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News » Finally, sacks start to pile up


Finally, sacks start to pile up


Finally, sacks start to pile up
One of the hallmarks during this hey day of Tampa Bay's defense has been putting pressure on the quarterback. So it was somewhat concerning through the first seven games of the season that the Bucs had just 11 sacks.


It was only two weeks ago that the Bucs were ranked 23rd in the league with just 15 sacks.

"We don't want to be ranked 23rd in anything," Coach Jon Gruden said.

But after roughing up Minnesota and Detroit for a combined nine quarterback takedowns the last two games (both wins), the NFL's No. 2-ranked defense has vaulted into a tie for 10th with 24 sacks.

"We're just getting used to each other, I guess," DE Greg White said.

The timing couldn't be better.

There will be no substitute for pressure when Tampa Bay (8-3) faces the New Orleans Saints (6-5) in Sunday's crucial NFC South game at Raymond James Stadium. If the Bucs want to maintain at least a share of first place in the division, putting pressure on QB Drew Brees, the engineer of the league's top-ranked offense, will be paramount.

But it won't be easy.

In mastering the New Orleans offense (411.5 yards per game), Brees has been sacked just eight times this season. The Bucs got him just once in a season-opening 24-20 loss at the Superdome. "You need to be in this guy's face," NT Chris Hovan said.

DE Gaines Adams leads the team with five sacks followed by 4 1/2 from White, the former Orlando Predator.

The unit has gotten a big lift of late from Jimmy Wilkerson, who jumped from Kansas City via free agency and has three sacks the last two weeks.

"I feel like a rookie all over again, just being around these guys," said Wilkerson, the sixth-year pro from Oklahoma. "I think we're molding together now."

Injury update

S Jermaine Phillips (forearm) and TE Alex Smith (ankle) remained limited during the team's Thanksgiving Day practice. . . . The Bucs will try to improve to 6-0 at home Sunday. The team has never gone unbeaten at home but did go 7-1 during the '99 season.



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 29, 2008

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