12th Best Defensive Nucleus?

December 27th, 2013

Greg Schiano said recently that the Bucs defense is two players away from being “dominant.” He didn’t offer more detail, but it’s safe to assume he wasn’t referring, in part, to the newly-predicted 2014 revival of Da’Quan Bowers.

Chris Wesserling of NFL.com dove into a study of NFL defenses and claims the Bucs have the NFL’s 12-best defensive nucleus.

Joe surely would have squeaked the Bucs into the top 10 ahead of Detroit at No. 10 and Buffalo at No. 11.

10. Detroit Lions

The front seven boasts Pro Bowl-caliber talents in Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley and DeAndre Levy. That trio is bolstered by Stephen Tulloch as a solid starter and Ziggy Ansah as an intriguing developmental project. As has always been the case under Jim Schwartz and Gunther Cunningham, this defense’s Achilles’ heel remains coverage at the back end. An infusion of talent is needed at cornerback.

The Bucs are one of the few teams with true young superstars at all three levels of defense — Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David and Darrelle Revis. Those three have legitimate Hall of Fame potential.

There’s also Mason Foster, who’s at worst very solid, and Dashon Goldson, who should be able to return to his All-Pro form next season if he can figure out how to tackle in Roger Goodell’s new NFL. Mark Barron? He’ll have a lot to prove in 2014. He’s got to stay healthy and improve in order to live up to his lofty draft status. But he’s definitely a positive in the team’s “defensive nucleus.”

The Bucs are pretty darn loaded on defense, minus the critical edge pass rusher.

If Team Glazer is recruiting potential new head coaches, then they surely are touting the array of young talent on defense. There’s not a coach out there that would scoff at it.

21 Responses to “12th Best Defensive Nucleus?”

  1. Mr. Patrick Says:

    Now examine the ‘core’ of the offense (laughs uncontrollably)

  2. The_Buc_Realist Says:

    We are 1 DE and 1 GM away from being a team that has the potential to be dominate.

  3. dee Says:

    patrick lol

  4. Harry Says:

    As you said Joe, the edge rusher is exactly that: “CRITICAL”

    Without one, the D cannot get the job done. If we can get that ever elusive edge rusher, we are top 5 D exactly bc we have H of F potential at all 3 levels.

    Besides a franchise QB, this is by far the Bucs most important position to fill. I would give away everyone of our draft picks for both 2014 and 2015 to fill these two spots with All Pros. All of our other “needs” can be filled thru FA

  5. Clowney Says:

    Two players, Clowney and Kuechly. They whiffed on Kuechly and screwed the pooch on Clowney.

    Now they will have to face them each twice a year with the old 3 yards and a cloud of dust Rutger’s offense.

    That’s just who they are. The offense takes on the personality of the head coach, you know, that grinning idiot with the bad hair cut and the Napoleonic Complex.

    How butch is that?

  6. Macabee Says:

    The answer is DE Scott Solomon, Rice/Titans/Jets signed yesterday to replace Bowers. (sarcasm)

  7. PRBucFan Says:

    Lame I was hoping to read a breakdown of Bucs D


  8. Eastsidebuc Says:

    I think that’s a good rank for the defense. Let us not forget we have seen good defense I mean GREAT defense in this area before, and 3 or 4 guys out of 11 with NO bench. Whoever did the ranking was spot on. Oh and “rockstar” needs to go… Peace

  9. Ian_620WDAE Says:

    I dont get the folks screaming for Kuechly, if we drafted him at #7 we wouldnt have had the extra 4th round pick to move up and nab Doug Martin and Lavonte David.

    Kuechly is special but so is David and I’d trade him for Barron, David and Martin everyday of the week and twice on Sunday.

    Say what you want but the 2012 draft has the potential to be on par with the 95 draft

  10. PRBucFan Says:

    David is the better backer hands down

    Apparantly to some lots of tackles makes you the best back in the league lol.

    Please Luke can’t do it all like David can.

