“That Defense Will Get Eaten Alive”

January 29th, 2015

Brett Favre offers an intriguing take

Joe was very intrigued to hear of Brett Favre’s recent commentary on old school Tampa-2 defense.

And, yes, Lovie Smith is running old school Tampa-2.

Regular readers here know Joe is a good friend and a fan of the “Custodian of Canton, Tampa Tribune scribe eye-RAH! Kaufman. The reason Kaufman is nicknamed the”Custodian of Canton” is because he is the only local voter and presenter for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

This year, Kaufman again will present Father Dungy and John Lynch, who are finalists for the second consecutive year. In a nutshell, Kaufman stands up before the 45 or so Hall voters and makes the strongest case he can. What goes on, the actual debate, in that giant room is private.

Kaufman is in Phoenix for this weekend’s official Hall of Fame vote and debate, and he sat in for his annual chat with the dean of Tampa Bay sports radio, Steve Duemig of WDAE-AM 620.

Kaufman talked about how he’s overhauled his pitch for Lynch, and it’s filled with player referrals, including Brett Favre.

“Brett called me yesterday,” Kaufman said, “and we’re talking about Lynch and he was great, saying how you gotta have those three-headed monsters in Tampa. You gotta have the undertackle, the weaksider [linebacker]. You gotta have the safety.

“If you don’t have all three, and this is a quote, ‘That defense will get eaten alive.’ That’s what he said, ‘if you don’t have all three.’ They did.

Fans of the current Bucs know what “eaten alive” looks like very well. See Derek Anderson and Greg Olsen. Twice! The Bucs’ defense ranked 25th in the NFL and the pass defense was 28th. Ouch!

Yes, the Bucs are missing cogs in their defense. Can rising safety Bradley McDougald be the necessary third element Favre references?

And what about an edge rush off the blind side?

Lovie Smith has to hit on personnel quickly or adjust his approach. Another poor defensive season from Tampa Bay, and Joe very well could see Team Glazer throwing its hands in the air and saying, “Is this why we hired a defensive-minded head coach and paid Gerald McCoy a fortune?”

53 Responses to ““That Defense Will Get Eaten Alive””

  1. Couch Fan Says:

    Funny thing is the Defense was the best unit we had. Lovie has a lot of work to do to keep his job.

  2. JoeJoes Fungi Nails Says:

    well .75 of all three is what we’re running with

  3. 87ForJameisNoMariota Says:

    Hell you need a hard hitting safety to boot…unfortunately the NFL doesn’t allow that anymore.

    One could say the Tampa 2 is why they changed the rules for defense’s.

  4. Beeric Says:

    Does Vegas have a line on whether or not Lovie will be here in 2016? I bet the odds of him being gone are better than average and I’m not even a hater.

  5. Mr. Patrick Says:

    Leonard Williams

  6. Pickgrin Says:

    DE, MLB, FS. – Upgrade those 3 positions and the Bucs Defense will be formidable. We need a solid Nickle CB as well.

    I expect that the Bucs D will be top 16 in a # of categories next year.

    Draft Winston, Fix OLine – do those 2 things and the rest will take care of itself.

  7. DB55 Says:

    Well we had 1 of the 3 then he got traded now we’re 0 for 3. Lol

    And did you say mcdougald? In the words of a wise man “child please” might as well put major wright out there BAHAHAHA.

    Lynch wasn’t exactly an INT machine right? But he could knock the chrome off a trailer hitch. Yea I remember another safety that could do the same too bad he was a bust.

  8. cmurda Says:

    You’ve been pushing L Will hardcore Patrick. I respect a man that holds to his guns but it doesn’t happen unless we trade down. Ive been saying for a while that my hope is to trade down. Preferably landing a nice little coup and only moving back to #4, #5 or #6. With that said if one of the 2 main QB’s are available, we have to go there. We aren’t desperate for a DT but we are for a QB and QB is by far the most important position to have taken care of. If we don’t trade down, you’re love affair with L Will ends as a pipedream.

  9. Newbucsfan!!! Says:

    Watch the superbowl and you will see a team run a zone based scheme and beat the patriots on sunday. The thing that may make Bucs fans cringe is that the Hawks have Sherman at CB, Chancellor at FS/SS, Bennett at DE, and Bobby Wagner at MLB along with Bruce Irvin at the other LB spot.

