Get Some Sacks!

July 2nd, 2014
You can bet Bucs coach Lovie Smith won't have his defensive ends covering scatbacks in pass coverage this season.

You can bet Bucs coach Lovie Smith won’t have his defensive ends covering scatbacks in pass coverage

If there will be a lasting image of the 2013 Bucs defensive line, it won’t be poor Gerald McCoy getting double- and triple-teamed regularly.

It won’t be linemen running around in bizarre stunts play after play as if they were auditioning to be dancers in a Beyonce show.

No, the image will be of Adrian Clayborn.

No, not Clayborn making a quarterback eat dirt. No, not Clayborn disrupting plays in the backfield. Nope. The play in question was when some Bill Parcells-wannabe on the Bucs coaching staff decided to have Clayborn cover one of the fastest players in the NFL, Darren Sproles, in pass coverage.

It was one of the most absurd things Joe has seen on the NFL level. Someone, presumably with a sober mind, actually lost sleep hatching this scheme, thinking it was a savvy call to have Clayborn cover Sproles in pass coverage. Can you imagine?

Well, this year, to the shock of no one, Bucs coach Lovie Smith won’t be playing games with his defensive linemen. Multimedia maven Scott Smith, of, explains how the paltry number of sacks the Bucs had last year must improve.

Of course, it’s an even greater concern now, because the defense Smith and Leslie Frazier are installing will place a premium on getting to the passer with a four-man rush as opposed to sending extra blitzers. The Bucs want four strong pass-rushers on the field for as many snaps as possible, and that’s why they’re very first signings in the nascent hours of free agency were defensive end Michael Johnson and defensive tackle Clinton McDonald.

It’s not news, of course, that a strong pass rush is important. With the ever-increasing efficiency of passing attacks in the NFL – with rules that generally favor the offense – the best way to keep a quarterback like Drew Brees or Tom Brady from overwhelming you is to disrupt the pass before he can get it off. Of the 12 teams that made the playoffs last year, seven ranked in the top 10 in sacks per pass play on defense, and another ranked 14th. The only team to make it into the postseason with an anemic pass rush was Philadelphia, which ranked 31st.

The Buccaneers ranked 22nd, which is probably higher than some would have guessed. That’s the good news, really – defensive tackle Gerald McCoy had 9.5 sacks and looks like he could be a rare inside rusher that gives you double digits. When the Bucs do choose to blitz, they have linebacker Lavonte David, who had six sacks last year. And Adrian Clayborn, who is moving over to left end to accommodate Johnson and who has shown at least seven-sack potential, and the cupboard wasn’t bare to start with.

Joe likes the way Lovie is already pushing buttons with his defensive linemen. He did not pick up Adrian Clayborn’s fifth-year option, basically telling the Show Me State native to show him he can earn his keep. Lovie already had his defensive line coach Joe Cullen publicly call out Da’Quan Bowers — in June no less! — even after Bowers had knee surgery.

Just by the messages Lovie (and his assistants) are pumping out before the NFL went into its summer siesta, it’s pretty clear this coming season will be a far cry from what Bucs fans were treated to last year from the pass rush.

19 Responses to “Get Some Sacks!”

  1. Buccfan37 Says:

    I like it, show me show us the sacks. I expect to be shown a bunch of them this year. Lovie is a sack magnet.

  2. Joseph Mamma Says:

    The linebacker’s are going to get less sacks I’m guessing this year. Lavonte had what 7 or 8 last year. More than Brooks ever had, and I’m guessing Lovie/Leslie won’t be sending the LB’s at the QB as much as Schiano did.

  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Team effort…..40 sacks….

  4. Touch_Down_Tampa_Bay Says:

    Thank God the NIGHTMARE is OVER! Last year felt like all the horror movies and Zombie movies they show now a days and is not even Halloween. Is plain weird. The Schiano era specially last year was that way for me. For 12 weeks at of the season the following question just came out of my mouth after the games specially the 12 loses:


    Now the Tampa 2 Lovie’s style is about to have its debut in less than 2 months. Is like walking up and realizing THE NIGHTMARE IS OVER. It feels like we are about to get reimburse emotionally for the past. Thank you Glazers! I was about to become a Zombie watching Schiano’s GORE.

  5. biff barker Says:

    Some in Chicago believe the nightmare ended when Lovie left.
    Dungyball had it’s detractors too.

