“A Balls-To-The-Wall Approach”

January 12th, 2021

Bill Currie Ford is a Tampa tradition since 1959. They’re great Bucs fans and so charitable in the community. New year, new deals! Shop now at BillCurrieFord.com. And remember their nationwide lifetime warranty on new and used vehicles. Ira loves his 2020 Ford Escape, cherry red.

BY IRA KAUFMAN

Something’s got to give Sunday in New Orleans — and it should be Tampa Bay’s mindset.

In case you haven’t noticed, the Saints have Tampa Bay’s number. The Bucs have fallen five consecutive times to their division rivals and the previous four matchups reveal a disturbing pattern.

The Bucs keep falling down early and they can’t get up.

That’s understandable because the Saints aren’t the Falcons or the Chargers. They get up on you quickly and they don’t let you up off the canvas.

We’re talking about a franchise that has topped the NFC South every season since 2017, going 49-15 in that span. That’s why Tom Brady, Byron Leftwich and Bruce Arians have to go into this divisional-round matchup with a balls-to-the-wall approach.

Find a 4th-and-2 play, explains Sage Ira.

If it’s fourth-and-2 from midfield midway through the opening quarter, Bradley Pinion should take a seat as Tampa Bay tries to maintain possession.

Let’s not kid ourselves, this is a very different Buc team than the ones that made the playoffs seven times within an 11-year stretch. Those were defensive-oriented clubs, peppered with stalwarts like Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp, John Lynch, Rondé Barber and Simeon Rice. The stars are on the other side of the ball at the moment, led by the living legend under center.

During this five-game winning streak, the Bucs are averaging 36 points, 26 first downs and 460 yards. Those are monster numbers. Washington was just gouged for 507 yards on an evening when Chris Godwin dropped at least 60 additional yards worth of Brady throws right in his usually reliable hands.

The Saints have a sturdy defense, but so did Washington. If the Bucs hadn’t settled for Ryan Succop field goals, they would have hung at least 40 on that FedEx Field scoreboard.

This one’s on Brady and the offense because Drew Brees is going to have his way at times. He always does. Michael Thomas, a renowned Buc-killer, just caught his first TD pass of an injury-marred season, giving Todd Bowles even more to fret about when he’s not interviewing for a head coaching job.

The Bucs have to maximize their possessions and they need to score touchdowns in the red zone — a problem area in the nation’s capital.

Offensive balance is nice, but the Saints are stout against the run. This is a game where Brady has to be prepared to throw 45 times.

His targets are healthy and Brady should be well protected, even with a replacement for Alex Cappa at right guard.

A better start would help immensely.

Tale Of The Tape

In the past four meetings, the Saints have boasted halftime leads of 31-0, 17-7, 17-10 and 20-7. There’s been too little offense and not nearly enough defense when the whistle blows.

Arians points to Brady’s five interceptions against New Orleans this year as a critical factor in the season sweep, but this is a different offense and a different Brady at the moment.

If the Bucs have to win another shootout at the Superdome, like the 48-40 thriller in the 2018 season opener, I say bring it on.

Matchup favors Drew Brees, says Ira.

Even with the return of Devin White, there’s no reason to think Brees will struggle. Matt Ryan and Taylor Heinicke were sacked a combined three times while throwing 44 passes apiece against Tampa Bay in the past two weeks.

It would help if Shaq Barrett snaps out of a late-season funk. His last three games have generated zero sacks and only two QB hits.

Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul may be facing the best tackle tandem in the league, so look for White to blitz often in an effort to move Brees out of his comfort zone.

The Saints are favored, justifiably, but Tampa Bay is a dynamic underdog because this offense is on a serious roll.

It’s been almost 10 months since the Bucs officially signed Brady as a free agent. His regal presence gives this franchise a puncher’s chance to land a knockout blow heard all the way to Lambeau Field.

It’s Ira! Stop in and ask for Ira’s good friend Sean Sullivan, the Bill Currie Ford general manager. He will help you personally in person or by phone and email, and give you a JoeBucsFan discount.

