Bull Rush: Defense Should Want To Puke

November 30th, 2009

Former Bucs DE Steve White

JoeBucsFan.com analyst

I wish I could muster up the will today to say, ‘I told you so.’ To point out how right I was about how the defense would play and about how wrong most other folks were in their assessments.

But there is just one problem.

We lost.

I don’t do moral victories. I can’t just appreciate that we played better. Playing football is about winning and losing — play in and play out and game in and game out. And we simply could not find a way to get the job done at the end yesterday.

And that was a damn shame because we kicked the living shit out of the Falcons up front yesterday.

Oh, I have no problem saying that at all. Our defensive tackles knocked their guards and center into the backfield on a consistent basis. Our defensive ends, when they weren’t rag-dolling the Atlanta tight ends, were all over their quarterbacks. This was as dominant a game we have played up front since sometime in the middle of the year last year.

But I keep coming back to the fact that we lost.

See, I don’t criticize the Bucs because I like beating my chest. I criticize the Bucs because I want the team to win. To at the very least do better than the low expectations people have now.

But a game like yesterday is a game we have to win. It’s too hard to win in the NFL to let one like that slip through our fingers.

Was it all the defense’s fault or all the defensive line’s fault? Of course not. But at some point in a game like that our will to win has to take over and somebody just has to do more than what is expected of them. We definitely came after Chris Redman up front on that last drive but we just couldn’t make that one play to put the nail in the coffin.

I will say this though, the guys on our defensive line showed they belong in the NFL yesterday, despite what some of the chattering classes have been saying for weeks. Greg (Stylez) White put on a pass rushing show with 2.5 sacks a hurry and three other tackles by my count. Tim Crowder also had a helluva game with 1.5 sacks a fumble recovery and a pass deflection. Ryan Sims started showing up in the backfield with a tackle for loss and a hurry. Jimmy Wilkerson was all over the field with five tackles, half a sack and two hurries. Hell, rookie Roy Miller probably played the best game of his career so far with three tackles and three hurries.

And I don’t wanna hear a damn thing about the Falcons being banged up. That is the same offensive line that held the vaunted NY Giants defensive line with all those Pro Bowlers and big name guys to just one sack the previous week. As a team, the Falcons had only allowed 20 sacks all year. Our defensive line was in on five of the six sacks we picked up as a team yesterday.

And it wasn’t just what we did in getting after the quarterback. We held the Falcons to 64 yards rushing on 23 carries from their running backs for a 2.8 yard average. That’s a Falcons running game that had their top two runners back yesterday, too, after being out with injuries. You would have to be a blind man not to see the improvement yesterday. So for me that is not even a debate worth having.

But the conversation that IS worth having is, “What do we do now?” How do you bounce back from playing your best game of the year on defense only to lose on essentially the last play of the game?

Its real simple, those guys get paid to play this game. And no matter what they felt yesterday now they have to suck it up and keep it moving. Because I can promise you one thing the Panthers won’t be showing us any mercy when we go up to Carolina this Sunday. And if we go out there still sweating this game we will definitely get embarrassed.

I will say this much, regardless of the outcome, it did do my heart some good to see us playing defense again yesterday the way the standard had been set for the previous 12 years. Buc Ball is back in Tampa and now its time to go out there and get some wins by any means necessary.

I hope every guy on defense takes that loss to heart over the next two days and that it makes them want to puke.

Then I hope every one of those guys gets ready on Wednesday to go out and show the world that yesterday was no fluke. Nothing we can really do about the loss yesterday at this point anyway so after today and tomorrow, it’s Panthers week and it has to be on to the next one….

27 Responses to “Bull Rush: Defense Should Want To Puke”

  1. ravi Says:

    no x’s and o’s today steve? on that final drive i woulda swore they hit their te’s 3 times in a row for first downs. why were they so open? it seemed like we were doin a helluva job coverin those TE’s and gettin a pash rush until the last drive. On their converted 4th down, i thought i saw 2 guys open in the middle of the field, Tony G (who caught the ball and was covered by T-jack), and some other dude who i swore was wide f-ing open. They drove those last 60 yards with such ease i thought we were in a completely different game. Though odds suggest 9 tries from the 8 yard line your def gonna get one through, I still think the fake punt and offensive play callin in the 4th doomed us. The fg try i don’t have a problem with, dude hit 3 50 yarders in an outdoor stadium in miami.

