New Address; Same Delivery

January 21st, 2022

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Byron Leftwich didn’t hesitate. Not one bit.

Tampa Bay’s offensive coordinator was asked if the Rams look any different since they beat the Bucs in Week 3.

“They added a guy named Von Miller,” Leftwich said.

In the time it took you to read that last sentence, Miller registered the majority of his 115-1/2 career sacks. That’s how quickly he comes off the edge to gobble up quarterbacks and that’s why Miller has emerged as Tampa Bay’s biggest headache heading into Sunday’s NFC divisional-round matchup.

The Rams got what they paid for in Von Miller, writes Ira Kaufman.

Matt Stafford throws a nice deep ball and Cooper Kupp may be the best route runner in the league, but Miller is the guy keeping Bruce Arians up at night.

It’s been 10 weeks since the all-in Rams traded draft picks in the second and third rounds to acquire Miller from the Broncos. They made that deal with a game like this in mind, hoping he can take some pressure off the great Aaron Donald and apply that same pressure to Tom Brady.

In Denver, where Miller built his reputation as one of the NFL’s premier pass rushers, he typically came off the left edge. The Rams will undoubtedly be tempted to try that same alignment against the Bucs, who are unsure if All-Pro right tackle Tristan Wirfs can recover from a high ankle sprain.

Even if Wirfs plays, it’s likely his mobility will be hampered.

Whether it’s Wirfs or Alex Cappa at right tackle, you know Miller is very much in the head of Brady, who was sacked four times by Philadelphia last week.

Streaky Excellence

It’s been a funky year for Miller.

He started the season with 4 1/2 sacks in the first four games, then went the next seven weeks without a takedown. He was dealing with injuries of his own, but now he has posted six sacks in the past five games — along with three tackles for loss in each of the last three weeks.

Raheem Morris doesn’t lack for playmakers up front.

Playcaller Byron Leftwich will need to plan accordingly.

Donald just might go down as the best defensive tackle in league history, a relentless game-wrecker who faces constant double teams.

Outside linebacker Leonard Floyd has 20 sacks in two seasons since the Rams signed him as a free agent.

“We believe in the guys we’ve got,” says Miller, who has 7 1/2 sacks in 8 career playoff games. “We go out and do what we do. If there’s a sack to be had, we’ll get it.”

Given the uncertainty at right tackle, the Bucs may be tempted to utilize Rob Gronkowski more extensively in pass protection, especially if Miller is coming off the left edge. For most of the season, Brady has been afforded plenty of time to survey the field and run through his progressions.

That may not be the case on Sunday, when Brady and Miller renew acquaintances.

Miller had suffered through a five-year postseason drought until Monday night, when the Rams romped past Arizona 34-11. Before that game, Miller’s last two times on a playoff stage were remarkable as he wrecked the game plans of Brady and Cam Newton.

When the 2015 Broncos edged New England 20-18 in the AFC title game, Miller was credited with 2 1/2 sacks against Brady, topping his huge day with an interception. Brady was hit 17 times that afternoon at Mile High but never blinked before his last-second 2-point conversion pass was intercepted.

Two weeks later, Miller did it again, earning Super Bowl MVP honors after another 2 1/2 sack day against the Panthers.

“I remember every one,” Miller says of his success in getting Brady on the ground. “When he decides to retire, those are the sacks you’re going to remember.”

And while Miller intends to pad that total Sunday afternoon, he knows the extraordinary pedigree of the man standing under center. Brady is 35-11 in the postseason for a reason.

“Tom Brady is somehow able to elevate the play of his teammates to a level they wouldn’t normally play at,” Miller says.

Nicely done, Von. As far as football epitaphs go, that’s a doozy.

Yes, that warranty includes USED vehicles!
Ira drives a 2020 Ford Escape (cherry red).

10 Responses to “New Address; Same Delivery”

  1. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Short, quick passes….run the ball……take Von Miller out of the game…..add Scotty Miller

  2. Cobraboy Says:

    I suspect we’ll see a lot of screens and draws.

  3. SlyPirate Says:

    I’m betting on a lot of heavy sets. They’ll probably try running at Von Miller (away from Donald), too.

  4. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    We need to burn them with Screens and Runs, to slow down their pass rush.
    We need to score quickly, and not fall behind, or it might get ugly.
    Raheem has the Dogs, and he will fully unleash them if we are trying to play catch up.

  5. Eric Says:

    I’m sorry but I feel like we are giving them too much credit. You would think they were undefeated the way people are talking. I don’t think they are all that good. Yes Donald…but geez. You would think we were some scrubs. I wouldn’t be surprised of either outcome but we are not going to lay down and oh, we still have a top 10 defense that is way healthier than we were in week 3. LFG Bucs!

  6. Scooter Says:

    In 2015 the Patriots long time great offensive line coach ( Dante Scarnecchia ) retired and a year or two later came back to the team. Todd Light (former Patriot offensive lineman watching the Denver-New England AFC championship game on big screen said the Patriots offensive line had no silent adjustment count. He said if Dante was the coach that would have never happened. That’s one reason Brady was hit 17 times. The Rams are high off a playoff win over a demoralized and downtrodden Arizona team, overconfident from their last 2 Buc victories, are traveling cross-country on a short week and will be stepping foot into the Buc’s Thunderdome which will be an absolute Hornets Nest for them.

  7. Razor Ramone Says:

    Pro football talk reporting Rams left tackle out for sunday!! Go Bucs!!!

  8. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    Love it, Scooter! Great perspective on the past.

    Go Bucs. This is the last game …….. Nah, we gonna win! Go Bucs!

  9. Buczilla Says:

    Nice story Ira. Eat grass Miller! I would be slamming our right tackle and Gronk into this guy continuously in the first half on as many runs as we can manage.

  10. #1bucsfan Says:

    Dam scooter mic drop. Love it lets goo