Thursday, December 27, 2012
Bucs closing in on NFL history
By Pat Yasinskas
When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, we could see history being made.
But it’s not the kind of history the Bucs want to be a part of. They already have allowed 4,545 passing yards this season. If they allow 252 on Sunday, they’ll set an all-time NFL record for passing yards in a season. Green Bay set the record (4,796 yards) last season.
Much of the blame should fall on a cornerback situation that’s left the Bucs scrambling all year. They’ve dealt with injuries, suspensions and traded away their best cornerback, Aqib Talib. They’ve been forced to play cornerbacks that shouldn’t be more than special-teams players.
But you can’t put all the blame on the cornerbacks. Although Michael Bennett has had some bright moments, the secondary hasn’t gotten a lot of help from the pass rush. The Bucs lost starting defensive end Adrian Clayborn to a season-ending injury early on and they didn’t have Da'Quan Bowers until the middle of the season.
If the Bucs are able to keep Bennett from leaving through free agency and Clayborn returns at full strength, the pass rush should be fine next year. But I think it’s pretty safe to assume the Bucs will make multiple moves at cornerback in the offseason.
They need to do something pretty dramatic because the pass defense can’t afford to be historically bad again.