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Bucs’ defense playing better going into game against Seattle

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The numbers still aren’t very good, but the defense of the Tampa Bay Bucs has been playing better as of late.

The Bucs have given up only 27 points in their last two games, victories over Chicago and Kansas City. Over the course of the season, the Bucs are giving up 25.9 points per game.

“They’re playing with a lot more confidence, we’re playing faster, we’re communicating better,” said Tampa Bay coach Dirk Koetter. “It starts with that and success breeds success, confidence breeds confidence. You have a little success to back it up and most places I’ve been, that tends to build on itself.”

 Koetter was asked if the key interception by Chris Conte last week means that the team has turned the corner.

“I would probably never say that one single play turns a corner for you, on anything,” Koetter said. “And as far as play-action goes, play-action is the hardest thing to defend because every defensive player, defensive coach is going to tell you we’ve got to stop the run, so if you’re able to have a good play-action game, that’s the hardest thing on the defense.”

Bucs offensive coordinator Todd Monken said there will be a balance between respect for cornerback Richard Sherman and believe in Mike Evans, the Bucs’ wide receiver.

“It’s tough because I don’t know for sure, I’m not in their building, but I would guess he’s going to follow Mike around, so it’s tough,” Monken said. “We went through that in Arizona with Patrick Peterson, you go through that with (Denver cornerback Aqib) Talib. Do you have to be careful? Sure, you’re against good football players. But the good news is, we like Mike and I think Mike’s a really good football player, so who are we in terms of competitors if we don’t say, ‘You know what? We think our guy’s pretty good. I know their guy’s good, but I think our guy’s pretty good.’ And then the other guys have to fill and do their part, like we did last week.”

 Game time is 4:05 at Raymond James Stadium.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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