The Demise Of The No. 1 Run Defense

November 28th, 2013

Joe asked defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan to explain

The Bucs had the top run defense in the NFL last season. There are various ranking systems, and the Bucs were tops in most, if not all.

Average yards per carry? Yep, the Bucs were the stingiest in the NFL in 2012 at 3.5 yards per carry allowed. But this year? They’re in the middle of the pack at 4.1. The loss of Michael Bennett and Ronde Barber, who were monstrous against the run and with tackles for loss  (Bennett), are factors. But it’s more than just two guys.

Joe asked Bill Sheridan to account for the statistical change yesterday, and the defensive coordinator stayed with a stats-based answer versus one that identified personnel or Xs and Os. Big plays from the backfield are a killer, he said.

“If you do let out a couple of big runs, it really skews your stats,” Sheridan said. “So you can have a whole lot of, you know, two-yard runs and three-yard runs and one-yard runs and really be playing good quality run defense. But if you let out a 15-yarder and a 20-yarder it totally lopsides your stats. And I think that is what has happened to us. I think down in and down out, we’ve played very competitive run defense. But we’ve also let some out each week.”

Upon further review, the Bucs have allowed nine runs of 20+ yards this season; that’s their same total in all of 2013. That’s not good. And Sheridan’s not happy about.

“The whole object is to get teams in passing situations,” Sheridan said.

Joe’s not here to nitpick, but the Bucs’ run defense has fallen off so considerably it’s worthy noting and analyzing. Perhaps, the loss of Bennett is the different. Regardless, the Bucs need revive the lockdown run defense they had against Miami a few weeks ago.

They desperately need to make Carolina a one-dimensional offense.

19 Responses to “The Demise Of The No. 1 Run Defense”

  1. CanuckBuc Says:

    Point taken surely…but on the other side of the coin is the improvement of our pass defense. I would take a balanced 10-15 overall defense than a #1 run and last pass.

  2. Walter Says:

    The run defense was #1 last year because teams knew that passing the ball 50x was the way to beat us. I much prefer this years defense, although we still need to add another solid corner in FA or the draft this offseason.

  3. CanuckBuc Says:

    Good point Walter…was just about to do some research into rushing attempts against our D last year thru 11 games. Imagining it is much less than this year, but cant say for sure. Also I agree Cornerback depth lacks one other solid 3 or low 2.

  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    There is no question teams are running on us. I, too like the balance of our defense better……we have been burnt much less on long passes. It seems to me that our LBs and Safties do most of the tackling….that usually means some yardage has been given up.

  5. teacherman777 Says:

    Leonard Johnson is a solid #5 CB but a poor #3 CB.

    Banks is a great #3 CB but an average #2 CB.

    We need a true #2 CB.

    Brent Grimes will be available again.

    We need to sign him to a 3 yr. deal.

    Dashon has three more good years in him, as does Revis.

    We should sign a true #2 CB and draft another one. We need 6 CBs.

    Depth is everything.

    We also need ANOTHER DT and DE.

    I say, we draft defense. Every year.

  6. bucsd04 Says:

    Run defense last year was false. The other team was able to throw on us so early that it made no sense to run the ball. Now that we have a pass defense they are forced to run more.

  7. ander Says:

    its obvious last year our secondary sucked, but joe you are making it seem like our running defense is terrible this year when were above average, not great like last year but pretty solid.however, i am really happy the bucs secondary improved this year. i believe if the bucs draft clowney or get somebody like jared allen in the offseason their should be no reason why our defense could be top 5.

    go bucs

  8. Mr Lucky Says:

    I find it AMAZING how one Joe scoffs at statistics while the other Joe likes to throw them around like crazy.

    While the Bucs defensive secondary was like a screen door on a submarine teams didn’t HAVE to run the ball – hence the stingiest run defense and the WORST pass defense.

    In 2013 the secondary has greatly improved so teams are forced to run and the more you run, the increased likelihood of busting one for 15+ yards.

    Statistics, when used without context, are merely tools to be used to justify your position; and right articles too.

    Stats can be interesting and telling, but not all, and they surely don’t always tell a story. Are you so sure, Mr. Lucky, that teams are running more on the Bucs this season? Wouldn’t that be another stat you don’t like? –Joe

  9. Brandon Says:

    For all those that thought the only reason the Bucs were great against the run last season because they were so easily passed on, check your stats. The Bucs also led the league in allowing the least yards per opponent’s rush. This in itself is the single most important run statistic…which the Bucs were the league leaders in.

  10. TrueBlue Says:

    Throwing the ball does not effect yards per carry. It’s yards per carry that determines how well a run defense performs. Team threw against the Bucs last year because it was easier than running.

  11. BigMacAttack Says:

    I like our front seven and believe they are improving each week. The secondary has improved as well.

    Schiano has done a little better and the defense is impressive at times.

    If the Bucs beat Carolina, it may be time to give Coach some props.

  12. Brandon Says:

    Last year 23.6 carries per game by opponent. This year 24.8, that completely blows some of the theories being floated around. We’re giving up 19 more yards per game.

  13. patrickbucs Says:


    I completely disagree with you on Revis & Goldson. RB’s usually falter around 30 years old, corners and safeties do not. Revis will play easily into his mid 30’s with his skill set probably same with Goldson.

  14. []_[]Buc Says:

    I agree with the coach.

    Our Bucs have played great run defense with the long runs skewing the stats.

    There’s certainly been no “demise” as that is pretty dramatic.

    Sure we can eliminate more of those long runs but overall they have been stout.

    What comes to mind was the end of the Atlanta game when we had already taken most of our starters out. They broke off long runs after long run when we had already taken our starters out. And if I remember correctly a looooooong TD run. That all skews stats.

  15. []_[]Buc Says:

    Or rather the last whole quarter

  16. Jonny 2.3 Says:

    I am surprised no one has said this yet, but one of the causes is Akeem Spence who plays great as an anchor on one snap, gets blown off right after the ball is snapped the next time and overpursues runners in the one after that. He is a rookie and his technique is lacking. I’d say he is one of the major reasons for our run D inconsistency.

  17. BigPappaBucsFan Says:

    Our defense is stout all around and are looking better and better every game. BUUUUUT, with that being said Bowers has been a bit of a disappointment so drafting a true pass rushing end opposite Clayborn and we will be set, maybe one more DT to put in the rotation, I say a strong big body to blow up the hole like a Booger McFarland type to put opposite McCoy.

  18. Tomcin Says:

    I’m sorry but the Booger sucked.

  19. PRBucFan Says:

    Booger was good at what he was supposed to do and that was draw people off of Sapp.