“You Can’t Really Run That”

May 27th, 2015
Ross Tucker of NBC Sports Network isn't a believer in the Tampa-2.

Ross Tucker of NBC Sports Network isn’t a believer in the Tampa-2.

Last year, the echoes from none other than former Bucs Super Bowl-winning coach Chucky bounced off the walls of NFL offices when he repeatedly stated on Monday Night Football that the Tampa-2 is near death in the pass-happy NFL.

While one could point to Dallas as an example that the Tampa-2 isn’t dead, naysayers pointed to the Bucs as an example that Chucky has an idea about what he is talking.

Joe spoke with many NFL types over the offseason that basically said the Tampa-2 is not dead, but evolving. Throw in Ross Tucker as one who believes in the Gospel of Chucky.

Tucker, a former NFL offensive lineman who gets paid good coin talking about the NFL for NBC Sports Network and SiriusXM NFL Radio, stated Monday on Pro Football Talk Live that the Tampa-2 is past its time and that is another reason why the Bucs will struggle this fall.

Here is the thing: Lovie doesn’t always play Tampa-2, so those who say the Tampa-2 is evolving are either watching the Bucs or are familiar with Lovie’s defense.

Time and again last offseason — damn if Joe could only get a nickel for every time he heard this — Bucs great Warren Sapp pleaded that it takes two years to learn and master the defense.

So this will be a pivotal season in a lot of ways for the Bucs. If the defense, which showed signs of improvement last year, can become, say, a top-10 defense, then it is reasonable to conclude the Tampa-2 is not dead.

If the Bucs again struggle defensively this fall and land in the bottom half of the league, then Chucky, Tucker and the naysayers will probably be right.

36 Responses to ““You Can’t Really Run That””

  1. pick6 Says:

    never seen it run well without a tremendous talent at the LB level and a strong interior DL. you need some great players, but so does every defense. i feel like in Cover 2\Tampa 2, you can get away with 7 of the 11 just being athletic and assignment-sound. outside of a handful of names, it was often said that the system made the player in our own heyday. we didn’t have many cases of guys going and thriving in other defenses after they left tampa

  2. Scott Says:

    we ran Tampa 2 on pretty much every play. Maybe some personnel switches but that is evident by the lack of sacks by anyone outside the D line.

  3. Buc-A-New Says:

    Ross Tucker…….”America’s Tampa 2 Doubter”

  4. R.O. Says:

    Ummmmmm Seattle runs a version. It’s all about the Dline when running zone schemes.

  5. The Buc Realist Says:

    Lovie Tampa 2 is not dead, “If” he has a top 10 running offense, and the offense wins time of possession, and Lovie has overwhelming talent in multiple positions on defense, and great special teams that can keep the other offense on the opposite side of the field with great coverage. Then “then” Lovie’s Tampa 2 can work well!

  6. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We have the Tampa 2……..LVD & GMC….

  7. Buccfan37 Says:

    If the Tampa 2 is old and worn out and no longer feasible, what does that say for Lovie and his philosophy?

  8. ak427er Says:

    seattle runs a cover 3. its a different D. it doesn’t have the holes in coverage the cover 2 does.

  9. Horice Says:

    It’s funny that me and my friend just had a two hour conversation about this yesterday. I’ve successfully coached AAU Basketball for quite sometime now. I explained to him that years ago I started teaching the Triangle Offense. Many Coaches said it was outdated, but my team(s) keep beating them when it counts. Like the Tampa 2 my teams look a mess in the beginning until the concepts are learned, then it’s a steam roll. We have over the years incorporated different systems into it but the foundation stays the same. So my argument with him is I don’t believe any system is outdated, and “everybody” runs versions of the system calling it something different but using the same foundation. My concern with the Bucs are the DL, if the ones who don’t get double or triple team cannot apply pressure, and the keep relying on McCoy were dead. My quote is the team will go (wins) as far as the DL takes them. I have little concern for the Offense thanks to Kotter & Jameis.

  10. Horice Says:

    Seattle runs cover 2 and cover 3. And there are always holes in zone defenses. And the Bucs didn’t always run zones last year.

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

    If we eliminated the term Tampa2 and instead called it the cover2 this wouldn’t be a conversation. It’s the Jamies affect,he’s now in the building and everyone has an opinion about Buccs business. No one seems to be questioning Ron Rivera,Pete Carrol,Jason Garrett and now Dan Quinn. Put the word Tampa in front of it and everyone seems to get a little sand in they’re pantie.

  12. drdneast Says:

    You need the right players to run the Tampa 2 defense.
    At least the players know what defense they are in and trying to run.
    During the two previous years it looked like we were trying to run a version of the Chinese fire drill. I never saw such confusion in the defensive backfield.
    Every team in the NFL still runs the Tampa Two at times, which is just two high safeties.
    The whole defense is predicated on getting pressure on the QB so he makes mistakes. No pressure, no mistakes.

