“Old Habits Are Hard To Break”

August 23rd, 2012

In the first two preseason games, Joe thought the Bucs starting defensive line got penetration on opponents, but some fans apparently didn’t see what Joe saw.

Take Rich Herrera of WHFS-FM 98.7. He has been harping on the Bucs defensive line, but was recently set straight by both former Bucs defensive tackle Booger McFarland and Woody Cummings of the Tampa Tribune.

In an exchange between Herrera and Cummings last night, Joe found it eye-opening that what some fans see as problems on the defensive line is actually a problem with the play of the Bucs linebackers.

Rich Herrera: I am watching the defensive line play, talking about getting blown off the ball, Booger McFarland says, “No, no, no, no, no,” they are getting beat off the ball because they are getting beat on double teams because the linebackers are not scrapping and are not playing downhill but they are reading and reacting. I am paraphrasing, but [the linebackers] are not helping out with those double teams. What am I missing as far as the lack of linebacker play goes?

Woody Cummings: What you are missing are somethings you and I would have to spend 25 or 30 years working in the game to understand. It is so many little nuances and details. Coach Schiano explained it to us. His  [defense] is a downhill, attacking type of defense. I guess old habits are hard to break? Because what a lot of the Bucs linebackers and players in general have done these first couple of games is to fall back into the old habits. They get into the game — they [run Schiano’s defense] in practice and they do it OK — but they get into a game, they got back into the old Raheem Morris read-and-react style. Basically, you mirror the offense and wait for the guy to come to you and you go that way. Which is opposed to what Coach Schiano wants, which is the ball is snapped and you go and find that ball and you attack it and you bring that player down. Like I said, old habits are hard to break; you get in a game situation you want to find that comfort zone in order to make plays. I think it is going to take a while for some of these players — even though they came out of systems better suited for an attack defense, downhill approach. Mason Foster is like that and I think so too is Quincy Black. It’s going to take a while to become accustomed.

Joe found this fascinating insight and it speaks volumes into the task that Greg Schiano has in climbing out of a hole the Bucs find themselves in defensively.

It seems the quicker the Bucs defenders can lose their old habits, the quicker the defense can improve.

35 Responses to ““Old Habits Are Hard To Break””

  1. Architek Says:

    I keep saying that if you are expecting different results with the same players, good luck with that. Some players are keepers but the Quincy Blacks and Millers of the world (few others) I wouldn’t have brought some of these guys back. If the defense is going to be bad why not turn a new leaf?

  2. Jimmy Says:

    Thomas 2.2 was right after all. It’s going to take a while to work the Rah out of these guys!

  3. SilenceTheCritics Says:


    Whats the point of taking average to below average players and replacing them with even worse players? Does that make any sense to you at all?… You cant just cut everybody you think isnt any good then replace them with nobody better. Who would want to watch that? Would you go and pay your hard earned money to see that?… In time, if they dont pan out you can draft or sign (free agency) there replacements but to just toss them away for nobody better is very very bad business. I’ve read some of your posts and you seem intelligent but that comment is ridiculous.

  4. JT Says:

    I guess Architek didn’t read or understand what was being said. For one, he is judging the play of people that under the old coaching staff were asked/taught to play against their own style that got them drafted/signed to play NFL ball. Miller has actually played very well with the new coaching staff (and is healthy). Black has all the physical tools in the world to be a really good LB but as was stated he has been taught to play read/react at the NFL level and that is not what best suits him.

  5. buc the saints Says:

    This is why when everybody starts screaming that the sky is falling and we are going to lose every game this year i remind myself that they probably have no clue what they’re talking about.

  6. OAR Says:

    San Fran had pretty good luck with same players and new results. I’m sure it has been done other times too. Not “overnight” per say as San Fran, but I believe it can be done. Just give it a little time.

  7. mikeck Says:

    Should highlight to everyone how ridiculous it is on any given play to claim that a particualr player didnt do what he was supposed to, go where he was supposed to go or cover who he was supposed to cover. Unless you know exactly what defense was called, what the blocking assignments were, what type of gap (1 or 2), etc, etc everyone is playing, you cannot possibly know who screwed up. GMAC haters..I’m looking at you.

