Fourteen Yards Shy Of Infamy

December 30th, 2012

Fan favorite E.J. Biggers breaks up a pass intended for Julio Jones Sunday.

Joe made a big deal of how the Bucs were on the cusp of a horrific mark of giving up the most passing yards in the 93 years of NFL history. Matty Ice only needed 252 yards yoday for the Bucs to achieve this football version of a scarlet letter.

Well, Matty Ice came 14 yards short of pushing the Bucs into NFL history.

Holding Matty Ice to just 238 yards isn’t bad. Really. And aside from a blown assignment by Anthony Gaitor that allowed the Dixie Chicks an easy score, which prompted Greg Schiano to blow up on his defensive backs on the sidelines, the secondary played well today.

Leonard Johnson had key breakups in the fourth quarter. So too did E.J. Biggers, who, despite his legions of haters, actually played decent this year if not OK at times. And as Joe has documented, Mark Barron made the play of the game on fourth down in the fourth quarter against Tony Gonzalez that may have saved the Bucs win.

Joe believes for the Bucs to improve the secondary, Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik must land a free agent (use the cash that was going to go to Eric Wright and add more to get a decent guy in here) and draft a corner. Of course, to expect a rookie corner not to struggle in his first year in the NFL may be a stretch.

Whether or not Michael Bennett re-signs, another pass-rushing specialist sure would be nice and perhaps the Bucs can land a defensive end in the first round?

Yes, the Bucs’ porous pass defensive played OK today. But that doesn’t mean the Bucs don’t need massive upgrades in the offseason in order to repair the unit.

38 Responses to “Fourteen Yards Shy Of Infamy”

  1. Adam Says:

    What makes EJ Biggers so infuriating to fans is the fact that passes are completed right by him. He is always “in the frame” when a pass is complete when means he is in position to make a play, but he doesn’t.

    We hear the term “nose for the football” but he doesn’t have it. He doesn’t have the instinct to know to look back or anticipate or to read the head of the guy he is covering so he can make a play on the ball. Rather, balls sail past his arms or past his shoulders and into the hands of the guy he is covering.

  2. TrueBlue Says:

    What’s the difference between ‘decent’ and ‘OK’?

  3. Patrick Says:

    We need a cornerback in the 1st round. Period.

  4. Ian's Gay Lisp & Ron's Drinking Problem Says:

    Soo many good things happened for this team today. The players are pumped up on Twitter! Next for Bucs fans: the Senior Bowl, Free Agency, NFL Combine, The Draft!!!!!!!!

  5. ClayBURN94 Says:

    Hey everyone where’s Miguel the hater???

  6. Andrew 1 Says:

    jeez, where to begin with this secondary… I say good luck to Schiano in trying fix this secondary. If we lose Barber it will be even tougher.

  7. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    I say we just keep the CB’s we have and wait for them to spontaneously improve. That’s likely to happen, right?

    I mean if Josh Freeman, according to the homers, is going to magically wake up one morning and be consistent then why not our CB’s?

    Hopefully the homers are consistent and stick with the same argument they use for Freeman when they talk about Myron Lewis. He’s got all the tools, right? Physically he’s a prototype NFL player at his position. Right? He just needs time because Eli Manning, oops I meant Deion Sanders, didn’t have the light turn on until his seventeenth year in the league.


  8. Macabee Says:

    Pass rushing DE – Alex Okafor, go get’m Dominik!

  9. Will Says:

    Margus Hunt DE Southern Methodist….

    Dude is a freak of nature 6’7 280 they project he will run 4.7 in the forty dude is a freakish athlete only draw back is he’s already 25

  10. Sam Says:

    about $7 million dollars in my mind?

  11. Brandon Says:

    As the league moves to more and more percentages of the plays as passes, the record for passing ya. rds given up in a season will be flirted with and/or broken every season. That’s no excuse.

    Overall, the DBs played okay. Gaitor really got sucked inside on that one play and blew it but overall it wa a pretty good game by Johnson and Biggers. Biggers has played fairly well all season despite most people claiming he was terrible. I think if there is a major upgrade to be made during the offseason, it needs to be at the defensive coordinator spot. Bill Sheridan has proven in his two attempts at coordinating a defense, that he is better off coaching LBs in college. There should be a great number of excellent candidates available to replace him.

    Ron Meeks was a miracle worker for the Colts, leading the Colts to 5 top 10 finishes in 8 seasons despite the Colts spending their money and draft picks on their O. Then Caldwell took over and decided he wanted things done his way and the Colts D has been a complete disaster since. He is currently the Chargers DB coach.

    Rod Marinelli will likely be available once the Bears are officially eliminated from the playoff race. He has been a key cog in several of the better defenses of the past 15 years.

    Monte Kiffin may be old, but he could do a better job coordinating a defense at the age of 112 than Sheridan can right now. I’d take my chances that an aged Kiffin can do a better job over Sheridan suddenly learns how to coordinate a defense.

