Improved Pass Rush

January 11th, 2015
The Bucs improved their sack total this past season, despite a ghostly figure playing right defensive end.

The Bucs improved their sack total this past season, despite a ghostly figure playing right defensive end.

Little gets Bucs fans aggravated more than talking about sacks. Or in the case of the Bucs, that would be lack of sacks.

(By the way, yesterday, the two teams that ran the ball better than their opponents lost. The Bucs have no quarterback and have the No. 1 pick overall for being the most miserable team in the NFL. Anyone else besides Joe see a pattern here? In other words, it was yet another rough day for the naive “defense wins championships” crowd.)

It really gets Bucs fans worked up when they see Seattle defensive end Michael Bennett play in the playoffs, a guy the Bucs let walk away for no good reason. The Bucs, though, improved their impotent pass rush this pass season. No, really. Just read the words from Woody Cummings of the Tampa Tribune.

Despite Johnson’s disappointing contribution, the Bucs cobbled together their best pass-rush effort in nearly a decade in 2014. Their 36 sacks were the most by the Bucs since the 2005 squad, led by Simeon Rice’s 14.5, also had 36.

That Bucs’ ever-improving pass rush and strength against the run (they ranked seventh overall in the NFL in yards allowed per rushing attempt) is one reason center Evan Dietrich-Smith is confident the Bucs can improve markedly in 2015.

“I really liked what I saw from our defense,’’ the former Green Bay Packer said. “Down the stretch, out defense looked very similar to what I was used to seeing from my days playing against (Smith’s old) Chicago teams. It’s a Lovie Smith defense and that’s encouraging.”

First, let’s calm down on the “improved defense.” Joe has written before, “improved” does not equate to “good.” Those 36 sacks ranked 21st in the NFL. Last year, the Bucs had 35.

The Bucs are not a good defense. Better, yes. Good? No way. Good defenses don’t choke away six fourth quarter leads, sorry.

And this Michael Johnson. Joe knows he was hurt early in the season. And Joe gives the guy props for never using his injuries as a crutch. But if he was so hurt that he played Casper, then why the hell was he even on the field? Same with Doug Martin earlier in the year.

Joe understands these guys are warriors and want to be on the field. They have pride. Joe gets that. But it is the responsibility of the coaching staff to see that injured players trying to play through pain don’t drag a whole team down.

If Johnson was that hurt he was a ghost, then he shouldn’t have been on the field. At the end of the day, that is on the coaching staff.

51 Responses to “Improved Pass Rush”

  1. The Buc Realist Says:

    hmmmm, seems like the sacks started coming once Clayborn was put on IR.

  2. ufcguy Says:

    He was on ir day one

  3. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    35 to 36? That’s meaningless. It’s statistically to small to have an meaning.

    But you raise some questions in my mind Joe. OK that takes Williams off the table as number one if you believe our pass rush will be adequate next year.

    One thing for sure…our OL is not. Andrus Peat would anchor a line like Paul Gruber.

    If you watched that first Quarter in Foxboro Flacco looked liked Superman!!! And why…because he had FOREVER to pick out targets. The Patriots got ZERO pressure on Flacco. When they finally began to at least cut down on that time Flacco became a mere mortal…still a good QB but now awesome like the first Quarter. We NEED an OL no matter who is playing QB.

    I watched last night’s game and saw Jameis versus Marcus. First a disclaimer. I agree totally with TBBF that the constant comparing of QB’s is probably a fools chase since football is still a team sport and you have to consider coaching, receivers, protection etc.

    But at least stylistically Newton reminded me of Jameis and that’s not a bad thing. He runs with power and force, he was strong in the pocket.
    Wilson was crafty, quicker and seemed to never seriously expose himself to danger. Unlike Newton you’ll never see Wilson take on a tackler head on.

    Just making a stylistic point because as TBBF correctly points out either of these two QB’s could make the SB..obviously one has already…depending on the TEAM that surrounds them and the COACH that guides them.

    I do not know which QB to take. They BOTH could potentially be winners with the right TEAM, and COACH.

