Neal, Edwards Contribute To Run Protection Woes

Early on in Thursday night time’s 27-22 loss to the Ravens, the Bucs contained Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson awfully properly. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman appeared to reveal an undermanned secondary all through the primary half, and each the again half of Tampa Bay’s protection and its cross rush held up and annoyed the guests. By means of half-hour, the Ravens had simply three factors.

Then, within the second half, the wheels fell off. However why? Maybe the Bucs’ offense lack of ability to maintain drives mixed with Baltimore’s speeding assault wore everybody down. Head coach Todd Bowles wasn’t focused on utilizing that as an excuse after the sport, although.

“It doesn’t matter,” Bowles mentioned. “You attempt to win ball video games. Protection, offense, whoever needs to be on the market to attempt to get off the sector or win the ball recreation needs to be on the market. We practice for this. That’s what we’re alleged to be doing, in order that’s not an excuse for us.”

Bucs Ilb Devin White And Ravens Rb Gus Edwards

Bucs ILB Devin White and Ravens RB Gus Edwards – Picture by: Cliff Welch/PR

So, what was the issue within the second half? Linebacker Devin White had considered one of his worst video games within the NFL, which definitely didn’t assist. The opposite obvious downside got here extra because of who wasn’t on the sector. Tampa Bay’s secondary was banged-up, lacking nickel cornerback/security Antoine Winfield Jr. (concussion), Carlton Davis (hip) and Logan Ryan (foot). And for a lot of the second half, the protection was with out Shaquil Barrett (Achilles) as properly. Previous to exiting with what has been confirmed to be a season-ending damage, he had a sack and two tackles for loss.

Taking a fast take a look at Professional Soccer Focus’ run protection grades for every of these gamers reveals fairly clearly what the Bucs had been lacking because the Ravens ran for 231 yards on 33 rush makes an attempt (7.0 avg.). Winfield’s run protection grade of 90.1 leads Tampa Bay’s protection for the 12 months. Ryan’s 89.1 grade has him No. 2 on the workforce. Davis’ 66.2 grade remains to be within the above-average vary. For the season, Barrett had a 77.5 run protection grade. So, it’s secure to say the Bucs had been with out fairly a couple of of their high run defenders.

All of it will get even worse whenever you take a look at the grades from Thursday night time’s recreation. Keanu Neal graded out the worst in opposition to the run, ending with a 33.1. White’s 34.2 grade was matched by Mike Edwards, who additionally had a 34.2. Rookie Zyon McCollum graded out with a 37.9, whereas Carl Nassib completed with a 38.5. Dee Delaney was one of the best of the backups in opposition to the run, but he solely graded out with a forty five.5.

When you suppose PFF’s grades for these guys had been unhealthy, the tape actually tells the complete story. They don’t deserve alllll the blame, nevertheless it was an particularly tough recreation for Bucs safeties Keanu Neal and Mike Edwards.

Bucs Had Simply About Each Downside You Can Have Whereas Enjoying The Run

The tape from Thursday night time’s recreation has all of it. Guys out of place, guys eaten up and unable to wiggle free from blocks and definitely some missed tackles.

Missed Alternatives For Tampa Bay As Neal Offers With A Case Of The Whiffs

PFF credited Keanu Neal with three missed tackles and a missed deal with fee of 30%. Right here’s a foul one which led to a 12-yard run by Gus Edwards. Neal comes flying in from the highest of the display screen.

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As Jackson palms off to Edwards, it’s truly Nassib who will get to the ball service first. He whiffs, then Neal comes flying in and may’t carry Edwards down both. The Baltimore working again shakes free and will get a primary down. The drive finally led to a punt anyway, however as a substitute of the Tampa Bay protection having the ability to make the most of the Ravens being pinned deep by Jake Camarda’s punt, it was the Ravens who had been in a position to flip the sector.

Let’s keep on Neal (left aspect of the display screen) for this subsequent clip. It’s one other easy instance the place the protection steps up and places himself in a very good place to make a play on Edwards, however he simply can’t carry him down.


Neal actually does an amazing job of studying the play and strikes properly to get to Edwards. What occurs, although? He could over pursue only a tad, which retains him from actually squaring up for the deal with. However he’s in a ok spot to make the play. These are those it’s important to end. And the worst half is, Neal’s power at this stage in his profession is meant to be stopping the run! This was a tough one for the veteran.

Bucs’ Edwards Was The Worst Edwards On The Area On Thursday Night time

No gimmick infringement meant right here (sorry anyway, Mr. Goldberg), however who’s subsequent? Let’s check out Mike Edwards, who had a woeful recreation in opposition to the run. Baltimore’s Gus Edwards had the a lot better of the night time between the 2 Edwardses, as Tampa Bay’s security discovered himself being indecisive and out of place too usually.

On the entire, the Bucs didn’t do a horrible job of containing Jackson as a runner. However he did break away for a 25-yard run early within the second half as Baltimore drove down and tied the sport at 10. And whereas Edwards was removed from the one one who contributed to this play, he badly overruns Jackson and permits the run to go for 10-12 extra yards than it most likely ought to have.

