Pass Rush “Needs To Get Better”

October 23rd, 2013

Joe simply cannot remember a team year after year after year that goes into the offseason with a focus of finding sackmeisters and consistently ends up back at Square One like the Bucs.

Never can Joe think of a team that has spent so many draft picks on a certain area, and it seems that the picks were hollow. That is the Bucs’ pass rush.

Now Joe gets hammered all the time for liking Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik. Joe makes no apologies. Joe saw Dominik’s predecessor Bruce Almighty, and his caped crusader cohort Chucky, whiff on so many draft picks that the weekend of the NFL draft should have been hurricane awareness weekend around these parts. That way the NFL could have sold silly lapel ribbons — bearing the NFL shield, no less — to wear for three days, as well as peddle other color-specific paraphernalia, and pocket cash off the sales, all under the caring, cuddly guise of “awareness.”

This year is no different. After six games, Bucs defensive linemen have put opposing quarterbacks on the ground (while still in possession of the football, a key trick) a grand total of six times, which really is unforgivable. The lone bright spot on the annual quest for sacks from he defensive line is none other than defensive tackle Gerald McCoy who has blossomed into one of the better defensive tackles in the NFL. GMC spoke about the need for more sacks Tuesday.

“It needs to be better. We’ve got to rush better collectively, as a group, as a unit. You see sprinkles here and there, guys getting there [to the quarterback], but as a unit, we need to be better,” McCoy said. “Me personally, though – me being a leader, one of the leaders of the team, and definitely a leader of the defense – I’m kind of taking it upon myself to get something done. We do have to rush as a unit, and that’s all well and good, but there comes a point in time where you’re 0-5, 0-6 – somebody’s got to do something. I take it upon myself, I’ve got to make something happen. I’m getting to the quarterback, definitely getting to the quarterback. I’ve just got to get him on the ground. I’m hitting him, I’m pressuring him, but I’ve got to get him on the ground. It’s good to be able to get to him, but, personally, I just feel that I haven’t done good enough with getting him on the ground. I’m hitting him, but I need him to have the ball in his hand when I do it.”

Of course, opposing coaches are not stupid. They know GMC is the biggest threat to get to quarterbacks. So what do coaches do to a team’s best player? They try to take him out of the game. That’s what the DIxie Chicks did to GMC last week.

GMC, as good as he is, is not the Green Lantern. He doesn’t possess some type of superpower where he can avoid two if not three giant offensive linemen who are bound to lock him up. GMC needs help from others so he isn’t double- and triple-teamed.

At times, defensive end Adrian Clayborn can put heat on quarterbacks. But where is he? We’ve heard about how tackle Akeem Spence had pass rushing abilities he never flashed in college at Illinois. Where is he? Sadly, the same question can be lodged at good guy Da’Quan Bowers, too. Where is he?

Joe suspects part of the reason Clayborn and Spence can’t be found is that they are too busy virtually each play dancing around in some form of silly, exotic stunt and not making a beeline to the quarterback.

You know, simple physics: The shortest distance between two points is a straight line?

Just like Raheem Morris couldn’t get the best out of his defense, after each loss mounts, perhaps the same can be said about Greg Schiano and the defensive line constantly under performing.

33 Responses to “Pass Rush “Needs To Get Better””

  1. Paul Says:

    he should’ve been fired back when he cut Brooks and gave his spot to Geno Hayes.

  2. Biff Barker Says:


  3. Tampabaybuctfan Says:

    @ Paul

    I hope you’re talking about Dominick…because Brooks was cut in Feb 2009…pre Schiano

  4. Chef Paul Says:

    Just like the best DT we ever had, Warren Sapp says. The quarterback is over there. Why are you running over here?

  5. Jeremy Says:

    McCoy a bright spot? One of the better DT’s in the league? Dude has done nothing Joe.

  6. Patrick in VA Says:

    This team is unbelievably frustrating. You can look at every facet of our team and say “if what you’re doing doesn’t work then why do you keep doing it”. The stunts on the DL don’t work but we keep doing it. Banging martin against the wall of defenders didn’t work and now it can’t work because we got him hurt. Playing Revis in a zone doesn’t work but we keep doing all of it waiting for the NFL to bend to us and give us that perfect setting where our scheme will fit.

  7. BucsQcCity Says:

    Good to see that Joe finally acknowledge that these ridiculous stunts are preventing the dline to play hard.. I don’t want to hear anymore that Schian0-6 defense was the cause of the good defensive start..


    do you plan to write something about new db coach because we have spent over 100M$ and took our 2nd pick (and 1st last year) and I can’t see progress made by individuals. In fact I see a lot of regression coming from Barron and Banks is playing like a 6th round pick. I thought that Cooper was the issue..

