Skip to main content

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Presented by

Alvin Kamara Returns and Breaking Down the Saints' Defense | Brianna's Blitz

A look at the looming Week Four divisional matchup with the Saints, here are key topics

Bri's Blitz Sept 28

Saints' Defensive Breakdown 

The New Orleans Saints' defense has top-tier talent at all three levels, including Cam Jordan, linebacker Demario Davis and Marshon Lattimore. The unit is currently ranked 10th against the run and eighth against the pass, making it a challenge for opponents to sustain drives. The Saints' defense has allowed 20 or fewer points in 11 consecutive games, which is the longest active streak in the league. In addition, the unit has not allowed a quarterback to surpass 300 passing yards in a game since Matt Ryan in 2021 (343 yards). In 2023, the Saints have forced 20 incompletions per PFF (league-best). Middle linebacker, Davis, sets the tone. The do-it-all phenom is proficient at tackling in space, collapsing the pocket on blitzes and dropping back in coverage to carry running backs/tight ends. Cam Jordan, the anchor of the Saints' defensive line, routinely commands double teams and is relentless off the edge in pursuit. Both are among the upper echelon in the league, drawing praise from Bucs' quarterback Baker Mayfield. 

 "It starts up front – you've got Cam Jordan and Demario Davis," said Mayfield. "In the back end, Marshon [Lattimore]. It's their veteran leadership that they have on all levels and their mentality defensively. Those guys, they are insistently physical. It doesn't matter who they're going up against, they're going to play extremely, extremely hard. They're going to present blitz packages and presentations up front that you have to be prepared for. It's a mental game preparation-wise for them, but then also it's physical when it comes down to game time." 

 Alvin Kamara's Skillset 

Dynamic running back Alvin Kamara will return in Week Four from a three-game suspension and the team is hopeful that he can ignite the rushing attack. The Saints are currently averaging 93.3 rush yards per game in 2023 (21st in the NFL), as Taysom Hill leads the pack with 91 yards on 16 carries. In recent years, the Bucs' defense has held Kamara in check, limiting him to under 80 scrimmage yards in five-straight games. From 2020-2022, Kamara has averaged only 52.0 scrimmage yards per game, a drastic decrease from his 122.3 scrimmage yards per game from 2017-2019 against the Buccaneers. Although his stat line has dipped over the previous two seasons, Kamara is regarded as one of the most lethal backs in the NFL. He consistency opens creases by varying his rush tempo and creates with speed, power and one-cut agility. Kamara's pass-catching prowess and inside/outside versatility makes him an unpredictable threat. 

 "He's tough," described Todd Bowles. "He's one of the toughest backs in the league. He can run it and he can catch it, he can slash, he can play receiver, he can do a lot of things. He can run up the middle, he can run outside. It's going to be a chore because he's the most athletic of all the running backs they have. He presents a problem."

Run Mentality 

Due to a myriad of factors, the Bucs' run game has not gotten on track in 2023. There have been positive glimpses with workhorse Rachaad White leading the charge, but the Bucs have not been able to achieve consistency on the ground. Tampa Bay currently ranks 27th in rushing yards per game (78.0) and 32nd in yards per carry (2.79). With a retooled offensive line starring different starters at four positions and a reimagined system under the tutelage of Offensive Coordinator Canales, the unit is still building chemistry. Additional reps and feel of the club's new scheme featuring wide and mid-zone, along with duo, will foster growth. As a result, a cultivated understanding of in-game adjustments will lead to faster and more aggressive play. Canales spoke on the mental aspect that accompanies running the football and the collective approach. 

"Part of the mentality that we are trying to establish here is that if you are a running team who throws play-action, for the guys – the line, the tight ends, for the receivers on blocks, for the running backs – it has to be an aggressive mindset and we are not where we need to be as a group with that mindset running the football yet."

Related Content

Latest Headlines