    I just find it easier to root for Marcus because of his modesty, sincerity and personality. But I can see Jameis winning an SB just as easily as I can imagine Marcus winning one.

  4. DB55 Says:

    Are you saying you want Randy Gregory? Williams or Gregory would fit nicely onto the dline.

  5. Architek Says:

    The whole failure this season falls on the coaching staff.

  6. StPeteBucsFan Says:


    You know what Joe and the rest of us are saying.

    We want it all!!!! LOL

  7. BFFL Says:


    A team with an elite defense and average offense will kick the crap out of a team with an elite offense and average defense. This simple fact is why defenses when championships. It’s not to say that a team doesn’t need a decent offense to win, but only to show that an elite defense will always neutralize an elite offense. This is why Seattle will when the Super Bowl again. It’s also why the 85 Bears, 2000 Ravens and 2001 Bucs won the championship.

  8. Soggy Says:

    Reminds me of a song lyrics – WE WANT IT ALL 🙂

  9. DB55 Says:


    Don’t we all? Btw did you ever look up that article I posted for you? Search “gawker” and “John Cain”.

  10. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We will likely have the opportunity at the top of round 2 (34)….to pick a player who slips out of the first round….My choice would be BPA….but we could target for need…Oline, DE, MLB etc.

    And yes….this constant attempt by everyone to compare QBs to other players is interesting but highly speculative……that would be somewhat like comparing someone elses’ girlfriends to yours…..may have the same attributes..but different personality….different environment….different relationship….
    To compare Mariota to Rodgers….to compare Winston to Newton…..I don’t think so>……

  11. DB55 Says:


    Let use a more recent example. The NFC championship game featured a offensive oriented team vs a def first team. The panthers held the pigeons to 3 points and walked into the playoffs. SeattleS D is better than carolinas. And if the cowgirls beat the packers at home…case closed!

  12. bucrightoff Says:

    It’s still amazing to me how little respect Russell Wilson gets. Seattle has an elite QB, that’s why they win. If they had Cam for instance they’d be out of the playoffs right now. Carolina has a great D but so what? Cam is not a very good QB and that’s the difference.

  13. DB55 Says:

    I’d really like to go all def this year to compliment our all O draft last year. But I realize that won’t happen. Im just not sold on the 1st overall heisman winning qb they tend to suck. Winston reminds me of Leftwich and Mariotta looks like he’ll make the IR by week 4. Idk I still think you can win with a later round qb. Am I being naive?

  14. DB55 Says:


    Wilson is very smart qb. Probably bc he went to nc state. Hmmm, lol, jk

  15. R.O. Says:

    Sacks are Overated it’s all about pressure. Real or perceived. QB’s react to pressure. Sack is great on third down or fourth down when the game is on the line. Pressure leads to Inaccurate throws, check downs and INTs. Boy did you see the Games the Seattle dline played last night to get pressure. No problem with Seattle doing it but was such a big deal when Schiano was doing it.

  16. Howard Cosell Says:


    It’s “I Want It All”

  17. StPeteBucsFan Says:


    THANKS!!! I finally found your gawker piece. So he was just making fun of a hoax not related in any way to his actions.

    BTW as someone who grew up in Greater Cincinnati with the vast majority of my family still living there I should have known that one.

  18. Howard Cosell Says:

    At least we have PFUDOR nice guys on the line.

    He’s the friendliest ghost you know.

  19. gatrbuc17 Says:

    After watching Russell Wilson lead his team to another NFCCG last night I am STOKED to have Mariota coming to town

  20. gatrbuc17 Says:

    DB55…………..Mariota is a bigger faster Russell Wilson.
    Gonna be awesome if he comes here with Koetter

  21. Arealbucsfan Says:

    @StPeteBucFan great post man

  22. Arealbucsfan Says:

    Ive read somewhere that Winston is a lot like Steve McNair. Not a bad comparison i believe.

  23. Greig Says:

    The pass rush didn’t improve at all, the extra sack is meaningless.

    You know what the average number of drop backs to pass ratio was in 2013?
    You know what it was in 2014?
    That 1 extra sack came because of the 16 extra attempts they defended not because they were getting better production.

