“The Tight End Was Always A Problem”

September 8th, 2014
Greg Olsen made it look too easy against Tampa Bay yesterday. Why?

Greg Olsen made it look too easy against Tampa Bay yesterday. Why?

Ahh, an Achilles heal of Lovie Smith’s old school Tampa-2 defense, a smart tight end combined with a decent running game.

Former Bucs tight end Dave Moore has seen it before.

Linebackers bite on the run and leave space to exploit in the meat of the defense.

Yesterday, Panthers veteran tight end Greg Olsen and journeyman quarterback Derek Anderson torched the Bucs repeatedly.

Moore, a fantastic Xs and Os guy who works for the Buccaneers Radio Network, broke it down on the Ron and Ian show this morning.

“You know, throughout history, when Tony Dungy was here and Monte Kiffin, that the tight end was always a problem in the middle of the field,” Moore said. “When you play [against] that Tampa-2, [Carolina] was doing that little spread option. This is kind of the NFL version of the college spread option. Instead of pulling [the ball] and having the quarterback run, to do it in a run-pass option. So he sticks that ball out and as soon as the linebackers step up, now you have a big separation between the linebackers and the safeties. So you just get the tight end past the linebackers and he can pick it apart.

“They took advantage of that Tampa-2, because Mason Foster is the guy in the middle who’s responsible for stopping the run, but he also has to cover the middle of the field in passing situations. When Anderson sticks that ball out to DeAngelo Williams, the fact that they haven’t been able to stop the run all day, of course [Foster and linebackers] are going to jump it, which immediately puts Greg Olson at an advantage running down the middle of the field.

“And, you know, that’s something they’re going to see all year. Teams are going to copycat it because it worked against them. And that’s one of the tough things about the Tampa-2. They mixed in some 2-man, they did some things to try to change up the look a little bit so they weren’t predictable. But, you know, that’s part of taking advantage of that defense.”

That last part about the Bucs facing this struggle all year is what worries Joe most. And it’s also why the Tampa-2 starts up front. No pass rush or run stuffing from the defensive line, and the greenery will open up in the middle of the field like it did yesterday.

There was very little blitzing the Bucs against Carolina. Lovie held tight, it seemed, and counted on getting from his D-line. It didn’t happen.

37 Responses to ““The Tight End Was Always A Problem””

  1. DallasBuc Says:

    Joe- you have been vocal all offseason about how you are not worried about the defense. Starting to worry now?

  2. Phillip Says:

    He did say it would take time to gel.. Which means they won’t come out being all world.. One regular season game is not time to gel..

  3. al121976 Says:

    I noticed this in preseason, I was just hoping lovie would have changed it up a little in the reg season. Its pretty embarasing to say my team got beat by Derrick Anderson, I hope they figure out something quick. The Rams are down to their 3rd string QB, if we get beat by them, I am going to start having flashbacks of last season.

  4. Robbie_G Says:

    If Moore can see this, every one else can as well. take time to gel is one thing, not having the horses to make it work is a whole other issue.

  5. billy buckaroo Says:

    There are three types of defensive ends.
    1. Rush the passer.
    2 .Protect for the run
    3. Rush the passer and protect the run
    Johnson seems only #2 so far

  6. Hector Reyes Says:

    Get this tired ass retread of a coach out of here with the old ass out of date defense. The very fact the we didn’t draft a QB should be the lone reason to get rid of his ass!! Everybody is on some in Lovie we trust. I said it since day one that we got the wrong coach!!!!! We should have gone after Zimmer!!!!

  7. Goodolebucfan Says:

    I am not worried about the Defense more wooried about the sky falling DallasBuc

  8. Capt.Tim,Back from Davie Jones's locker Says:

    Which is why Barrett Ruud was a great fit for this defense, and Mason Foster will never be. Ruud played the coverage first- which is the most important aspect. Foster can’t get depth- and isn’t in position to begin with. On top of that- he always jumps the Run, creating a huge hole for Olsen.

    No matter who told them, many idiots here bitched that Ruud”wasn’t a run enforcer!!”. That was never his job. They would babble on about some imaginary view of previous Tampa MLBers. As usual Wrong again. If they played the Tampa Two- they were pass defenders first, run stoppers later.

