Is The Zone Defense Killing Bucs Pass Defense?

October 4th, 2012

Joe knows many Bucs fans are still stinging from the Redskins loss. The Bucs battled back from the brink and took a (brief) lead late in the game only to see Robert Griffin III go through the Bucs defense the way Joe takes care of a cold beer on a hot summer day.

Could it be the Bucs are not playing zone pass defense well? That’s the suggestion from beat writer eye-RAH! Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune in a question-and-answer segment.

Q: Why is it that every time I watch this team play it seems as though the secondary leaves the other team’s receivers wide open for the big play? This happens every game, it’s not like it’s an occassional thing. I watch several games a week and it seems we are the only ones who do this on just about every play. Do we not have a scheme where we actually cover people?

– Sam, Saginaw, Mich.

A: Opposing QBs are completing passes at a 66.5 percent clip against the Bucs, averaging 8.98 yards per attempt. That figure is quite high and the Redskins had open receivers most of the day Sunday. Tampa Bay’s coverage was considerably better against the Cowboys. The Bucs need to tighten up when they play zone because QBs have too big a window to throw into right now.

– eye-RAH!Kaufman

It wasn’t just against the Redskins where the Bucs gave up chunks of yards on a pass play late in the game. While Joe wants to forget the collapse at the Meadowlands, Eli Manning and the Giants carved the Bucs apart to rally for a win. It is a disturbing pattern.

With Matty Ice and Drew Brees (both, twice) yet to face the Bucs, not to mention Michael Vick, Philip Rivers, Peyton Manning and a suddenly hot Christian Ponder, it would behoove the defense to learn to put the clamp down on pass coverage late in games.

7 Responses to “Is The Zone Defense Killing Bucs Pass Defense?”

  1. Rican Says:

    Hopefully Free can actually keep them off the field for the majority of the
    Game and gives them sometime to breathe.

  2. MTM Says:

    The zone defense is killing the Buc’s. The Giants proved that with historic passing yards. Receivers just squatted down in the open areas. Teams typically play zone because they cannot not play man because of the potential for big plays. Schiano needs to figure out the offense and find a way to keep drives alive. If they start the first 3 series with 3 and out. It is going to be more of the same.

  3. bucyea Says:

    What knowledgable fans we have, and sportwriters to….NOT! It wasn’t the zone that killed the Bucs, it was horrible playcalling. Against the Giant, it was man-to-man on nearly EVERY occasion, as a result of blitzing. The Skins game again was ineffective blitzing, and blown assignments. In fact, I would argue, had we been playing the TAMPA 2 in both those critical situations, we would have beaten the Giants and the Skins. IMO, our blitzes are just not effective enough to justify their use in such critical situations. I like the aggressive playcalling on defense, BUT you have to know when to blitz and when to play coverage. From what we saw, repeatedly against the Giants, Shiano should have learned our blitzing is not working, and playing coverage in those situations is the better call. A simple Cover 2, against the Skins, and we would certainly be 2-2.

  4. robert Says:

    bench talib for biggers
    bench jfro for orlovski

    we win games. coach needs to hold these two *cough* franchise players to the same standard he holds the other guys.

    they may have the right attitude, but the are getting their asses handed too them on the field. BENCH THEM!

  5. JMoney Says:

    I agree with @Bucyea at the end of the games teams are trying to go down the field I know that that is a great time to blitz, but honestly if you could fake a blitz and pull back into coverage that be awesome. I have full confidence that McCoy Bennet Miller could get to the QB if he holds the ball a little longer because of the coverage.

  6. Kyle Says:

    I was saying this exact same thing to my friend while at the game last Sunday.
    Our zone defense is horrendous.

    I don’t think the Giants game was an indication of this, however. A lot of their plays were against single 1 on 1 man coverage, not zone. It was a matter of Eli and the receivers making nice plays.

  7. 941-Bucs Says:

    I’ve seen this too. My eye has been more on the safety play, more specifically Barron. I don’t know if it coached that way but Barron seems to be the main culprit on most of those big plays. He isn’t in position, again whether it is by design or his experience this needs to be fixed. If you watch Barron looks like the only player close to the “Soft Spot” where receivers are making the plays.