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Quit sleeping on Tampa's defense

"WAKE UP, WAKE UP........IT'S THE FIRST OF THE MONTH!!" It is officially September which can only mean one thing, football is just a over a week away. Well for Bucs fans, we'll have to contain our excitement for just a few extra days to see our team take the field. The excitement and the hype behind this team since the arrival of Brady and the phenomenon known as Gronk is still "cloud 9" like.

Now, let us not get to hyped over an offense and forget about a young, stellar defense that retained their core players while bringing back big time players (2019 NFL Sack Leader Shaq Barrett, JPP, and Suh). Believe it or not, this defense will be a force this season. Last season, the Bucs racked up 47 sacks which ranked 7th, which of course it's been widely criticized due to 30 of the sacks belonging to Barrett and JPP. Many also have criticized Vea and Suh for their "lack of production" in the sack total but truth be told, they did exactly what their job requires by taking up double-teams and plugging the holes to allow others to take advantage of the situation. I mean, you can't argue when the rush defense was one of the very best only allowing 73.8-yards per game. There's no reason to disagree that they couldn't easily do the same thing this season.

Now, the one area the Bucs were easily up-and-down is in the defensive backfield. Many can make a valid argument that after the release of Vernon Hargreaves around week 5 speaks volumes of where the issues were. Players like Sean Murphy-Bunting, Jamel Dean, and MIke Edwards emerged from the depths. Along side Carlton Davis, Jordan Whitehead and Andrew Adams, the pass defense stood tall and turned things around, with Dean being one of the top defenders in the league. Now, having the third-worst pass defense isn't really helping but to be fair they were put in poor field position with their backs to the wall due to the offensive turnovers.

This season alone the some have the Bucs finishing at the ninth-best defense while predicting they will be Top-10 against the pass. It's truly impossible to argue seeing as this young defense has been growing each day against now just any QB, but the "G.O.A.T." Tom Brady himself along with his trusty sidekick from 3 of his 6 Super Bowls, Gronk to go along with our top-tier receiving group in Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, OJ Howard, and Cam Brate. Practicing against someone who can actually read a defense and adjust is paying off for this young group when it comes to their growth, especially for guys like Antoine Winfield Jr who looks to make a name for himself as a rookie. No matter what differences Bucs fans seem to have over a number of topics, one thing we CAN ALL agree on, is this defense is going to be not just a force to be reckoned with, but they're going to cause chaos for some offenses this season, beginning September 13th when they travel to New Orleans to take on the Drew Brees, Michael "Slant Man" Thomas and the Saints.

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Credit: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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