What Happened To The Run Defense?December 21st, 2013
Certain stats can’t be spun — at least not easily.
This season, Bucs opponents attempt 26 rushes per game, averaging 4.2 yards per carry. For the Bucs, that ranks as tied for 17th in the NFL for yards per carry allowed.
Last year, the Bucs saw 24 rushes per game. And they were tops in the NFL, allowing 3.5 yards per carry.That dramatic change has left Joe fishing for answers.
Make no mistake, the New Schiano Order defensive philosophy is all about stopping the run. Joe’s been told that by many players.
So what’s gone wrong?
Is it the loss of Michael Bennett, who was stout against the run and racked up many tackles for loss?
Is it the trade of Roy Miller for Akeem Spence?
How about losing Ronde Barber, who was a fixture in run defense?
Linebacker play seems improved across the board this season, so Joe doubts that’s a factor.
Perhaps offenses have adjusted successfully? Against the 49ers, San Francisco showed power, one-wide-receiver sets quite often and the Bucs couldn’t stop them.
Last year, the Bucs allowed runs of 20+ yards eight times, per NFL.com stats. This season there have been nine. That’s not a huge difference. The reality is the Bucs have just lost an edge — consistently.
Joe really wants to see the run defense rebound tomorrow in St. Louis. The Rams are going to pound the rock. They must in order to win. That’s why St. Louis beat the Saints last weekend. They grinded out yards with Zac Stacy, and the Saints couldn’t stop them.
Successful run defense tomorrow will speak well for the New Schiano Order defensive philosophy — another thing Team Glazer will grade at season’s end.