Bucs Star Wants a ‘Coming-Out Party’ Against Chiefs

Shaquil Barrett

Getty Shaquil Barrett believes the Bucs defense can dominate the Chiefs again.

For Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Shaquil Barrett, chasing around Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes in Super Bowl LV is fresh in his memory.

“I think we have a lot of favorable matchups,” Barrett told reporters on Wednesday, September 28 about facing the Chiefs for the first time since a 31-9 win in Super Bowl LV.

“I just think we’ve got an opportunity to really impose our will as pass rushers [and] as edge rushers this game, and we can really have like a coming-out party as edge defenders and as a position group for this game,” Barrett added.

Barrett and the Bucs defense thrashed a depleted Chiefs’ offensive line in that Big Game. This time around, Barrett and company face extra challenges amid Hurricane Ian. The Bucs started practicing in Miami this week to get away from the Category 4 storm. Where the game will occur remains in doubt.

On the field, the Chiefs have a completely different offensive line now from the 2020 Super Bowl team. Only starting guard Andrew Wylie remains from that squad. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes endured three sacks in the loss. Barrett and company want to chase Mahomes all over again when the two teams meet in Week 4.

“He’s going to make guys miss, and he’s going to extend the plays and try to make a play,” Barrett said. “So we’ve got to just limit that as much as possible because it’s hard to cover people for five, six seconds no matter who you are.”

“If we can just get him on the ground when we get a first opportunity and not miss and let him not make us miss, it will help out on defense a lot,” Barrett added.

Bucs Need to Start Faster on Defense, Coach Says

Tampa Bay bolted out the gate on defense this season with no touchdowns allowed through the first seven quarters of football.

The Bucs still need to start faster on defense despite that fact amid 13 points allowed on opening drives this fall. It gets worse when coupling point totals allowed from the first two drives of games.

“We’ve given up 27 points [and] 20 of them have been on the first drive, or the first two drives in Green Bay’s case,” Bucs head coach Todd Bowles told reporters on Wednesday. “We’ve got to learn how to start faster.”

Against the Packers, the Bucs couldn’t stop quarterback Aaron Rodgers‘ quick passes to receivers, who slashed through the defense on two scoring drives. The Bucs locked down the Packers in the second half, but the offense couldn’t get going.

Kansas City has three first quarter touchdowns this season, including one after committing a turnover against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 3. Similar to Rodgers, Mahomes can thrive on quick, short passes, which behooves the Bucs to limit yards after the catch.

Barrett said “we end up giving up a five-yard, six yard run” and “we need to be able to limit that to two or three yards” instead.

Chiefs Receivers Offer a New Challenge, Bowles Says

The Bucs will cover a much different core of receivers against the Chiefs than in Super Bowl LV.

Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins left in free agency over the past two years. Now, Mahomes throws to JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Both receivers average more than 10 yards per reception.

“They’ve got bigger receivers as opposed to smaller, quicker receivers that can catch the ball very well,” Bowles said. “And they still got [Travis] Kelce.”

“And Mahomes has only gotten better since we’ve played him,” Bowles added.

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