Bull Rush: Scouting, Game Planning For Green Bay

November 2nd, 2009
Former Bucs DE Steve White

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.

One thing I prided myself on as both a player and later a coach was film study. Watching opponents on tape can reveal all kinds of tendencies, as well as strengths and weaknesses.

Since the Bucs did not play this weekend I decided to check out the Vikings-Packers game yesterday to study the Packers’ offense in action and give a sort of mini scouting report, so fans can see the kinds of things players and coaches look for.

Here are a few things I picked up on:

As a unit the Packers’ offensive line plays well. They don’t really have a bell cow, meaning one guy that really stood out in the game. But they do seem to be a well-coached group, and I didn’t see very many busts in their blocking schemes.

In the running game they aren’t really a come-off-and-knock-you-off-the-ball kind of offense. Rather, they run quite a bit of zone scheme, and with formations they try to spread the defense out and then run the ball between the tackles.

If there is one guy who looks weak to me on the offensive line it’s the center, Scott Wells. Admittedly, you won’t see a lot of centers perform well against the Vikings’ Pat Williams, but still Wells seems like more of a finesse guy who tries to either position-block a guy or tries to release quickly up to the linebackers.

If there was ever a game for us to put our weakside tackle back over the center it would be this one against Green Bay on Sunday. The Packers pride themselves on getting up on the linebackers of the other team either with the center or the guards. So much so that even though Wells isn’t that great, generally the guards don’t give him much help on run blocking when he has a shaded nose tackle.

On the other hand, when Wells isn’t covered he gets up on the middle linebacker quickly and he is athletic enough to either block him high or cut him low. I don’t think that’s what Barrett Ruud would like to see. I think any of our three defensive tackles could dominate that guy and make a lot of plays in the backfield if given the chance.

Nobody on the Packers’ offensive line is particularly physically imposing, so I don’t see a match up where we should get blocked in the run game consistently. The tight ends aren’t all that great at run blocking either.

If I had to pick the best guy, I would have to say it’s No. 86, Donald Lee. But even he doesn’t look strong on film and is mostly just an effort guy. If our ends get their hands on him, they should really be able to take advantage of that match up.

Now the one thing about the Packers offense is that they do a lot of misdirection plays and bootlegs so this will be a game in which the entire Bucs defense must read their keys and not get caught guessing.

As for the Packers’ pass blocking, I think we have some good matchups there as well.

One of the things I noticed right away is that the guards both want to quick set their guys on the line while the offensive tackles both want to get depth and make the defensive ends run a wide route around the outside. That creates two different blocking levels for their offensive line. What this means is that both sides are very suceptible to EX games (End penetrates, tackle loops for contain) in the passing game.

I think their right tackle and right guard are especially vulnerable to all kinds of pass rush games. If the defensive end gets up the field three steps and then chops his feet causing the right tackle to get his normal depth, the “TEX” game (tackle penetrates, defensive end loops inside to A-gap) will be WIDE open.

If it were me, I would tell the left ends and left defensive tackles that they would be wasting a rush if they didn’t run some kind of pass rush game on third downs.

As for the Packers’ left tackle, he is a guy I think we can really get after on passing downs. He is athletic but relatively weak and his set opens him up to inside moves. He punches his hands a lot, which means a guy like Greg (Stylez) White can really work him if he knocks his hands down.

The one thing I think you wouldn’t want to do is just run around the guy because all he will do is wait for you to get deep and then ride you past the quarterback. If one of our right ends wants to make a speed rush, I would suggest that they get into a bull rush first and then rip off outside. I wouldn’t run any TEX games on the left guard and left tackle because they keep a better relationship in their pass sets than the guys on the right side do.

Now as a reminder this is just from watching one game so its all subject to change.

For one thing the Packers have a few guys out with injuries, like starting left tackle Chad Clifton, who might return on Sunday. And normally I would be watching all of the games this year to get a good idea of what I would be facing. Still, I think that all things being equal this scouting report will hold up on Sunday. If not I invite everyone to come back and tell me how wrong I was.
Here is hoping we get off the snide this week and kick the Packers while they are down.

14 Responses to “Bull Rush: Scouting, Game Planning For Green Bay”

  1. lightningbuc Says:

    Steve, as always I enjoy reading your technical breakdowns as it pertains to the Bucs D-Line. However, you say you don’t see any matchups “where we should get blocked in the run game consistently.” I’m not sure how you can say that with this defensive line. It is the weakest link in a team which is pretty much weak in all areas. I don’t think scheme, technique, etc are as much of an issue with the D line as it is just a lack of talent, as many of the linemen are other teams’ castoffs who have seen their better days.

  2. sgw94 Says:


    I respect your opinion but I disagree mightily. Our defensive line has a lot of talent. You may not realize it but both of our starting defensive tackles are former first round picks. Ryan Sims’ career may not have lived up to his draft status but the guy still has athletic ability. Chris Hovan has made a ton of plays in this league. Jimmy Wilkerson is on pace for double digit sacks. Greg White has been our most consistent pass rusher all year and we actually have some talented backups with former second round pick Tim Crowder, last years third rounder Roy Miller and Michael Bennett. Thats not even to speak of Kyle Moore who hasn’t played yet but has a bunch of talent and potential.

