Defense A Strength?

May 19th, 2015
Is the defense of the Bucs, led by LB Lavonte David, truly a "strength?"

Is the defense of the Bucs, led by LB Lavonte David, truly a “strength?”

Yes, Joe knows the Bucs defense last year wasn’t always humming. Hell, what was? The team finished 2-14.

Whenever anyone talks Bucs — including Joe — keep whispering to yourself: 2-14.

That is why Joe’s goals for this year are humble. Joe still thinks six wins behind a rookie quarterback would mark solid progress. Any time a team can triple its wins from the previous season, that’s progress by any measure.


Last September, the defense was so bad Joe could barely look at the TV screen. It was like watching video of the aftermath of what a monster tornado does to a tiny Midwestern town. The only thing you see are streets, chimneys and debris, with townfolks standing dazed.


But the defense improved, yes it did — slowly but surely as the season went on. The defense that got chain-whipped in Atlanta to a losing Dixie Chicks team — in prime time no less — was a far cry from the defense that held the mighty Packers to 20 points at home in December. That is progress.

But is it a “strength?” Andrew Astleford of Fox Sports Florida seems to think so.

Despite all the attention paid to the Bucs’ offensive evolution in the offseason, headlined by the addition of quarterback Jameis Winston as the top overall pick in the most recent draft, Tampa Bay’s defense should begin the season as the team’s assumed strength. Linebacker Lavonte David and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy will anchor a unit that, despite its growing comfort with coach Lovie Smith’s plan, still leaves room for improvement. Tampa Bay finished 25th in the NFL in both scoring (25.6 points per game allowed) and yards allowed (368.9 per game) last year.


There is a reason why the Bucs had the opportunity to draft “America’s Quarterback,” Jameis Winston, No. 1 overall, and it wasn’t from the benefit of a trade. It’s hard to refer to any area of this team as a “strength.” If a team truly had a strength, then it wouldn’t have finished in the (Lovie’s?) basement of the NFL.


But Joe sees where Astleford is coming from. Given how the defense improved last year, given some solid if not gifted players on defense, given how this is the second year in a system that Warren Sapp himself claims takes two years to learn, the defense very well could be a strength this season.

But please do not forget…


63 Responses to “Defense A Strength?”

  1. Bucsalltheway Says:

    2-14 is the number I want to see opposing qb’s looking like in the first quarter of games this year comp-Att ratio lol

  2. Captain Doom Says:

    read the title…….BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    just wait till teams stop sleeping on us if Koetter puts up the points I think he will.

    they’ll be exposed again like they were last year. after 56-0 in the 3rd every team in the league marked the bucs on their calendar for their weekend bender followed up by a 1/2 a$$ effort against the yucs on Sunday.

  3. bucs4lyfe Says:

    Nah 2-14? yes 2-14 talent? at quarterback, offensive line and offensive coordinator yes that’s for sure but this team has more than enough talent to win games last year especially considering you lost 9 games by less than a touchdown with that awful defense. ryan tannehill came in as a rookie and dolphins went 7-9 so theres no reason why bucs shouldn’t go 8-8 in this division. change over in leadership in Atlanta helps, saints aren’t what they used to be and Carolina is still average enough to beat. throw in a weak schedule and 6 win season equals another let down by lovie. theres nothing to gain by drafting first overall this year except additional draft pick

  4. The Buc Realist Says:

    The defense is a strength, when compared to the offense and special teams of the Bucs,

    When compared to “real” NFL defenses, not so much!!!

  5. ilg insomniac Says:

    I definitely think the defense will be better. it got better last year alone with a garbage offense..most likely this year is going to get even more better because we have less turnovers better offensive play defensive be on the field less

  6. pick6 Says:

    The second half of the season there was improvement, but particularly encouraging to me was the team’s play in the first half of games. the defense mostly broke down late in games after a dozen three-and-outs by their offense left them gassed and in repeatedly awful field position.

    if we improve time of possession and just play more snaps on offense, the defense would be improved by default.

  7. pick6 Says:

    *i meant “the _defense’s_ play in the first half of games”. offense and ST, not encouraging at all

  8. bucs4lyfe Says:

    Defense is going to have to play big. if I know lovie he’s going to be his best self and do what he knows by trying to run the ball as much as possible, the o line and running backs are going to have to show up big time just to get 6 winst even though im hoping for atleast 8-8

  9. Ray Rice Says:

    Beast LVD is a strength in his own right! Aunt Geraldine will just keep finding ways to talk, talk, talk, and talk some more. Sure would be great to see the self proclaimed leader Whodini Geraldini show up in crunch time and make a play.

