Will Bucs Defense Rise Up?

July 9th, 2015
Is Lovie Smith's defense in for another long year?

Is Lovie Smith’s defense in for another long year?

In the early handful of games last year, Lovie Smith’s famed defense was chain-whipped like few teams ever have been.

They were lit up so bad by the Crows and the Dixie Chicks that one didn’t dare light a cigar with the defense on the field because they were so flammable.

Yes, the defensive improved. How could it not? It was lower than rock bottom. Since Lovie came on board, the Bucs have drafted one defensive player. Just one, linebacker Kwon Alexander in the fourth round this year.

Pat Yasinskas of ESPN hinted that the lack of incoming talent on defense may again doom the team.

The Bucs ranked 25th in total defense in 2014 and they didn’t make a lot of moves this offseason. They drafted only one defensive player — linebacker Kwon Alexander in the fourth round. They did sign free-agent linebacker Bruce Carter, who should give them a more athletic presence in the middle, and they picked up D.J. Swearinger, who should start at strong safety. But the Bucs did very little to improve an outside pass rush that was mediocre last year. Their only addition at defensive end was George Johnson, who has six career sacks. They need Johnson and Jacquies Smith (6.5 sacks last year) to be active on the outside.

Well, as we all know, a team that wins but two games has more holes in it than a shooting range target. As Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht said after the draft, when asked about not picking a defensive end (in so many words) you can address only so many holes in one draft.

Lovie’s defense should be better. Players are in their second season running it. And the few second-tier free agents the Bucs signed seemed to address holes, and they are familiar with the defense.

Can the Bucs shut down opponents when the offense isn’t clicking? Joe isn’t so sure.

44 Responses to “Will Bucs Defense Rise Up?”

  1. Ray Rice Says:

    I will keep the garbage can next to the couch on Sunday just in case.

  2. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Our defense has more depth…..I am confident that it will perform better. I really like the Melton & Johnson additions to the line and believe Kwon Alexander will eventually start and excel.

  3. Stanglassman Says:

    I really liked the DT Henry Melton signing, I’d think that might be worth a mention. I know he won’t be a starter but he will be on rotation and this could keep McCoy fresh, is a good pass rusher and he can play some DE.

  4. Buccfan37 Says:

    You can’t always keep the Bucs down, you got to admit it’s getting better, it’s getting better all the time. Can’t get no worse. Getting so much better all the time.

  5. The Other Side of the Coin Says:

    The defensive players need to learn Lovie’s defense. Drafting new players on defense does not do this like bringing in free agents that have experience. New players to the scheme are always starting new. Once the base of players adept at his defense is set newly drafted players can be added.

    All the free agent additions know Lovie’s defense to some extent. Their learning curve is not so great as a newbie. Look for more new blood to be drafted next year. It will be easier for them to adapt to a defensive unit that already knows what they are doing.

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

    Once again the Dallas cowboys a team that was in the second year of a similar scheme had the lowest sack total in the entire nfl with 28 sacks. Coming off making history by giving up the most yards the year prior in nfl history and still were a call away from going to the nfc championship game to face a team they had already beaten on they’re turf in week 6. Who played defensive end for the cowboys last season?

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

    A call away in Lambeau against the great Aaron Rodgers,and spare me that bad leg chit he was on his way to another Superbowl were it not for his squeamish HC Mike McCarthy. Did the cowboys send a single defensive player to the pro bowl? Again who played defensive end for the cowboys? Anyone getting my drift.

  8. mac Says:

    Having the same scheme and the additions of Melton, Carter and Moore will help our defense improve…

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

    Must be something about that cover2 scheme. Cause in my opinion Dallas didn’t even have as Derrik Brooks mention “all the proper ingredients” but yet in still were a call away.

  10. Tampa Tony Says:

    Dallas wasn’t a call away as if Bryant did score GB still got the ball and had plenty of time to score on a passive defense they were moving the ball well against.

    Revisionist history is amusing.

    Back to our Bucs, no pass rush, means qbs will have lots of time to pick apart Lovies passive scheme. Especially if he doesn’t get creative with blitzes or adjust the cb play. Anyone else worried about carter playing a position he’s never played before?

  11. Dean Says:

    One of the requirements that is grossly overlooked, is the need for defenses to have certain attributes in their personnel, in order to play whatever defense is used by that team.

    We saw that last year. They called it the “learning curve” and the Bucs added several players that have already experienced that curve and will contribute positively this year.

    The ONE exception to the above “curve” is defensive end. Just rush the passer you A-hole. That’s as complicated as it gets.

    I can’t believe it is so difficult to find some one with size and strength, that has enough speed to put pressure on the QB. Yes, it may be a specilized talent, but there has to be an athlete roaming out there that wants to make 8 million plus.

  12. Buc-A-New Says:

    No Defense can play well when it has to be on the field for 40 minutes or more

  13. tmaxcon Says:

    this defense got worse not better. Melton is a head case & walking injury, conte is horrible walking concussion. Moore maybe better than LJ but he is very inconsistent and will get burned. Carter at MLB is a Gamble at best especially considering there are NO true MLB’s on the ENTIRE roster… NOT ONE SINGLE MLB with experience and you are going to say that position is improved that is ridiculous. Foster was not great but at least he had 3 years more experience at MLB than anyone currently on the roster… Lovie’s scheme is a joke. It’s not that it is the tampa 2 it’s the fact he is so darn passive and stubborn. He refuses to adjust his pathetic system to the talents his team has. PLAYERS WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS NOT SYSTEMS…. Those of you always crying seattle won with it, carolina won with etc… they have coordinators or head coaches who play to win…. They call a more aggressive game. Lovie plays NOT to lose and that is why he has never been nor ever will be a consistent winner.

