Front four brings pressure vs. Saints

Tampa Bay's defense was criticized for its play up front last week. Thanks to a liberal rotation system — which included players changing positions every play — the Bucs put much more pressure on Drew Brees and the Saints on Sunday.

TAMPA — Tampa Bay's defense finished with two sacks and four quarterback hurries on defense Sunday against New Orleans. Oddly, those were the same numbers the Bucs logged against Seattle in the season opener.

But the quality of that defensive pressure up front changed in the Bucs' victory against New Orleans.

Out of necessity, the Bucs liberally substituted all over the defense, but no more so than up front.

Greg White, the former Arena Football star, and Greg Peterson, a fifth-round pick, played larger roles. White notched his first NFL sack in the third quarter. Under tackle Jovan Haye, another player who struggled to catch on in the NFL, also had his first NFL sack.

White became a perfect example of Tampa Bay's line rotation on Sunday. One play, White set up inside at Chris Hovan's defensive tackle position. His next trip found White at right end.

Defensive end Greg Spires said the rotation not only kept the linemen fresh, it kept the Saints' front five on offense off-balance.

"It meant a lot that we had guys coming in and playing just as well as the starters," Spires said. "If you can get a good matchup on one of their softest offensive linemen, then maybe we can take advantage of that and make a big play. The guys we have here on the D-Line, a lot of guys can play a lot of different positions. So, that alone creates depth."

White had two hurries on the day.

JUNE'S LUCKY 11TH: Linebacker Cato June caught his 11th career interception on Sunday, picking off Drew Brees with 7:18 left in the third quarter.

The pick was June's first as a Buccaneer, and set up Carnell Williams' second touchdown of the game.

"When you get the opportunity to make a play, you have to capitalize," June said.

ONE SWEET RIDE FOR CADDY: Carnell Williams rushed for 61 yards on 24 carries, including two touchdowns.

The numbers were significant. Williams doubled his rushing touchdown output from last season. He also had the second multi-touchdown game of his career, matching the two-touchdown game he had against Carolina on Nov. 11, 2005.

And, by carrying 24 times, the Buccaneers are now 10-0 when Williams carries the ball at least 21 times.

Williams was questionable entering the game with bruised ribs.

"I was worried about it last night," Williams said. "I didn't go to bed until 3:30 or 4:00 in the morning. I was just up thinking about it. I didn't know how I was going to react to a hit. Truth be told, it was still real sore."

AN ADAMS MILESTONE: Rookie defensive end Gaines Adams didn't do much on Sunday, finishing with two tackles, a week after notching just an assist against Seattle. But he did break up his first NFL pass in the first half, batting down an attempt by Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

BUC SHOTS: QB Jeff Garcia's 15.2 yards per pass attempt set a new single-game record for the Buccaneers. Vinny Testaverde set the previous mark of 14.5 on Sept. 13, 1992. … Galloway now ranks fourth in Buccaneers history in touchdown catches with 24, passing Bruce Hill, who caught 23 from 1987-91. Galloway is now seventh in team history in receiving yards, passing Lawrence Dawsey (2,842) and Hill (2,942) during the contest. … The Buccaneers defense began the game in a nickel formation, meaning that recently-signed CB Sammy Davis made his first start as a Buccaneer. FB B.J. Askew also made his first start as a Buc. … Tampa Bay has not had a lead of 21 or more points at halftime since Nov. 21, 2004, against San Francisco.

INJURY UPDATE: The Buccaneers did not announce any injuries after the game. DE Patrick Chukwurah (partially torn MCL) missed his second straight game. CB Brian Kelly (groin) did not play. Phillip Buchanon started in Kelly's place and played well, breaking up two key passes in the first half.

The Saints did not announce any post-game injuries. They did move TE Mark Campbell to injured reserve before the game and signed QB Tyler Palko to serve as the Saints' third quarterback.


Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for BucsBlitz.com and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association and has won national awards for his Buccaneers coverage from the PFWA, the National Newspaper Association and the Associated Press Sports Editors. He is also a contributor to the Scot Brantley Show from 4-7 p.m. weekdays on WHBO 1490-AM in Tampa-Clearwater.


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