  8. The Dom must go Says:

    No talent = no sacks! All falls on the rock star!

  9. Warrenfb12 Says:

    There are no “sprinkles.” These guys keep trying to justify their play. We have HIGH draft picks invested on that line and they stink. If it wasn’t for David and Foster the sack total would be disgusting.

  10. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    “but there comes a point in time where you’re 0-5, 0-6 – somebody’s got to do something. I take it upon myself, I’ve got to make something happen”
    – GMC

    Sapp, Brooks and Lynch all decided the same thing at one point and it resulted in ten years of one of the best NFL defenses in history.

    We have GMC. We have David. Goldson wasn’t drafted here…does her still count? Or will it take a draftee to complete the trio?

    Ironically, at the same time Sapp, Brooks ad Lynch made that decision, Barber was a young wannabee. Just like Banks.

  11. Bucsfanman Says:

    You need more than one stalwart on D-line. It’s not a complcated formula when going against a one-man line; double the stud and take your chances with the rest. Teo #50 looks like a LB, Clayborn isn’t getting any push, Spence is a rookie, and Bowers appears useless.
    I agree, stop with the stunts already. If you can’t win the one on one match-ups, you don’t belong.
    Lastly, fire your scouting department!

  12. Oil Derrick Brooks Says:

    So, you make no apologies for liking Dominick, yet you point out much he has failed at drafting DEs?

    And your reasoning is that he was better than his predecessors?

    Maybe let’s raise the bar a little?

    Sure, the stunts are stupid, but, it’s clearly more than that. Great players make great plays. Even with less the stellar coaching.

  13. Paul Says:


    It’s the guy he’s talking about in the first half of the article

  14. 911bucs Says:

    “but there comes a point in time where you’re 0-5, 0-6 – somebody’s got to do something.”


    I hate to say it but 0-7 is staring you in the face. What you going to do?

  15. Bucs Fan Since '76 Says:


    With all due respect, the Rock Star has failed to perform by any metric. I am sure he is good at something, just not being a GM. He has had plenty of time to build a team. Look at it. We are pulling guys off the street to play. Easy prediction: this is his last season as GM.

  16. Capt. Tim Says:

    It’s to issues that are really killing our D-Line,same two affect the entire team.

    First issue is my normal gripe- it’s the Scheme. Watch the D-line, and you’ll frequently see Clayborn and Bowers fall into coverage- ON PASSING DOWNS!
    Every team occasionally drops linemen in coverage. But nobody , other than our Beloved Bucs, drops both of their best pass rusher, on passing downs. They will then blitz Foster or Watson.

    And when they do Rush, everyone has pointed out the elaborate stunts we run
    Take to long to develop. Again. Bad scheme- coaches seem determined not to make any adjustments. Same problem last year-and like the offense- still doing the exact same thing that didn’t work a year ago.never seen any coaching staff so hardheaded. Or this bad!

    You don’t have to ask if that’s working. We do it so often, that O-linemen know it’s the LBers coming. Much easier to block the smaller LBers, unless they catch you by surprise. We don’t surprise anyone.

    The second problem- team wide, is depth. If your backups suck- then coaches try to limit their game time. Bad backups means our starters play more- and get worn out. All of us discussed how thin the D-line was in the preseason. Injuries have made it worse- and they don’t seem to want Means or Gholston on the field very often. That just makes it worse

  17. Oil Derrick Brooks Says:

    @Since ’76

    Yep. Colts did a total rebuild in one year. And it was a lot more than just lucking into the first pick.

    It looks like TB might need a rebuild on the rebuild.

  18. MichaelPittman's Hummer Says:

    I’m tired if hearing how great GMC is…

  19. Mr. Patrick Says:

    @ Joe
    You hit the nail n the head. It’s hard to sack or pressure the QB when you are dropping into pas coverage or running some silly game or stunt. You have to give your guy a chance to beat his guy

  20. passthebuc Says:

    I don’t agree with Capt Tim often but his current assessment is right on. Before you get creative with your D line, your standard approach needs to be spot on. Forget about all the stunts and turn the front four loose with only one mission. get to the QB. @ Joe’s. I give the rockstar an A+ for 2012’s 1st 3 picks. Other than that, overall cumulative, a D-. This years 2nd round pick, Banks, was a 4th rounder on my chart and unless he improves will amount to nothing more than a serviceable backup. I hope I am wrong as a good CB is desperately needed. On this coming years draft, forget about a QB as Glennon is very serviceable. Trade down and secure a future all pro left tackle, move Penn to RT and find a Center. Is Joseph loosing his ability or is it the fact he is flanked by mediocrity. I think with more talent surrounding DJ and another year from injury he may respond.

