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Doug Farrar

Post Patterns: Michael Oher & Tampa Bay's secondary

Doug Farrar
Shutdown Corner

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This week's Sunday Spotlight subjects were Baltimore Ravens rookie Michael Oher, making his first NFL start at left tackle against the Bengals, and Tampa Bay safety Tanard Jackson, who was returning after a four-game suspension to hopefully help the Bucs' catastrophically ineffective secondary against the Philadelphia Eagles. How did they do?

Oher: Considering he was going up against the NFL's co-sack leader in Antwan Odom(notes), Oher fared pretty well. Odom had two tackles and no sacks, and the Ravens had several big plays to the left side, including Ray Rice's(notes) touchdown screen and a 21-yard run earlier in the game by the second-year back. The Ravens were upset by the Bengals, 17-14, but that wasn't on Oher. The thought seems to be that eventually, Oher will be ready for the greater responsibility of the left tackle position, and while nobody is happy about Jared Gaither's(notes) neck injury, it was time to see whether Oher was up to the challenge. If Gaither isn't ready to go next week, Oher will have the test of his life -- the Ravens play Minnesota, which means that Oher would face Jared Allen(notes), who's been tearing up the NFL this year.

Jackson: Going into the Eagles game, the Bucs' secondary was giving up big plays at a league-leading pace, and the trend certainly didn't stop here. Donovan McNabb's(notes) first pass of the day was a 51-yard touchdown to rookie Jeremy Maclin(notes), followed by a 40-yard score to Maclin in the second quarter. Philly won convincingly, 33-14. The Bucs have now given up eight pass plays of 40 yards or more, are allowing a quarterback rating of 109.9, and 9.1 Yards per Attempt. That's right -- the Bucs are averaging nearly a full first down allowed every time the opposing quarterback throws the ball, whether he completes it or not. Jackson's presence didn't help much, which has to be pretty scary for Bucs fans. It looks like they'll be watching their team get victimized by "Bombs Away!!!" all season. The only short-term saving grace for this formerly great pass defense is that they're facing Jake Delhomme(notes) and the Carolina Panthers next Sunday. Delhomme has been almost as bad as the defense he'll be dealing with, so we'll see who blinks first.

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