Should The Bucs Lean Offense Or Defense?

January 3rd, 2012

Welcome to the wildest most unpredictable Buccaneers offseason in ages. The Bucs haven’t had an all-new coaching staff on the way since 1996!

It truly was the end of a long era yesterday, even though Raheem Morris was only in power three years. The ties to the Dungy-Gruden days only just hit the streets.

Plus, there’s no predicting what the Bucs will do in the draft sitting in the coveted No. 5 hole and not needing a quarterback. Even if they keep the pick, do the Bucs go offense or defense? They’ll also surely have to fill some holes in free agency, at least giving their new head coach some latitude to bring in a few of “his guys.”

Rockstar general manager has said before that he’s a defense-leaning guy, but he’s also said the Bucs have to build around Josh Freeman. What’s next is a definite mystery.

Former Bucs beat writer Don Banks, now with Sports Illustrated, took an interesting look at the Bucs’ next moves in a story penned yesterday. Here’s a snippet:

In Tampa Bay, the Bucs find themselves in a very tough division, with playoff perennials New Orleans and Atlanta leading the NFC South, in addition to vastly improved Carolina. It’s no easy task to go up against the likes of Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Cam Newton six times a season, but things change rapidly in the NFL, as Tampa Bay’s plummet from 10-6 in 2010 to 4-12 in 2011 clearly illustrates.

The Bucs have invested heavily in the defensive line at the top of recent drafts, and they need to get some significant return on those selections, with tackles Gerald McCoy and Brian Price staying healthy, and ends Adrian Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers developing into solid pass rushers. On offense, the addition of another playmaking receiver for Freeman to target is a must, but with their No. 5 overall pick next April the Bucs might be in position to nab Oklahoma State junior Justin Blackmon, the consensus top available pass-catcher. Look at how much difference last year’s top receiver made this season in Cincinnati, with No. 4 pick A.J. Green giving the Bengals the vertical threat they craved and making rookie quarterback Andy Dalton better than anyone expected.

Joe wonders whether Team Glazer and Dominik will covet an offensive– or defensive-minded head coach. Sure, Team Glazer said the team has a completely open mind, but there’s always a leaning.

Perhaps in a division with this much firepower the Bucs are better off with a defensive guy and leaning their plan toward that side of the ball? The argument can go many directions — just like the Bucs this offseason.

41 Responses to “Should The Bucs Lean Offense Or Defense?”

  1. eric Says:

    I would love to see an offensive guy, but to me the best candidate is Fisher.

    Only fell apart in Tenn. because he had Vince Young forced on him. Air Mcnair did well under him.

    Need some gravitas to keep Dom in line and the Glazer Boys. I note from the press conference words like “fools gold” and “FA is only when there is a draft mistake” werent uttered. They took at least a bite of humble pie.

    Good fit IMO. But, if undoable get an offensive guy. Dang shame Turner looks like he is re-hired in SD. Love the dudes offense.

  2. Nick Says:

    I’d like to see us get with the times on both sides of the ball, but especially on D. Cover 2 doesn’t work anymore. You can’t even hit a receiver as soon as he gets the ball. Its a penalty every time. Thats what the Cover 2 is. We need a 3-4 blitzing D and man to man on the outside.

  3. Sgt Mike Says:

    Wasn’t it the Jerry Jones/ Deion Sanders pizza commercial and Jerry says “offense or defense Deion?” and Deion says ” BOTH!” I think we need an offense leaning head coach with a D coordinator that maybe should have been a HC at one time. Think Shannahan/Haslett or Gruden/Kiffin or any other complimentary HC/DC/OC Tandem. It’s just gotta be big O and big D for Tampa this time around. You can’t win this div without solid bone crushing defense and an offense that can put up 20 to 30 or more points per game.

  4. bucfanjeff Says:

    It’s a passing league. Look at the Packers and Patriots, great offenses and average, at best, defenses – both teams have home field through the playoffs.
    Our defense needs a bit of work at LB and secondary. Our offense is a couple pieces and an OC away from being very good, imo. We should focus on offense and use FA to help the defense in the interim.

  5. bucfanjeff Says:

    Is Blackmon the complete package, size, SPEED, hands?

