TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished the 2020 season on the highest note possible, winning their second Super Bowl in franchise history. Not only did they win the Super Bowl but their defense had one of their most dominant performances of the season against one of the most prolific offenses we’ve seen in recent years.
It was the perfect ending to a storybook run, having gone through three consecutive teams with Super Bowl MVP quarterbacks. All thanks in large part to how dominantly the defense played. A big part of that defense – Ndamukong Suh – officially returned to the team on Monday, signing his one-year deal then meeting with the media via Zoom.
It seems improbable as well as extremely difficult for this team to get better. However, that is the expectation of players on both sides of the ball. Tom Brady has already said he expects to be better in year two of this offense as well as year two with all his Buccaneers teammates. Now, Suh believes there is plenty of room for improvement on the defensive side of the ball.
“I think there are a lot of ways we can get better,” Suh told the media on Monday. “I would say we could do better in run defense, even though we were considered number one. We gave up some big runs, you go back to the Minnesota game and they dominated us. You go back to the Saints games and they were able to have some big runs – especially when they were quarterback runs – and situations like that."
Suh continued, “Then in the pass game, we gave up some very very big plays. Going back as early as the L.A. Chargers game, we had some deep balls come over our head which was a combination of rush and coverage. So, I think as a collective unit, we can get a lot better. We can finish as the number one defense which is our goal in totality.”
This is why the Buccaneers wanted to bring back Suh. This leadership, this refusal to be complacent or to settle for a repeat performance. He wants to get better and he wants the defense as a whole to get better.
With Suh returning and a healthy Vita Vea, this Bucs defense is one of the top units in the NFL. The pressure put on display against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship and the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV is evidence of the heights the defense can reach when all three levels are playing in unison and executing to their capabilities. However, that standard isn’t enough for anyone on that team.
The nickname “Grave Diggers” made its rounds during the postseason as the secondary became a shut-down unit and the pass rushers forced opposing quarterbacks into mistake after mistake. Now, the target is on the back of every player in Tampa Bay, and both sides of the ball will get the absolute best of every opponent on the 2021 schedule.
“At the end of the day, I wanted the opportunity to get back with a group of guys that have an opportunity to potentially go back and earn another ring. And the thing about it is, when you go back and look at what we’ve been able to accomplish last year and also the ability of all the bad things that we went through, imagine us cleaning that up even more. The adding depth to our particular team with the draft? Again, the sky's the limit for us. We just gotta continue to hone in, understand what coach Arians wants from each one of us, and really embrace our roles," said Suh.
For more on this story, and all things Tampa Bay Buccaneers, check out the Locked On Bucs Podcast.
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