  10. WS99 Says:

    Maybe next year Marinelli will come to tampa and then we’ll have a good defense. Where’s LVds contract?

  11. mike Says:

    as bad as the d was through the 1st half of the year, it looked like a top 10 d last half of year. However, it couldn’t get that 1 big play or that one big stop when it needed it. Hope that changes.

  12. WalkdaPlank Says:

    Lavonte David “America’s Linebacker”!

  13. Buc-A-New Says:

    I am convinced that with all the Pass Rushers drafted this yr that there will be some good Re Treads let go of in FA. I think we will score some good depth then.

  14. Martinii Says:

    Keep thinking 2-14 = self-fulfilling prophecy.

  15. Casual Observer Says:

    Defensive tackle seems to be the strength of the team, with the addition of Melton. Plus the rookie from Idaho looks good on paper. Hope they can keep him. The new safety, a second round pick stolen off the waiver wire, may start too. Lots of reasons for optimism.

  16. ATrain Says:


    But let remember a few points.
    Several of those games were lost by less than a TD.
    No OC and QB coach calling plays
    New coach and staff

    Bucs Fans I’m saying it now 8-8 at least
    This team has a new attitude.
    A great OC
    And a New QB to get behind ( yes I said that)

  17. Warren Says:

    Not sure why Lovie went away from Lavonte as his defensive QB but I think it should start there. Let David and GMC lead…and follow or get out of their way

  18. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    I don’t know call me anal but can anyone tell me what Pete Carroll’s defence ranked his first season with the Seahawks? I’m willing to wager anything that it didn’t tank in the top ten or hell even in the middle of the league for that matter.

  19. The Buc Realist Says:


    Because 20 years ago, the Tampa 2 defense always had the mlb call all the plays. And we all know that Lovie does not like change or adjustments!!!

  20. Kevin Says:

    Anyone see the Clinton Mcdonald press conference. Dude looks JACKED!!!!! WAAAAAAAAAY leaner than last year. Looks like a BEAST!!!!!!! Even though he’s wearing a long sleeved shirt it’s easy to see he’s has been working hard during the offseason.

  21. WS99 Says:


    I saw it but wait till you get a hold on LVD. Dude looks like he added 20lbs of muscle. He literally looks like the guy from beetlejuice with the shrunken head.

  22. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    I think one of the keys to this franchise turning around in a couple of years depends on how these two o-linemen drafted this year perform. If they turn out to be good we can draft a stud DE next year and a safety or two and be on out way. Man do I hope they pan out.

  23. BuccaneEric Says:

    Just because we lost a lot of close games does not mean anything for next season. I think the stat I read was that 65% of games are decided by 7 points or less. Any team can look at their losses and say “a play here or there” and play the what if game. The 2 losses I look at that I feel we really should have won were the Evans game and the 12 man game. The last game, we all know that should have been a win, but I digress! Our season will go as Jameis goes. He’s a rookie that has a problem with ball security. I’m hoping for a 20TD-20INT season. That would be my benchmark. If he does that with say 55% completion with 6.5-7 Yd per attempt, I think we can win 7 or 8 games. Even Andrew Luck as a Rookie was at about the stats I mentioned so I can’t expect more than that. Of course our Record based on that comparison would depend on how talented a team each of us feel the Colts had his rookie year. I think that team was more talented, just my opinion, could be wrong! Lol

  24. Jaboo Says:

    [Dear Capt. Tim, DB55, TheDon, dmatt, matt, pick6, WS99 and Jaboo: Please stick with one username or you may not be able to use any username. Either all of you live together and share the same computer or someone has a lot of issues that they need eight usernames. Like hiding behind one username isn’t weird enough. Or is it really that boring in Windermere?– Joe]

  25. Buc-A-New Says:

    Hey Mike Glennon threw at least One TD pass in his first 8 games. He also threw 10 TDs to only one INT in his first 10 TDs. With us having a better QB, an actual OC, a QB coach that is older than the QB, a better OL and JW having ME13 in his rook yr the sky SHOULD be the limit right???
    Wish I could hang and talk but I am the Little League coach here and practice is in 15 minutes. See y’all in a couple hrs

  26. BuccaneEric Says:

    B A N, I hope your right! They’re not the same player thought. Glennon could be Capt’n checkdown a lot. Winston is going to try and fit the ball in there. That’s good and bad, and as a Rookie, mostly bad. Even Koetter said that Jameis should be afraid of some throws that Winstons not afraid of.