  6. Garv Says:

    I believe the Buccaneers need to go with supporting Josh Freeman in any way they can. Go offense, it’s the new NFL. HOWEVER, that typed, you can do both to some extent.
    IF the Bucs were to decide on Brian Billick for example, it’s not like he would ignore the defense. He’s proven that. How about Brian, who by all accounts would be interested and seems to really like Free and his obvious talent and a guy like former Rams HC Steve Spagnuolo as DC? He might be interested as well. And there is some talent there with some pretty good linemen to start with. Add some FA money and who knows?

    But short answer….offense. I keep thinking about Justin Blackmon in pewter….WOW!!!

  7. Nick Says:

    Blackmon won’t make it past the Rams. Once again the Bucs sucked just enough to keep them out of the top 2. First the Lions took our picks, Calvin and Suh, and now the Rams will take Blackmon.

  8. gotbbucs Says:

    this just my opinion, but i think it’s a waste of time using high draft picks on skill position players on either side of the ball until the front 7 is set on defense and the o-line is capable of holding their own. we have neither of those right now.

  9. Nole99 Says:

    This is an easy question to answer. This is one you don’t want to screw up. In my opinion, you don’t lean one way or the other. You hire a true head coach that can delegate those duties to his coordinators while he manages every aspect of the team. Surround the head coach with experienced staff that are experts at their given positions, and you are in a much better situation than we have had here since maybe the Coach Dungy days.

  10. crazy Says:

    This team was being built with an offensive focus and a “good enough” defense. The defensive level of play is so poor that any new HC won’t be able to do anything without major improvements in the LB and secondary corps. “Good enough” on defense isn’t going to cut it in the future any more than it did this year.

  11. OB Says:

    Joe, I think Bill O’Brien, OC of New England, should be the one. He knows their system and we need it here plus the discipline of that organization. We have not had an even hand at the helm since Tony Dungy. We need someone who will deactivate players that don’t do what they are paid to do.

    Maybe it is my military background, but I think the long hear should go until the person makes the Pro Bowl or the team wins the Super Bowl, then it is an earned badge of professionism.

    What say you?

  12. Buddhaboy Says:

    this team is going to be completely different. Freeman is going to be completely different.

    Look, you can say it is all about 5, but those days are over. It may not be all about the current bucs quarterback. The new coach, whoever that may be, may have different ideas of the value of positions. The Ravens won a super bowl with Trent Dilfer. So, the new coach may want to concentrate on defense, considering we have the worst defense in the league. By far.

    Denver won the afc west with a qb that literally cant throw.

    This team is goinng to be completely different. Shoot, we may end up running a 3-4 on defense, and a spread offense on O. Who knows, One thing is for sure, it was needed to get rid of all the old dogmas the bucs were holding on to, dungy’s D, and Grudens offense….This team needed an anema, and hopefully the new coach will get the lube out.

  13. Dave Says:

    The NEEDS:

    WR (w/speed)
    RB (w/ speed)

    Those are the MAJOR needs. You can always make the case for drafting more Lineman, on either side of the ball.

    It all depends on how deepthe LB & CB corp is to know if they should draft either in the first round. Is there a big drop off in talent or can you get them in round 2-4 and not drop off that much?

    What I have seen is a MAJOR dropoff after Justin Blackmon WR OK St. After watching him last night…. I think the BUCS absolutely should take him first. he is a number 1 WR. He is big, fast, dominant, and has great hands. He looks like a 25 year old T.O. without the issues.

  14. Dave Says:

    Afte Justin Blackmon the real need is LB but if a very good CB is there I can definately see taking one of them first.

    Of course, the first need is a coach. Personally I want them to do what they can to get Jeff Fisher.

  15. Greg Says:

    @Nick, I was thinking the same thing, the bucs were just good enough to prevent them from getting one of the top picks. I think the Rams will take Blackmon as well, but maybe they’ll go OL and Blackmon will fall to us. If he’s available, you’ve got to take him. One guy on defense is NOT going to turn that travesty around, and if you want to win the NFC South, you better be able to put up some points. We are 2 yrs away from putting together all the pieces for defense, especially if the Bucs only dabble in FA like we all suspect they will do. Maybe the Glazers will surprise us and follow through on their comments yesterday, but seeing is believing.