  6. tampamac Says:


    I think in both of those cases that was more so due to anemic offenses. Both Dungy and Lovie’s defenses are typically top notch. Tedford is the wildcard to our season.

  7. Bucsfanman Says:

    @Biff- valid points! However, those were some nasty defenses!
    That play, with Clayborn covering Sproles, epitomized the lousy game planning we had. Even though the defense did improve under Schiano, it was plays like that one that made you spit your beer. There was way too much reliance on blitzes and stunts. That we were 22nd is shocking!
    I look forward to the Bucs D becoming that beast it used to be. Screw 40 sacks, let’s go for the record set by Chicago in ’84…72 sacks! Picture that!!!
    Anybody ready for the season to start?!

  8. SAMCRO Says:

    22nd was not the worst but we want to be #1. Allowing Clayborn to rush from his natural side should help him but as far as Bowers goes, he may be the odd man out anyway, unless he can change hearts and minds. Dominik not here to save him anymore.

  9. The_Buc_Realist Says:

    As far as sacks go, The front 7 had the best year in 5 years. Scott Smith says the cover wasn’t bare, but the Bucs are more than likely to have 3 out 4 new starters on the D-line. hmmmm

  10. Architek Says:

    42 sacks is what I am asking for!

  11. Celly Says:

    The_Buc_Realist Says:
    July 2nd, 2014 at 8:54 am

    As far as sacks go, The front 7 had the best year in 5 years. Scott Smith says the cover wasn’t bare, but the Bucs are more than likely to have 3 out 4 new starters on the D-line. hmmmm

    Where are you getting 3 out of 4 from?

    And the “cupboard isn’t bare” statement that I’m sure he was talking about was the level of talent that is on the defense… not necessarily the “starters.”

  12. Touch_Down_Tampa_Bay Says:

    @biff baker – to give you a different perspective on how bad of a nightmare Schiano was for me, I can watch a 0-16 under Lovie and feel I had a bad dream compare to a NIGHTMARE that gives you cold sweat. Trust me for me 0-16 will feel better. Is not about the record is about the experience. Schiano created a lot of alcoholics and broken TVs. Lovie will allow you to enjoy your beer even if we loose you will see effort from the coaching staff and players.

  13. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    “Bill Parcells-wannabe on the Bucs coaching staff decided to have Clayborn cover one of the fastest players in the NFL, Darren Sproles, in pass coverage.” – Joe

    Now, I’m not altogether certain, but I could have sworn we had a defensive coordinator at the time.

  14. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:


    I’m sorry but that is the dumbest thing I ever heard.

  15. Deacon Blues Says:

    Not sure what the big deal is… Every team runs a version of a Zone Blitz out of the 4-3 dropping a Def End and blitzing a CB, safety or LB. Just as every team stunts. Its always the when or where that matters. If we fooled the Saints an AD got a pick it was a brilliant call. But because it didn’t work its a bad call. Im sure you are hoping we run cover 2 99% of the time also this coming year? Really? You know the “Tampa 2” is about disguising and mixing coverage out of a base 4-3 to “fool” the Offense. Are you saying we will never run a zone blitz out of it?

  16. Bucsfanman Says:

    Thank you Bonzai, I agree. For all the vitriol, Schiano DID improve the defense and compared to Raheem’s team I would say they pale in comparison. Raheem’s team gave zero effort.
    Nobody liked Schiano, I get that, but let’s give him some credit.
    Offense? Well, not so much!

  17. knucknbuc Says:

    Raheems team went 10-6 what did schi schi ever do again? Who has the better overall coaching record again? Ook that’s what I thought. Schiano top 5 worst coaching hire in the history of the nfl.

  18. stevek Says:

    Hate him or love the man, Schiano knows talent.

    I am thankful that he stocked some talent on this team with the two NFL drafts Schiano was a part of, and most of all I am thankful that Freemadonna was shown the door.

  19. Bucsfanman Says:

    @Knucknbuc- I suppose they were 10-6 because of Raheem’s brilliance!? I get you don’t like the guy and to a degree I don’t think he was the right fit for the Bucs but you cannot deny the improvement of the defense in his whole TWO years. As opposed to Raheem’s team who was what? Dead last on defense.
    Incidentally, why am I justifying my statement to such an intelligent post?! I feel like I’ve been teleported back to junior high. I guess you told me! OOOOOOOOOOOOOH!
    Let’s have an intelligent conversation, OK?