    The Bucs need a MLB, DE, FS at least to be a force and these pieces will not make an impact from the draft immediately. So the Bucs need bridges at MLB and FS in free agency and draft well for the rest. I like the Bucs DT’s and their CB’s and McDougald along with Smith at DE. So they are not that far away with some good moves this off season.

  10. Mr. Patrick Says:

    @ cmurda
    Trading down is my first choice also, but I know that Lovie is a defensive minded head coach who recently said that he doesn’t yet have the horses he needs to run his defense

  11. Mr. Patrick Says:

    Williams is projected to play LDE in the NFL

  12. Buc-O's 82 Says:

    But also have a Ronde Barber too Brett Farve. Strange how he remembers all of that, but he stated in the past that he has trouble remembering the past due to concussions.

  13. cmurda Says:

    Here’s the thing. I love L Will myself but I’m in the Winston camp. A lot will be determined when the Bucs brass vets out the process with Winston. I think even Mariota lovers know that Winston is more pro – ready. My opinion is that he’s the better talent as well. However, Winston may not check out or convince the Glazers that he will stay out of trouble. If that’s the case then I would not be opposed to drafting L Will. I would prefer to do that only if we trade down though. This would be an absolute complete fail if we have the #1 pick and do not address our need at QB unless someone’s horny for Bryce Petty in the 2nd – 3rd. In no way would I feel comfy passing on both of these QB’s and ending up with BP.

  14. Brandon Says:

    3 of the 5 teams using the T-2 won their divisions, and I’m going to add one more premium player to Favre’s statement, the RDE:

    They are:

    Seattle Seahawks
    UT Kevin Williams/Michael Bennett on passing downs
    RDE Cliff Avril-sometimes Bruce Irvin on passing downs
    WLB KJ Wright…not exactly a stud, but Bobby Wagner at MLB is.
    SS Kam Chancellor

    Seahawks use tons of rotational and situational players on their DL. Avril is okay at DE and Kevin Williams is okay at UT, but on passing downs they get more speed in the lineup with Bennett at UT and Irvin at RDE. Chancellor is probably the current best SS in the league. KJ Wright is solid but nothing to write home about.

    Carolina Panthers
    UT Kawann Shortt
    RDE Used to be Greg Hardy… but this past season saw Mario Addison, Kony Ealy, and Wes Horton see lots of time there… the defense dropped off significantly from the year befor
    WLB Thomas Davis
    SS Roman Harper

    Shortt is good at UT but hardly elite. Davis is a pretty good WLB but it’s Keuchly that is the real star of the the defense. Harper is garbage.

    Dallas Cowboys
    UT Henry Melton
    RDE Jeremy Mincey
    WLB Justin Durant
    SS JJ Wilcox

    Very unimpressive lot here. Melton is a shell of his former self, he’s still a solid player, just no longer a top DT. Mincey leaves much to be desired. Durant is okay… but the best players on the Cowboys defense might be the MLBs Sean Lee and Rolando McClain and SLB Bruce Davis.

    I think it is important to have good players at these positions, but three division winners running the same defense have shown that you don’t HAVE to have All-Pros at those positions… but it would be nice. As it stands for the Bucs, they’ve got the best UT and the best WLB of all the teams running the T-2.

  15. Brandon Says:

    Mr. Patrick Says:
    January 29th, 2015 at 8:05 pm
    Williams is projected to play LDE in the NFL


    Not necessarily true. If he is drafted into the 3-4, he will definitely stay at DE, if drafted into the 4-3 he’s got about a 50/50 shot of being moved inside. He is PROBABLY the best overall player in the draft… but is a LDE or UT (when we have McCoy) really what is needed? RDE Randy Gregory definitely fits more what a defense like the Bucs will be looking for… and of course there’s the QB position.

  16. Brandon Says:

    Newbucsfan!!! Says:
    January 29th, 2015 at 7:57 pm
    Watch the superbowl and you will see a team run a zone based scheme and beat the patriots on sunday. The thing that may make Bucs fans cringe is that the Hawks have Sherman at CB, Chancellor at FS/SS, Bennett at DE, and Bobby Wagner at MLB along with Bruce Irvin at the other LB spot.

    The Bucs need a MLB, DE, FS at least to be a force and these pieces will not make an impact from the draft immediately. So the Bucs need bridges at MLB and FS in free agency and draft well for the rest. I like the Bucs DT’s and their CB’s and McDougald along with Smith at DE. So they are not that far away with some good moves this off season.

