Keeping It Simple

August 1st, 2014
Bucs coach Lovie Smith has as stocked squad.

Can Lovie Smith simply release the hounds?

When an established defensive coach has a loaded roster on defense, you would suspect good things to happen. Then when that same coach stocks up the offense as if he’s at a Publix and a hurricane is hours away, well, it is easy to see how Bucs fans have their hopes up.

(A good gauge on how excited Bucs fans will be is how they fill up the Stadium on Dale Mabry Highway tonight for the night practice, which begins at 7:30 p.m.)

The Bucs are so loaded, says Andy Benoit of theMMQB, that Lovie doesn’t need a complex offense or defense. Just release the hounds.

In his first year as Bucs coach, Lovie Smith is implementing what, frankly, seems to be an outdated model. He’ll do battle with a caretaking quarterback and vanilla, zone-based defense. We haven’t seen this formula truly prosper since 2006, when Smith took Rex Grossman and the Cover 2 Bears to Super Bowl XLI.

But while this approach might seem shaky on the surface, many feel it’s a step forward from the even more outdated one put forth by previous coach Greg Schiano, who believed strongly in running the ball and, according to some, treating professional athletes like high schoolers. Smith’s laid-back demeanor is almost the antithesis of Schiano’s. With five winning seasons to his name, Smith has the NFL pedigree his predecessor did not.

Smith also has immense talent on his roster—in fact, enough talent that a simplistic scheme presents the best chance at winning. A coach’s rule of thumb: the more talent you have, the simpler your approach can be. It leaves players with ample time to hone and perfect the basics that they impose on opponents come Sunday.

This is a simplistic approach, of course. Do the Bucs have talent? Absolutely. But as Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks have suggested, the new defense isn’t going to be mastered overnight.

Then, of course, there is the offense. Studs all around but can Josh McCown recapture his five-game magic from last season? And then there’s that offensive line that has question marks up and down.

Sure, the Bucs have talent. That doesn’t always translate to a playoff berth.

7 Responses to “Keeping It Simple”

  1. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    The oline is absent of studs. That will affect the offense a lot. McCown will make or break the team with quick short passes. Which he is good at.

    I think, Joe, that keeping the defense imple will allow it to be masteredd sooner. It’s not like they have not been playing cover 2 at all.

  2. Brian Says:

    I respect what Sapp and Brooks have to say…but the level of talent on this team and on defense is at another level. Sapp, Brooks, Lynch, Abraham…these guys weren’t great players yet when Dungy and Kiffin got here. McCoy and David are already the best players at their positions in the entire league! Verner has made the Pro Bowl…Michael Johnson has finished with double digit sacks…Goldson has at least shown that he can be a pro bowl caliber player with an imposing pass rush in front of him (which he might actually have again)…the only spot you can really say that is worse off then when the Tampa 2 was originally installed here, is middle linebacker…if Mason can take a leap forward…look out. Yes they will take time to gel, but this defense has the talent level of the Super Bowl defense already!…they players just have to get it to come together.

  3. biff barker Says:

    On D it’s about being stout in the gut with the Cover 2 where we will force everything back to the inside.

    This D model is vulnerable to passes over the middle in the seam and power running inside between the tackles.

    Outdated, yes antiquated, no. Frasier and Lovie will need some new wrinkles.

  4. biff barker Says:

    Brian, I’m leery of adding up the sum of the parts. (Consider what happened to our star studded OL last year. It never clicked.) We need to play as a unit and address the inherent deficiencies of the T2.

    I do think we have the correct players for what we are trying to do though, guys who can play lean and fast.

  5. Bucnjim Says:

    Rodgers & Brees are accurate enough to pick apart this defense, but the rest of the QB’s we play with maybe the exception of Flacco will get frustrated. We seem to give Matt Ryan a hard time for whatever reason. Newton, Bradford, RGIII, whoever is starting for the Brown’s, even Roethlisberger and Dalton might find it tough to score on this style D. By taking away the outside and deep ball it forces teams to work their way down field. The key to exploiting the cover 2 has always been patients, accuracy, and a good running game. I think we’ll surprise some teams (even good teams) this year.

  6. Touch_Down_Tampa_Bay Says:

    “I do think we have the correct players for what we are trying to do though, guys who can play lean and fast.” says, Biff.

    That is exactly why I think Brian is right on track, too! We can look at the past all we want and find doubt all the time. This time, I feel something special – coaches, players & scheme. It just feels right. IMO. We shall see how it turns out. I’m sure Philadelphia fans had doubt last year too.

    Go Bucs!

  7. bigpoppabuc Says:

    I’m expecting a big year from Jonathan Banks. I think he’s perfect for this system and his skill set and size should help him haul in plenty of ints.