    The key is The MLB has to drop back immediately upon the snap- 10-12 yards. That fills the hole in the coverage.
    If he is slow getting back, or bites on a play fake- forget about it.
    Ala yesterday- where Barron was helpless trying to cover Olsen(Anyone!), and Foster continually was late getting back.
    No hope for Barron, Foster is gonna have to become disciplined- and meybe faster
    We’ll see

  9. Buc Fan #237 Says:

    Mason Foster deserves more blame than Vincent Jackson.

    Just saying.

    That Buc secondary just watched people run right by them.

  10. Bobby Says:

    Seriously Capt……bringing up Barrett Ruud??? You might want to get in this decade now. Geeez. Yes. Ruud could cover the pass but they ran the ball down our throats. So it was the opposite problem. Sorry, I’ll take Foster over Ruud any day.

  11. BucsQcCity Says:

    It would help if the safety actually covered someone or grabbed the INT but I agree that foster struggled.

  12. TAC Says:

    Have the Dline concentrate on stopping the run then. Do at least one thing great with the Tampa 2, because the pass rush is not there for now.

    If Johnson doesn’t bring a competent pass rush game soon, the move Clayborn back to the right side.

    Oh, and tackling is fundamental.

    Same old problem, even the Sapp, Brooks, Lynch, and Barber days had run stopping problems at times. Dungy focused on tackling, and Brooks always said it’s a problem early in the year.

    Carolina sure didn’t have the problem with buc RB’s yesterday.

  13. DallasBuc Says:

    Goodolefanboy- if the sky were falling you wouldn’t know it with your head buried in the sand. I recommend pulling it out to watch the great Derek Anderson torch our defense. Pay special attention to highlights of #90…he was about as dominant as can be expected for a 3 sack a year RDE!

  14. Unislookgoodunislookugly Says:

    I thought our coaches were good teachers. I’m not seeing it. When Joe repeatedly said our D was going to be good I knew we were in trouble. We played nobody in preseason so not sure what Joe was hanging his hat on. We have more weakness’s than many thought. Both lines, no running attack, bad middle linebacker, bad corners.. And a kicker that Lovie can’t trust to attempt a 52 yarder. Why did we let decent not great O-line players go? Why did we let Barth go? Why did we sign Johnson let alone pay him way too much? I don’t think Lovie was in the basement long enough. Why would bring in a journeyman backup QB to be the starter based on only 5 games last year? Now we have an OC that probably can’t have any stress on him so we maybe looking for a new coordinator before the season is over. I’m so sick of having a bad football team.

  15. Brent Says:

    Just as I said in previous post. Disagree with joe on Barron. The lack of coverage on te was on foster. Maybe Barron had some issues too but it was clear to see foster was getting sucked in on run fakes and giving away short passes over the middle. Also, Jenkins play stuck out to me as poor. Hopefully it due to his lack of practice during preseason.

  16. Max Says:


  17. sam Says:

    hmmm maybe all those stunts and whacky things Schiano did were so crazy after all. maybe he knew our dline just sucked! Gonna be another long year

  18. sam Says:

    weren’t so cazy

  19. Theodore Says:

    We all know this, we’ve always known this. It’s not just TE. Any receiver in the slot going deep(er) middle has been a problem for Cover-2. The Tampa-2 tries to fix this with the ML dropping back but it only goes so far. TEs and WRs are getting faster and bigger.

  20. DallasBuc Says:

    Joe- I have complained all offseason that Lovie/Lapdog strategically removed all existing vet competition for all of their major FAs. Yet Lovie continues to tell people with recording devices that he wants “competition at every position” which is clearly a lie. See QB, LT, C, RDE, CB.
    Are you going to ask Lovie or Lapdog about this clear discrepancy between words and action because I think we are paying for it now?

  21. andres Says:

    It was a dumb game plan, they fake blitz the LBs and Carolina ate up the 5 yards every time. It’s not the LBs fault. It’s like giving Usain Bolt a head start. It was a bad game plan defensively.

