The Buccaneers' pass rush was successful last Sunday at Washington. They were able to bring down Robert Griffin III six times throughout the game and they could have success in that department for the second consecutive week.
Heading into last week's contest, Bears' quarterback Jay Cutler was sacked nine times in the previous three games. Chicago's line has given up 24 sacks on the year which puts them in the upper half of the league rankings at No. 15 for most sacks given up. Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier knows that putting pressure on Cutler will be key for Tampa Bay.
“Well we need to have [the pass rush] going this Sunday," Frazier said. "If that quarterback that they have, Jay Cutler, is able to stay in that pocket and survey the land, it makes it very difficult for us to cover those receivers. So we’re going to need our pass rush - our four-man rush to really be effective for us in order for us to have success on Sunday. So we need to make sure that that’s working well for us.”
Part of the Bucs' success last week -- and the past few weeks for that matter -- was due to the outstanding performance of defensive end Jacquies Smith. The 24-year old recorded two sacks on Griffin and has rushed well off left end, earning more and more playing time each week.
Many have focused on defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and defensive end Michael Johnson to be those who should bring the pressure week in and week out. But it has been Smith who has looked most impressive and has been the pulse along the defensive line when he has been on the field.
“Jacquies, he’s continued to improve the more snaps we’ve given him," said Frazier. "He’s gotten a little better each week. Ended up getting a game ball for his performance on Sunday and hopefully he’ll just keep progressing. He’s one of those young guys who shows that quick twitch that you look for when you’re looking for a guy who can rush the passer and we’ll see how he progresses as time goes on. But so far, so good.”
With another opportunity this week, the Bucs' pass rush should see a good amount of success pressuring Cutler. If Smith, McCoy, and the rest of the line gets in a rhythm they could force Chicago into making several mistakes.
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