    FS in the Kiffin defenses was usually an interchangeable and easily replaced player. Usually they drafted a bigger slower college CB and turned him into a FS like Damien Robinson, Dexter Jackson, Dwight Smith….it’s the SS that really is a force in this D.

  17. JFat Says:

    I think if the offense can put together more than 2-3 non “3 and out” drives a game, the defense will look a hell of a lot better. Especially if you’re looking at team rankings.

    Getting my hopes up again as I’m prone to do but I bet this team has a solid turnaround next season with the addition of Koetter alone, regardless of who our draft pick is.

  18. cmurda Says:


    I know I just put that because he’s listed DT. I wouldn’t even consider him if he would be a DT in our scheme. We need pass rushers like a dog needs a bone.

  19. Arealbucsfan Says:

    1st: winston or mariota
    2nd: arie koundijio; trade back in 2nd for Denzel Perryman

    FA pick ups: Hardy if available, clint boling or Stefen Weisinawski

  20. T in Orlando Says:

    Elite RDE is NOT necessary for the Tampa 2 to be effective. From 97-00, we had a top 5 Defense and our RDE was Chidi Ahanatou (sp?). Granted, adding Simeon Rice turned that effective, very good defenses into one of the greats, but the point is, it’s not necessary. Ironically, a player like Michael Bennett could have been the Chidi Ahanatou of this Defense, if he was retained.

    UT, WLB and the SS that is equally effective at being the 4th LB against the run and the center fielder against the pass are what is needed for the Tampa 2 to be effective, and the other 8 players need to be quick and good tacklers of course.

  21. Arealbucsfan Says:

    And if no Hardy. MAYBE JPP. He’ll cost a lot of $$

  22. Meat Says:

    Cover 2 every play with current rules is suicide

  23. 87ForJameisNoMariota Says:

    I can’t tell you how many times I yelled at the TV over the last 3 years.

    “All the fricken time in the world”

    Yelled, screamed and hollered.

    I think the old glory years Bucs spoiled us fans.

    Then again…it’s really not that much to ask…is it? Even a little pressure would be nice.

  24. Dimitrios Says:

    Where’s that dipsheeit “Kevin”
    This defense will never work again, McCoy isn’t half the under tackle sapp was. LVD isn’t the freak double nickel was. And hawk sure as hell isn’t the qb of the defense like lynch was. Draft Jameis promote Dirk next year and bring in Raheem for the defense… Dreaming out loud

  25. Mr. Patrick Says:

    When I tout Williams it’s strictly from a Lovie loves defense point of view.
    This years draft class does not have the projected superstars or standouts that most classes do. Except for Williams there’s not the usual number of top 5 OL, DL or CB’s that their usually are. The top 2 QB’s get the attention bacause they are the best 2 out of a very weak QB class which has elevated them up the boards farther than they should be. I saw where another poster a couple of days ago say that this is a very bad draft to have the #1 pick and I agree with that. I just don’t see in Winston what everybody else does, maybe because they are just so desperate for the Bucs to have a QB after what we saw this year

  26. Kevin S Says:

    The Tampa two CAN work….but it’s gotten be ran flawlessly. If Lovie is here another two years from now I see him getting the defense there. With Koetter here I am confident as I was before Tedford left that next season will be a fun, competitive season for the bucs. My problem with the way it’s setup is if we have success our OC will be gone.

    Now what MIGHT happen, is Lovie’s Tampa Two continues to get shredded down here in the South, while our offense improves. Then Koetter get’s promoted and hires a DC that likes playing man coverage. Thats what I would prefer. I just feel like with Lovie at head coach we will never be a consistent contender. Maybe one really good year between 2-3 average years. Hope he proves me wrong. I really do!

  27. tgreg Says:

    Lovie is a moron

  28. ChessMaster Says:

    Brian Kelly, Dwight Smith, Dexter Jackson, Simeon Rice, Booger McFarlane, and Greg Spires were not scrubs.

  29. Buc1987 Says:

    ChessMaster…good point.

  30. Dick2111 Says:

    Unless I’m mistaken, the Bucs Defense needs a DE, MLB, CB and 2 Safeties, as a minimum (more if they want some depth).

    The Bucs Offense needs a QB, 2 OL and at least one WR (more if they too want some depth).

    Maybe a new punter should be on order too.