  2. DRB Says:

    Speaking of Roy Miller……

    I think the trainers had him playing at 315-320lbs. In my opinion, they should get him down to 305-310 and let him play the 3 technique like he did in college. Or, he could play the nose at that weight and be stout against the run.

    The switch back to a 1 gap alignment was the right move in my opinion. Everyone says ” the players in the NFL are getting bigger, faster, ect” If that is true, than we should be able to increase the size of our interior D-line without giving up much quickness. Thus fixing the “soft up the middle” issue.

    A single gap 4-3 with bigger interior linemen, more blitzing, and more creative calls in the secondary would certainly be relevant in today’s NFL.

    The “new” Tampa 2………..

  3. JoeMurgia Says:

    Steve, a lot of people would love it if you could break down some of the plays from yesterday and show us how the new scheme affected the outcome of those plays.

    And why were the Falcons able to carve us up on that last drive? What’s the deal with the three man rush? I sincerely hope that we have seen the last of that. I hope Raheem is smart enough to learn from that and not do it again unless we’re up by three TDs with a minute left.

    Also, what are the drawbacks of the Tampa Two?

  4. Blackmagic00 Says:

    Steve what about Sabby? That guy made me smile yesterday. He is exactly the kind of guy that fits our defense. All of the guys fit this system. I think our defensive draft needs will be less if we stick to true Buc Ball. I also feel that Morris should stay as our defensive coordinator, if we get a new head coach. What do you think? Am I way off base?

  5. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    People, what’s with all the requests of Mr. White? You think he has nothing better to do? You should be begging Joe to pay him more money to write more posts 🙂

    Steve does a lot of breakdown on his blog through the week, http://passingonthegame.blogspot.com
    Joe advises you check that out on a regular basis. Click on his advertisements there two. A man can’t have enough money to play with.

    And check back to JoeBucsFan.com. You never know when Mr. White might crank out another post.

    That said, it’s good to see you’ve all realized that Steve White is the best thing to happen to Bucs coverage since Joe fired up his Web site before last season.

  6. FlBoy84 Says:

    Hey Steve,

    I’m going to reserve judgment on the defense until I see a similar and consistent effort over the next couple of weeks.

    I think part of the problem with Bates’ and his scheme was that the players didn’t by into it mentally. Imagine if someone came into your workplace, where you’ve been doing the same thing everyday for a number of years, and said “I know you guys have been very successful in the way you’ve been doing things, but we’re going to revamp the entire system and go with a new process”. You’re initial reaction would probably be to get pissed off and resent/reject the idea mentally. I think some of these guys did exactly that. Hovan in particular came right out and stated “I’m NOT a 2-gap player, have NEVER BEEN a 2-gap player, and NEVER WILL BE a 2-gap player” after the change was made last week. He set himself up to fail before he even began, and this is coming from one of the TEAM CAPTAINS. I’m sure there were quite a few other guys on defense that followed along with that same mentality.

    Having said that, I think these guys are now much more comfortable and on-board mentally with going back to a familiar way of doing things. One of the most obvious signs is that they were actually winning their one-on-one match-ups, which was something that wasn’t happening much previously. That is strictly a mental and physical battle. If they can bring that same effort week-in and week-out, then I’ll be happy to give credit where it’s due. The true litmus test will occur once teams have tape of what Rah is trying to do defensively and have a chance to respond to it. The next Saints and Falcons games will be a good barometer of where we’re really at defensively.

  7. Jorge Says:

    The only thing that pisses me off is to think what this season might have looked like if Raheem would have stuck with what he knew, and done what he did on Sunday all season long…

  8. sgw94 Says:


    A guy leaves for a couple hours and all of a sudden he is bombarded with questions lol.