  12. Sam Says:

    This is the same defense that is statistically the best in the NFL at defending the run? so maybe its just the pass defense and the defensive backs (coach)?

  13. Andrew 1 Says:

    @ FLYBOY

    you should probably come up with a better insult than “homer” because I take that as a complement. lol

  14. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    ^Actually it’s not an insult…just a statement of fact. I try to steer clear of throwing around insults as much as possible and just talk football.

  15. Miguel El Magnifico Says:

    “What’s the difference between ‘decent’ and ‘OK’?”

    Decent is when you lose a penny, OK is a state bordering Texas.

    Maybe Rod Marinelli comes home to coach the DL.

    Freeney is a 32 year old free agent who couldn’t adapt to the 3-4 defense and has had a bad ankle this year.

  16. Andrew 1 Says:

    @ Flboy

    thats cool. Im proud to be a homer.

  17. thibs5599 Says:

    What about a pass rushing OLB. Quincy Black will probably be cut this season and we will be needing an OLB. Von Miller does it in a 4-3 with the Broncos so why couldn’t someone do it here.

  18. SteveK Says:

    It’s not like our D is the worst ever, lol.

    It is a moot point. Our D sucks against tr modern day NFL. It’s a passing league, and we’re dead last in that regard. 2 FA CBs +Gholson from SF @FS.

    Draft BPA and cross your fingers we get a good friggin pick. Fee milliner is off the board, and one elite talent should fall to us. We better get BPA.

  19. CanadianBucsFan Says:

    Wont be seeing Wright, M.Lewis, and most likely Gorrerr ever again.. thank god. TIME TO BRING IN SOME REAL TALENT AT THE CB POSITION!! AND A GUY WHO DOESN’T FIEND ADDERALL!!

  20. Patrick Says:

    “OK is a state bordering Texas.”

    LOL that was funny

  21. toneman850 Says:

    that record is the only reason why I think Mike Smith very stupidly kept his starters in the game. There is absolutely no reason to keep them in that long with the season clinched and set for yourself.

  22. Stranger Says:

    No, Mike Smith is just scared that his team could be too fundamentally flawed for the playoffs. He was just trying to approach the playoffs differently this year, hoping its enough for them to get a win.

  23. DRam Says:

    DE in the first round…? Lets hope we DON’T do that. CB is of course a lot bigger need and FS/LOLB/TE aren’t too far behind neither. Bowers has showed how talented he is and a full offseason of recovery will really help him be ready for next year health wise. If anything, draft a DE in the later rounds or pass rushing LB.

    And I do get the fact that pressure on a QB makes your CBs better, but there’s only so much you can do with crap…

  24. Ryan Says:

    Why would the Bucs draft a DE in the first round when they basically drafted 2 DE’s in the first round of 2011 and could try to re-sign Bennett?

    The Bucs need to go the CB route in R1.

  25. Teddy Says:

    Ryan, no way you draft a corner in round one. The Bucs pick 13th (, and that’s too high of a slot to put on the marginal corners high in this draft. This draft is thick with OL and DL talent, and the Bucs have holes at RT and NT (not to mention overall DL depth) to fill.

  26. PRBucFan Says:

    Your wrong Teddy.
    Millier is easily worth a pick that high.
    As we could trade back into the first with our extra fourth and get Jonathan Banks

  27. Teddy Says:

    Not a smart move PRBucFan, and I’ll tell you why it won’t happen. Matter of fact, I’d place a pretty stout wager that in spite of the lousy state of the Bucs’ pass defense this year, I don’t think the team’s front office places that high of a priority on DBs – never have.

    Instead, smart teams (and I count Dominik and his front office in this group) put the prioritized share of their cap money on QB, then DL and finally OL. All other positions are based on need (such as Vincent Jackson this year). On top of that, the two positions where high draft picks flop most seem to be WR and CB.

    It all depends on how the FA season goes. I expect they’ll find at least two DBs (if Ronde retires, one if he stays) as free agents, lessening the need for a draft in that position. Instead, I fully expect them to draft either a RT (the Matthews kid from A&M makes sense) or a DL for depth in round one.

    If Dominik and his staff truly valued CBs in the draft, they’d have never passed up a CB who fell into their lap at #5 last year, one that is a clearly superior prospect to any CB in this year’s draft.

  28. PRBucFan Says:

    Yes but we didn’t have the disaster of CB’s last offseason that we do now. Aquib and Wright looked like the solution. Also at the time most people agreed that although Claiborne was good, Barron was a once in a blue moon type Safety as well. Most drafts already have us taking Milliner and unless we go out and get Grimes/Sean Smith/ or DRC, i don’t see a bigger priority. That is our biggest NEED

  29. PRBucFan Says:

    Yes but we didn’t have the disaster of CB’s last offseason that we do now. Aquib and Wright looked like the solution. Also at the time most people agreed that although Claiborne was good, Barron was a once in a blue moon type Safety as well. Most drafts already have us taking Milliner and unless we go out and get Grimes/Sean Smith/ or DRC, i don’t see a bigger priority. That is our biggest NEED

  30. PRBucFan Says:

    whoops dont know why it did that

  31. BigMacAttack Says:

    Biggers dropped 2 balls today that should have been easy picks. Biggers sucks because coverage was decent but good CB’s make those INT’s and he never does. Biggers sucks and is a major reason the secondary sucks. But for a 7’th round pick what do you expect? An inconsistent CB that sucks quite often. Too bad Schiano didn’t light up his CB’s 15 games ago. Too little too late, but still a nice win.