    So ten more solid players, plus some depth. No problem … 3 very solid drafts and some outstanding coaching to develop those players and we ought to be there.

    Oh wait, no coach could ever last 3 more years in Tampa Bay without making it to the Super Bowl. My bad.

  31. Buc1987 Says:

    Dick2111…Bravo, more good points.

    Yes they are that far away from contending. I agree. I think fans forget how deep the defensive bench was for the Bucs back then.

    Most of the guys Lovie is starting on our D or did start on our D (Mike Jenkins) would be riding the pine during the glory years.

  32. Eric Says:

    Why don’t you stop with the negative waves and say something righteous and uplifting for a change? It’s a beautiful day.

    Sgt. Oddball

  33. Eric Says:

    Brooks said there is a lengthy learning curve with this defense.

    Give the man a little time.


  34. Mr. Patrick Says:

    I feel bad for Booger M. He has 2 Superbowl rings but didn’t get to play in either game because he was injured

  35. 76er Says:

    The better the pass rush, the less relevant the back 7 are. Sapp and co. got to the QB in 4 seconds or less most of the time.

  36. cmurda Says:

    @Patrick. The way we have drafted D Lineman, I’d take waterboy at #1 overall. Many say Williams is the best talent on the board. He’s not escaping the Top 5. It’s not ludicrous but in this position, it’s trade down or draft a QB. The guillotine would be burning hot if L&L pass on QB at 1, don’t trade down and we suck. I’m crossing my fingers with Winston checking out. I’m not buying the Mariota smokescreen. The Bucs would love for Chip Kelly to dance with a 3rd team and give us serious ammo. I’m still holding out hope that the Jets and/or Eagles brings some legit offers to the table giving us a chance to still land one of the 2 QB’s. We need 4-5 guys to be legit picks. I’d like to stock up and invest in our lines. One place this draft is deep is in the trenches.

  37. Eric Says:

    At this point I’ll take one real good year in between two average ones.

    I’ll even take one of those disgraceful Division Titles everyone hated Chucky for.

  38. 87ForJameisNoMariota Says:

    I got to WEAR the SB ring and stayed at the team hotel and mingle with all the Bucs. I was like a kid in a candy store. That’s a memory I will never forget.

  39. Jeffbuc Says:

    This defense is obsolete unless you have the perfect players it marketable years for that the safety is No longer relevant should just play 4 corners. Mark Barron would have been a stud 15 years ago but no he has been phased out of the game due to rules. So we need to evolve the tampa 2 maybe call it a tampa hybrid. Cause I remember playing the tampa 2 defense and being excited that we have a defense named after us in madden in 1999. But that’s when we had defensive ends get 10+ sacks a year. Still remember rice getting three sacks in the first half against New Orleans who beat us both times in our Super Bowl year. Lovie either adapts this year or he will be funding a church in Texas next year. I’m still fighting myself wether to Renew my tickets next year and that’s a shame because that was the easiest decision in my life or when my wife starts questioning why would you want to go watch that crap

  40. Jeffbuc Says:

    And it is nothing to do with my phone it is ONLY YOUR WEBSITE!!!!!

  41. Architek Says:

    Countdown to Black Monday!!!

  42. Sebas1225 Says:

    @ jeffbuc, are you always getting booted from this site like I do…. Ridiculous.

  43. Jerry Says:

    It’s working pretty well in Dallas now after they had a rocky first year of it. Marinelli runs the old school Tampa-2….same one as Lovie.

  44. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    On Mark Baron, I recall voicing concerns in his rookie year and EVERYONE HERE said I was wrong. Not one person agreed with me. Fast forward years later and those are the reasons he is gone.

    87ForJameisNoMariota Says
    “Hell you need a hard hitting safety to boot…unfortunately the NFL doesn’t allow that anymore.”

    I’m sorry, but you are mistaken. A hard hitting safety is not required. Simply a run stopping, good tackling one is. John Lynch put on a show that was fun to watch, but that doesn’t mean his way was the only way.

    I do hate these new rules though. They have rendered Goldson worthless. They are what they are though. There are other teams successfully running the Tampa 2 with a none hard hitting safety.

    Personally, I believe it takes much more than those three positions. You also need solid corners and the right MLB.

    And all the players have to buy in to doing ther jobs so that they can trust the others to do theirs. That’s been the problem in Tampa. Too many “heroes” trying to make a difference on their own. Jumping off position to make plays before the play develops. When we won the superbowl, it was after years of the players learning to trust one another to do their jobs. Each position was basically directing traffic, forcing the opposing team to do things the defense wanted.

