Pass Rush “Needs To Get Better”October 23rd, 2013
Joe simply cannot remember a team year after year after year that goes into the offseason with a focus of finding sackmeisters and consistently ends up back at Square One like the Bucs.
Never can Joe think of a team that has spent so many draft picks on a certain area, and it seems that the picks were hollow. That is the Bucs’ pass rush.
Now Joe gets hammered all the time for liking Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik. Joe makes no apologies. Joe saw Dominik’s predecessor Bruce Almighty, and his caped crusader cohort Chucky, whiff on so many draft picks that the weekend of the NFL draft should have been hurricane awareness weekend around these parts. That way the NFL could have sold silly lapel ribbons — bearing the NFL shield, no less — to wear for three days, as well as peddle other color-specific paraphernalia, and pocket cash off the sales, all under the caring, cuddly guise of “awareness.”
This year is no different. After six games, Bucs defensive linemen have put opposing quarterbacks on the ground (while still in possession of the football, a key trick) a grand total of six times, which really is unforgivable. The lone bright spot on the annual quest for sacks from he defensive line is none other than defensive tackle Gerald McCoy who has blossomed into one of the better defensive tackles in the NFL. GMC spoke about the need for more sacks Tuesday.
“It needs to be better. We’ve got to rush better collectively, as a group, as a unit. You see sprinkles here and there, guys getting there [to the quarterback], but as a unit, we need to be better,” McCoy said. “Me personally, though – me being a leader, one of the leaders of the team, and definitely a leader of the defense – I’m kind of taking it upon myself to get something done. We do have to rush as a unit, and that’s all well and good, but there comes a point in time where you’re 0-5, 0-6 – somebody’s got to do something. I take it upon myself, I’ve got to make something happen. I’m getting to the quarterback, definitely getting to the quarterback. I’ve just got to get him on the ground. I’m hitting him, I’m pressuring him, but I’ve got to get him on the ground. It’s good to be able to get to him, but, personally, I just feel that I haven’t done good enough with getting him on the ground. I’m hitting him, but I need him to have the ball in his hand when I do it.”
Of course, opposing coaches are not stupid. They know GMC is the biggest threat to get to quarterbacks. So what do coaches do to a team’s best player? They try to take him out of the game. That’s what the DIxie Chicks did to GMC last week.
GMC, as good as he is, is not the Green Lantern. He doesn’t possess some type of superpower where he can avoid two if not three giant offensive linemen who are bound to lock him up. GMC needs help from others so he isn’t double- and triple-teamed.
At times, defensive end Adrian Clayborn can put heat on quarterbacks. But where is he? We’ve heard about how tackle Akeem Spence had pass rushing abilities he never flashed in college at Illinois. Where is he? Sadly, the same question can be lodged at good guy Da’Quan Bowers, too. Where is he?
Joe suspects part of the reason Clayborn and Spence can’t be found is that they are too busy virtually each play dancing around in some form of silly, exotic stunt and not making a beeline to the quarterback.
You know, simple physics: The shortest distance between two points is a straight line?
Just like Raheem Morris couldn’t get the best out of his defense, after each loss mounts, perhaps the same can be said about Greg Schiano and the defensive line constantly under performing.