The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been bad on defense this season, especially against the pass. Even in "good" matchups against lesser quarterbacks like Austin Davis and Derek Anderson, the Bucs couldn't get pressure on the signal caller, and couldn't disrupt the timing of any routes to shut down the passing game.
This weekend the Bucs have a matchup with the Minnesota Vikings and Teddy Bridgewater, which should present another "easy" matchup relative to the challenges the Bucs face in their division in the form of Cam Newton, Matt Ryan and Drew Brees.
But the Bucs' recent history against rookie quarterbacks hasn't been good at all, and that may mean that Bridgewater is in for a big day.
Here's a look at the rookie quarterbacks to throw 10 or more passes against the Bucs since 2011.
|Cam Newton||22-227||2011-12-24||NFL||CAR||W 48-16||12||17||70.59%||171||3||0||142.4||10.06||13.59|
|Cam Newton||22-207||2011-12-04||NFL||CAR||W 38-19||12||21||57.14%||204||1||0||106.1||9.71||10.67|
|Robert Griffin||22-231||2012-09-30||NFL||WAS||W 24-22||26||35||74.29%||323||0||0||102.4||9.23||9.23|
|Nick Foles||23-324||2012-12-09||NFL||PHI||W 23-21||32||51||62.75%||381||2||0||98.6||7.47||8.25|
|Geno Smith||22-333||2013-09-08||NFL||NYJ||W 18-17||24||38||63.16%||256||1||1||80.6||6.74||6.08|
|Blaine Gabbert||22-057||2011-12-11||NFL||JAX||W 41-14||19||33||57.58%||217||2||2||72.4||6.58||5.06|
|EJ Manuel||23-264||2013-12-08||NFL||BUF||L 6-27||18||33||54.55%||184||0||4||31.2||5.58||0.12|
Obviously Cam Newton was one of the most prolific rookie quarterbacks of all time, and expecting the Bucs to have shut him down in 2011 is a bit optimistic. But the Bucs allowed Cam to top his season QB rating by over 20 in one matchup, and by 60 in the other.
Nick Foles was still under the tutelage of Andy Reid when he torched the Bucs back in 2012 as a rookie, while Geno Smith threw, ran and fell out of bounds on his way to a come-from-behind win against the Bucs in 2013.
Even Blaine Gabbert was able to move the ball against the Bucs in a blowout win in his rookie season, although he did manage to sneak in a couple of interceptions.
Teddy Bridgewater has struggled out of the gate this season, but so have the Bucs. And according to Pro Football Focus, simply blitzing Teddy won't knock him off his game, as the Louisville rookie is actually at his best when he's blitzed so far this season.
In other words, the Bucs will need to step up their coverage and pressure without blitzing if they hope to avoid adding another solid rookie quarterback performance to their recent record on defense.
Previous statistics are thrown out the window when a team improves its level of play, as the statistics above are anecdotal at best. But anyone who has watched the Bucs this year knows that the pass defense is a mess, and Bridgewater may be in for a breakout day in Tampa with history on his side.