  8. Buxter Says:


    I’m not making any excuses for the DL or LB’s since we really won’t know what we have until the season starts.

    But this arguement seems a bit pale to me.

    David is new.

    Foster never really was fully acclimated into system and looked lost for much of last season. It’s a bit of a reach to say the old system was ingrained in him.

    Which leaves us with Quincy…. and it’s all been said. A two down LB with 16 long games left in Pewter. Thanks again Dom.

    It’s more a function of learning a new system. The installation is twice complete and only real games can measure our progress.

    Even a homer knows that with any new defense, there will be rough sailing through the first half of the season

  9. OAR Says:

    Please, his head is big enough. Anybody with common sense knew it would take time to get back to respect, acountability, and winning. We are creatures of habit and any change is usualy difficult and time consuming to get the new changes implanted to come naturally/subconsciously.

  10. OAR Says:

    or instinctivley

  11. JT Says:

    @OAR: San Fran had been “expected” to be a top notch defense the last few years. It was not only the addition of better coaching but the additions that they added last year (mainly Smith). It’s amazing what a top-10 pick getting 14 sacks and constant pressure can do for a defense.

  12. Macabee Says:

    What the article is saying is even though Black may be physically best suited to play downhill, when he gets into the game, he is not attacking but still trying to read and react as he has been taught in the old Tampa 2.

    If you’ve got aggressive high-motor DTs like Sapp who can shed a block and get after the QB, the thing that made the old Tampa 2 work, LBs can read before coming downhill or fall back into coverage.

    What I got from this is it will take a little time to adjust to the new scheme, but we have the players that can do it. It just has to become second nature.

    Believe it or not, I saw Big Frank Okam falling back into coverage when the Titans were in the red zone last week!

  13. the_buc_realist Says:


    you just said the long way that Mr. Thomas 2.2 is right. 🙂

  14. Nick2 Says:

    Wow not only did Raheems terrible coaching trash this defense for the last several years but now his terrible coaching is going to have an effect on our players going forward. How bad can one man ruin a team?????? I guess we will find out. What a terrible decision to hire that bum. I keep saying my daughter could have done better as coach of the Bucs.

  15. Brad Says:

    I hope some good linebackers get cut when teams have to get to their 53 man roster. If the way this team played last year is not easy for players to change then get them out if here. Black has to know he better get it this year or him and his ridiculous contract are gone. I was really hoping the team would have done more in FA in addressing our weak linebacker play.

  16. Stevek Says:


    Thanks for all your hard work, much appreciated.

    Please don’t waste your valuable time covering Quincy Black. He is terribad.

  17. The Dutcher Journal (Pete Dutcher) Says:

    This defense Schiano is installing is more like the Dungy/Kiffin defense than many people realize. In that defense it was up to the LBs to stop the run as well. The line was to attack the QB primarily. If it was a running play they would still start a play the same way, clogging up the middle. LBs almost always got the first chance to hit a runner. DL would adjust and pursue after their initial movements.

    In that defense, we either saw the middle close up or if a runner ran outside the DL sometimes chased, but it was the LBs that stopped the run, with the secondary there for the second level (unless used in a blitz).

    In this last game we saw LBs get to the runner often enough. The difference is that they did not bring them down with a good tackle…heck they barely even slowed them down. We need a fast hard hitter like Johnny was.

    Thats what I’m seeing anyway. I’m also baring in mind that we saw mostly backups playing starters as well.

  18. Joe Says:


    Thanks for all your hard work, much appreciated.


  19. OAR Says:

    Whatever you say. Thomass pats his own back, why bother supporting him? Nothing ground breaking or new from him.

  20. OAR Says:

    “San Fran had been “expected” to be a top notch defense the last few years.”
    But they weren’t, until last year, right? We were “expected” to be better to after 10-6. Expectations are one thing, living up to them is another.
    We added new coaching and players too. Maybe Barron and Lavaonte is just what our defense needs, we will see.
    A lot of sports media, fans, ex-players, etc didnt think San Fran would turn it around so fast, I’m just hoping we can, instead of just bitching about we can’t!