  21. crazy Says:

    The more worrisome thing about the front 4 is this may be the best they can do. Whether they stunt or not they’re getting pushed around as a unit. They’re just getting beat. It’s hard to see how there can be much improvement without wholesale changes.

  22. Joe Says:

    do you plan to write something about new db coach because we have spent over 100M$ and took our 2nd pick (and 1st last year) and I can’t see progress made by individuals.

    They are playing better than last year. The secondary is not why the Bucs are losing. Offensive line is.

  23. Joe Says:

    With all due respect, the Rock Star has failed to perform by any metric.

    Strongly disagree.

  24. Oil Derrick Brooks Says:


    I’d like an article detailing all his success and then counter it with his failures. He is at best a 50th percentile GM. For every success there is an equal failure.

  25. Que589 Says:

    There are NO speed edge rushers on this roster. I’ve been saying that for years but everyone either overlooks that or overrate the DE’s that are on the roster

  26. Bucs Fan Since '76 Says:


    I think @DBrooks has a great idea. Let’s see an article supporting your position that Rock Star has performed his job well. We can all agree ahead of time not to sling mud, just counter-analysis.

    In the meantime, I will clarify my criticism. Specifically, Rock Star has done a great job saving the Glazers cap money, while creating the false impression that he has spent large on free agency. From a pure football perspective, however, he has been terrible. I look forward to reading the other side of that coin.

  27. Capt. Tim Says:

    DEs must be pretty quick, they keep trying to turn them in to Cornerbacks.
    Rod Marinelli was our D-line for the glory days.
    On passing downs- he unleashed the hounds.they did a few twist, or in line stunts. Other than that- it was a simple mission- sack the QB.

    Bowers is really fast- and has really started to come on lately. But they run him in these huge loops! He essentially goes from left end, all the way around, to try and come in the pocket on Clayborns outside shoulder.
    How is he supposed to do that in 2.2 seconds?

    This was Bowers first training camp. Clayborn was hurt.

    It takes 2-3 years to become adapted to The NFL. Unless you are JJ Watts, and are only pass rushing.
    We should have some vets to help them. All we have is more rookies.
    That’s not the way to do it.

  28. zam Says:

    Glazers will keep Schiano, but can they please force him to ditch both coordinators? They are really terrible.

  29. Oil Derrick Brooks Says:

    NFL sack leaders – Third year players

    Justin Houston – 10
    Robert Quinn – 7
    Chandler Jones – 6.5
    Muhammed Wilkerson – 6.5
    Cameron Jordan – 5
    Ryan Kerrigan – 5
    Whitney Mercelius – 4.5 (2nd year)
    Dontari Pope – 4.5 (2nd year)

    Da’Quan Bowers – 0

    I guess those guys are all fast at development?


  30. ElioT Says:

    We got no sacks against Jeremy fuc*ing Trueblood!!!!!!!!!

    Somebody’s as* needs to be fired!!!

  31. Bucfan#37 Says:

    The offense is mediocre, the defense a little less mediocre. Watching them play, seems like watching an expansion team. No cohesiveness at all. I’ll be shocked if they win one game.

  32. Capt. Tim Says:

    Yes. 3 years is about the time that most players hit their stride
    Bowers and Clayborn both played in 16 games their first year 2011
    2011, as I’m sure we all remember- was the year of the lockout. No hall of fame game, no real training camp

    May 2012- Bowers tears Achilles. No training camp, misses first 6 games. Limited return for last 10
    Clayton is lost for season after game 3

    This was Bowers 1st training camp. He’s played in 24 out of 33 in his first two years
    Clayton has played in 19 of 32 in first two years

    Point is, both have a lot to learn.
    The issue is- why are these guys our ONLY guys?
    We got rookies backing up basically 1st year guys.
    Bennett, Crowder, I mean- we have had some experienced guys in recently. It’s like our other injured guys- they aren’t gradually reintroduced into the line up
    The are tossed in with no safety net.

    That’s just not smart. Clayborn and Bowers are both improving. But an Achilles takes a couple years. Same to fully recover from an ACL.
    But we don’t seem to play play anyone but Clayborn, Teo’neshiem, and Bowers.
    Rookies( Gholston/Means) aren’t seeing much playing time.

    Just seems to me, that they are putting a ton of pressure on recovering, inexperienced players.
    The fans are turning on both.
    To me. They aren’t the ones who put the line in a bad spot

  33. Capt. Tim Says:

    Weird thing about your list. According to Wilipedia, it showed none of them have missed a game. Pretty odd. Didn’t check the last two on the list.

    Playing time = faster development.
    Injuries= slower development.