Questionable Evidence

December 26th, 2014

lovie 1110bHow good — or bad — is the Bucs defense?

It’s a question that has induced many a screaming match at the world headquarters.

There is no arguing the Bucs defense is much improved since the bye week, despite a gaping hole at right defensive end and various injuries. But most teams have injuries.

The Bucs were carved up easily by Green Bay for a stunning 431 yards Sunday, yet at the same time Tampa Bay clamped down on the Packers numerous times and held them to 20 points.

That’s damn, damn good when your offense is miserable. However, Green Bay was only averaging 20 points in road games this season, and Aaron Rodgers was injured and battling a bad cold. The Bucs sort of did what most home teams have done against the Packers.

Backup quarterback Derek Anderson and the Panthers marched up and down the Bucs defense for two victories — opening day and again two weeks ago. The Bucs held the Panthers to just 20 and 19 points, respectively, in those games. But that’s no cause to celebrate. A closer look at the Panthers’ results reveals that eight other times this season they were held to 19 or less, and that was with their starting QB on the field.

The Greg Schiano offense was ranked 32nd in the NFL last year. This year, the offense is 31st. So defenses in both seasons dealt with the drain of an impotent offense. But Schiano’s defense last year ranked 17th overall and 21st in points allowed. Lovie Smith’s defense is ranked 26th in both categories.

Turnovers? The Bucs were among the NFL’s best forcing them last season. Not this year. Sacks? Schiano’s dancing linemen had just as many per game as Lovie’s team.

Again, the Bucs defense has improved and easily could be a force next year, if it fills a couple of holes and is complemented by at least a below-average offense.

Joe’s confident, but those are massive ifs.

17 Responses to “Questionable Evidence”

  1. port richey george Says:

    getting rid of mark barron improved the defense dramatically.

  2. DallasBuc Says:

    Keep dreaming

  3. AK Says:

    It’s tough to expect much from an offense with a dreadful oline, no running game, and the worst Mccown in the division.

  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We need a DE & MLB…..perhaps another CB & S….& we are good to go!!!

  5. theodore Says:

    Never mind positions, the defense needs swag.

  6. The Buc Realist Says:

    The schedule has been incredibly soft! Teams have called off the dog’s and sat on leads by the 3rd quarter in many games! I am sure most teams looked on the bugs as a bye-week. At the start of the season, it looked like the worst defense ever put on a football field. Now it just looks like a defense of a 2-14 team. Way to improve lovie!

  7. Joseph Mamma Says:

    I’ll tell you one thing, the splash plays from Lavonte David went down. Less interceptions and sacks from him.

  8. Walter White Says:

    I finally figured it out! Lovie was hired to get us the #1 pick the next 3 years, THEN we fire him and get our REAL coach. Ahhh smart.

  9. Tomcin Says:

    Please! No more Lovie Dovie.

  10. Buccfan37 Says:

    Christmas is over Lovie. No more praise and good will dished out to lousy coaches.

  11. Sam Says:

    We were getting turnovers aka takeaways left and right last season. It was insane the amount we had. That usually translates to wins but we had a rookie QB and its tough to win with a rookie QB. If Schiano had still be here we would be preparing for the playoffs this week. Such a shame. Someone please fire Lovie!

  12. Jimmer Says:

    JOE, great research and analysis!!! Loved the insight regarding how other teams performed against our opponents. Its a view not many see. Thanks!

  13. buccinfan Says:

    Thanks lovie for our win now roster. Seeming how we cant muster a win against the weakest division in the history. Good guy bad coach nothing personal but you shouldve never been hand the keys to this franchise and all the personel. We need to take that title away and tell him to just coach the players hes given next year. And let jason licht and the front office do their job. And you have two years to improve this 2 and 14 team

  14. tickrdr Says:

    tickrdr Says:
    December 23rd, 2014 at 12:47 am

    Everyone says that the defense has improved, which it certainly has compared with how horrible they were to start the year, BUT they STILL trail Schiano’s defense in EVERY single statistical category for the year. So, if you still want to laugh at the 2013 defense:
    Both defenses forced 15 fumbles and returned three INTS for TDs.
    389 points (21st in league) vs. 387 points (26th in league)
    24.3 ppg (21st) vs. 25.8 ppg (26th)
    Allowed 348 ypg (17th) vs. 371 ypg (26th)
    35 sacks (23rd) vs. 34 sacks (19th)
    21 INTs (3rd) vs. 11 INTs (21st)
    TO Ratio +10 vs. -10
    The same is true of the offense, especially if you compare Glennon’s performance vs. McCown’s.
    The Bucs are 2-13, winless at home, winless in the HISTORICALLY BAD NFC South, against the weakest schedule in the NFL, and yet you and others still think Lovie is doing a good job.


    Nice post, Joe! Agree completely


  15. Reedo Says:

    You have to consider the number of defensive series we played. They were on the field a lot. Some sort of points per defensive series analysis might reveal how well the defense really did or didn’t do.

  16. Pickgrin Says:

    Good info Joe. Thanks.

    The overall stats for the 2014 Bucs defense is not the thing to look at though.

    The learning curve that Brooks and Ronde told us to expect was absolutely real and on target. The 1st few games of the year – our Defense was visibly terrible. Like almost historically terrible. Not in synch at all. Players out of position and having to think way too much.

    After the Bye week you could really see a difference – and I’m sure the stats will show that.

    I would love to see a follow up article at the conclusion of the season that shows stats broken down into 2 categories to go along with the overall D stats for the year. 1st 6 games is one grouping and the last 10 games is the 2nd grouping.

    Buccaneers Defense since the Bye week has been top 15 easy and likely top 10 in a few categories – when compared to just those 10 games for all other teams.

    With a full off-season for the core players to study nuances by watching tape of themselves from all 16 games now that they mostly fully comprehend the scheme – and with help by Licht acquiring a talent upgrade at 1 position on each level (DE, MLB, FS and Nickle CB) – The Bucs D moving forward under Coach Smith’s guidance will likely be excellent IMO.

  17. Brandon Says:

    Where was Schiano’s defense ranked in his first season?