  16. Joe Says:


    Maybe it is my military background, but I think the long hear should go until the person makes the Pro Bowl or the team wins the Super Bowl, then it is an earned badge of professionism.

    What say you?

    Now sure what you mean.

  17. mjmoody Says:

    I’m open minded here, but I just don’t see why, with the rules being made today, a team would lean on defense. Multiple TD’s seem to be the new defensive scheme in the NFL. Stopping the run IS necessary though, no matter which way you lean.

  18. Captain Stagger Says:

    Just look at the top teams in the league and you will know your answer. It’s passing league, 15 yards for hits on QB’s and WR, PI penalties etc.

  19. Dave Says:

    I am all about defense, but when you look at the way the NFL has changed the rules over the years and how the league has become a passing league, and you look at GB, NE, Indy (aside from this year), New Orleans, etc….

    Justin Blackmon should be the pick.

  20. jvato24 Says:

    Ill be honest I thought the idea of drafting Justin Blackmon was insane. He is too similar to our WRs. Then I watched him play last night. He is a FREAK. And my vote for draft is BPA alll day long. He may be that.

    Also … as far as HC offense or Defense.

    #1 I pray it someone who brings a coordinator. No More HC/DC or HC/OC combos if possible.

    #2 It seems like most of the time when an Offensive or Defensive minded HC comes in. THe team seems to excel on the other side of the Ball.

    Gruden, #1 Defense Subpar Offense … Billick #1 Defense , Crappy Offense for the most part. Morris .. Offense was still better than that Defense … Jim Harbaugh Top 2 Defense … Offense Ok so far

  21. Josh P Says:

    who ever they hire at HC i would love to see them bring in Spags as the DC those D’s in NY were awesome and were built around a nice pass rush and he would be awesome for Clayborn and Bowers.

  22. jvato24 Says:

    Also on the draft front we can simplify it from Offense or Defense to

    SHould we draft an Offensive player or Morris Claiborne as he is the only DEF player with Top 5 value in this draft.

  23. Bobby Says:

    If Blackmon is there he would be a great pick BUT…there is a chance that Alshon Jeffery could slip to the second round and I would almost rather see us get Claiborne or Richardson in round 1 and see if Jeffery falls to round 2. He’s big (6’4″) and has better hands than Blackmon. Their 40 times are almost identical and he would give Freeman a BIG target. Any way it goes we’re gonna have a choice of some very good athletes. How can you go wrong with a pick between Claiborne, Richardson, and Blackmon?? Then again, we may even trade down if we think we can be in position to still land Kuechly. Some extra draft picks this year and next would be really nice. It’s going to be a really fun draft to watch.

  24. mjmoody Says:

    …and maybe Mo’s draft stock is slightly elevated @ 5 due to the Bucs’ needs?

  25. A REAL Bucs Fan Says:

    bucfanjeff Says:
    January 3rd, 2012 at 10:30 am

    It’s a passing league. Look at the Packers and Patriots, great offenses and average, at best, defenses – both teams have home field through the playoffs.
    Our defense needs a bit of work at LB and secondary. Our offense is a couple pieces and an OC away from being very good, imo. We should focus on offense and use FA to help the defense in the interim.

    Very good post and right on target, although it does bring up something that made me realize something:

    Our defense needs a bit of work at LB and secondary.

    If the entire staff was indeed fired, and since last night the Bucs completely took down the coaches webpage on their website so it appears that’s the case, then Our entire team needs work. We can not rely on what has gone before to gauge the future. It’s a whole new ball game.

    For example, the defensive line still has the same players (atm) but the coaching will be completely different, generating different results. Those results might be better, or if a bad hire is made they could be worse.

    My point is this though…every unit of this team now needs work. It’s entirely possible that the new DC and HC might decide to get ride of GMC, Price, Okam and Bowers and start there from scratch with just Clayborn.

    Or the OC might decide the Offensive Line completely sucks and scrap all but Joseph. Heck, it’s possible Parker could get the axe (which I would love since he is a fumbling machine). Williams could be the only WR we keep.

    With an entirely new coaching staff, there are no coaches left to say “this guy deserves to stay” to the new HC…all bets are off. Every man on this team is now expendable.

    That said…everyone should remember this when their favorite player gets chopped. The fans asked for this.