    Its all good though. I started to do an x and os post today but my heart just wasn’t in it. The truth was I was sick to death over that loss last night well after the game was over because we SHOULD have won it. Seriously you guys have no idea about me during a game. I am pretty much just a fan like you now and my TV gets plenty of expletives yelled at it and threats against its health. But having calmed down some today I have decided to do a few of the Xs and Os on my own blog about the whole defense, not just the defensive line.

    I will still try to answer some of the questions posed here too that don’t pertain to the post I will write probably later on tonight.

  9. sgw94 Says:


    As you know I am also not a proponent of a three man rush and I was livid that we ran it so much in the second half after how well we pass rushed with a 4 man line in the first half. You damn near have to be perfect to get any pressure on a QB with a 3 man rush and we don’t have the kind of guys to really do that on a consistent basis.

  10. sgw94 Says:


    I thought Sabby played well yesterday but he wasn’t a guy that I thought was outstanding quite honestly. One of the guys who I have been saying wasn’t used enough or correctly who showed up yesterday to me was Quincy Black. Yeah he had the dumbass special teams penalty to give the Falcons a first down. But on defense he had a half a sack and he was lighting a fire to the Atlanta RBs.

    I also think playing our regular defense which some label a Tampa 2 enables us to not have to over shoot in the draft for defensive players. I still think our best move is to trade down, get more picks and draft Eric Berry.

  11. sgw94 Says:


    I understand your reluctance to give the defense its due. But literally Raheem didn’t run anything yesterday that the Bucs haven’t run for the last 12 years. Hell I can tell you the actual defensive call for about 90% of what you saw last night. And Atlanta is a division opponent, trust me they knew what was coming. Its not like what they were doing was night and day or anything. Its just that little things can add up to big differences like putting the weak tackle over the center. Hell we DOMINATED their center all effing day. Something we could have been doing all friggin year.

    But again I understand where you are coming from and all I can say is that I fully expect over the rest of the season for you to see that it wasn’t just a fluke.

  12. lightningbuc Says:


    As you know, I’ve been down on the D-Line all season and you’ve told me I didn’t know what the hell I was talking about. I’m back here to tell you you were right. But it did seem the Falcons made some halftime adjustments to temper the pass rush a bit. And that is where Morris is getting killed, is after halftime. I don’t feel he is good at the chess game that takes place at intermission and in the second half. But thanks again for all you do on here. Much appreciated, even when you tell me I’m wrong!

  13. sgw94 Says:


    I almost forgot you question about Tampa 2. First of all let me repeat something I said last year. People called Monte Kiffin’s defense a Tampa 2 because of one coverage we played mostly on 3rd and long situations. But on first and second down we played as much 8 in the box and zone blitzes or more than any other team. Yesterday we played a helluva lot more that Tampa 2 and so its kind of a misnomer.

    As for the actual weaknesses of Tampa 2 they are as follows.

    1. You can’t really play 1 gap defense in a Tampa 2, especially if the other team goes to a formation with a slot receiver or two wideouts on either side. In that situation you usually would have to check to some kind of slant on the defensive line to try to make up for the lack of being gap sound against the run. But the drawback to that is on play action pass your defensive line has now slanted into spots that usually makes it hard to get a pass rush.

    2. In the coverage aspect of it the Tampa 2 is vulnerable when you don’t have a pass rush to make the QB throw on time. If a QB is able to pat the ball or pump fake then windows will open especially in the middle of the field where the middle liine backer leaves to cover the deep seam routes. Also with the change in rules about hitting receivers after 5 yards its hard to get a reroute and funnel them to safety help and if a corner lets a wide out get a free release outside then they effectively end up in a one on one situation on a deep ball even though we have two safeties deep.

    Those are the two major weaknesses of a Tampa 2 from my point of view. Hope that helps.

  14. sgw94 Says:


    Hello again my friend. In actuality our pass rush was still humming after halftime its just that when we went to those 3 man rushes that screwed us up in my opinion. But we have several hurries in the second half. Really one other thing helped them too and that is that Redman started getting the ball out of his hands a lot quicker. On the 3rd down at the end of the game before that last 4th down play Jimmy Wilkerson beat his guy clean. I mean it was a BEAUTIFUL pass rush but Redman threw that ball away like it was a hot potato. He wasn’t going to take any more sacks even if that meant he wouldn’t complete some passes.

