Bucs' pass rush turns up heat with assist from rookie Howard Jones

TAMPA, Fla. -- Leslie Frazier had a hunch the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defense would create pressure last Sunday. He was proven right in a big way.

Rookie defensive end Howard Jones, who was playing in his first NFL game, had two of the Bucs' season-high six sacks in a victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay has produced 15 sacks this year, tied for sixth-most in the NFL through Week 5.

"We went into the ballgame thinking that we could rush them," said Frazier, who is in his second year as Tampa Bay's defensive coordinator. "We thought we had a good pressure package as well. You combine our four-man rush with our pressure package, and we were able to come up with those sacks."

Those sacks came from a variety of players. Jones had two, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy had 1.5 and linebackers Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander pitched in with one apiece. Cornerback Alterraun Verner had half a sack.

Jones, signed from the practice squad on Oct. 6, will always remember his part in creating pressure against Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles.

"It was pretty fun being able to go out there and work with the guys and do everything coach told me to do on Sunday," he said. "It just felt good."

McCoy leads the Bucs with 4.5 sacks this season. Defensive end Jacquies Smith is second with four, and Jones is next with two. David, Alexander, defensive tackle Henry Melton and linebacker Danny Lansanah each have one.

Tampa Bay is on pace to surpass its sack total from last season. The Bucs had 36 sacks in 2014, with McCoy leading the team with 8.5.

So far, the Bucs' pressure has produced at least one sack in each of their games during a 2-3 start. Before Week 5, Tampa Bay's best single-game sack total this season was four, in a Week 2 victory over the New Orleans Saints.

"We kind of changed it up a little bit, started dressing eight defensive linemen instead of seven and letting everybody have an opportunity to play," Bucs coach Lovie Smith said. "Once you get that competition on who gets back there [to the quarterback] the quickest -- it's just not that, you take away the quarterback run [Sunday], and we did a fairly good job against the run, too. Of course the defensive line and the linebackers -- along with the secondary -- had a lot to do with that."