  26. FreemanBomb5 Says:

    REAL Bucs fan
    you hit the nail on the head but there really are only a few players that I would hope to be back next year. Clayborn, Bowers, Talib, Foster, Williams, Penn, Joseph, Rejus, Parker, Briscoe, Blount, Foster, and Freeman are the only guys on the team I’d be disappointed if let go for nothing. Potential is the reason being, problem is I have my doubts that Blount is intelligent enough to start over with an all new system. He still didn’t learn the playbook, well according to Olson he didn’t.

    I even said how do we know that Freeman is going to be the qb of choice for our new head coach? I love the potential in Freeman, but how bad is he damaged from three years of Greg Olson? What if whoever we bring in decides that RG III needs to be his guy?

  27. Bobby Says:

    Don’t think GMC, Price, and Bowers are going anywhere but Okam is probably gone. Haynesworth is probably gone too. I seriously doubt whether Barber would make the team under a new coach. I love Ronde but he was pretty bad this year. Age has slowed him down. He makes some splash plays but he gets burned too much. Biggers..gone. Jones….gone. Hayes and Black….gone. That means we have a D-line of Bowers, Clayborne, Price and Mccoy and we need depth. We need two new LB’s and need to try Foster at OLB. We need to replace nearly the entire secondary although we may have something in Elbert Mack, Gaitor and Ahmad Black along with a healthy Grimm. At least 3 to 4 of these players should be FA’s to provide some veteran leadership. On the offensive side of the ball we need a new RT and a RB as well as a speed receiver. I don’t see things being as bad on that side of the ball. The play calling was a major source of our problems last year. A good OC will have this offense looking so much better. I don’t think we can fix it all this year but between this year and next year’s draft we should be back in playoff contention. (with the right coaching staff)

  28. OB Says:


    I meant to say “long hair”

  29. Joe Says:

    a di
    I meant to say “long hair”

    Oh, OK. Doubt that would fly in the NFL. That’s a little too 1960s for today. For a lot of guys, that might turn them off the coach right away. Much, much, much bigger battles to fight on the practice field and the locker room than a guy’s hair.

    Might work in college, maybe. Worked for Paterno but he was a dinosaur.

  30. patrickbucs Says:

    @ Bobby..

    Blackmon and Jeffrey are not comparible, I’m not even sure Jeffrey has better hands. As far as 40 times, and combine I would be shocked if Jeffrey is anywhere near him. Dez Bryant has said multiple times that he isn’t anywhere as good as Blackmon. He is an Andre Johnson/Calvin Johnson type athlete that we have to take if he’s available imo.

    As much as I would love to see Richardson in a Bucs uni, taking a rb in the top 10 is tough to do especially with all of our needs. Claiborne is awesome but not as special as his ex-teammate Peterson.

  31. Big Picture Guy Says:

    Haircuts! That will save the bucs… brilliant. Worked for Josh Freeman at the end of the year eh?

    I don’t think OL is our biggest need, but if Kalil somehow falls to the bucs, I would welcome an upgrade over Trueblood so much. Kalil is even good enough to play at LT and move Penn over to RT, but that is getting ahead of myself.

    Blackmon is a true #1. I would love him as well to be that guy for Freeman and just shift the wr’s all down a spot on the depth chart.

    I think we have a decent? core around Freeman on offense that just lacks speed weapons at RB and WR. So get those, but go big on offense (1st round pick, and an impact FA) for just those 2 roles (3 if you count RT, which I wish they would but probably wont), and then spend a majority of picks and whatever FA money is left on defense.

  32. Sgt Mike Says:

    All I know is that whoever the coach is going to be we need his staff to come in and put every last player on notice “Dungystyle” for character (on/off field), leadership and competition. One of our biggest problems is that we had a decent core group of young stud athletes with very little depth. Competition is the key to getting the most out of your players. If it means getting a solid FA QB or drafting a new one to make Freeman elevate his game. This competition for playing time should go for every last position including kicker even though he was pretty darned good make him better. Next man up! if you can’t do it then some hungry undrafted FA or whoever will take there shot. Hope the Glazers are listening as us Fans do matter. The positive Buzz surrounding a new beginning has to be music to there ears. We are Bucs Fanatics and we require excellence even if it’s excellence in EFFORT! Go Bucs!

