“Lots Of Questions” With Bucs Defense

July 12th, 2011

The Bucs came “this close” to the playoffs last season, losing in a playoff tiebreaker to the eventual Super Bowl champion Packers, a fact not lost on Josh Freeman.

Some pundits believe the Bucs have a shot not to just make the playoffs, but to make a run in the playoffs if only the defense can improve. eye-RAH! Kaufman isn’t convinced that improvement will happen overnight.

The longtime NFL columnist for the Tampa Tribune spoke on WHBO-AM 1040 Monday afternoon with “Prime Time’ co-hosts Ronnie Lane and Tom Krasniqi, explaining the many areas on the Bucs defense that he finds lacking.

“When was the last time we had more confidence in the Bucs offense than the defense?” Kaufman asked. “There are a lot of questions on this defense. They can’t stop the run. There’s no pass rush. Now you are asking two rookies with health issues to make an impact? That’s asking a lot.

“Gerald McCoy is fine. Brian Price is not looking good for this season. Roy Miller has something to prove. For every disruptive play Geno Hayes makes, he takes a bad angle. There are are real questions about this defense.

“I believe Talib will face some kind of punishment, even with his trial postponed to next year. Let’s face facts: The Bucs have not been able to stop the run with Raheem in
charge of the defense the past two years and with Barrett Ruud as the middle linebacker.

“At some point, you run out of things to say.”

All are valid points from Kaufman. But call Joe naive but he believes the defensive front will be much improved, if for no other reason they will have decent coaching with Keith Millard, something GMC and Miller haven’t had since both became Bucs. That very well could be a domino effect: Better play up front means better linebacker play, etc.

And even if Talib is suspended — clearly, not a given — Joe has considerable confidence in E.J. Biggers

Yes, the Bucs do have question marks on defense. But it’s difficult to see the defense regressing.

16 Responses to ““Lots Of Questions” With Bucs Defense”

  1. Mauha Deeb Says:

    For what Biggers lacks in instinct, he almost makes up with athleticism. That guy is fast as lightning. His instincts will get better with experience. If he has been watching film like many of the starters, he should improve a good bit.

  2. TrueBlue Says:

    Agree with Joe. The defense may not be great this year but it will be better. And if it stays healthy it will continue to get better all year long. This team is on the rise and will be fun to watch.

  3. Bucnjim Says:

    Blaming the Defensive line for everything (especially the lack of run defense) is getting old. They were absolutely horrible at getting QB sacks, but when comparing tackle totals with other D’s that run a 4-3 they hold up pretty well. You can’t compare them to 3-4’s so I went ahead and looked within our own division. New Orleans was ranked 10th against the run and Atlanta 15th. Even Carolina was 5 spots better in the rushing D catagory & Charles Johnson had a monster year with 63 tackles. What do they have that we don’t? Physical & aggresive MLB’s! Beason, Vilma & Lofton are all very stout against the run. The shining stars of the Bucs Defense in 2010 were the secondary. With no pass rush to speak of these guys managed to keep the Bucs in games. Finishing the year 7th in passing D. Barber & Talib have more to do with setting up the secondary so I have to ask; what did Ruud contribute to again? Oh yeah; last in run defense for the past 36 games!

  4. We let 'em off the Hook! Says:

    Coaching plays a huge role in this. If the lineman can learn different stunt schemes early on, and the D- coordinator can call games within their knowledge base, then they’ll be fine. If you have rookies zigging, when there suppose to be zagging, that’s when all hell brakes loose. But they need to learn quick. You won’t win many games in this league with a straight-on bull rush!

  5. Garv Says:

    It’s a process and I believe we are headed in the right direction. All you can do is coach and continue to add talent.

    Let’s wait and see before we think the worst. I kind of sort of remember many of us, including moi, thinking the worst after the Freeman pick. Wrong………very WRONG!!!

  6. Rob Says:

    Joe, I have to agree. Everything flows from the front-4 on back. A strong push up front can make the 7 men behind them look much better than they would normally. Fix the defensive line, and the rest may fall into place on defense.

  7. Jrock Says:

    Can I get some love for Myron Lewis? I’m no stats geek, but the kid played -excellent- football when he was in the game. I bet stats would back me up, but I never bookmark the one page Joe digs up his stats from.

