The Unthinkable Statistic

December 17th, 2014

lovie smith 0104Regular readers know Joe intermittently polls the studio audience here. One poll really stood out back at the start of training camp.

Joe asked fans, “Do you think the Bucs will have a top-10-ranked defense in 2014?”

The results were as follows:

Yes – 81.6%
No – 13.38 %
Stats are for losers – 5.01%

Bucs fans saw Lovie Smith’s pedigree, they saw new faces in Leslie Frazier, Michael Johnson, Alterraun Verner and Clinton McDonald, and they thought improvement was in order.

Well, in what has to be the No. 1 stunner of 2014, the Bucs defense is 25th-ranked in the NFL. Good luck finding categories in which they’re better than average. Up next, Aaron Rodgers and the high-flying Packers, followed by the Saints to close the season.

Last year, Greg Schiano’s defensive-line-stunting lunatics found a way to have the 17th-ranked defense, one that forced turnovers left and right, but the NFL’s worst offense rarely converted. The Bucs even played a tougher schedule last season.

How a Lovie Smith defense could fare so poorly this year, and regress the past two Sundays, is stunning.

Yes, the Bucs’ offense is in shambles, totally understandable after losing Jeff Tedford and having the fifth- and sixth-best quarterbacks in the NFC South. But the defense is the real shock.

35 Responses to “The Unthinkable Statistic”

  1. Tmaxcon Says:

    Lovie Knows D

    lovie knows talent

  2. Robert 9 Says:

    Meh, the real shock is those that think this team is on the verge, getting better or in any way headed in the right direction.

    I’m optimistic some continuity (keeping Lovie) will bring some measure of success, but not to the point of the team being competitive weak in and weak out. Hopefully this is rock bottom and we don’t go 0-16, I mean it can’t really get any worse can it?

  3. The Buc Realist Says:

    As they are ranked 25th at the moment. That does not take into account of the soft schedule and incredible luck of facing backup QB this year!!!!!

    and some teams took the day off by the third quarter!!!

    they may be 25th, but they are worse than that this year!!!

  4. Brandon Says:

    I think a large part of it is that this season’s offense is not nearly as committed to the running game (more passes lead to more clock stoppages) and the team has turned the ball over in their own end countless times.

    So, here’s a quick question. This is Lovie’s first season with the Bucs and obviously it takes time to implement one’s system. Where did the Bucs defense rank after Schiano’s first season?

  5. Keith Says:

    In Schiano’s year 1, at least you could see a defined defense, No. 1 against the run and last against the pass. Then they went out to upgrade the secondary and it improved. If Schiano-Dominik didn’t toss Michael Bennett, they’d probably still be here.

  6. Fort Myers Dave Says:

    Robert 9, I thought they hit rock bottom in Rah’s last season and then again after Schiano’s 4-12 run last year. With the baby Glazers running things and apparently trusting L&L I am not sure what rock bottom is anymore but yeah this is pretty low, worst record since 1986 for a Yuk squad…….

  7. Jeagan1999 Says:

    Let’s just lose these last 2 games and get this season over! Then Bucs fans (who have had little to cheer for in the last few years) can have a little fun talking about other stuff…like the draft! Winston or Marriotta? Trade down or stay put? OT or DE? Odds that Michael Johnson, Anthony Collins, Josh McCown, Dashon Goldson, etc.. are looking for a job next season? Who our new OC will be? Does Lovie get put on a very short leash by the Glazers next year?

  8. Waterboy Says:

    @Keith that number 1 against the run and last against the pass was a very misleading stat that year. I remember teams attempting to run a few times early in games and then just totally abandoning the run because they were able to easily have their way with the defense through the air.

  9. MadMax Says:

    att: @Brandon, @John

  10. MadMax Says:

    @FMDave, you said it! Nothing else I can add….

