TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Detroit Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson already has 4.5 sacks, an interception, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery through five games. Needless to say, the Bucs have him highlighted in their scouting report.
‘Every play—Hutchinson, where’s he at?’ said Bucs Offensive Coordinator Dave Canales. “Is he on the right? Did they flip him over for a series? Just being conscious of that – whether it’s the run game or the pass game.”
“He’s one of those guys that, he can ruin your day,” said Bucs quarterback Baker Mayfield. “He has that potential and he’s capable of that. We’ve got to know where he is. They move him around quite a bit. They do a good job of that. The thing that jumps out on tape is his effort. He never quits. He never stops on a play. Even if you have him blocked for a second, he’s going to find a way to break free. Any time you’re stepping up in the pocket, he’s going to be chasing. There’s going to be pursuit. You’ve got to have eyes on him at all times.”
Hutchinson will be sure to keep everyone on their toes Sunday—especially the Bucs’ offensive line.
“The instincts he has in the passing game and the few times they drop him is outstanding,” said Bucs Head Coach Todd Bowles. “He’s a heck of a competitor. Luke [Goedeke] and Tristan [Wirfs] got their work cut out for them”
“He’s very high energy, very high motor,” said Bucs offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs. “Everyone knows that. He’s relentless. He loves getting to the quarterback so me and Luke [Goedeke] know what we’re in for.”
Beyond Hutchinson, Canales said the whole Lions defense plays tough and they never quit, presenting another test for the Bucs offense, as they continue to grow together.
“We know what to do but it’s mastering the different run-types, mastering the actions and how the defensive line reacts to things,” Canales said. “That’s where we need to get to – even up front—and I keep saying it about the whole group—that’s where we’re heading but we’re not quite there.”
“It’s going to come down to the very most basic things possible—my feet, my hands, my eyes, my assignments,” said Bucs center Robert Hainsey. “Those are the things that are going to keep us growing as we all do that individually. As we do it individually, we grow together as a group and continue to get better.”
“I think it’s been great,” Wirfs said about their progress as an offensive line. “We’re such a close-knit group. We just lean on each other for everything so I think we’re happy with where we’re at now but we know there’s a ton of work to be done. We’ve got a lot of room to improve.”
The Bucs will also have to be aware of where Jerry Jacobs is at all times. The Lions cornerback is tied for the league lead with three interceptions.