  24. StPeteBucsFan Says:


    Thanks! What a difference a day makes. Yesterday I was the target of a couple guys who hate my posts. But that’s what makes the world go around. Different strokes for different folks Just showed my age with that comment eh. LOL

  25. Soggy Says:

    @Howard Cosell, Thanks, that right, It’s been a while..

  26. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We seemed to have more sacks from our Dline & less from our LB,CB, S positions….am I right or wrong about that.
    Either we didn’t blitz as much or our blitzes were less effective….

  27. port richey george Says:

    joe says:The Bucs have no quarterback .
    port richey George says: the bucs have no 0-line.
    mike glennon is a great QB.

  28. Soggy Says:

    I want a great defence, the cannons hurt my ears..(joking)

  29. gatrbuc17 Says:

    I bet Joe won’t be telling us about THIS!!!!!!!!!!

  30. DB55 Says:


    Pfudor – yup – lmao

  31. DB55 Says:



  32. Barry Says:

    Joe, Bucs do have a QB…and 2 1000 yard receivers. I didn’t understand your comment of Bucs having no QB. Also as far as QBs You , Little Stevie, and the CommishSKI are on your 3rd strike as far as promoting a Bucs Franchise QB. Freeman – Manziel – Winston or as the Sheriff likes to call him, suspect 001129. IMO

  33. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    Not to wear it out Gatrbuc but even that chart is more optimistic than it should be based on the historical record of Heismans. Of course that would include Marcus.

  34. Tampabaybucfan Says:


    You can bet your sweet a$$ Joe would never present that…..the fact is, I’m quite sure outside the State of Fla…..Winston’s numbers go way down….
    This is a small sample of that but at my weekly poker group I presented our dilemma of having to choose between the two…..all 7 said almost immediately that it should be Mariota….mainly because of the off-field problems….said we couldn’t take the chance….but all said it was a good dilemma to have….

  35. gatrbuc17 Says:

    STBF and TBBF …. I will support the kid if he comes here. I just hope he doesn’t and this chart represents the way the Rest of the Country that Aren’t Bucs fans really feel about the guy. We are far too close to everything that is going on imo to have a non biased opinion.

  36. Self-proclaimed GM Says:

    Haven’t we covered this???? Lovie tanking the season. Not calling timeouts, not challenging. going into the locker room at half down by three TD’s and NEVER even trying to get some points when there are 57 second left on the clock and he had three timeouts. C’mon, Lovie is not that stupid, he tanked. Very clear, and even though I knew he was tanking I still got upset every game. I just hope they take Mariota so our offense can help us take the South next season. Ready for the draft!

  37. McBuc Says:

    Why would Joe post a tv shows viewer poll? Why do you listen to viewers over all the pros joe has posted? He has put a few Mariota posts up, but there a a great deal more ex players and sports personalities are talking about Winston.

  38. ToesOnTheLine! Says:

    Dunno Joe I saw two things with yesterday’s games. One was a great D (Seahawks) can take a mediocre, overrated, former #1 pick, consistently mid-pack or lower, “franchise QB” out of the game. The second thing is that brilliant coaching (Belicheat) can be the game changer in a close contest. We have Lovie at least through next year, so as the saying goes it is what it is. However the Bucs have the premium pick in the draft, so hopefully they think long and hard before burning the #1 pick on Mariota or Winston unless they are absolutely sold on one of them being great in the scheme they’re going to run. Let the Cam Newton experiment show that #1 doesn’t always mean he’ll be good.

