Did Practicing And Defending Justin Fields Help Bucs Defense Prepare For Jalen Hurts?

September 23rd, 2023

Defending mobile QBs.

So last week the Bucs practiced with a determination to prepare to stop a Cam Newton-type mobile quarterback in Chicago’s Justin Fields.

How did the Bucs defense perform against Fields, who is quicker than Newton was? The Bucs held him to three yards. That tied for Fields’ worst output on the ground since his very first NFL game when he only ran the ball once.

Fields had run for single-digit yards only three times in his previous 27 games.

Joe thought sure, with a similar mobile quarterback coming in the very next game, that the Bucs scheming and succeeding to shut down Fields would certainly help against Jalen Hurts and the Eagles Monday night.

Bucs coach Todd Bowles really tried to downplay that thought this week.

“Not really,” Bowles said. “They are different types of runners, so to speak. Jalen has great ‘escapability.’ Other than his athleticism, he has great ‘escapability’ in the pocket.

“Justin did, too – they just saw things differently, schematically. Jalen does a heck of a job knowing when to run and when to throw.”

They might be different runners, but getting Fields on the ground is no small task. Joe figured if the Bucs could tackle Fields — they did — they should be able to corral Hurts when he tries to run.

Bowles wouldn’t go there when Joe asked Bowles again if prepping for Fields helped.

“I don’t know if it helps you practice it,” Bowles said. “It helps you if you can bottle them up and not let them out.

“This is another athletic guy that can throw the football, it’s just a matter of us being disciplined and everybody doing their job.”

Bowles twice referenced Hurts’ ability to throw so perhaps Bowles believes Hurts is much more dangerous outside the pocket.

Bucs cornerback Zyon McCollum, who played every defensive snap last week as Carlton Davis was inactive with a toe injury, told Joe preparing for Fields certainly will carry over in trying to stop Hurts.

“Oh, sure it is a big help,” McCollum told Joe. “I don’t think Jalen is as fast as a guy like that, like Justin. But he has the same amount of athleticism and can escape the pocket and especially escape on the edges.

“There was no better opponent to go [against] the week before. [Fields is] huge. He’s strong, all of that. Arm tackles aren’t going to bring a guy like that down.”

Joe thinks the Bucs ought to be able to bottle up Hurts on the ground if they were able to stop Fields.

But with his arm? Well, with the Eagles receivers and Bucs corners being banged up, that could be a problem.

11 Responses to “Did Practicing And Defending Justin Fields Help Bucs Defense Prepare For Jalen Hurts?”

  1. Leopold Stotch Says:

    I was thinking the same thing. Just do 2 spys like Chicago. Bowles should be able to disguise what he’s doing.

  2. BillyBucco Says:

    Zyon McCollum looked every bit ready to play. I’m not even that worried if Davis can’t go. Especially if his toe is still bothering him.
    Dean needs to step up his game. I saw him release DJ Moore to the safety when there was no other threat in his zone. Result was a 25 yard gain right in front of Neal, who was late. Why release a guy when no other threat is underneath? Dean needs to stick with his guy and let that become a double opportunity. Then if the pass is in front or behind its a pick, and if it’s a perfect pass, he is blanketed.
    These guys need to play fast and decisive and sometimes it seems like Bowles’ scheme is too much for some to process in the moment. Neal seems to be having trouble with this.
    Please God let these guys play lose and fast.

  3. Rod Munch Says:

    The Chicago coaches are morons and trying to turn Fields into a pocket passer for some dumb reason – and they didn’t have that many designed runs for him, but he also had nowhere to run with White and David both back there spying him. Also the Bucs defensive ends were playing soft on the runs to the RB, thinking they’d get a lot of RPO plays, and wanting to contain Fields – that’s why the Bears had some success running with their RBs.

    Hurts is a good runner, but nowhere near as dangerous of a runner as Fields – but he’s a much better QB. So I doubt they’d really play them the same, you don’t need White and David to spy on Hurts – plus if you kept two spies in there he’d kill you with the pass. So expect probably White to keep an eye on him, maybe David if they let White blitz some more. Also I expect the DE’s will be more aggressive on run stopping this week as well.

    So basically I’d expect that Hurts will have a lot more success running than Fields (duh, Fields only had 3 yards), but hopefully can contain the damage.

  4. HC Grover Says:

    The Filthys are scared of the Bucs.

  5. Pewter Power Says:

    Nope because we barely win that game, hurts can actually throw more than a few abate passes

  6. garro Says:

    “perhaps Bowles believes Hurts is much more dangerous outside the pocket.”

    I agree Joe. I think Hurts can do more damage with his arm. We need to get after him and not allow the escape and throw.

    Go Bucs!

  7. dmatt Says:

    BillyBucco Says
    Dean needs to step up his game.

    I’ve said all along that Dean is not a top 10 cb. He still play confused at times. I’ve watched him going on five years and he plays with the same stiffness n dear in the headlight. He has the speed and size but is too passive at tackling and plays too timid. Dean lacks field awareness. He has poor reaction time n if had good hand eye coordination, would have averaged 6 td a season. Just imagine Christian Izien having Dean’s height. This guy’s instincts are hands down. He’s a “natural” n Deans a “wanna be”,imo.

  8. Fred McNeil Says:

    I’m not convinced that Hurts is any better than Fields. I’m pretty sure the Eagles have a vastly better offensive line and far superior running backs than Da Bears. I know fow a fact that Phillie is a better coached team than Chicago too.
    However, the Eagles aren’t quite as formidable as say…the 49ers or Cowboys.
    The Bucs had better not run White up the gut on their first play. You do not want second and 11 on your second play.

  9. Proudbucsfan Says:

    I’m still pissed that Zion McCollum got robbed of an interception, anyone that says we barely won that game wasn’t paying attention we were in control the whole game. There are things we need to clean up but this is a good football team. Offense, defense and special teams are solid. I didn’t have much faith in the beginning but I am optimistic know and fully behind Mayfield and this team. I’m impressed that Todd Bowles has this team ready to play.

  10. EternalSon Says:

    Agreed ProudBucFan,

    Only two games in, one thing can be said for certain:

    This Bowles led team is playing hard. Good stuff.

    Go Bucs!!

  11. unbelievable Says:

    We can’t afford to put 2 spies on him like we did with Fields, because Hurts can actually throw the ball. And has multiple weapons.