Jason Pierre-Paul Says 'Nobody Can Run On' Bucs Ahead of Packers Game

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistOctober 14, 2020

Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul (90) lines up against the Atlanta Falcons during an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. The Falcons won the game 28-22 in overtime. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini)
Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

Tampa Bay Buccaneers pass-rusher Jason Pierre-Paul is supremely confident in his team's ability to stop the run.

According to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, JPP made that clear Tuesday when asked about the Bucs' upcoming matchup with the Green Bay Packers and running back Aaron Jones: "We had a couple of days off, I guess it's just the willpower, man. With this defense, I don't think nobody can run on us. We take too much pride in it to let a team come up in here and just run on us and try to get it going as well as passing too."

The Buccaneers are No. 1 against the run in the NFL this season, allowing just 58.4 yards per game. They also led the league in run defense in 2019, giving up 73.8 yards per contest.

It is no coincidence that the Buccaneers' development into a dominant run-stopping team coincided with the arrival of nose tackle Vita Vea, who was Tampa's first-round pick in the 2018 NFL draft.

The 347-pounder started all 16 games last season and was off to a strong start this year with 10 tackles, three tackles for loss and two sacks in five games.

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Vea suffered a broken leg last week against the Chicago Bears, however, and has since been placed on injured reserve, meaning the Bucs will have to deal with Jones and Co. without Vea's services.

Jones led the NFL last season with 16 rushing touchdowns, and he has looked great so far in 2020. Jones is fifth in the league with 374 rushing yards through four games, but he is just three yards behind second-place Josh Jacobs of the Las Vegas Raiders despite having played one fewer contest.

Essentially, there has been no more productive running back than Jones this season aside from Minnesota Vikings star Dalvin Cook, who leads the league with 489 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.

Tampa Bay has faced some quality running backs this year, including Alvin Kamara of the New Orleans Saints, but injuries may have helped skew the rushing defense numbers in their favor.

Both Christian McCaffrey of the Carolina Panthers and Austin Ekeler of the Los Angeles Chargers got injured during games against the Bucs.

If Jones can find a way to experience success on the ground against Tampa in Week 6 at Raymond James Stadium and open things up for quarterback Aaron Rodgers, it would go a long way toward helping the Packers improve to 5-0.

Sunday's game is huge for the Bucs since they are in a three-way tie with the Saints and Panthers for first place in the NFC South, and if they are going to keep pace and improve to 4-2, it starts with holding Jones in check.