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Wednesday, Nov 22, 2017
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Bucs notes: Line faces challenge from Giants DE Pierre-Paul

TAMPA - Coming off a solid effort against Carolina, the Buccaneers' offensive line is gearing up for a major challenge Sunday. A powerful pass rush has powered the Giants to two Super Bowl victories in the past five seasons and a defensive line led by Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora will be awaiting Tampa Bay's arrival in the Meadowlands. "They've got freaks of nature over there,'' said Bucs LT Donald Penn, who will try to protect Josh Freeman's blind side. "Pierre-Paul is a beast and I've got a double dose with a little bit of him and a little bit of Osi. It's going to be a tough one … a lot of hitting in the mouth.'' The Giants picked Pierre-Paul midway through the first round of the 2010 draft after he played one dynamic season at the University of South Florida. After registering 4.5 sacks as a rookie, Pierre-Paul earned Pro Bowl honors last year with 16.5 sacks and 86 tackles.
"He's one of the most dominant players in the NFL,'' Bucs coach Greg Schiano said. "He presents a lot of problems. You better know where he is every play and you better have a plan to account for him, because if you don't, he not only causes havoc in sacks and hits, but he takes the ball away.'' Pierre-Paul is used on both edges, so Bucs RT Jeremy Trueblood also will see his share of the 6-foot-5, 278-pound marauder. "He has all the physical gifts,'' Trueblood said. "His athleticism shows on tape. It shows on the field goal rush, it shows on everything. He's a force, but we get paid in the league to block guys like that.'' Early recognition It didn't take long for Ronde Barber to prove he has made a seamless transition from cornerback to safety. On Wednesday, Barber was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his dynamic effort against Carolina in the season opener, when he posted a sack, an interception, five tackles and two passes defended in a 16-10 triumph. "If you're going to do it and going to try to prove some people wrong, why not do it Week 1?'' Barber said. "I got some favorable bounces, a hustle sack and a tipped pick. Everything else, I was just doing my job.'' Barber was honored during the game for making his 200th consecutive start, the longest active streak in the league. "It just so happened that it was on a pretty special day for me,'' he said. "I've done it plenty of times before, so this is just par for the course for me, I guess.'' In his 16th season, Barber has received the award nine times on defense and once on special teams. His nine defensive player of the week honors are tied for most in league history with four members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Chris Doleman, Bruce Smith, Lawrence Taylor and Ray Lewis. Buc bump As the NFL heads into Week 2, the Bucs have broken into the top 10 for the largest increase in product sales, according to Fanatics.com, a leading retailer of officially licensed NFL merchandise. Date compiled by Fanatics.com show sales of Tampa Bay merchandise soared by 63 percent after the Bucs beat the Panthers on Kickoff Weekend. Extra points Since 2008, Bucs WR Vincent Jackson has averaged an NFL-best 17.88 yards per catch. … In three games against the Bucs, two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning has passed for 500 yards and five TDs without throwing a pick in 82 attempts. … Manning has started 120 consecutive games, the third-longest streak by a QB in NFL history behind Brett Favre (297) and older brother Peyton Manning (208). Ira Kaufman, Roy Cummings
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