Parity is a word that we fans sometimes overlook. Former NFL commissioner locked into place a means to make every team as competitive as possible, thereby maintaining interest in as many media markets possible.
Parity evens out talent. As a result, sustained excellence is rare.
If you watch football with care, you understand that a game can change dramatically with an abstract play. A sack. A blown assignment. An interception. Fearless prediction: this Sunday’s game in Tampa will turn on a single memorable play. That one play just might turn a stomach-churning, nail-biter into a 15-20 point house party.
Did somebody say “hat trick?” Tampa Bay backup safety Andrew Adams picked off Cam Newton three times last Sunday. Adams only contributed one tackle but was credited with three more passes defended. Each of Newton’s interceptions was the result of defensive pressure up front. The Bucs deploy Adams in a variety of spots. Lining up against Cam Newton, he played mostly at free safety, but like Von Bell, he creeps closer to the line of scrimmage in linebacker support mode in the Bucs’ six-DB package. Adams has excellent hops and great hands.
The other safety, rookie Jordan Whitehead has started seven of the last eight Bucs games. He has recorded at least seven tackles in 4 of his last 5 games. The Bucs frequently walk Whitehead close to the line of scrimmage to help with defending the running game. Against Carolina, he had 7 tackles. Four of his tackles Sunday were against the run.
“It’s fun, I like being around the line (of scrimmage) and being active.”
Speaking of safeties, the Houston Texans waived CB/Safety Natrell Jamerson. Anyone on Airline Drive wanna give him a second chance?
My sense is the Saints’ baby receivers will catch the balls thrown in their direction this week. Rookies Tre’Quan Smith, Dan Arnold and Keith Kirkwood got a taste of playoff intensity on the road in front of a national audience. Rookies make mistakes. They continue to learn. Excellent.
It will also be fun to watch the chess match of Drew’s pump fake trickeration/ improvisation versus the camouflaged pass coverages of Bucs Defensive Coordinator Mark Duffner. Duffner stepped in for former DC Mike Smith, who was forced to walk the plank October 15, after Tampa Bay lost to the (cough) Falcons. Smith is also a former head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. “Oh, the humanity!”
Brees, using his head and shoulders, will try to get Whitehead and Adams to bite on the first moves of his targets. The Saints could also decide to muscle up with their larger receivers – 6’6 Arnold, 6’3 Watson and possibly 6’5 Brandon Marshall. Et tu Ted Ginn?
Run the football.
Protect the football.
Just win baby.