33 Responses to ““A Balls-To-The-Wall Approach””

  1. Anonymous Says:

    ” And down goes Frazier”

  2. Bucfan81 Says:

    I agree with Ira the Bucs are going to have to be very aggressive both on offense and defense.

  3. BradyBucs Says:

    The only way we have a chance is if Bowles pulls off a masterful Defensive game plan to slow Brees. He can’t just play zone. He really has to mix up coverages to cause confusion.

    I have my doubts that SMB and Dean are anywhere good enough to close the windows on the Saints receivers. I think these are both players that will be out of the league or at least rarely seeing the field, within two years.

    The key to pressuring Brees is up the middle. It’s the same with pressuring Brady. We’re really missing Vita Vea now at this point in the season. We could use his big push up the middle to collapse the pocket.

    I’ve loved the Bucs since the franchise began, but I don’t have a lot of confidence about this game. It was such a mistake not to add a solid Veteran corner in FA or via trade.

    Our secondary just isn’t playoff caliber in a PASSING league.

  4. RustyRhinos Says:

    This game like every game against NFC SOUTH opponents, they need to be Personal. The photo Joe put up should be posted on every Defensive players locker. Posted on every door these players and coaches walk thru. These guys and yeah they are good guys, are the enemy.
    With our current record this season being Zero Dash Two! This game should be Personal. I hope our team takes this game personally. Or will this team again let these same smiles, and actions feed their personal passions, to not let the saints rub our noses in their arrogant sh!t again, Next season, perhaps?

    Go! Bucs!

  5. Mitch Says:

    The need to put 5 DB’s on the field and play a hybrid 2 man coverage. Mix up the blitzes between D White and the extra corner. Brees has been mediocre against 2 man all year long.

  6. Danny C Says:

    Bucs win this Sunday…38 – 31…exercise some demons while getting the last laugh at NOLA and eating that all-important “W”

  7. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    May as well go for it with 4th and 2 from the 50……because it makes little difference to Brees if he gets the ball on the 50 or the 20……

    As far as the defense…..we must force Brees to throw deep……jam WRs on the line….play man…..and shadow Kamara with LVD….

    Devin White…..up the gut on at least half the snaps…..force Brees to deal with some pressure up the middle

    Really nothing to lose by changing tactics…..our last ones failed 38-3

    Forget FGs in the red zone…..only TD attempts…..

  8. dmatt Says:

    To beat the Saints we must to the following:

    1. Keep Brady protected, if the saints try to sack him as a team, they are going
    for the ball as well.

    2. No missed tackles. We must wrap up and not arm tackle or sling the runner
    down with the possibility of the runner breaking his fall or gaining his
    balance, especially Kamara n DHarris. Let’s play fundamental football!

    3. Pressure, pressure, n more pressure on Brees. Do not give him time to survey
    the field.

    4. Our corners must get physical n aggressive at the line of scrimmage.

    5. JMickens need to make some big plays on kr and pr. Also our kickoff n punt
    team must stay in their lane n not give up big gains.

    6.Do not turn the ball over n avoid penalties, especially bonehead ones.

    7.Finally, get creative. Suh n AB has skills that can be used in more than one
    area. Now is the time to go for all the marbles.

  9. Leighroy Says:

    I’d be willing to take a personal foul to rattle Drew Brees early and test those ribs. Change my mind!

  10. TampaTown Says:

    Ira put his finger on our pulse and correctly identified that many in this fan base still pine for our SuperBowl era defense and feel helpless and vulnerable without it.

  11. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    LOVE the title AND this article.

  12. SB : Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    test

  13. SB : Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    test $2

  14. Steven007 Says:

    Leighroy, it pains me to say that I’ve had that thought more than once…

  15. SB : Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    Trying

  16. adam from ny Says:

    someone has to run thru brees…

    because someone on the saints is definitely gonna try to run thru brady…

    payton and them are not gonna play around…they’re gonna try to treat tom’s midsection like it’s the outback steak house…

    we should be doing the same to brees…and brees is like a soft tenderloin right now…

    time to eat and snack like brees is a bloomin’ onion!

