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The two-time Pro Bowl end believes he can be part of the solution to a leaky
run defense, too, in addition to stalking opposing quarterbacks.
”I want everybody to know that I’m still capable of playing the run,” the
29-year-old said. ”They already know I can play the pass. But if you can’t stop
the run, there is no pass rush.”
The Bucs traded for Pierre-Paul in March after having one of the NFL’s
least-effective defenses a year ago, when they went 5-11 and ranked last in
passing and total yards allowed, as well as sacks with 22.
The team hasn’t had a player with 10 or more sacks in a season since Simeon
Rice had 14 in 2005.
The 6-foot-5, 275-pound Pierre-Paul had 58 1/2 sacks in eight seasons with
the Giants, including a career-best 16 1/2 in 2001 and 12 1/2 in 2014.
He hasn’t come close to posting double-digit sack totals since suffering a
serious hand injury in a Fourth of July fireworks accident three years ago.
Still, his numbers have improved each season from one in eight games in 2015 to
seven in 2016 and 8 1/2 in 2017.
The Bucs feel Pierre-Paul, who played in college locally at South Florida, is
an ideal fit for what they want to do with a revamped defensive line also
featuring Pro Bowl tackle Gerald McCoy, offseason acquisitions Beau Allen, Vinny
Curry and Mitch Unrein, and first-round draft pick Vita Vea.
Coach Dirk Koetter likes what he’s seen in training camp.
”Just a real impressive veteran player that’s willing to share with the
younger guys,” Koetter said. ”His ability to work in the heat – sometimes those
veteran players don’t want to come out and work as hard as we ask them to in
training camp, but he’s been out front all the way.”
Like Pierre-Paul, the coach believes the ninth-year pro is versatile enough
to help the Bucs slow opponents on the ground, as well as through the air.
”When we played (the Giants) last year, just from our standpoint, we probably
feared him more in the running game than we did in the pass game.” Koetter
”That’s not a downgrade to him because we see good pass rushers every week,”
the coach added, ”but a lot of those speed rushers can’t play the run. I
Carlton Davis Jersey , he’s 280 pounds.”
Pierre-Paul won a Super Bowl with the Giants in 2011, while Allen and Curry
signed with Tampa Bay in free agency after being part of a deep line rotation
that helped Philadelphia win it all last season.
The Bucs are counting on them to bring a championship mentality to a team
that’s missed the playoffs 10 straight seasons – the second-longest drought in
”It’s been great. We just keep creating chemistry out there. Everybody
pass-rushes differently; everybody plays the run different,” Pierre-Paul
”As veterans on the team, we’re teaching the young guys how to come up and
how to do things correctly,” he added. ”We were all once in their position, so
we are (building) great chemistry together. That’s a great start for us.”
HOUSTON (AP) Robert Brazile was so feared as a linebacker during his career
with the Houston Oilers that he earned the nickname Dr. Doom.
In his retirement he found contentment in a vastly different line of work
that he believes was even more challenging than chasing down quarterbacks for a
”It was more difficult being a teacher,” he said. ”I was a middle school
special ed teacher and it was a challenge every day to find out something to
build the trust, the love and the care for these kids.”
Though he loved football and enjoyed his time in the NFL, the 65-year-old
Brazile admits working with children was more fulfilling.
”If I had to choose it all over again, I would love being a teacher more than
a football player,” he said.
Though he turned in his Dr. Doom persona decades ago for the role of Mr.
Brazile, he’ll revisit the success of his first career on Saturday when he’ll be
one of eight men inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Brazile was drafted sixth overall in 1975 out of Jackson State, two picks
behind teammate and fellow Hall of Famer Walter Payton, and was voted Defensive
Rookie of the Year. He was the anchor of the 3-4 defensive scheme which coach
Bum Phillips used and was a Pro Bowl selection in seven straight seasons from
1976-1982. He also earned a spot on the NFL’s All-Decade team of the 1970s.
The 6-foot-4, 241-pound Brazile was one of the first players to rush
quarterbacks from the outside linebacker position. Many, including Phillips,
believe his work paved the way for the success of other stars at the position
such as Lawrence Taylor, who was drafted six seasons after Brazile.
Phillips, who died in 2013, was fond of saying that Brazile was ”Lawrence
Taylor before Lawrence Taylor.”
”Robert was the forerunner of the Lawrence Taylor era,” Phillips said in a
radio interview before his death. ”They remember Lawrence Taylor, but Robert was
a guy that proved that you could do that in the NFL. Everybody said `You can’t
run a college defense in pro ball.’ But you can, and we did.”
With running back Earl Campbell and quarterback Dan Pastorini leading the
offense Lions Game Jerseys ,
Brazile headlined a defense that helped the Oilers to some of their most
successful seasons. Houston reached the AFC championship game in consecutive
seasons in 1978-79 before falling to the Pittsburgh Steelers both times.
Brazile fondly remembers the throngs of `Luv Ya Blue’ fans, with most decked
out in the team’s signature powder blue duds, waiting to welcome the team home
after those difficult losses. It’s estimated that more than 55,000 fans filled
the Astrodome for ”homecoming rallies” after both defeats.
”There are days and times now where I sit in the corner and just think about
all the great memories about (those games) and the great turnout of people that
supported us,” he said. ”I’ve just always wondered if we would have won …
against Pittsburgh, how many people would have been in the Astrodome.”
Brazile’s early years with the Oilers were made special by the presence of
Phillips, the cowboy-hat-wearing, folksy-talking Texan, who was fired after the
team lost in the wild-card round in 1980.
”Bum was such an organizer of men,” Brazile said. ”He treated us like his
boys, but he also treated us like a man. We could go to Bum with any problem,
anything that we had on our mind. We trusted in him and he trusted in us, and
that’s what made us so unique, that Luv Ya Blue group.”
Brazile spent his entire career with the Oilers, retiring after the 1984
season when he was 31. He is credited with 11 career sacks, but certainly had
many more; sacks didn’t become an official statistic until 1982.
Brazile is a senior selection into the Hall of Fame, which honors those whose
careers ended at least 25 years ago. After waiting so long to get the nod,
Brazile can hardly wait for Saturday’s induction.
”I’ve got a grand speech for the Hall of Fame that I hope everyone enjoys,”
he said, ”and I’m going to embrace it all.”