    Biggers is also coming into his own, he was stupendous when Talib was out and throughout the season. Our secondary is lookin’ good

  8. jvato24 Says:

    “I believe Talib will face some kind of punishment, even with his trial postponed to next year. Let’s face facts: The Bucs have not been able to stop the run with Raheem in
    charge of the defense the past two years and with Barrett Ruud as the middle linebacker”

    This is a weak point

    1. Look at the personnel over the 2 years .. Complete overhaul and youth after releasing Icon Derrick Brooks.

    2. The Defense has improved slowly but steadily … Just look at Points per Game .. How many players on defense now are Gruden Regime players ??? NOT MANY to NONE !!!!

    But I guess this reporter expects it overnight

  9. Hunter Says:

    @Jrock: I agree, I’m more excited about Myron Lewis than Biggers, although Biggers is solid also…

  10. HFXBUC Says:

    Our DB’s do an amazing job. If a Corner’s best friend is a good pass rush, it would be fair to say our DB’s are friendless.

    Gotta believe the pass rush will be better this year, maybe not great but you throw in 8-10 more sacks and 2-3 more QB pressures/game and you have 2-3 fewer completions per game and 5 more game changing INT’s across the season.

    That’s significant improvement…can’t wait!

  11. Fish Says:


  12. Capt.Tim Says:

    Nah, defense needs help. Got love for Lewis and Biggers. Think that youg D-line will be great!! Buuut, on off season with coaches, bunch rookies. If we wanna be capable of helping that offense, we better sign Nnamdi, Ray Edwars, and a couple of Good OLBers, cause ours aren’t any good. . That gets us into the playoffs.price probably won’t play this year. I wouldn’t count on Bowers( hope I’m wrong about both!!!) Talib is probably gonna get suspended. But no off season hurts the most!

    If we sign some vets, get capable LBers, and get lucky with the rookies, we might be ok. But if we lose Ruud- which I think we will, we are a 8-8, 9-7 team at best. If we keep Ruud, we might win 11 or 12. but we are definitely not OK. And that’s not even considering if the broken ankle cost Cody Grimm any atheltesism! They are counting on him geavily

  13. McBuc Says:

    Capt, I would say 11 or 12 wins is doing great. You lost me on saying that we may win 11 or 12 games but we are not ok.

  14. Capt.Tim Says:

    If we sign a couple decent FAs, and we manage to keep Ruud, 11 or 12 would be expected! We won 10 games last year, and everything On Offense should be improved! We have the QB, The LT, The RB, And two WR. All young- everyone should improve alot this year. Plus we have great Young O-linemen, to improve the weakest part of the Offense.

    The Defense , while loaded with young talent, needs time and Coaching. And a few key components may be on injured Reserve this year. No off season is going to have a negative impact. More importantly, losing Ruud would be like The offense losing Freeman. I know the haters are scoffing, but then again, you don’t really understand our defense anyway. I think we need a couple veteran FAs, and to somehow change Barretts mind, for this team to move inti the Playoffs, not stall this year, while the defense basically regroups. This team is ready to start being a legitimate SuperBowl contender, but the Defense could actually regress this year, and drag the offense with it, without a little jumpstart to get it on track.

  15. Pete Dutcher Says:

    I just love how everyone is believing so much in our offense.

    How many times have we seen one year wonders on this team? I think the offense has to proove it can repeat and continue to improve. Consider Jon Gruden…one year up, one year down, one year up, one year down.

    It wasn’t until his last two years here that he had two winning seasons straight.

    So before we start shouting from the rooftops, let’s see some continuity.

    Don’t get me wrong…I’m excited about the team…very much so. If the picks continue to work out as they have, I think Raheem and Dom are building the best Buccaneers team in history. In a few years, they may be the new Pats or Colts. Who knows?

    The Bucs have never had a team in which BOTH the offense and defense were great…and that’s how things are looking to become before long.

    But it is way too early to celebrate.

    Then again…it is all about the journey too.

    I think our Defense Line will be stars this year…regardless of what Ira claims. I think Roy Miller will step up this year and Price will have to fight for a starting spot in the second half of the year when he returns from PUP.

    The two players I am most excited over are Freeman and Grimm.

  16. Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    Out 2 new defensive ends will greatly improve our play, and Grimm will be back.