  17. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    By “run through” Brees…….do you mean keep the rush going after he throws and stomp his old carcass into the ground….and while he’s down give him a “grisly” hug around the ribs….

    A good time would be when they are goal to go on the 2 yard line….that way it would only be 1 yard penalty……

    I wouldn’t want him to be injured badly….just the rest of the game….

    Now….Taysom Hill runs…..so he’s fair game for an unmerciful pounding…..

    With Jameis…we can simply let him be Jameis……

  18. Ace Carolla Says:

    Lookin like Frank Middleton in that picture

  19. adam from ny Says:

    @Tampabaybucsfan:

    run thru him…

    means…

    play like it’s 2002…

    sapp, brooks and lynch can explain it in better detail 🙂

  20. gp Says:

    If it’s THAT obvious, someone’s leaving the game and we don’t have enough depth. IOW Do it legally!

  21. Dewey Selmon Says:

    This is Philly all over again. We need a Ronde Barber moment to sent Brees into retirement.

  22. gp Says:

    And PLEASE, someone wipe that idiotic grin off T Hills face.
    He’s a runner, PLANT HIM!

  23. Jmarkbuc Says:

    Stopping Kamara is key, most everything feeds off of him. And an arm tackle won’t work, he’s got the best balance this side of the US women’s gymnastics team.

  24. buc15 Says:

    I want to see Cam Jordan be put on his ass several times

  25. TampaTown Says:

    Hate Taysom Hill! But remember the Saints play dirty and will try and goad someone into a penalty or ejection. Don’t take the bait!

  26. unbelievable Says:

    Don’t take the bait, just hit so frickin hard he can’t stand back up.

    You can do that legally… And we should.

    And then do the same to Brees… the Saints are a scum organization.

  27. Jeffbuc Says:

    You never know what can happen that’s why football is so great. I just watched browns jump out to a 28-0 lead. Against a team that has beaten them 27 times in a row at home. And they were helped out by a cast away defensive back from Tampa. Mj Stewart has a pick and multiple big tackles and pass breakups. But he reverted back to his bucs ways and gave up two touchdowns in the second half.

  28. Jeffbuc Says:

    And I have a question for you other bucs fans. When watching the other playoff games this weekend. Do you see the same thing I do. That the other defensive backs are coming up and popping people and playing with a lot of confidence. It’s like we have a bunch of soft corners who don’t play with a chip. I want to see Davis in Thomas face jamming him at the line and talking smack after every incompletion. I just see the other teams defensive backs being aggressive. And ours just as soon as the team says hike. There turn there hips and just start running down field not really covering there man but running to a spot. I know that’s mostly zone but still you have to be on the man in your zone not 5 yards away. While trying to get to your spot. It’s bad coaching. Coach them to stay with the man as there going to there zone. And I think playing so much zone is what kills us with qbs runs because are back is to the qb and 15 yards later we see it and go tackle

  29. Darin Says:

    Don’t count out the Rams Ira. I’d be surprised if GB scores 24. That D is rolling. Still time for 2 home playoff games!!🙏

  30. August 1976 Buc Says:

    PROTECT Brady and they will do fine, if they do not PROTECT Brady, then in the words sung by the immortal Dandy Don Merideth “Turn out the Lights the Partys over” If D Smith can finally make Cam Jordan eat his words that were spoken when D Smith got a new contract, then the Bucs will be fine. GO BUCS!!

  31. westernbuc Says:

    Brees always folds when hit up the middle. White, Lavonte, and Winfield should be busy

  32. Buczilla Says:

    Awesome article Ira. I can’t wait til Sunday!

  33. Davenport Buc Says:

    Score every time we have the ball — stop them once.

    That should be the game plan since we all know that our hideous – soft cover – defensive scheme will be exposed once again.

 

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