Tampa-2 Just A Tool

February 7th, 2015
lovie 0613b

A counterpoint to Chucky

The way the Bucs defense got absolutely lit up like a roman candle on the Fourth of July early last season, Joe couldn’t believe his eyes. Lovie Smith was supposed to be a defensive guru.

Defensive gurus don’t get seal-clubbed the way the Bucs did against the Dixie Chicks and the Crows. It was embarrassing.

On a Monday Night Football game early in the 2014 season, former Bucs coach Chucky openly mocked the Tampa-2 defense, claiming offenses have adapted and are exploiting the defense’s weak spots. But when Joe talked with former Bears and Steelers quarterback Jim Miller about whether Chucky was on to something, he didn’t quite agree.

Miller, who also covers the Bears for CSN Chicago, watched how Lovie employed the Tampa-2 while in Chicago, and doesn’t believe the Tampa-2 is a defense of the past.

“I wouldn’t say it is dead,” Miller said. “It is another tool in the toolbox that is used by just about every team in the league in a certain down and distance situation. And Lovie Smith, just covering Lovie in Chicago, he ran more single-high safety than what most people thought. Rod Marinelli runs more single-high safety than most people think.

“But at times, when the down-and-distance calls for a Tampa-2, they are going to call it because it is a great tool to have in your bag. It is a safe defense because the middle linebacker is dropping deep. Essentially it becomes a Cover-3 because you’ve got the two wide safeties and the middle linebacker gets so deep, it is a safe call because you always have guys deep to rally up and make a tackle prior to the opponent getting a first down.”

This is why when Joe reads comments like the Bucs should go draft Miami linebacker Denzel Perryman, the first thing Joe asks is if the guy can cover deep in pass coverage.

Lovie doesn’t care how good a guy is against the run and how punishing a guy’s hits may be, if he cannot cover deep, Lovie won’t draft him. Simple as that.

This is why it is unlikely Mason Foster returns. The Bucs were disappointed in Foster’s pass defense. Lovie is not going to spend a high draft pick on a middle linebacker who cannot cover deep, otherwise they would just keep Foster. Joe knows fans don’t want to hear this, but it is the ugly truth.

And Lovie is not going to change his defense just so Bucs fans can get excited watching SchlockCenter.

42 Responses to “Tampa-2 Just A Tool”

  1. JoeJoes Fungi Nails Says:

    Denzel Perryman …indeed !!

  2. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    Great points Joe.

    Sadly you’re probably onto something. If you read the pre draft analysis.

    From NFL.com

    SOURCES TELL US “He’s physical and plays angry at the point of attack. He’s the type of guy you like having on your team because he brings toughness to practice. He’s going to lay the wood to ball carriers when he gets a chance but college teams were already finding ways to go after him in the passing game.” — AFC East regional scout

    But then you go to Walter Football’s analysis and Perryman sounds like the perfect choice for Lovie.

    NFL defenses want inside linebackers who can contribute to pass coverage, and Perryman is very good in this phase, especially for a college player. He covers a lot of ground and does a nice job of covering receivers who came into his zone. Perryman has some ability to defend backs coming out of the backfield and tight ends running down the middle seam.

    And so which review do we believe. Of course it doesn’t matter about us, I’m sure L&L and Frazier have looked at hours of video and will check him out in pre draft workouts.

    Here is why I want him to pan out.

    “He’s physical and plays angry at the point of attack. He’s the type of guy you like having on your team because he brings toughness to practice. He’s going to lay the wood to ball carriers when he gets a chance

  3. Dylan Says:

    perryman is actually really good in coverage. I’m curious as to who said he wasn’t? his only nag is that he is short. There just so happens to be a guy on the roster who had the same things said about him.. lavonte david. do your research you sound stupid

  4. Bucnut2 Says:

    Joe good point. I don’t know if the Tampa 2 is outdated or not. I know our defense was not good. Love won’t blame the scheme. It has to be the players.

  5. biff barker Says:

    Foster’s biggest flaw was his susceptibility to play action. He bit harder than Rosie O’Donnell on a corn dog.

  6. Brandon Says:

    Eric Kendricks is the prototype MLB. Bernardrick McKinny has the ideal physical tools. Perryman MIGHT fit in this D if he shows he runs well enough to hit that deep 1/3.