  21. Buc Me in the Goat Azz Says:

    Woody cummings???

    His reply was vague and meandering.

    I’d rather hear what Steve White, Ian Beckles, Booger McFarland any day of the week over Woody the sports reporter.

    Joe, it should be a sin to rehash another reporter’s commentary as a talking point. I know, I know… the topic is worth talking about… but jeez… Woody is nothing more than a silly sports reporter.

  22. Joe Says:

    Buc Me (who better change the rest of his title soon):

    Joe, it should be a sin to rehash another reporter’s commentary as a talking point.


    I know, I know… the topic is worth talking about… but jeez… Woody is nothing more than a silly sports reporter.

    Feel free to point out specifically where Cummings is wrong.

  23. jvato24 Says:

    I love how the “experts” have identified this in about 1 quarter of starting Defense

  24. OAR Says:

    Where do the experts say it’s the “starting” defense? I think they are referring to the defense overall.

  25. Miguel Grande Says:

    Okay, now I completely understand. Unless we have coached at the pro level, in this specific system for 25-30 years, we don’t understand what we are seeing. Therefore, nobody is qualified to criticize.

    Also, anything bad that happens is on Rah, anything good happens is on the Little General.

    Pure genius!

    I once read a book that displayed this phenomena, “Alice in Wonderland.”

  26. OAR Says:

    Wah, wah, wah…Sure it wasn’t Puss in Boots you read?

  27. OAR Says:

    BTW old habits can be good or bad ones. We have a new defensive scheme, so even good old habits won’t work as well. It just so happens they were bad ones that they fell into under Raheem.

  28. Jimmy Says:

    >>> Also, anything bad that happens is on Rah, anything good happens is on the Little General. <<<

    Hey, if it works for our president..

  29. Miguel Grande Says:

    Heads I win, tails you lose!

  30. OAR Says:

    Poor jockstrap grande, thats the only way for you to win an arguement!
    BTW We used to do that to settle arguements in elementary school. You must be like the kid with the doublesided coin!

  31. Dano Says:

    In the few snaps I’ve seen the Starting defense play, they’ve done a good
    job. They forced the Titans to 3 & outs 3 times? I’m gonna hold judgment
    ’til I see them play alot more!

  32. Nick2 Says:

    Jimmy last year was the worst defense I have ever seen the Bucs play and I started watching them in 1977. That eclipses defenses that were some of worst in the history of the NFL. They set Buccaneer records in yardage allowed for petes sake. Rah was a defensive head coach so yes I would say the god awful play from the last few years fall directly on him but maybe we can blame Gruden for that LOL>

  33. Jamaal Says:

    I have tried repeatedly to make excuses for black but he has been through damn near five coordinators since he’s been a buc. And neither has panned out for him so I mean I do think it is time for us to head in a new direction. I’d like to see dekota Watson start and learn we have a young group that we can mold together Quincy black just continues to disappoint. And while mason foster is doinit it playing downhill right now when he does he’s been bringing a little thump and we can still teach him. he’s a second year player with a tremendous upside I think if he gets a lil faster and stronger. I think the d-line and secondary are playing fairly well (the starters) though we could be better but hey it’s preseason.

  34. thomas 2.2 Says:

    I appreciate the recognition guys, its nice to not be bashed for your objectivity when you are correct on occasion.

    Further, some players may not be able to transition into Schiano’s style – I firmly believe that Quincy Jane is one of those players. I think Foster can but would be better outside.

    Our D Line has potential but I must say when I go back and study them – they have a long way to go. I like Clay and Bennett the most, add in Lavontea David and Mark Barron and you have a solid young nucleus – I am not sure about the rest.

  35. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    @Thomas 2.2,

    I think you messed up. You forgot to include Gerald McCoy in your solid young nucleus. I’m sure that was an accident.