TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Bucs’ defense had 10 takeaways through their first four games but didn’t have any last week against the Lions. Last season, it was a similar situation, with nine takeaways through their first four games, but then they went five straight games without a single one.
Bucs’ outside linebacker Joe Tryon-Shoyinka and linebacker Lavonte David spoke about what they can do as a unit to get back to creating turnovers this week and make sure that drought doesn’t happen this season.
“Just continue to attack the ball,” Tryon-Shoyinka said. “Get all 11 hats to the ball, running to the ball, punching at the ball and just overall effort. I’m not worried, but it’s definitely a focus point for us.”
“Get back to what we do in practice,” David said. “Last week, we didn’t do as much as we did in practice, as far as our individual selves, punching at the football, catching interceptions. We’re making an emphasis on that, too. This week, we’ve got to get back to always going back to the fundamentals and what you’re doing and sticking to it and being consistent at it.”
In looking at what the Bucs’ defense is up against, the Atlanta Falcons have a rush offense that is top 10 in the league, averaging 119.0 yards per game. They are led by 2023 first-round draft pick Bijan Robinson. The rookie has 401 rush yards (10th in the NFL), and he is third among all running backs in the NFL with 590 scrimmage yards.
“They’ve got a lot of great weapons,” said Bucs’ linebacker Devin White. “I think we’ve just got to be sound and our weapons got to show up as well. We’ve got weapons on our side at every position, but our good’s got to be better than their good at the end of the day. I think that’s what wins games like this – just who wants it more. You’ve got two good teams clashing, two teams that’ll see each other again. There ain’t no next time. You’ve got to get them right now.”
“If we don’t stop the run, we’re not winning,” said Bucs’ co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers. “I can tell you that. They are really a two-headed monster and the last time we played Atlanta, we didn’t really do a good job stopping the run either.”
Rodgers said part of their growth in their run defense is learning how to work with some new personnel – not just big guys up front like they’ve had in the past, but smaller and faster too with the addition of rookie Calijah Kancey.
He said it’s “just the challenge of doing it differently – the job still has to be done, but we’ve got to do it differently.”