    I realize that people will always look for scape goats when things aren’t going well but I can tell you unequivically that we have enough talent up front to win games. Now you can be the judge of what the problem is from there but I will just leave it at that.

  3. Jorge Says:


    Awesome insight, you don’t know how much I appreciate the affirmation of what I think I’m seeing…

    I agree with you about the talent…The effort seems to be there, but they always fall short…It seems they find a way to blow it…

    It seems to me that the problem is a combo of failure at the position coaches and an incredible lack of adjustments for the second half…Just my opinion…

    What concerns you? Why do you think we aren’t able to deliver for the entire game Steve?

  4. Mr. Lucky Says:


    I gotta admit that what you’ve just posted is RARE! Most critics wait and post info like that AFTER a game – the typical “armchair QB” route. By posting possible solutions BEFORE the game is really admirable

    However I doubt that the Bucs D-Line coach will act on it. The problem with the D-Line is that (in my opinion) that are being asked to play in a manner that doesn’t utilize their talents. I sorry but Hovan ISN’T a 2-gap player.

    Thank you for your input to this site. I appreciate how Joe brings in knowledgable players such as yourself and others.

  5. Larry Says:

    Good stuff, Steve. This is what makes joebucsfan the best site to come to several times a day! Thanks.

  6. sgw94 Says:

    Thanks for the compliments guys.

    @Jorge There isn’t any one reason or even two or three reasons why we have had some second half collapses. And its not like there is just one guy or two guys who are playing so bad that if we just replaced them everything would be great. Mostly its a combination of different guys not making a play in the clutch and the defense being put in situations with a low probablility of success.

    One thing that I think is encouraging has been the play of Tanard Jackson. Now we have another ball hawk on the back line which hopefully will lead to more turnovers. But remember that the defense can’t do it all alone and with as many turnovers as the offense has had the defense has been on the field entirely too long this year at times.

  7. David Says:

    Kicking them while they’re down is one thing, scoring on them is another.

  8. lightningbuc Says:


    Thanks for responding to my post. I’m not looking for scapegoats though. This team is bad in many areas, including coaching, front ofc, and owners so no need for scapegoats. But the Bucs are 29th in sacks and 30th in run defense, so that is what my comment was based on. But you have probably forgot more about football than I will ever know, so I’ll trust you on the talent factor – for now.

  9. sgw94 Says:


    Put it to you this way, remember when Sapp went out to Oakland and that first year they had him two gapping and he looked like he was over the hill?

    Then remember the next year when they put him back in the gap and let him rush and he was back to sacking the QB?

    Now I am not saying we have a Sapp on the team. We don’t. But the situation IS analagous.

  10. BigMacAttack Says:

    SGW, now that you have laid out a good defensive plan for the line, I will watch for the EX & TEX and pay close watch on 3’rd and longs. What about a split second delay MLB blitz on the EX game? I just wtched Brees get creamed earlier tonight on a blitz, fumble 6. It will be interesting to see your report next Monday after the game, and how Bates & Co. actually plays it. This is really cool Steve. We’re almost like students being back in School. Thanks Big Man, we’ll see you after the game. This really helps ease the pain we all feel right now, and we sure could use a “W”, in more ways than one.

  11. sgw94 Says:


    Funny you should ask about blitzing with an EX or TEX game. The Vikings actually had a very successful blitz where the defensive end and defensive tackle away from the Packers’ running back ran a quick Tex and they sent the linebacker or nickle back to that side off the edge. It really was a good design and makes it a very hard block for the running back coming across the formation or the tackle guard and center having to block those three guys. I would LOVE to see the Bucs try a blitz like that but I don’t think its gonna happen.

  12. big nick Says:

    Hey steve my name is nick and I have met you a few times back in the day as I was good buds with Jerry Wunsch, I like you have played alot of ball I startes 3 years at Tenn, in mid 90’s I played DE also, my father also played DE in late 50’s and early 60’s for the NY Titans/Jets so football runs in the family, I finished my career in the CFL. My point to everyone is that I think and dont know if you agree taht we have some solid guys on Dline, but whyat we need IMO is a spark plug guy a motor and sort of a mouth, I always played a little harder and a lot meaner when I was on line that had a high motor very animated guy, I just think we are missing the spark to ignite the fire, I sit in section 150 row m seat 13 14 15 come and visit with me fellow buc fans mt section has been completely overrun with other teams fans this year…….. goooooo bucs

  13. Ackall Says:

    Joe needs to buy White a chalkboard and put this sh*t up on YouTube. Great stuff. Interesting point about Sapp in Oakland

  14. Jorge Says:


    I know we can’t point the finger at just one or two even three players..

    However, do you think our (coaching) defensive adjustments are significant enough? Like others have said you are incredibly more qualified than us fans, that is why I am asking; can you tell from the film if the defensive plan adjust adequately to the opponents plan?