    Any time i have seen him get a pick he’s not even moving he’s just sitting in one spot and the ball gets thrown directly to him. David always go to the ball.

  11. PRBucFan Says:


  12. thegregwitul Says:

    What you seemingly fail to understand, Clowney, is that the Bucs didn’t whiff on Kuechly. Is he the better player when compared to Mark Barron? Yes, he is. But how about when compared to Lavonte David, a player the Bucs would not have drafted had they selected Kuechly, in part because they would have still needed to fill the hole at the safety spot. At worst, both Kuechly and David are equals, but I’m happy the Bucs have David.

    And I won’t even get into Clowney himself, who hasn’t played yet at the professional level, but your logic is baffling. How could the Bucs have ‘screwed the pooch’ on Clowney? That means they didn’t lose even more games, but you’ve been very critical of Schiano in part because they lost several games to begin with. I mean, if Schiano was winning ten games a season and you were still being critical, you would be an idiot, but I how can you criticize Schiano in one breath while also knocking him for not losing even more. Now that’s Clowney.

  13. Becks Says:

    Agreed 100% with PR and IAN

  14. Destinjohnny Says:

    Some truth there but it’s a football man at the helm as a gm and the rest will happen organically

  15. Dave Says:

    I think they are 2 good pass rushers away or possibly an pass rusher and another CB.

    Again it will come down to QB

  16. BucfanBF Says:

    I agree Harry, Defensively!!!

    Offense is a whole other story!
    Besides RB where we are loaded, a potentially good TE who runs good routes but is a bad blocker and an aging WR we aren’t very good….

  17. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    I think the defense is one DE and a 3rd SB away from dominating.

    I think Banks is coming along very well all things considered.

    Bowers is pretty much a bust in my book. He was invisible for all but one play this year.

    As to the offense, it needs more work. We need a replacement at both tack positions, and if Nicks does not get healthy we’ll need a replacement there as well.

    And if Dashon doesn’t stop with the penalties, he should be cut. I think, for cap reasons, he will be.

  18. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Jackson is still very good. Mike Williams is very good. We need a good, solid 3rd WR.


    Underwood is good depth, but not much more.

    Even though Eric Page has not returned a kick for six, I think he’s solid. In the off season he’ll process his rookie season and I expect he’ll like up the return game next year.

    Wright, at TE, has shown promise, but he’ll have to prove he can be consistent next year. We really do not need a blocking TE, not if we get a good blocking FB.

  19. bUcncRazy Says:

    Sighs…. What We Need Next Year….. This Has Become Sad……. This piece & That Piece

  20. Ed Says:

    12 rank defense and only won 4 games.

  21. Lou. Says:

    I don’t get why Buc fans share such an exaggerated opinion on out team’s talent. This article is about the nucleus, not about the defense as a whole, so it talks up some individual talents. But the unit as a whole — and especially the depth of that unit — is about mediocre right now.

    For instance, up front we brandish the Fearsome Onesome. McCoy is the real deal; the others, not so much. Spence has been serviceable, but is he the 12th best 5-technique in the league??? As for our D-ends, while Gholson has been a nice project so far. We need at least two more studs on the line. (Think: St. Louis Rams. Just last week we saw a defense with a complete D-line).

    As to backers, David is of course the real deal. But does anyone else feel Foster is playing out of position? He is much improved from two years ago, but is he a top-10 talent in the League today? And Sam is a weakness, where Watson didn’t seize his chance and and Casillas out with the knee injury.

    I don’t share the optimism about our secondary. Revis is wonderful. Barron seems to be growing into the strong safety position. But is Goldson really cut out for free safety? Banks has played well for a rookie, but that is grading on the curve — is he really the 12th (or 24th) best corner? And the nickle back is like a starting position — does everyone else feel great confidence in Johnson?

    We have a nucleus of good defensive players. But the Bucs are not top-tier as a unit. Until there is more pass rush — from the line, not the blitz — the Bucs will be at best average. Until the team grows some depth, the unit will be one injury away from a nosedive.

    My thoughts — where am I wrong?