  13. SteveK Says:

    Our defense will not work without a true edge rush presence. It just won’t.

  14. ak427er Says:

    “We play man-to-man or Cover-3, not much more than that. It’s not a secret.” – Kam Chancellor, January 2013

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

    Man Kam if you’ve taken notice,then I know the whole d@$! league carefully watching. We coming big homie.

  16. Tom S. Says:

    Let everyone else run the 3-4, try to compete with each other for hybrid LB’s oversized ends and nose tackles and be one of the few teams that is able to take talented but undersized LB’ers and DE’s on the cheap.

    Tucker is right in that you need talent to be good at the Tampa 2, because you need talent to be good at anything. Much like when Dungy and Co were filling the roster with players that fit the scheme in the 90’s, it’s nice to get the players you need to fit your scheme without paying full price.

  17. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Ya seattle rarely plays cover 2 and they run a dime defense a ton with their FS earl thomas 25 yards off the balla nd kam chancleor the $$ robbing the underneath throws….basically the NFL teams run a 4-2 defense or a shell of that, that came up from the college level when most colleges employed that to defend the spread…you can call a defense a 3-4, but both the 3-4 and 4-3/4-2 with the front 7 or 6 do the same things just with different personnel…with the NFL downgrading the rb and going to more quick passing you need more athletes on the field trying to guard that, which seattle has done the best lately with that philosophy

  18. WS99 Says:

    I think the issue with the T2 specifically here in the NFCS is that our division has been building rosters to defeat the T2 for a decade now. Dungy didn’t have many 6’6″ TEs to contend with or 6’6″ rcvs or QBs with years of experience going up against the T2.

    Basically what we have is 3 offenses that know the T2 better than our own defensive unit. I don’t know how that is a recipe for success, especially without the key components to make it successful ie MLB, safety and DE.

  19. Tom S. Says:

    SteveK, the Tampa 2 ran just fine without a true ‘edge rush’ in the 90’s. The thing that makes it go is a 3-technique DT, which coincidentally we have in McCoy. The teams of the 90’s had Chidi Ahanotu, Marcus Jones, Tyoka Jackson and Steve White. Were any of those guys all-pros? Nope. Was the defense still top 5 to top 10 without one? Yup.

  20. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Tom S you def need the rush but thing that makes it go today in passing league is the deep hole player who can cover a verticle by jimmy graham and we don’t have that nor have had that according to lovie mason foster couldnt do it

    Schiano’s hybrid dfense is what is all over the NFL, its what the coach in atlanta runs, its what muschamp and him ran at UF, its what many teams in the SEC run these days where you have a “base D” and then can run multiple fronts and maybe show a cover 2 shell but keep the offense guessing on whether you are in cover 2, 3, 4 or a combo or man…cover 2/4 was a defense the bucs ran 15 years, when you needed the bucs safeties in teh box quickly to stop the run
    again having 4 guys that can get depth in backfielddefinitely makes the qb decide quicker which helps slow down the slot or TE from getting into the back guys

  21. Tampa Tony Says:

    Lovie is too soft to adapt. Cbs playing 10 yards away from receivers. Not blitzing lvd who thrived in
    Schianos d but looks average with Lovie

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

    I’m curious to know those three offences WS99.

  23. LargoBuc Says:

    Tampa two is not dead and to say so is foolish. All Tampa two is is a coverage. Its purpose is to force the quarterback to checkdown by takibg away his receiver(s) running a streak by sending two safties and your mike down field. In theory it should result in a fourth and short, assuming the tight end has been accounted for. In that regard, Leslie should’ve subbed Barron in as a sam on third and long, assuming thats legal. Barron could cover most tight ends while the safties provide help over top. But instead, he didnt fit the round hole and was traded.
    Perhaps Lovie and Leslie ran Tampa two too much. It seemed like a majority of the plays were Tampa two or cover three out of a cover one shell. We all knew that safety was gping to fly upfiield if the play was a pass. So while Leslie shouldve mixed it up more, the Tampa two is not dead, it just needs to be called responsibly, not unlike any coverage. Who ever claims it is dead either has an agenda, or is clueless.

  24. WS99 Says:



  25. tmaxcon Says:

    It’s not lovies scheme or The Tampa2 that’s the problem it’s the passive execution and the over conservative philosophy that lovie chooses to play not to lose versus playing to win.

  26. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    Dallas led the NFL in time of possession , and did very well with the Tampa 2 last year.
    Now you know why Lovie wants to run the ball so much.
    He wants to control the clock, and time of possession, so his defense has the chance to rest.

