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Thursday, May 24, 2018
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Schiano: Bucs passing game is key to balance

TAMPA — In a copycat league, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can expect to see a lot more of what the New York Jets defense did to them during an 18-17 loss at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.

That means they can expect more teams to focus on stopping Tampa Bay's running game and in particular running back Doug Martin.

The best way to combat that, Bucs coach Greg Schiano said Monday, is to throw and catch the ball better and force those teams bent on stopping Martin to alter their approach.

“That's going to be the formula to stop our offense,'' Schiano said of teams focusing on Martin. “That's no mystery, so we have to we have to throw it and catch it. And (Sunday) we missed open guys and then we dropped some passes.

“We also have to protect better. We gave up three sacks, but we were also hurried. If people are going to do that, you're going to have to be able to throw the football effectively, consistently, accurately, move the ball down the field. We did that at times (Sunday), but at other times we didn't.''

Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman completed 15 of 31 passes for 210 yards and a touchdown, but also threw an interception that led to the Jets' only touchdown while producing a 67.9 passer rating.

He produced those figures on a day in which the Jets met their objective of stopping Martin, who ran the ball 24 times but gained just 65 yards for a 2.7-yard average while scoring one touchdown.

“If I was a defensive coordinator, I'd do that also,'' Bucs guard Davin Joseph said of concentrating on stopping Martin. “That's going to be the reality. That's why we have to have that run-pass mix.''

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