October 9, 2018 / 4:22 AM / 14 days ago

Bucs seeking more from new-look D-line

Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan took too many hits, including six sacks, in Sunday’s loss to the Steelers. Head coach Dan Quinn said protection broke down in every way possible — against the blitz, on first down and on key third downs. Quinn said the protection breakdowns are “definitely correctable.”

“But it cannot happen,” Quinn said. “I wish there was one thing I could put it on. At times we didn’t pick up like we’d like, there were other times that we got beat at the point of attack.”

Ryan said nothing needed to be said to his offensive line, because film of the game said enough.

Carolina Panthers: Thomas Davis returned from a four-game suspension to a near-party atmosphere at the team facility, where he was greeted at the building entrance by linebacker Luke Kuechly and found head coach Ron Rivera wearing a custom T-shirt bearing Davis’ likeness with the words “I’m back!” Rivera said on Monday that Davis will be in the starting 11 on Sunday, albeit on a pitch count. He said the Panthers missed Davis’ big-play impact and locker room leadership more than anything else.

“Thomas is always good for about three or four explosive plays in a game, minimum,” Rivera said. “They bring energy to us and I think that’s one of the beneficial things about having a guy like that. He’s got a different energy level than most players. It’s above the norm — even in practice. It’s kind of a little running joke between he and I. It’s nice to have normal, calm practices. Thomas is back now, it’s going to be a little different, so I’ve got to adjust myself to him.”

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Buccaneers overhauled their defensive line this offseason, bringing in Jason Pierre-Paul (trade), Vita Vea (draft), Vinny Curry and Beau Allen (free agency), but they are tied for 26th in sack rate (5.1 percent) through five weeks. That number is up from a league-low 4.0 percent in 2017, but D-line coach Brentson Buckner wants more. “I think we’ve been quite average,” Buckner said Monday. “I think they’re still working on trying to get an understanding of what I’m asking them to do. They’re working hard. ...We’ve been great at working it, average at what we’ve needed to get done but it’s a marathon, not a sprint. My guys are working hard and I couldn’t be more satisfied with the way they’re working.” Pierre-Paul has four sacks and nine QB hits on the team, with defensive tackle Gerald McCoy next (1.5, 7) in both categories.

—Field Level Media

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