  45. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Ii should add…even though I pointed to things about Baron, I then got behind him and supported him. That’s what good fans do.

    And that is what I will do with Winston IF he comes to Tampa. He has faults, yes, but and they would become obvious to everyone as he plays. But I would look for improvement and cheer for him.

    Same with Mariota. Both have faults. Both will have to show the ability to grow and overcome them.

  46. Phil Says:

    Even if we had all three now with the rules the way they are the would still be eaten alive. You can’t hit anyone like Lynch used to do. He would be fined and suspended if he played today the way he did back then.

  47. OAR Says:

    I got eaten alive once……gave that gator the squirts for a week!

  48. BirdDoggers Says:

    The defense doesn’t work without the four man pash rush from the line. McCoy and McDonald are a good start but the team is in desperate need of an edge rusher. Not just any edge rusher but a top 5 DE. Otherwise, the scheme is easily exposed. A MLB that can make the deep drop is key as well. It starts up front. Get the line straightened out and the defense will work.

  49. biff barker Says:

    JFat Says:

    I think if the offense can put together more than 2-3 non “3 and out” drives a game, the defense will look a hell of a lot better. Especially if you’re looking at team rankings.


    That’s the point of Dungy ball. The offense must win the TOP battle. The C2 is prone to getting gassed in the 4th quarter otherwise.

  50. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    @87 and BucBonzai

    Hell you need a hard hitting safety to boot…unfortunately the NFL doesn’t allow that anymore.

    BB says we don’t need a hard hitting safety anymore. I do not disagree BB but if we remain in the T2 I agree with Favre and others who believe we do. Now if we had an imaginative defensive coach who knows what we might need. But we have old school and that requires a hard hitting safety.

    87 Sorry gotta respectfully disagree. Did you watch Kam Chancellor this year?
    Earl Thomas is a feared hitter as well. The Seahawks had the luxury of TWO hard hitting safeties.

    Too many people…Dashon Goldson and others…simply feel that head hunting=hard hitting. That is what has been outlawed. You don’t need to concuss somebody to achieve the effects of a hard hit.

    One of my favorite memories from my days back in Cincinnati is when the Bengals still has Bill Bergey, why they let him go to the Eagles in still an unsolved mystery for me! Anyway our dreaded rivals were those championship Steelers.

    Bergey blitzed and totally trucked Terry Bradshaw. Not in the knees and nowhere near his helmet, but dead center perfect. Bradshaw had to be helped off the field where he fell to all fours and started puking his guts out. The entire stadium stood and applauded.

    If you’ve ever had the wind knocked out of you, you know how bad it feels for the first few minutes until some oxygen finally gets back into your lungs. You feel like your dying! One of the worst feelings of my life. That’s what Chancellor and Earl Thomas (when healthy) bring to the game.

    Goldson wasted entirely too much time trying to concuss somebody. Ironically even when you’re successful with those kind of hits the recipient rarely remembers anything about it. Knock the wind out of them and yes they return to play but they NEVER forget that hit.

  51. pick6 Says:

    favre is no stranger to hyperbole. what we saw this year – especially early on – is more about what happens when 1 or 2 guys out of 11 don’t do the right thing in the Tampa 2, regardless of talent. we had talent problems also, but the veteran QBs knew which guys couldn’t find their landmarks early on and they ate those players alive. mcdougald doesn’t have more outright talent than barron in anybody’s book, but he sure as heck knows his job in this system better and it showed. you do need the nightmare mismatch in pass rush, i think most other positions you can get by with heady players who know all their assignments. the cowboys kinda proved that with all their injuries

  52. bucs4lyfe Says:

    I’ll never understand why fans haven’t realized yet you cant expect any team to hit on every draft pick every year…..seriously guys the teams playing in the superbowl draft at the end of each round every year and I don’t see anyone of them drafting a bunch of starters every year to replace the one’s already there. you need a stable quarterback o line and stable franchise to right the wrong. obviously a team drafts players they like and think they will be big time in every round but it’s dumb to expect they are drafting starters especially sense smart franchises don’t just give away starting spots unless earned in training camp and every rookie has to earn it unless they get it by default and that’s mainly only first rounders

  53. Jack Says:

    Yep, we need several players on both sides of the ball to go to the playoffs.