  15. FlBoy84 Says:

    What disturbs me more than actually losing the game yesterday was the fact that we actually won a lot of the one-on-one matchups yesterday, but for some reason we couldn’t consistently do that against any other opponent other than GB this year. What gives Steve? I think part of it goes back to what I said about Hovan, already being behind the 8-ball mentally before he even stepped on the field.

  16. sgw94 Says:


    I disagree. It wasn’t just Hovan, the defense Bates put in did not help the talent that he had. Go back and look at my post for the Packers game. Even though we exploded pass rushing wise, we still were getting eaten alive on running plays and it all goes back to that scheme. We didn’t blitz much. We didn’t play much under defense. Weak tackle never over the center. The mentality came from how shitty the scheme was, not the other way around.

  17. tnew Says:

    Just wanted to say, I look forward to your commentary every week after the game. I don’t do fantasy football so looking forward to something this season has been difficult. It has been one of the few bright spots in being a Buc fan this year.

  18. sgw94 Says:


    Thanks for the compliment. I hope I hold up my end of thte bargain the rest of the season.

  19. BigMacAttack Says:

    Yea it was a heart breaker yesterday, but it sure was nice to see our defense play so well. Thanks Steve & Joe for all this. I also liked how Olie put Dotson in as TE for a 6’th O lineman and it worked great. Sean Payton does this and it works. If this defense plays anything like they did yesterday, they are going to kick the $h!t out of Carolina. Delhomme broke his finger on his throwing hand so he will be Bate for the Wolves on the D line. I wish they would have just left Raheem as DC and Gruden as HC. I think they would have made a good pair. Hopefully our CB’s will be back next week. it’s getting pretty slim back there and HOW BOUT RONDE BARBER!!! He was back and in charge.

  20. CyberDilemma Says:

    Steve, I was curious if you have had any conversations directly with Morris about your thoughts since the season started?

  21. George C. Costanza Says:

    Who’s responsible for hiring Bates and using his defense?
    1. Morris
    2. Dominick
    3. Glazers
    4. A combination of the above

    anyone know?

  22. JoeMurgia Says:

    Apparently, the Glazers “suggested” Bates and Jagz because they wanted Raheem to have help since he was so green. And while Morris wanted two other guys, in the end, he accepted Bates and Jagz and tried to make the best of it. The Glazers had to give the OK when Rah wanted to fire Jagz and demote Bates. Bates was a tougher sell because they had already fired a coordinator.

    At least that’s what I’ve read on Pewter Report and from one alleged insider who has had good info. in the past.

  23. JoeMurgia Says:

    Thanks for the article and responses, Steve. With all the losing, your articles have been a nice diversion and I’m learning at the same time!

  24. sgw94 Says:


    No I haven’t talked to Coach Morris directly. I don’t presume that he cares what I think about the team in general or the defense in particular. If he asked of course I would give him my honest opinion. But again this was supposed to just be a hobby to pass the time for me. I hadn’t a clue that folks would actually care to read it.

  25. sgw94 Says:


    You are welcome and thank you for continuing to come back and read my articles!

  26. BigMacAttack Says:

    Steve, I read your breakdown on Suh and I’ve watched him 3 times this year. I don’t disagree with you and it will be nice to see him in the Senior bowl. Now the Gators v Tide game Saturday we’ll see how Cody does against the Pouncy Bros. I love those guys and I’m obviously not a gator-hater. My question is have you watched Dunlap, DE for Florida and Brandon Spikes MLB? I know spikes is 6-3/250 +/- athletic and I wonder if he could replace Barrett Ruud as a run stopper but one who can still drop way back in the Tampa 2? And would Ruud bring in any high trade value? I guess the other thing is after watching the Game Sunday, do we really need any more D linemen, or can these guys be a top flight unit?

  27. bucspirate Says:

    Hey Steve,

    I love the D-Line breakdowns, just wondering if you ever considered doing offensive line breakdowns. I’m very curious why our running game is sputtering so much, and I don’t want make assumptions as to where the breakdowns are occuring. What is your opinion on the Bucs use of the Zone Blocking Scheme?