    As for the demise of the T-2… Seattle took it to the Super Bowl. Dallas and Carolina won their respective divisions… and add Atlanta and Washington to the list of other teams, Tampa and Jacksonville, that run it. If it’s truly dying, why are there now 7 teams running it?

  7. 87ForJameisNOMariota Says:

    Per NFL.com

    “Here’s a look at 10 prospects with the most to prove at the combine.”

    Denzel Perryman, ILB, Miami

    The skinny: He’s not very tall (measured 5-foot-10 5/8 at the Senior Bowl last month) and he played heavier than he should have at Miami (240-plus pounds). If his weight is lower and he tests faster, that’s going to help his stock. Teams are going to want to see his athletic numbers.

  8. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    @ St. Pete

    You a broadcaster?……I was in the biz for 30 years……

  9. Bird Says:

    Starting to think right tackle and right guard in free agency and draft another oline man in 3 rd or 4 th round. Draft QB number 1 of course and then how bout middle linebacker and Butkus award winner kendricks from ucla. He is undersized as well but great in coverage and he cons from good stock. His brother is tearing things up for Eagles right now

  10. SOEbuc Says:

    Who the hell wants a player with a punishing hit in todays National FlagFootball League?

  11. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    @ Bird

    Good plan…..other FA pickups……..WR/PR/KR combo……P, & CB

    Draft…..QB, MLB, DE, S/CB, 2 Oline

  12. Destinjohnny Says:

    You got to have the players man. Can jason and lovie handle that part……I don’t think so

  13. Dylan Says:

    Get me in the scouting room. Winston/Marcus #1- this is honestly a challenging pick to make.

    Trade Doug martin to the ravens (desperate for RB) and our 2nd, in return for there first and hope collins from alabama falls or even an OT.

    Grab the LSU or alabama guard in the top of the 3rd.

    Those could be 3 impact starters for the buccaneers. FA wise, i like a couple defensive guys of value. Im kind of scared of JPP honestly. HAS ANYONE THOUGHT ABOUT the possibility of signing SUH? i know it sounds crazy. But seeing the bucs are going to draft a QB 1st overall and not have to pay him, assuming he doesn’t bust, until at least year 4. Cutting collins, godson, michael johnson would basically almost pay for SUHS annual cap number. Our GM speaks of value, and why throw X amount of money and waste it like we did for michael johnson, at JPP? This defense is useless without a pass rush. Pairing suh and mccoy is thinking outside the box, cause they might be defensive tackles but you can’t double team both. it would be a expensive investment but i think it would pay HUGE dividends. would still have plenty of cap space to sign lavonte and some other FAs and leave us with breathing room. I personally don’t wanna see mankins go, cause yeah he may be declining in age, but he provides a winning attitude and teaches players by example of how to do things the right way behind doors and i think that is worth the extra 1-2mil.

  14. Dylan Says:

    Bryan Bulaga coming off of a torn ACL could be a huge low risk steal as well and could fill a void at LT. Leaving Dotson at RT where he is probally the only bright spot. Bryan Bulago and Detricht-smith are comftorable with each other and playing styles also.

  15. StPeteBucsFan Says:


    Yeah I milked about 30 years out of it. Went to UC to become a sportscaster.

    Was derailed by the student radio station and did about ten years of rock and roll radio out of college. I realized I was becoming Dr. Johnny Fever and decided to pursue my first choice and was a sportscaster/sport director in a small market…the Tri Cities of Tennessee for about 15 years.

    I woke up and knew it was time to leave my morning gig in rock radio when I was out on a remote and some super hot cheerleader from Greenville SC high was throwing it at me. I was 28 at the time…she was 17 or 18. It was the OR that concerned me!!! LMAO This is one of the reasons I have less sympathy for Jameis boneheaded actions than perhaps some others. Sometimes despite the temptation you HAVE to let the big head take over the thinking from the little head. Not that I was an angel…just not totally stooopid!

  16. StPeteBucsFan Says:


    Excellent post! Not that I agree withe everything but it was well thought out and backed by some facts with none of the emotion that the “Jameis Watch” seems to generate.

    There are others who like you want Suh. And i can jump on that train as well I just have some very serious suspicions that the Lions are not going to let him leave. I may be wrong and yes who wouldn’t want to see mean and nasty Suh on a defense that just seems too polite. Both GMC and LD are very talented players who maintain their dignity but somebody has to step up and add some NASTY to our defense. Imagine Suh and Denzel Perryman on the field at the same time!

