TAMPA, Fla. – Tom Brady always says each season is a totally new one and you can’t expect what a team did the year before to do the same in a new season.
Brady in 2021 led the NFL in passing yards (5,316) and passing touchdowns (43).
Offensively, the Bucs are struggling after two games this season. It’s the defense that’s carrying the load. The Bucs D has allowed just 13 points, which is the best in the NFL and also leads the league with 10 sacks. Bucs OLB Joe Tryon-Shoyinka credits head coach and defensive play caller Todd Bowles.
“Bowles does a great job scheming it up,” Shoyinka said. “Pressures, d-lineman, pressures are opening up gaps for each other. Linebackers are picking and doing all sorts of game. We’re just making opportunities for each other. When you do that you’re selfless. It just makes the game a lot more fun.”
It all starts up front with a pass rush. Bowles feels his defensive lineman are not concerned with individual statistics.
“I think they’re sacrificing for each other,” Bowles said. “It’s more about the pressure than the sacks-trying to get incompletions. The sacks are great but we’re trying to get incompletions and pressures and turnovers.”
The Bucs are going up against a future Hall of Fame quarterback in Aaron Rodgers Sunday, but the Packers have had success running the football with Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon.
“They can both do everything,” Bowles said. “Aaron (Jones) is faster – he plays wideout, he plays running back, he moves inside – he plays the slot – he does a lot of things great. AJ (Dillon) is tough to bring down. He can catch the football as well. Those two, along with Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the guys – it’s going to be a tough draw”.
The Bucs defense has four interceptions, tied for the best in the NFL. Cornerback Jamel Dean had two picks in the win over the Saints last Sunday.
“It’s a confidence feeling, knowing you can trust every man on defense,” Dean said. “It just makes you want to play for one another. Ok, we did it the first game, and like, maybe it was just the first game. Then we did it the second game, so ok, we are actually showing we can do this consistently.”
Brady in his 23rd season has seen it all and feels it in order to win and go far in the postseason, they’ll need to play better in all phases of the game. But for now, it’s the Bucs defense that deserves the credit.