  22. PanthersSuck! Says:

    And the stinking panthers offensive coordinator probably knows a thing or two about playing against the Tampa 2…

  23. pick6 Says:

    DB55 warned everybody in Tampa Bay it wouldn’t be an instant success on defense, but a very promising preseason from our first team defense had us dreaming of instant dominance. i think we are seeing now that there are far more adjustments to be made in the regular season and we didn’t see teams attempting alot of cover 2 beater stuff beyond the vanilla “settle into the hole” routes.

  24. Joe Says:


    QB, LT, C, RDE, CB.

    You expect Lovie (or any NFL coach) to bench guys before the first game who he paid millions of dollars for? Really?

    He may as well just give up the job then. Imagine trying to explain to the owners who cut the checks why those guys shouldn’t play.

    If you want to argue Lovie’s talent evaluation, that is absolutely up for debate. If you really expected those guys not to start yesterday, you’ve been hitting the bottle too early today.

  25. RastaMon Says:

    Bwahahaahaha…going into the game the Dunkaneers…were going to exploit the very same THING !…Rivera must have been reading te lcal media…Bwahaahahaha….Folks…the G’Boyz need to get to work ASAP/STAT…putting in place the replacement front office…….Lovie is a sentimental poor mans Tony Dungy…falling in faux love @ a high reunion with an old flame….to put in another way….Apple vs Dollar Store front office

  26. buc4lyfe Says:

    So basically we’re gonna get killed all year until we discover a pass rush and if you’re Michael Johnson and you got a big payday it means your supposed to already know how to do that…. Never pay attention to preseason, the defensive line play was fools gold

  27. DallasBuc Says:

    “You expect Lovie (or any NFL coach) to bench guys before the first game who he paid millions of dollars for? Really?”
    Joe- I expect competition at every position, including those held by our lousy overpriced FAs since that is what Lovie preaches. I also expect the media to hold the new regime to account for the discrepency. Isn’t that reasonable?

  28. Kramden Says:

    The only two Mikes to really do it well in Bucs’ Tampa-2 are both in the building, so I am sure that Hardy and Shelton are doing all they can to teach the Mike technique and its importance – it will just take a while. Even so, without pressure up front from the four DL, not even Hardy or Shelton or Urlacher for that matter could cover an athletic TE down the middle against a power running team.

  29. Tom Edrington Says:

    Geeeez, after reading the plethora of comments, all I can say is:

    Things are never as good as they seem or as bad as they appear to be…….

    Life in general; Life in the NFL

  30. RastaMon Says:

    both Hardy and Shelton….could ! and did….WE DO NOT HAVE HE TALENT !

  31. 1bucfan88 Says:

    Exactly what I was thinking while I was watching. Kiffin’s D was always pretty stout, but your best bet was always running the ball right at the undersized D line to get those LBs thinking run to create some open passing lanes over the middle/up the seam. Credit to Mike Shula (good god it hurts me to type that) and Ron Rivera for having a solid plan of attack.

  32. Aubpierce Says:

    Win or lose I want to see fire in the gut,energy, what ever you want to call it .The Panthers had it,the Bucs didn’t.

  33. Kramden Says:

    Well, Shula has been playing with Xs and Os in the league for a loooooong time, so with all offseason to prepare, he better have had a good plan for the Bucs. Pass rush is the key and it must come from the ends. So far, all I see is weakness and no “moves” to get to the QB. Carolina’s OTs aren’t Pro Bowlers!

  34. BFFL Says:

    The Bucs lost bc of Josh’s picks. The Bucs win that game if Glennon was the QB.

  35. Buccfan37 Says:

    The Bucs would of lost against the better college teams with that effort. Lovie as head coach, blah. I don’t see a playoff driving coach here, just more mediocrity and more years of rebuilding. I don’t agree with winning the toss and deferring to second half either. What, you think you got Seattle’s defense or San Fran or Carolina’s? Take the ball first when you win the coin flip.

  36. Brandon Says:

    Joe, why all the criticism for those that truly deserve it but none for Mason “Pineapple Allergy” Foster. EVERY FREAKING PLAY HE WAS SUCKED IN BY PLAY ACTION…. the dude flat out sucks against the pass, plain and effing simple.

  37. sho nuff Says:

    seriously how many back ups and walk ons do the bucs need to get their clock cleaned by before you realize that the tampa 2 is DEAD….we had smart players when it worked…no so much now…