    Our defense was gassed, much of the time last year, because of our 3 and out offense.
    A gassed defense don’t rush the passer very well, especially with only 4 guys.
    A Tampa 2 defense w/o a pass rush is not a pretty thing to watch 🙁

    Things will be MUCH improved this year, just wait and see.

  27. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Chris Dallas has one of the NFL all-time best Ols and then a guy who has been running with the history books…..tampa has neither…..the bottom line is it is a defense that under performs and is porrly called and did not have the players in position to succeed last year

  28. PocketPirate Says:

    On the contrary the Tampa 2 is a remarkably vicious defense with the right personel. It encourages and creates an environment of gang tackling that causes turnovers. It forces long plays into short ones and empowers defensive players to make plays in front of them and consequently hit harder and react faster. It is a “swarm to the ball” defense. With a couple
    More excellent personnel this is a top 5 defense.

  29. PocketPirate Says:

    Grudens offense would have had no chance against his defense in our super bowl season. He should know better.

  30. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    As mentioned above its not the tampa 2 defense that is all about the swarming and whatever, the “Tampa 2” is a pass coverage period…the defense the bucs ran under Dungy and gruden with kiffin is an under front or perhaps an over front which the U made famous going against oklahoma……basically the fron is a 5 man front with a sam LB outside and then Derek brooks inside as the W and then whoever as the Mike….the problem that makes the under or the over not as effective these days is the spread look…because of the type of playesr you need to run this defense, then you get outmatched like Atlanta,No, and carolina do every year to us….again if you have 4 stud DL or maybe even 3 stud Dl and that edge rusher that are effective to get to the QB or perhaps with some blitzes, then you are set…..but the “Tampa 2” is a coverage and the bucs ran the basic cover 2 and mixed in the cover 3 alot with ronde being deep middle sometimes in their nickel packages…. i would imagine that lovie and leslie have gone to a more hybrid version of the buces under/over front with the new passing/spread offense and are less sitting in the Tampa 2 for 60 minutes, at least I hope they did that in the basement

  31. LakelandBuc Says:

    Last year the Tampa 2 didn’t work was because of the poor performance from the players in the defense,we need sacks from our DE’S ,better pass defense from our Linebackers,turnovers from our Corners and Safeties.

  32. ak427er Says:

    the tampa 2 is not a coverage. cover 2 is a coverage. the tampa 2 is a base 4-3 under with cover 2 coverage. it has holes in the coverage (mostly the seam and between the corners and safety on 10-12 yrd passes) but will work if you get good pressure. i wish we would try to run cover 3 but from what i understand it is a very basic defense that most people stop running in college because it is easy to pick apart. seattle has elite players who are very smart and, because of that, can run it well. i think earl thomas is the straw that stirs the drink in seattle. but the basic idea coverage wise is corners play zone unless they are out wide and their man goes deep, then they stay in man with him. that eliminates the big hole between the corners and safeties on deep balls. the linebackers (weak and sam) drop on pass plays and fan out more than they do in the cover 2. that eliminates the holes in the seam. earl thomas plays down near the box and plays the run hard but has the instincts to quickly get out into coverage on passes. without thomas i don’t think they would be as good. we will see atlanta try and run the cover 3 with inferior defensive talent and see how it works for them. it’s not a perfect D but it sure does eliminate thos 2 big problems in the cover 2.

  33. PocketPirate Says:

    It is play action plus seam routes (or having a coverage mismatch like Jimmy Graham) that can give the Tampa 2 fits. You must have extremely athletic LBs that do not bite on play action and can stay with TEs. It’s really only the power run game it is susceptible to but that’s due to undersized speedy linemen. Fortunately we have GMC in the middle to help with that. As designed, everything is covered- you just need the right man for the job.

  34. Brandon Says:

    Yeah, T-2 won’t work anymore. Seattle can never win running it… Carolina, I don’t know why Atlanta decided to start running it, Jacksonville, Dallas stinks…. uh wait….. Didn’t 3 of the NFL’s division winners run the T-2…. uh, yes. Gruden and anybody that agrees with him are morons.

  35. georgia buc fan 39 years Says:

    Bring back Rice and Ronde then will talk T2

  36. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Brandon, Seattle doesnt run it and atlanta isnt going to run it so the bucs and dallas run it…..dallas had worst defense in NFL past 4 years, then murray slows the game down and the defense is great….the defense the coach at atlanta runs is the new wave of nfl defenses….its a hybrid defense with that edge rusher….there is a reseason kiffins cover 2 got run out of the NCAA while at USC….it cannot effectively cover the spread offenses….they dont have the personell types…
    watch auburns defense this year and UF’s and atlanta’s those are the best defenses around