  11. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Lovie Smith Has Coached 5 * Top 10 Defenses

    2001 (43) NFL St. Louis Rams Defensive Coordinator
    • Total Yards –Ranked (3rd)
    • Points Allowed –Ranked (7th)
    • Takeaways –Ranked (9th)

    2005 (47) NFL Chicago Bears Head Coach
    • Total Yards –Ranked (2nd)
    • Points Allowed –Ranked (1st)
    • Takeaways –Ranked (6th)

    2006 (48) NFL Chicago Bears Head Coach
    • Total Yards –Ranked (5th)
    • Points Allowed –Ranked (3rd)
    • Takeaways –Ranked (1st)

    2010 (52) NFL Chicago Bears Head Coach
    • Total Yards –Ranked (9th)
    • Points Allowed –Ranked (4th)
    • Takeaways –Ranked (3rd)

    2012 (54) NFL Chicago Bears Head Coach
    • Total Yards –Ranked (5th)
    • Points Allowed –Ranked (3rd)
    • Takeaways –Ranked (1st)

    Average Age of Key Contributors on those Defenses (Tkls/ Sks /FF/Ints/) 28.9*←

    * Lovie Smith’s success on defense is based on production from veterans.
    * A Highly disproportionate number of those veterans were NOT drafted by Lovie!!!

  12. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    It took them 3/4 of the season to simply get off the field on 3rd down. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a team struggle so much in 3rd and long. One game surrendering 3 first downs on 3 and 20. I attribute this to a horrid pass rush.

    Lovie’s schemes absolutely depend on a DL that can generate a pass rush. We have a putrid pass rush.

    Of course Lovie may go Leonard Williams USC DE/DT who is projected as the #1 pick in more than one mock draft. I know you Jameis/Marcus lovers don’t wish to read that but it is an option. Not one that I prefer but what do I know. I want a QB and a stud OL. We can add the rush next year. Let’s see some exciting offensive football first. Like that’s ever going to happen with any coach from the Father Dungy offense challenged coaching tree.

  13. Architek Says:

    Lovie is not a builder – I can’t say it loud enough

  14. Zam Says:

    w/o Brian Urlacher he’s nothin’. Give me a HoF MLB and you can talk about me being a defensive wizard too.

  15. bucs4lyfe Says:

    Sir, you don’t get to insult Joe, in addition to making up stuff. Sorry. Play somewhere else.–Joe

  16. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    *4 out 5 – Key Defensive Coordinators

    (2004)- Defensive Coordinator –Ron Rivera
    (2005)- Defensive Coordinator –Ron Rivera

    (2010)- Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator-Rod Marinelli
    (2012)- Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator-Rod Marinelli

  17. bucrightoff Says:

    The sooner we fire Lovie the better we’ll be. Even at his absolute best as a coach he’s taking us nowhere of significance, and oh yeah he needs the greatest returner ever just to be a mediocre coach. Walk away now, swallow your pride and admit a mistake, get an offensive coach in here so the QB of the future can succeed.

  18. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    4 out 5 of his Top Defenses

    *Ron Rivera & Rod Marinelli were the Defensive Coordinator !!!!


  19. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    *Ron Rivera & Rod Marinelli were the Defensive Coordinator(s)

  20. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    3 out of

  21. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    My bad

    (2005) & (2006)- Defensive Coordinator-Ron Rivera
    (2010) & (2012)- Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator-Rod Marinelli

    So Yep thats 4 out 5 of Lovie’s Top 10 Defenses

  22. DallasBuc Says:

    “Unthinkable statistic”?… unthinkable to Joe maybe. I thought it was foolish back in the offseason to be as unconcerned with the defense as Joe was just because Lovie’s name was attached to it. Not so unthinkable to the objective observer who watched Clayborn get moved from right to left in order to make room for that predictable disaster Michael Johnson and then the release of Revis. It was only unthinkable if you chose not to think about it.

