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Tampa Bay Buccaneers Too Aggressive on Defense, and More NFC South News

TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 30:  Quarterback Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins sets to pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers September 30, 2012 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Knox BardeenNFC South Lead WriterOctober 2, 2012

Michael Bennett openly criticized the Tampa Bay defensive play-calling after Sunday's game, thinking that a fourth-quarter blitz opened the field for Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III to run roughshod.

Stephen Holder of the Tampa Bay Times did some film study and found that not only was Bennett right, but there was another case on that same drive where Tampa Bay's aggressiveness backfired.

You might wonder how the middle of the field was so wide open on two plays in particular: A 20-yard pass to tight end Fred Davis and a 15-yard run by Robert Griffin III. Those two plays accounted for the majority of the 56 yards Washington gained before kicker Billy Cundiff made the game-winning 41-yard field goal.

The pass to Davis was a wide-open connection because linebacker Lavonte Davis and Mason Foster were both blitzing, as was Ronde Barber. Had any of those three been in the middle where they normally reside, Davis would not have gained 20 yards,

Two plays later, Tampa Bay dialed up a Ronde Barber blitz again. At the same time, Tampa's defensive line slanted to their right. With Barber coming from the right side and the defensive line pushing that way, it was very easy for Griffin to scramble for 15 yards the opposite way.

Should the new Schiano regime dial down the aggressive play-calling on defense?

 

Atlanta Falcons

Mike Smith breaks the season up into four quarters, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. This helps keep his players focused on short-term goals and keeps them from getting "too far ahead of themselves."

Smith was caught on the game broadcast dressing down defensive line coach Ray Hamilton for not having enough men on the field Sunday. According to Fox Sports South, Smith later apologized.

 

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers are in second place in the division, but trail the NFC South-leading Falcons by three games. This Charlotte Observer article writes that Atlanta could clinch the division by Thanksgiving.

Ron Rivera said Monday that after a night to think about, it he still would have punted on 4th-and-1 from the Atlanta 45-yard line with under two minutes to play. [Charlotte Observer]

 

New Orleans Saints

The Times-Picayune has some play-by-play observations from Sunday's loss in Green Bay.

The Saints' non-existent pass rush is the most disturbing trend this season, according to the Times-Picayune.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Greg Schiano said he's confident in rookie running back Doug Martin, but doesn't believe the running game is where it needs to be. [Pewter Report]

The Buccaneers missed 11 tackles Sunday and Schiano doesn't have a concrete answer to why, according to the Tampa Tribune.

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