  27. BuccaneEric Says:

    Though, not thought! Lol

  28. Digga101 Says:

    2 And 14 and the defense is a strength,well if every where else is weak, pick the strongest of the weak

  29. Buccfan37 Says:

    WS99.. the guy from Beetlejuice with the shrunken head. Hilarious! That also sounds like what the Mariota backers might look like right about now.

  30. Dave Pear Says:

    You have more aliases than Prince.
    I thought you lived in Cali not Windemere.
    Dang Bro.
    I love ya anyway.

  31. Dave Pear Says:


  32. Dougy balls Says:

    Lol. Joe calling it out

  33. Dougy balls Says:

    It’s amazing what and ip address will show. Need to spend more time learning how to reroute and ip than figuring out what name your going to use next

  34. The Buc Realist Says:

    oil derrick brooks was my favorite name.

    Joe, please make a pole of our favorite commenter’s usernames!!!

  35. Buc-A-New Says:

    If Joe is doing a poll of favorite commenter’s usernames then I am staying the freak out of it.

  36. Dougy balls Says:

    Joe is he the infamous Pablo we been looking for

  37. Buc-A-New Says:

    The real DB55 is a cool dude. I think someone else made a username next to his.

  38. Buc-A-New Says:

    ” Like hiding behind one username isn’t weird enough. Or is it really that boring in Windermere?– Joe]”
    Don’t you call yourself Joe and talk in third person?

  39. lord Says:

    Top 10 defense in points allowed average for the last 10 weeks of the season. I’d say that’d be the statistical strength of a 2-14 team. They added potential starters and depth at DE/MLB/OLB/S/CB to this same unit. The NFL is incredibly unpredictable but there are reasons to feel optimistic about the D

  40. lord Says:

    Oh forgot DT. Melton could be a big contributor

  41. drdneast Says:

    The team is one edge rusher and MLB away from having a Top Ten defense. DT’s led all teams in combined sacks last year. Cornerbacks and safety play is getting better. If Lovie and Licht can find a player who can add 6 to 7 sacks on the right side in addition to George Johnson or Jacues Smith and our FA works out at MLB, we could have something good here.

  42. Tampa Tony Says:

    Good defenses protect leads and don’t give up game winning drives easier than McCown gave us fumbles. Lovie neutered Lavonte, who had ZERO splash plays in year one of Loser Lovie’s dated scheme.

    Can’t wait until Harbaugh comes back to the NFL and builds a title team.

  43. drdneast Says:

    Ray Rice won’t ever be happy with Gerald McCoy until he stomps on a defenseless player. spits on a player or cheap shots a QB. That’s how Ray Rice judges how good of an NFL player you are. Lee Roy Selmon is a loser in Ray Rice’s eyes

  44. Buc-A-New Says:

    I am going to go on record saying that I believe you are right drdneast. RR along with several others. Guy gets more QB pressures than any DT in football next to JJ Watt and idiots think that because he doesnt have 10+ sacks and pats guys on the back after good plays that he sux. SMH. Some people have never played DL

  45. lord Says:

    One more interesting fact – In Pete Carrols first year the Seahawks were ranked 25th in average points allowed. Same as the 2014 Bucs. They were 7th, 1st, 1st, and 1st the following 4 years.

    They also didn’t draft all offense like the Bucs the first 2 years but hey why not us?! Here’s to insane optimism in May f*ck yea go Bucs!

  46. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    Thanks lord,I appreciate your homework. What it shows me is a quick turn around is possible. I think we’ll observe such turn in this teams D this up coming season. People talk like all pros are necessary at every position in order to have a top ten defence I beg to differ. Time will tell us though.

  47. BuccaneEric Says:

    To me, this season is a throw away season. The only 2 things I’m looking for is improvement from our defense, and improvement from Winston. I guess I shouldn’t say throw away. That would imply that nothing mattered. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m not concerned with wins and losses as long as the D and Winston are showing signs of growth. But if that means 11 wins, I’m all for it!!! Lol!!!