  17. StPeteBucsFan Says:


    Forgot to ask where you worked?

  18. Dylan Says:

    Its the offseason. Its the months of dreaming for us haha. I really do like our GM jason so whatever he decides to roll with I’m game. What he did to the cardinals roster is amazing lol. they might not have a QB but that team is stacked with depth.

  19. LUVMYBUCS Says:


    Real talk—So your saying Denzel Perryman can’t cover? Are you saying he’s not a side line -to side line tone setter?

    From your POV –You don’t think the BUCS need a player of his caliber on the roster?

    …..Are you seriously comparing Denzel Perryman to Mason Foster?

    Everything I’ve heard about the kid is that he’s a MONSTER-I’ve heard that-the hits that you see during the game— don’t even compare to licks he’s putting on dudes in practice. Go ask ANY South East Scout worth his salt–is singing his praises.

    The only knock I’ve heard on him is–his measurables .

    You do know who his mentor is right? Yep (#52) Ray Lewis.
    He’s got the best Middle Linebacker that has EVER played the game on speed dial. He works with Ray Ray during the the offseason. I remember they tried to say Ray Ray wasn’t a 3 down linebacker-Look how that worked out.

  20. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Fast and Furious

    Perryman can run 40 yards in 4.5 seconds and smash 30 bench-press reps of 225 pounds.The kid regularly shows up at pre-practice film sessions wearing his full football gear, including shoulder pads.


    When a guy like this– hits someone-The whole team gets fired up.

    Yep-We need that!

  21. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Miami ILB Denzel Perryman is a “thumper” and a “badass,” said an AFC director of scouting.

    “I have a little higher grade on Perryman than I probably should, but we like thumpers and badasses inside, and he’s both,” the scout said.

    An AFC regional scout added, “He’s the type of guy you like having on your team because he brings toughness to practice.” Perryman received a third-round projection from the advisory board last winter but elected to return to school, and now ….

    NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah projects him as the No. 30 pick in the first round to the Packers. “Scouts love Perryman’s physical, angry playing style — he’s a burly, stout, old-school linebacker who wants to hit the ball carrier,” wrote NFL.com colleague


  22. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Scout’s Inc. reports that Miami senior LB Denzel Perryman was a standout at Senior Bowl practices.

    “He diagnosed plays quickly against the run in the nine-on-seven period and showed good awareness in zone coverage in the seven-on-seven period,” wrote Todd McShay, Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl. “He showed explosive closing power both as a tackler and in taking on blocks, and displayed good range. We like what we’ve seen from him on tape, as well. He has spent some time in our top 32 this season.”

  23. bucrightoff Says:

    Signing Suh was be a complete disaster, $40 million in cap space to him, GMC and Michael Johnson? Terrible idea. I get it, people want elite talent, you just can’t spend it all on one position.

    Doug Martin also has no trade value (no running backs do), so he’s a throw in in virtually any trade. To get back into the first round will cost at least two seconds and depending where in the first round, another first. Team is horrible and has lots of holes to fills. If anything we should be getting more picks and not trading them away.

  24. WS99 Says:

    Sup guys. Few quick things.

    A) I’ll take any lb from MIA wearing the #52. If the U works the same way, coaches will only allow you wear that number if you prove you can play like #52. Stupid yes, yet simple and true.

    B) punishing hits – we need more of that. If we can’t win games we might as well beat the chit out of as many people as possible. With that said Foster was a thumper too but now he has to think too much so it’s effecting his play, imo.

    As for Suh, the bucs don’t have the balls to sign Suh but him and the ice cream man are good friends so I can see a mutually beneficial relationship there. One needs to tone it down and there other needs to turn it up.

    Last point, lovie said his defense isn’t passive yet “It is a safe defense because the middle linebacker is dropping deep.”. You see you can’t fix a problem unless you admit you have one. It’s not the Tampa 2 that’s a tool, it’s Lovie who’s is the tool. Okay, let the ridicule begin …

  25. Skyline Crew Says:


    Winston was on that list as well of 10 players that need to prove themselves.

  26. Skyline Crew Says:

    We won’t get Perryman unless we trade back or trade back into the first.