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Clearly, Edwards isn’t the one answerable for permitting this run to get to the second degree. Have a look at the highest of the display screen. He’s taking part in deep and off the snap, he almost drifts off-screen. However Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, regardless of having Jackson within the backfield, can’t make the play. He finally ends up on the bottom. Jackson then runs by a diving Vita Vea, who additionally finally ends up on the bottom. It’s then that Edwards is the following man as much as make the play after his preliminary drop. However he over pursues, making it straightforward for the Baltimore quarterback to side-step him and hold working.

Watch from the opposite view, which sees Edwards run up from the underside of the display screen making an attempt to make the play:

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Edwards, like Neal on the beforehand coated performs, truly does fairly properly to get himself able to make the deal with. However he overruns the play simply sufficient to value himself the cease.

It obtained worse for him, although. The Ravens ran some well-designed end-arounds that caught the Bucs out to dry a few instances. A type of instances noticed Edwards hesitate for a split-second, which leaves him able to be run into the bottom by Devin White, who’s being blocked into him. Watch him right here, the place he begins on the left aspect of the display screen earlier than following the movement over.


Let’s get the opposite view of this play. Watch as Edwards (backside of the display screen, No. 32) reads the play properly off the movement. He sees what’s coming and runs with Devin Duvernay, who turns into the ball service. However what occurs subsequent is what prices the Bucs an opportunity at a possible cease.


Edwards stops and anticipates a cut-back inside. The issue, although, is two-fold. One, he has Lavonte David there to make the play if Duvernay does in the reduction of. So, hold going outdoors to include there and let David make the play if it involves him, proper? Solely Edwards hesitates and tries to remain in play for the cut-back, which results in downside No. 2. That hesitation happens behind White, who can’t get off his block. The linebacker is pushed into Edwards, making for an unsightly rep for the protection regardless of his recognition of the play.

The Issues Come Collectively For The Bucs

Now, whenever you surrender as many huge runs because the Bucs did on Thursday night time, it’s by no means going to only be one or two guys. Neal and Edwards definitely weren’t at fault for every little thing, as White performed his function as properly. Tryon-Shoyinka and Nassib additionally missed alternatives. However when these huge runs occur and guys get to the second degree, it’s on gamers like Neal and Edwards to step up and make performs. They persistently failed to try this in opposition to the Ravens.


On this play, Edwards (proper aspect of the display screen, high of the formation) takes a foul angle to the ball and as soon as once more will get caught up in White’s block. Neal, taking part in off the road of scrimmage within the slot, struggles to get off his block down the sector, however ultimately does to make the deal with with McCollum (backside of the display screen), who didn’t get off his block till after the play was previous him. It’s simply unhealthy all-around.

Duvernay’s fourth-quarter landing run was one other instance of every little thing simply falling aside for this protection. Now, at this level, the unit had been on the sector for a lot of the night time. However that is nonetheless unhealthy.


Pat O’Connor shortly penetrates the backfield, however Duvernay is already outdoors of him. White is blocked, with Jamel Dean getting caught up in that block as properly. Edwards heads outdoors, however as a result of Dean will get caught up, there’s nobody within the inside lane that Duvernay takes. Edwards can’t get again over and Neal by no means actually will get there both. It’s a simple landing run that helped Baltimore put the sport away.

All proper, one final breakdown and we’ll depart this alone. The place the Ravens actually kill the sport is on their closing possession. After the Bucs lower the deficit to 24-16, the protection comes again out and instantly offers up a 40-yard run to Kenyan Drake.


O’Connor is taken out of the play. McCollum is taken out of the play. White is blocked downfield. Edwards will get caught inside, so Drake bounces to the skin and from there, Edwards is the one one who can get to him. He does properly to get there, nevertheless it’s 40 yards down the sector. Not lengthy after, Justin Tucker kicked a subject objective to make it a two-possession recreation with simply over two minutes to go.

Now, To Wrap Up… (One thing The Bucs Couldn’t Do)

Bucs Hc Todd Bowles

Bucs HC Todd Bowles – Picture by: Cliff Welch/PR

There have been so many points with the way in which the Bucs performed the run on Thursday night time. It’s a disgrace, too, as a result of that undermanned secondary held its personal within the first half and put the workforce in a strong place heading into halftime. However Tampa Bay’s offense couldn’t maintain something and as soon as Baltimore went to the bottom, it was over.

Edwards, lengthy often called a ball-hawking security, had truly been a strong run defender early on within the season. However this was an terrible night time for him. Neal, compelled into extra motion because of the accidents to Winfield and Ryan, wasn’t any higher. The Bucs’ linebackers weren’t any assist, and when there are that many points, two backup corners in McCollum and Delaney aren’t going to miraculously save the day.

This sort of efficiency has to make Todd Bowles sick. His protection relies on stopping the run, and that group has been uncharacteristically terrible in opposition to it for many of this season. Now, it’s important to marvel if a number of the adjustments which were made are coming again to chunk Tampa Bay. Two key figures from a Bucs run protection that was beforehand close to the highest of the league are gone, because the workforce mentioned goodbye to Ndamukong Suh and Jordan Whitehead within the offseason. Bowles can also be working with extra beneath fronts and fewer two-gapping, so there may be one thing to the concept that schematic adjustments have impacted the unit’s dip.

No matter it’s, there might not be a fast repair right here. However getting guys like Winfield and Ryan again can solely assist going ahead, particularly if Neal and Edwards are handing over performances like this.

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