-It may be hard to believe sitting as the number one scoring offense, but the Bucs feel they have a lot to improve on that side of the ball. Take it from the league leader in passing touchdowns himself, Tom Brady:
"I think just consistency [and] attention to detail. We've worked hard at it, but we've got to keep communicating. The only way to do it is communicate, go out and execute it and then learn from it and work hard to improve it. You have to figure out what the problems are in order to solve them. I think we're learning things every day. I don't think we are ever a finished product. Football is a very challenging game in that there is so much coordination that needs to happen between a lot of people. What may seem like a really simple thing of a throw from a quarterback to receiver actually requires great blocking schemes and a great design so that other people are getting open. One ball to Mike [Evans] could be because the linebacker took an underneath route and that underneath route had to happen at a certain moment, and we had to pick up the protection, the back had to figure that out and we had to sort through that in communication with the line. So there is a lot that goes into it. This week is really challenging because they've got good players in the secondary, they have a good front and we lost to them last year. They're one of the top-rated defenses in the league. They have one of the greatest defensive players of all-time. Everything about this week is challenging – really good defense, really good offense, we've got a long way to travel. It's a big game for both of us."
-Offensive Coordinator Byron Leftwich offered up his thoughts as well, honing in on third down, specifically. The Bucs converted just four of 12 third-down attempts in their win over the Falcons last Sunday.
"I think converting third downs, having better first and second downs so we aren't in third-and-longs and just executing what's there," said Leftwich. "I think we've missed some layups, and what I mean by that is layups that aren't the big plays – just the simple plays. We missed a bunch of simple plays here and there and it comes to bite you sometimes and that pushes you into third-and-long situations. So, we just need to clean that type of stuff up, really. Clean that type of stuff up. Do we feel as though we left a lot out there the first two games? Yes, but it means nothing really going into this game. We're just going to try and go out and execute better this week and hopefully we don't say that after this game."
The good news is that the Rams currently rank 26th in the league, allowing opponents to convert 45.45% of third downs against them. It could be an opportunity for the Bucs come Sunday.
-A player that is uniquely familiar with that Rams defense, and coincidentally, with the Rams' new quarterback is Bucs defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. Not only was he a part of the Rams' defense the season they ultimately lost the Super Bowl to Suh's current quarterback, but Suh spent five years with the Detroit Lions with Matthew Stafford as his quarterback. He's perhaps the most qualified to speak on the Rams team the Bucs will see on Sunday for those reasons.
"I think the offense has evolved from a standpoint of just watching the last two games that they're pretty balanced," Suh said. "They're running the ball quite well. Something that we're definitely going to have to focus on as we do each and every single week to stop that and make them a one-dimensional team. Matthew's a great passer. He can make every single throw and it's going to be a big competition for not only our secondary but us up front to go up there and get after him and make sure he doesn't throw the ball."
-You can trust Suh too, according to his defensive coordinator, Todd Bowles, who says that aside from his physical talent, it's the mental aspect of the game that sets Suh apart and helps him set the tone for the entire defense.
"The intelligence of the game, really," Bowles said when asked what stands out most about Suh. "It starts in the pregame stuff and practice, pre-practice, where he talks to the guys and [helps them] understand assignments and giving them tips on hand placement and how offensive linemen move and set, and how they're going to be played. [It's] just that type of experience that you don't get all day from a coach while you're out on the field. He's a coach on the field that he can help the rest of the guys with. He brings a wealth of experience and the physical part speaks for itself."
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