  23. Harry Says:

    @Joe says:
    “…Bucs fans saw Lovie Smith’s pedigree, they saw new faces in Leslie Frazier, Michael Johnson, Alterraun Verner and Clinton McDonald, and they thought improvement was in order…”

    I was one of those “top 10” fools. But I think it’s somewhat unfair to broadly say fans simply recognize names/faces and think there is automatic improvement. Yes, I am occasionally guilty of that, but in this case I expect a defensive “expert” (Lovie, ha!) to know how to pick talent for his D.

    So now, it is terrifying to me that this “expert” will be in charge of building our talent base for the future.

  24. Hawk Says:

    The Buccaneers are innovators. They constantly re-define ‘rock bottom’. With a pickaxe and a stick of dynamite, they can show you that what you thought was ‘rock bottom’ was merely the ‘top’ of rock bottom.

  25. lightningbuc Says:



    The Lovie Mob

  26. SlowBucs813 Says:

    A whole lot of Lovie haters out here I swear for one of the most winningest coaches in his era he cant get any respect. I mean its guys on this site that actually think they can do his job and all you need is a good MLB to have a successful defense. Yeah im looking at you Zam, Shazaam whatever the hell your name is. I hope the Bucs lose out sit Mccoy and LVD down and draft Jameis

  27. DallasBuc Says:

    SlowBoy- what has Lovie won? Zero championships and 2 games out of 14 with the Bucs. This guy is not good. Stop making him some kind of coaching hero. His time here has been a colossal failure in every way.

  28. tgreg Says:

    But “We were a 4-12 football team” right Lovie?

  29. SlowBucs813 Says:

    @CowboyFan and for how long with us? One season. He just hopped off his couch damn give him time to get warmed up. No he hasn’t won a championship. The question for me is will he ever win a championship? Him being the Bucs Coach I damn sure believe he can. He almost did a few times in Chicago while we were sitting at home watching. Give him time bro

  30. bucrightoff Says:

    Slow Bucs, Lovie has now missed the playoffs in 6 of his last 7 seasons as a coach. A career .333 winning percentage against above .500 teams (i,e, the team you must beat to win the Super Bowl). And he needs the greatest returner ever to miss the playoffs twice as much as he makes it. So yeah, if Lovie is going to repeat the mediocrity he did in Chicago here, he just needs the second coming of the greatest returner ever. I’m guessing he doesn’t find him. Lovie is the most overrated coach in recent memory by a fairly large margin.

  31. Buccfan37 Says:

    Might as well face it, the Bucs flatout suck. No excuses. Do you actually think they could beat any 2 win team right now? I don’t. The only hope to right this ship is the draft, the number one pick is the light at the end of the tunnel.

  32. ToesOnTheLine! Says:

    @ Slowbucs813

    If it makes it feel less like a personal attack on Lovie the Great I think Wisenhunt has proved he’s an overrated HC who should be bounced as well. Thing is I’m not a Titans fan and could give two sh!ts what they do with their team, I am a pretty passionate Bucs fan however. Forgive me for demanding better from a guy with Lovie’s (or Wisenhunt’s if I were a fan of the Titans) years of NFL experience. Some guys are better coordinators than head coaches, there’s no shame in that. The shame is keeping these guys in HC roles (Norv Turner was a classic example). I don’t want to see the Bucs waste time with a guy that is a damn fine DC but a questionable HC

  33. SteveK Says:

    Schiano would have atop the division. Smh we are twice as bad as last year, both on paper and game film.

  34. Cannon Fire Says:

    When they brought in all new coaches and players last year with no comradery, they said that were not going to rebuild, that they would learn on the fly, I mean they still have to sell tickets. I just assumed that everyone also knew that was a joke, this is a complete rebuild, but I guess everyone bought in the crap, you cannot rebuild a franchise on the fly, it takes years to gel no mater what. If you bring in another coach next year, you are just setting yourself back again. Seriously, this can’t be this difficult to understand. Lovie is going to have to go through some players and coaches to find his formula, RELAX.

  35. ToesOnTheLine! Says:

    @ cannon

    What can’t be that difficult to understand is this team is worse than it was under the guy who got fired for not being good enough. It’s as simple as that