  39. Newbucsfan!!! Says:

    Would you consider Brett Favre, George Blanda, Fran Tarkenton, Johnny Unitas, Dan Marino, Y.A. Tittle, Bobby Layne, Dan Fouts, Peyton Manning, Warren Moon and John Elway some of the best quarterbacks to ever suit up in the NFL? Of course you would.
    Nine of those quarterbacks are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and two more (Favre and Manning) will join them when they are eligible. But did you know that all nine of those Hall of Famers are on the list of top 15 quarterbacks that have thrown the most interceptions in NFL history?
    And did you know that Favre, whom some consider to be the best playmaking and improvisational quarterback of all time, has thrown more interceptions – 336 – than anyone else in the NFL? Of course Favre has also thrown 508 touchdowns, which was the most in NFL history until Manning (530) topped it last year. –Pewter Report

  40. ddneast Says:

    BucRealist, Clayborn went on IR after the first game you dolt. Clayborn had more sacks his rookie season, 7.5, than all the players combined together since he went out with an injury his second season and was then moved to the other side.

  41. Newbucsfan!!! Says:

    And by the way Mariota is not a bigger version of Russell Wilson, good grief!!

    At the very least he would need a year and a half on the sideline and when he finally gets in he will want to make an impact and depend on his running (not escape) ability. Maybe during that time on the sideline he will get in the weight room and bulk up but that will slow him down a tad and he would spend the rest of that season working out the kinks in his throwing game which will not bode well for an explosive offense. If Mariota is the choice then the Bucs will have another top 5 draft choice in 2015 and a mediocre 2016 season, which by then he still will be an unknown and the next Peyton Manning will be the top draft choice. But hey, at least he’s the good guy right?

  42. gatrbuc17 Says:

    So you predicted that Russell Wilson would go into Seattle and Take the job from Flynn too huh Newbucsfan?

  43. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    You guys contiually trying to compare QBs amuse me…..”bigger version, smaller version, stronger armed version, faster version……what an interesting but futile excercise…..

  44. WINdycitybuc Says:

    Dear Newbucsfan: how many titles do all of those awesome QBs you listed have? Brad Johnson & Trent Dilfer have as many as Favre & Manning, and more than Marino, Tarkenton, & Fouts. Statistics are great for INDIVIDUAL achievement and enshrinement. I personally don’t watch individual performances during games, I am much more concerned with the outcome of the game.

  45. WINdycitybuc Says:

    Does anyone else laugh at the irony of being called naive when standing on the “defense wins championships” platform when this very team – with the #1 ranked defense in the league destroyed the team with the #1 ranked offense in the league – proved that to be true the only time that matchup has ever happened in Super Bowl history?

    NFL rules have changed a lot in favor of the offense since then. That trend will continue. –Joe

  46. WINdycitybuc Says:

    So much so, that just LAST YEAR a dominant defense DESTROYED a great offense. The more things “change” the more they stay the same, Joe.

    And two years ago, the Ravens’ 17th-ranked defense won the Super Bowl. Warren Sapp himself is repeatedly quoted saying defense doesn’t win championships –Joe

  47. WINdycitybuc Says:

    Well, by that logic, Peyton Manning “repeatedly tells” me that offense doesn’t win championships. Joe…I thirst for us to have something resembling any kind of threat on the offensive side of the ball, but a great defense allows you to have an average offense and succeed. I don’t like going too far back to prove my point, but the Steelers began their legacy by doing just that in the 70’s.

  48. Nick Says:

    Defense wins championships. Not divisional rounds. Let’s see what powerful offenses do in next three weeks.

  49. Nick Says:

    Once defenders learn to tackle rather than hit wide receivers, the new rule changes will be mute point.

  50. Legarrettes Blunt Says:

    @Joe I have a question for you. I haven’t heard much about TJ Fatinikun who I saw getting a lot of snaps, even taking snaps from holdovers like Will Gholdson. I feel like he never got talked about this whole season but played a lot. Can you share your opinions on him? Is he just depth or does he have potential to be more?

    Joe wrote about him a couple of times. Licht and Lovie like him. They mention him more than Gholston. You never know when a young player like that will blossom.–Joe

  51. bucs4lyfe Says:

    Last year, the Bucs had 35 sacks but how many came from the D line and how many came from the linebackers? the D line did improve as a unit, people are killing lovie because he brought in Michael Johnson and the D line sucked but no one made a big deal about us letting go of Michael Bennett and roy miller and not even attempting to upgrade the position. oh yea schiano decided daquan bowers was a double digit sack guy lol