  33. Sgt Mike Says:

    I think the last time I was this excited about the offseason was when they hired Sam Wyche. A bust of a coach but he was responsible for drafting Sapp, Brooks and Lynch as well as bringing Hardy Nickerson to mentor them. So not such a bust after all.

  34. Garv Says:

    I cannot imagine that if, IF Justin Blackmon was there at the 5 pick we did not take him.
    Seriously, how could they not? Well……I know but this 5 would make OUR #5 better immediately. Might help the other WO’s as well.

    Now…..IF by the draft we have already signed a big time WO? Who knows?

  35. crazy Says:

    Long hair, self-study iPads instead of supervised film study, so much reported partying that the team bus smells of last night’s party on the way to the game are probably all on the way out for next year’s team…

  36. patrickbucs Says:


    If Blackmon pans out, and it looks like he will then Willams will not be double teamed, Briscoe in the slot is unstoppable on a lb, Benn, a rb that can catch out of the backfield will all be opened up. Not saying we will be a Houston or Detroit offense but it’s crazy to watch how when they do a dump pass to a back or wr how much room they have. The reason is they are double or triple teaming their number 1 wr. When the Bucs do it the vast majority of the defense is in the box.

    Mike Mayock against the Cowboys said the Bucs need a speed wr to take the top off of the d because opposing defenses just sit in the box and we need a speed back that can catch. If those 2 are added and are effective this offense could be in the Falcons mode somewhat quickly imo.

  37. jvato24 Says:

    Patrickbucs …

    Blackmon is a monster … But dont try and fool yourself that he is a speed Demon. Thats the only downfall with Blackmon is that he a top talent … but also a top talent similar to Mike WIlliams and Benn with playing style.

    If the Bucs wanted a Burner that is Kendall Wright from Baylor .. he was scary in his own right.

  38. patrickbucs Says:

    @jvato24: I’m not saying he’s a 4.25 guy but I would be surprised if he didn’t run at least a 4.4 40 in the combine. If you have watched him much and I have, he plays very fast. It’s not like we haven’t drafted burners in the past that would catch the kick off and run the wrong way:)

    We need some stars, someone that’s fun to watch week to week imo. Right now I’m still searching for 1 on this team.

  39. jvato24 Says:

    I hear that … Yesterday afternoon I was against drafting a WR early … After watching him play last night I am open to it as he looks like a possible Game-Changer and will give FREEMAN some much needed HELP

    But i still believe MW19 will be a force

  40. FuNkYxMuNkEy Says:

    IF Claiborne is gone at our pick then we should take either Blackmon or Riley Reiff. We need OLine help in the worst way, but another WR with the talent of Blackmon would make any team better!! Lets just hope Claiborne is there and we are guaranteed a true shutdown corner for many years, baring injury!!! Those would be the only 3 people I would look at. But honestly if Claiborne is gone I would look to trade our pick to someteam wanting RG3. I personally would love to have him as our QB. He dogs Freeman. We need to atleast look into Cleveland and see if there is any interest in him. Their 2 1st round picks along with ours would give us 3 great talents to instantly help!!! Then in the 2nd draft LaMichael James. Like I said yesterday. We could have RG3, Claiborne, and someone like Courtney Upshaw, all in the 1st round!!!!!!!!!!! And to add LJ in the 2nd would give us quite possibly the best draft of all time!!! We must make some drastic changes and this IMO is the best move possible for our team and new HC to make!!!!

    If somehow Kalil fell to 5, which won’t happen, that would be a tough decision. Kalil or Claiborne!?!?!?

  41. The Dark Diesel Says:

    Not pulling the trigger to trade for Calvin Johnson in 2007 still leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of Buccaneer fans (would have cost us Gaines Adams (R.I.P.) and Aqib Talib, whose baggage far outweighs his talent; a fair trade, if you ask me). We may shore up the secondary through FA with acquisitions such as Brent Grimes, Michael Griffin or LaRon Landry. The defensive line, if healthy in and throughout 2012, will make the secondary better via quarterback pressure.

    Justin Blackmon is worth whatever it takes to trade up and have him become Josh Freeman’s number one guy if he is in any danger of being drafted before No. 5. Mike Williams will benefit as a number two and will become a better player, too. It makes too much sense for the organization not to.

    Until then, let’s see who is going to be coaching this squad first.