehabbing from a fractured neck. It helps to have young cornerbacks, led by Carlton Davis, playing with confidence. And of course it doesn’t hurt to feature the NFL sack king in Shaq Barrett.

Those are important factors, but the dynamic play of two inside linebackers has been huge. Lavonte David and Devin White are setting the tone for a surging group.

“Look at No. 45 and No. 54,” says Teddy Bridgewater. “They’re running sideline to sideline, making plays.”

Since recovering from a knee injury and shedding his brace last November, White looks like a star in the making. His elite speed didn’t show up on tape until midseason last year, It won’t be long before this is his defense.

Don’t sleep on Carolina’s attack.

The Panthers were competitive in a shootout against the Raiders in Week 1 as Bridgewater threw for 269 yards and Christian McCaffrey ran for 97 yards and two scores. Like Brees, Bridgewater is very careful with the football, so takeaways are a challenge once again.

It’s been a long time since Buc fans had a defense to be proud of.

In 2016, Tampa Bay’s defense keyed a 5-game winning streak that left the Bucs at 8-5, in charge of their playoff destiny. Then the Cowboys and Saints combined for 57 points and 866 yards in the following two
weeks against the visitors.

Goodbye, postseason.

That 5-game stretch proved to be a mirage for Buc fans. The 2017 Bucs allowed the most yards in the league.

Bridgewater Reality

David and William Gholston are the only returning starters from that 2016 defense. New players and a new scheme have made quite a difference. Bowles now has a good handle on what his guys can do. In turn, Buc players have a better grasp on their assignments.

McCaffery may be a modern-day Marshall Faulk, but the Bucs contained him very well in both meetings last year. Run defense remains stout and there’s no reason to believe Bridgewater will shred a secondary that just frustrated Brees and Michael Thomas.

It’s seven solid games and counting for a proud unit — and that includes matchups against Brees, Deshaun Watson and Matt Ryan (twice).

Buc fans weren’t sure about Bowles through 10 games in 2019, but he never wavered in his aggressive approach. With all the focus on this new offense, it’s Tampa Bay’s defense that now inspires the most confidence.

Mr. Bridgewater is about to find out why.

Ira with his good friend Sean Sullivan, general manager of Bill Currie Ford, Tampa’s first family of ford. Sean will help you personally in any way he can.

8 Responses to “Look Out, Mr. Bridgewater!”

  1. Chuckstutz Says:

    Great article Ira! Thanks!

  2. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Our defense played a fantastic game & we lost…….they stopped Kamara, Michael Thomas & Brees……penalties, turnovers and special teams failures allowed the Saints to score….
    I look for things to change against the Panthers…..stop McCaffery & we will prevail.

  3. Godlovesbucs Says:

    Crazy to think that after a week 1 game vs one of the top offenses in the nfl the d is ranked #6. The d balled out, the o and special teams let them down.

  4. Youngbucs Says:

    Doubt I see a troll on this thread

  5. Bush's Coke Spoon Says:

    Penalties and special teams! I don’t really understand it, because special teams concepts are mostly pretty simple. They just require discipline to perform correctly. Discipline–the same thing you need to avoid most penalties. Hmmm…

  6. Sumosam Says:

    We can only hope but this defense looks like it’s for real. Good defense in football wins games and that’s what we need around here

  7. Buccfan37 Says:

    Offense Defense now we’re here to say, make the Panthers walk the plank, throw em in Tampa Bay, Hey

  8. Half-Caucked Jeudy Says:

    In case nobody remembers, Bridgewater has owned us every time we’ve played him…..