Bull Rush: Wrong Alignments Also To Blame

October 19th, 2009

Former Bucs DE Steve White

JoeBucsFan.com analyst

Steve White spent every season of the Tony Dungy era playing defensive end for the Bucs. He’s spent countless hours in the film room with the likes of Warren Sapp, Rod Marinelli and more. Joe is humbled to now have White, also a published author and blogger, as part of the JoeBucsFan.com team. Below is White’s weekly Bull Rush column that breaks down all things defensive line. It’s simply a can’t-miss read for the hardcore Bucs fan.

I would imagine most Bucs fans awoke this morning wondering what the hell happened in the fourth quarter yesterday.

Surely, there will be no shortage of people who don’t really have a clue throwing out a bunch of reckless speculation about why our defense got pounded all the way down the field by the Carolina Panthers with the game on the line. They will talk about heart and talent and question the toughness of our players, usually with little to no grounding to back up their comments.

Well, what I am here to provide is insight on what actually happened, specifically where it pertains to our defensive line. And I can tell you unequivocally that it wasn’t about heart and it wasn’t about effort and it definitely wasn’t about toughness yesterday.

What it came down to was technique and execution, and that can’t all be attributed to the players.

You want a sacrificial lamb?

Ok, I will give you one. Ryan Sims did not play well yesterday. He was blown off the ball on double teams too many times, he didn’t give us a lot when he had one-on-one blocking versus play action pass, he got hooked (blocked inside) several times when lined up over the guard, and the one time he lined up head up on the center he got high which made us soft up the middle.

But here is the thing, Sims gave great effort all day yesterday from his first snap till his last. And the guy made several tackles with linemen hanging all over him. I criticize him not because he sucked, but because I know and have seen him play better. But if you want to see heart, watch him get knocked down and then jump up in a sprint running to the ball. You want to see toughness? Watch him get double teamed all day and keep coming back for more.

What this was really about was the fact that we were not gap sound in our defense. We have all of these guys two-gapping instead of penetrating in the backfield, which not only makes it relatively easy for a good back to bounce it outside on us, it also makes it relatively easy for them to cutback on any given play.

Then yesterday many times we had our defensive tackles slanting one way or another. But again these slants were lateral movements that generally made us softer, not stronger against the run. And last but certainly not least, if there is one thing that stood out on that embarrassing last drive its that we didn’t even seem to have a plan for that situation.

You want to know what kind of alignment we had in many of the short yardage situations yesterday? A frikkin’ 3-4 alignment up front.

Sometimes we had five defensive lineman, sometimes we had four plus a linebacker, but either way we had two guys on the guards and one guy head up on the center, inside. Who in the hell thinks we have the personnel for that?

In what world does that even make sense? Sims, Roy Miller and Chris Hovan are pretty good inside players but they are not built for a 3-4 defense or 3-4 alignments. They just aren’t. But time and again it’s how we lined up, including down by the goalline. And time and time again they made us pay.

Now everything wasn’t doom and gloom yesterday by any means.

Greg (Stylez) White got his first sack of the year and showed a lot of hustle to get a hit on Jake Delhomme on another play by crawling to him. Jimmy Wilkerson was strong against the Panthers two tight end sets and made some excellent plays versus the run. Sims, Hovan, and Miller all made some good things happen in the run game, and Tim Crowder gave us some quality reps as well including playing a lot on short yardage plays for White.

But the end result is still the same, we got our ass handed to us on a silver platter. I hope having read this post that you have a better idea why.

12 Responses to “Bull Rush: Wrong Alignments Also To Blame”

  1. BigMacAttack Says:

    Thanks Steve. Keep up the good work.
    Are you ready to take over the DC job for the Bucs yet? Please, oh please, pretty please, sugar on top.

    No seriously, you described a bunch of symptoms to a much bigger Problem. The root of the problem is ????
    Say it, please say it. Everybody knew they were going to run on every down at the end but ????

    Steve my question is:
    Could you have made the right adjustments on the Final Bone Crushing drive to stop Deangelo and the run? Can you give us a short video of the Chalkboard with X’s & O’s in hopes that Coach Bates will see it and learn how to correct his myriad of mistakes he makes week in and week out.

    Joe, get this man a Telestrator, please. Your site should be going up in popularity exponentially with Steve on board. Straight Talk. Everybody needs more of it. Back to work now, check you later.

  2. Charkh Says:

    Steve, thanks for the easily understood breakdown of why our defensive coaches aren’t doing their job. Do you feel this is on Jim Bates or the DLine coach?

  3. PetetheHat Says:

    Steve, I really enjoy your insight and reporting, it’s a joy and intelligent and right on the money. But, if I may paraphrase you in two words…Bates sucks…

  4. Mr. Bates Says:

    If I may say something please:

    All you armchair wanna be coachs just stop this nonsense will you! The problem wasn’t that the players lined up in a 3-4 vs. a 4-3. the problem is that the players were just too small and tired to be the run stoppers that I envisioned when I talked Raheem into running this defense.

    Sure the Tampa 2 worked but it was boring. My defensive scheme is just wonderful – if you get the right people to run it. How many big plays did the Panthers get yesterday? You see my defense does work – if only I had the right players to use.

    Also stop blaming the defensive scheme will ya – that offense just doesn’t score enough points to win. this defense held the opposing team to 21 points – what more do you want? Geez

  5. PetetheHat Says:

    lol..now that’s humor…I love it… only one rebuttal Forrest Gump “boring is as boring does” (wasn’t that how it went?) lol

  6. Joe Says:

    Mr. Bates:

    Can you do Joe a favor and say “Hi,” to Mike Shanahan for Joe?

  7. BigMacAttack Says:

    Is that Mister Bates or Master Bates? How bout…you suck Bates. Too bad we aren’t in Phili.

  8. Jeff M. Says:

    You made more sense about line play than Dan Sileo has made in a radio career!

  9. John Mason Says:

    Hey Steve…..Thx for the D-Line insight. it is hard to watch what happened
    at the end of the game. I think the line needs a larger middle and faster ends.

  10. MTM Says:

    Steve great breakdown of the game. Hopefully you will be able to break down a winning game. Not a loss.
    Do you think Bates is trying to run a defensive scheme without the right personel? Or is just not going to work regardless of the personal. Because that’s what seem to happen with Gruden’s offense over the years. It never worked. Yet we were led to believe it was the personel he had. Not his scheme’s.

  11. sgw94 Says:

    Thanks everyone for the positive feedback! I appreciate you checking out my posts.

  12. Kryptonite Says:

    I’m a bigger Steve WHite fan now than I ever was when he was on our D-line. 😉