  27. ddneast Says:

    Strange how Brian Uhlracker knew he needed to improve his pass coverage skills and worked diligently on it in the off season.
    Luke Kueckly wanted to improve his pass rushing skills and did the same last year.
    I wonder what Mason Foster has been working on during the last four years in the offseason.
    The Bucs need to find more players who are dedicated to the game and improving their game. Not just being content to make the team.

  28. Skyline Crew Says:


    It isn’t hard to make the team. Maybe the Bucs should hold open tryouts like the Eagles did back in the day.

  29. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    We’ve already got a beast in Lavonte David.

    Adding Denzel Perryman to the squad, is like adding Bobby Wagner to the linebacking core#insane

  30. tmaxcon Says:


    Urlacher played safety in college at times at New Mexico. He was in a “Hybrid” defense which was brought into question when he was being evaluated how he would translate to traditional NFL defenses. His pass coverage skills have always been strong.

    I like Mason Foster but the bucs need an upgrade. I would not question Fosters work ethic what I would mention is the guy was thrown into the fire and had 3 different defenses to learn in 4 years. If you don’t like the guys play that’s one thing but don’t attack his work ethic or priorities.

  31. WS99 Says:

    Yahoo sports is reporting that Suh wants to play for Seattle. Wonder how that would work? If they can’t afford Russell and marshawn how can they afford all 3?

  32. Kalind Says:

    Name to remember: Benardrick McKinney. Guy is 6’5″ and supposedly can run.

    I love the idea of having him cover Jimmy Graham. Talk about a small window.

  33. WS99 Says:

    LVD + Perryman + Lansanna = I’m excited already.

    LVD + Lansanna (mlb) + Foster = Certainly worth a look.

  34. Kalind Says:

    Problem with Perryman, is the dudes a shrimp. We’ve alrdy got David who is very small for a LB. having two is dangerous. We need a guy with some size back there. Perryman weighed in ok, but the tape measure only went up to like 5’10. That’s really short for a LB. especially one tasked with covering TEs.

  35. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Seattle Current Cap Space ($23,195,405)

    Brandon Mebane-DT-$5,500,000
    Tony McDaniel-$3,000,000
    Zach Miller-$2,390,625

    Richard Sherman-$12,200,000
    Cliff Avril-$8,000,000
    Michael Bennett-$8,000,000

    Yeah, you would end up in cap purgatory. But good Lawd that defense would be insane

  36. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    LVD + Perryman + Lansanna. Ouch!!!


    Lol, Derrick barely 6 ft with gators on. Same can be said for Ray Ray. And countless others..Don’t let those inflated measuring tapes fool U..lol

  37. ddneast Says:

    Some f you guys rally do have vacant weed infested posts for brains. Casillas will be gone next year or he will have to take a significant salary hit from I the cap stressed Patriots. He was rarely a starter and played mainly on special teams. The Pats were desperate of LB help when they took him and we got rid of a big salary from a non starter who stated publicly he wanted to be back in NO.
    He might get the chance this year if he doesn’t renegotiate.

  38. Joe Says:


    No idea about Perryman. Just stating Lovie won’t use a high pick on a MLB who can’t cover in pass defense.

  39. RustyRhinos Says:

    Totally down with this WS99
    “punishing hits – we need more of that. If we can’t win games we might as well beat the chit out of as many people as possible.”

    We do not need the turf making players concerned to head down to Tampa Bay to play, they should have concerns because our players will hit you. If we are winning or losing. We will hit you.
    Go Bucs!

  40. BigMacAttack Says:

    Lovie is a tool

  41. bucs4lyfe Says:

    being that lovie was a linebacker and started out a linebackers coach and also considering the kind of linebackers he’s drafted in the past it’s not much of a stretch to go out on a limb and say that when he drafts a linebacker chancers are it’s going to be a pretty good one

  42. Owlykat Says:

    If you will remember, Joe, when the story ran that Foster was losing weight early in this past season, I said that was not going to work. He has too slow a 40 time to ever cover passes deep, and he would get run over in the run game against Carolina in the first game! I knew what I was talking about. For a Defensive Coach like Lovie and such a talented evaluator of talent like Licht not to have known that, is not reassuring to me. The solution was obvious to me–the reason Lovie’s defenses were so good was because he had Urlacher in the middle who could slam the run but fast enough to cover passes deep. I told everyone how to get an Urlacher Clone–Max on the Houston Practice Squad, but nobody listened.