  48. WS99 Says:

    My bad joe. I just change names to be funny but obvious I’m not. Point taken won’t happen again. Btw Ive only used WS99, Brett Farve “did somebody say interception?” And just the jaboo today to say “14-2”. The rest of the names are not me.

  49. WS99 Says:

    I used DB55 last year but haven’t used it in a while.

  50. Buc1987 Says:


    Windermere was established in 1889 and chartered in 1925.

    During late 2007, the Town of Windermere filed a proposal to annex Isleworth and Butler Bay, a wealthy subdivision. This was met with extensive debate from town residents and an objection from Orange County, which stood to lose millions of dollars of property tax revenue. After lengthy discussions, and battles with the county, Isleworth remained in the county, but Butler Bay was annexed into Windermere, with over 90% of its residents approving annexation via a mail-in ballot.

  51. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    Thanks Buc1987 I’ve lived in Orlando all my life and would’ve never known about that bit of central Florida history had you not just took the time to share it with. I am officially more educated.

  52. WS99 Says:

    For whatever it’s worth I live in tampa. Brandon really but zip says tampa.

  53. Buc-A-New Says:

    I live about 3000 miles away as the crow flies DB. If JW ano BUCS?d co. can get us to .500 by mid season I have committed to flying down there for a game. G

  54. Buc-A-New Says:

    Jeesh my mouse pad is way too wigged out. I think I spilt some Beam on it.

  55. Owlykat Says:

    We will have a Top Ten Defense from the start of the season. You heard it here first. Watch and see. The Offense will depend on how well the OL plays and how quick JW can mature in reading Pro Defenses. We will see great improvement with just our new OC who can make adjustments. I hope the 235 pound RB from Louisville can be the big running back our OC likes to use and can make holes on his own, and can block if we get hit with a lot of blitzes to try and rattle our Rookie QB. Move our third round W.Va. RB from last year to slot receiver. With great hands and elusive running style in the open field just think about YAC this year. He runs too upright inside the tackles to be a successful starter at RB. Now if our seventh pick can play like Alstott, this team can win our conference this year with improved OL play. We now have two speedy WRs in Bell and Murphy who can all be run deep along with Evans and two Safeties can’t cover all three and JW is very accurate on deep throws so we can also score quickly at the end of games to win too. We can be elite next year with just a great DE and a better OL Coach. A lot to like ahead!

  56. Joe Says:


    No big issue man. Just that eight usernames are using the same computer (or IP address) in Windemere (per IP tracker). That’a crazy unless it is a Starbucks or Panera.

  57. WS99 Says:

    Idk nothing about windmere brother, dispute 87s history lesson. And I’m still confused. Att LTE and Fios bruh that’s a mister knows. I got nothing but love for JBF. No issues.


  58. WS99 Says:

    Plus I don’t do Starbucks or panera. I do cafecito(s) and Cubano cheese toast. You know what’s up.

  59. Pick6 Says:

    Joe, not sure what the issue might that you are seeing with my username, but I have used the same one since the founding of your site. I have posted in the past week from Dallas, Tampa, Atlanta, and Los Angeles (I travel lot for work), so I have no earthly idea why my IP address would be showing up the same as anybody else’s…let alone that of 7 other users in Windermere

  60. Pick6 Says:

    Joe you’ve got the email I list for every post I have ever written since around the time Jon Gruden was fired, if you need to verify I’m a unique user you know how to reach me

  61. PocketPirate Says:

    If you guys all use FIOS you may be running through a proxy somewhere.

  62. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    Owlykat you are one half full kind of guy. Top 10 defense? Have you looked at who we have on the roster as DEs and safeties? The Tampa 2 needs a good pass rush and we have practice squad guys at those spots. This means the secondary is going to get tested often. We have a bunch of back ups out there with the likes of Chris Conte and Brandon McDougald.

    You go on to say that you’re hoping a seventh rounder is the next Alstott! Good chance he barely makes the practice squad. I didn’t even know we had a back that went to Louisville. Would be nice if all your predictions turned out to be correct but not very likely to say the least.

  63. Jody Says:

    This defense will still be 25th. They cannot get to the QB. If they win a game this season I will be shocked. The defense will be on the field the whole game with Winstons interceptions.