  32. Teddy Says:

    Barron was a surprise pick at 7 by the Bucs. They hyped him up after drafting him saying that he fit their needs better than anyone else in the draft (doesn’t every team say that?), but there wasn’t any chatter about Barron going any higher than 14th last year (ironically, to Dallas). That being said, I’m happy with Barron and the job he did in his first year, up and down as it was. Had the Bucs drafted Claiborne, he’d have been toasted just as much as the DBs they already have, because quality DB play is dependent on a push up front. You could put Darrell Revis with Darrell Green in his prime on this team, and they’d still get toasted just like these guys.

    Listen, the QBs in this league are too good. They’ll pick apart any defense if they have time. The Bucs front seven did a remarkable job against the rush this year, but lets face it, they started going south the day that Adrian Clayborn went out with his knee. From that point, teams could double Gerald McCoy, and the only other push they received was the occasional sack from Michael Bennett.

    I’ll contend that if they had gotten a healthy season from Clayborn resulting in a more consistent pass rush, the panic that we see about the CBs would be far less. If they can generate a consistent pass rush without having to blitz, they can put two EJ Biggers back there and be successful against the pass. This is how the Bucs won their first Super Bowl – it certainly wasn’t that Dwight Smith and Brian Kelly were Pro Bowl players, because they were solid but little more. They benefited from a wicked front four.

  33. BigMacAttack Says:

    2 EJ Biggers would just equal twice the sucking. Sheridan perfected the “cover nobody” defense. Pass rush makes a difference for sure but our DB’s got burned on 1 and 2 step drops, they got burned trying to bump receivers, they got burned when 3 of th were all covering a single receiver. They redefined the word “burn” in their cover nobody defense. Leonard Johnaon has improved and learned to start turning his head around, and for a rookie FA, he shouldn’t have been put in that position in the first place. I fear they will draft more inferior corners no matter what round. They are very bad at evaluating CB’s.

  34. PRBucFan Says:

    Our front definitely does not lack talent.

    IMO our pass rush suffered from a terrible defensive scheme that focused on “stunting” all the time instead of just attacking the QB.

    As far as Brian Kelly and Dwight Smith, im not trying to be disagreeable but both of those guys were absolute ball hawks, they had great coverage skills. I believe Brian Kelly lead the league with 8 picks our Super Bowl season? Dwight had 2 pick sixes in the SB? Of course I’m not sayin the DB’s didnt benefit from the pass rush but they were certainly good at what they did. They were “starters” unlike who we have playing for us now.

  35. Teddy Says:

    Well guys, I definitely agree that Bill Sheridan’s schemes this year have been disappointing, errrrrr, sucked. I also won’t be disappointed if Ron Cooper goes back to college this year. I will agree with the contention that the evaluation of DBs hasn’t been as good as one would like, but let’s face it: that evaluation unearthed viable players such as Leonard Johnson as a street free agent.

    The point is that if you look at the great defenses that have been in the league in recent years, they aren’t built from the back forward – they’re build up front first. Yes, the Bucs have some talent up front, but not enough. As such, that has to be the priority, with filling in back end talent (focusing on quantity more than high-dollar quality) is a much more successful path to take.

    I guess that’s one of the things that makes this fun. We can go back and forth all we want, but in the end, all we’re doing is chattering. It’s MD’s call, and I trust that he’ll make the right calls in the draft. I just fully expect that it’ll be top-heavy on the DL and OL, with depth choices (third round and later) on a couple of CBs, another RB and likely a safety (all of whom will need to play special teams).

  36. Teddy Says:

    Oh, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the team drop a 2nd or 3rd on a TE prospect to begin to develop.

  37. BigMacAttack Says:

    You never know what he’ll do. OL doubtful early in the draft. Bad thing is its 4 months away. I’ll just have to get over it like every year at this time.

  38. drbinshore Says:

    “The Bucs have holes at RT and NT”……………….

    The Bucs DO NOT HAVE “HOLES” AT NOSE TACKLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Roy Miller and Gary Gibson make a very good tandem at that position…..

    What we need is a solid veteran UNDER TACKLE to spell McCoy and keep the rotation fresh.

    ONCE AGAIN……the “tilted nose tackle” in this defense is not going to get a bunch of sacks….

    If we bring in a “pass rushing” nose tackle….WE WILL GET GASHED AGAINST THE RUN…….

    Roy Miller will continue to get better (he’s 25yrs old) because he WILL NOT be outworked by anyone. Exactly the type of dude (physically and mentally) we need to play the tilt nose in this scheme.