    Lovie is the biggest problem the bucs face regardless of the nostalgic Love fest some of you have for him. 3 playoff wins in 10 years is laughable not legendary!

  14. pick6 Says:

    the cowboys went from historically bad to a top tier defense after 1 year in the scheme, so i take some heart from that. between that, adding in serviceable veterans who have run the system with success, and improving offensive Time of Possession, i think it would be hard for the defense to NOT look significantly better

  15. Buc1987 Says:

    THIS…this right here will be a major factor in whether Lovie’s still employed by the Bucs at the end of this coming season. If he gets to Joe’s 6 win total and the defense looks as bad as last season, then I think he’s toast.

  16. Buc1987 Says:

    Buc-A-New Says:
    July 9th, 2015 at 9:48 am

    “No Defense can play well when it has to be on the field for 40 minutes or more”

    You’re right but the defense played horrible right out the gate in most games. Let’s not pretend otherwise.

  17. Mike10 Says:

    I see a lot of defensive players brought in that should be contributing more to depth than the starting lineup – most were previously backups.

    BUT, that’s what u get when you have a 2-win team, a team full of players that wouldn’t start on other teams.

  18. pick6 Says:

    whether it’s alexander or carter, we upgraded over Foster at MLB. experience isn’t everything, ronde barber at his very best would have struggled covering guys outside in a man-to-man scheme. similarly, mason foster could not keep up with the scheme or his teammates and was constantly out of position and every veteran QB we faced exploited him relentlessly. just having a body in position takes away the main area of the field exploited by opponents in the passing game last year. i agree you fit your scheme to your talent….the thing is we did that. we have 2 elite talents on this defense (#93 and #54) and we are playing a scheme that should maximize their impact. if you are not a QB like Mariota or a consistent pro bowler or better and you don’t fit the scheme, the coach should be thinking about how to replace\re-train you, not how to alter the scheme for slightly above average players

  19. The Buc Realist Says:


    Bucs offense time of possession – 27:15
    Bucs defense time of possession – 32:45
    ( according to teamrankings dot.com )

    Looks like you need a new excuse for Lovie and that sorry defense that we saw last year!!!

  20. Tampa Tony Says:

    Pick6- this system effectively neutered David as a playmaking LB to someone who just makes a lot of tackles and doesn’t make any splash plays to stop offenses.

    Lovie needs to fit his scheme to maximize the talents of his best players but he fails at this

  21. Buc1987 Says:

    LOL Realist I didn’t even need to see the stats. We all saw it with our own eyes!

  22. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Lol Pat Y is the worst person covering the Bucs.

    I guess it doesn’t matter that the defense performed as a top 10 unit in points allowed the final 10 weeks after the bye week; with guys like j smith n McDonald emerging. Even if teams were letting up on us (which really doesn’t happen in the NFL) you’d still have to admit they were far away from their on the year rank that is scewed by HUGE blowouts early in the season when players didn’t know what they were doing.

    And how can you say they didn’t adreess it in the offseason when they literally signed a vet player with experience at every key position – DE/DT/MLB/CB/S?? Lol

    It’s ok to still be concerned but come up with some better reasoning

  23. Tampa Tony Says:

    I still don’t get the rationale that the D was SOOOOOOO much better. How many late leads did this team blow because, the d was so bad? How many backup qbs made this d look bad?

    Stop the excuses the d started awful then they became bad just bad. Top 10 defenses stop teams late and protect a 4th quarter lead. This d didnt

  24. Bama Rich Says:

    Lord Cornelius,

    Spot on assessment…I think we got better!

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

    Tampa Tony what you clairvoyant or something? You can guarantee Green Bay would’ve scored. Can I get those power ball numbers homie.

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

    Some of you will be acting like the Buccs number one fan here shortly. Just keep in mind though some folks are really astute at that cut and paste thing. I want you pessimist a$$holes to stay that way after the wins begin piling up. Hatin a$$s no need to type your phony a$$ names you know who you are.

  27. Buc1987 Says:

    Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. ….I tried that approach in the summer of 2013 and we still sucked.

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

    87 Jamies wasn’t leading that team.

  29. Buc1987 Says:

    Well that all depends on how you felt about Freeman before that season. I thought he was going to go out and play lights out during his contract year….and then. Well.

  30. Buc1987 Says:

    The teams was 7-9 the year before Schiano’s demise. Lovie’s team was 2-14 so you can’t expect too much optimism from a lot of Buc fans these days.

    I personally think Winston’s going to have a roller coaster of a first season. Lots of ups and lots of downs depending on the competition.

    But by the end of the season there will be no doubt in EVERY Buc fans mind that we have someone special playing behind center.

    I expect season ticket sales to skyrocket in 2016, because of Jameis Winston!

  31. tampa2bucsforever Says:

    The Buccaneers defense would have been ranked in the top ten for points allowed after the bye week (does not include offensive turnovers) last year. Which is an indicator that the defense played much better as the season wore on. Banks actually improved at one point to be ranked 13th overall in coverage by Pro Football Focus. Henry Melton, George Johnson (Johnson was ranked 9th overall in passing downs for PRP by PFF) and Sterling Moore are going to improve this defense. I am concerned about Bruce Carter but I look for Kwon Alexander to step up. I can not tell you in reviewing film how many times the defense was burned by screen passes over the middle. We need speed and Alexander has it. A lot of the time of possession was due to the lack of a running game last year. I believe the improved passing game will open up our running game. If Verner and Banks step up and McCoy stays healthy the defense will be fine.

  32. Buc1987 Says:

    Off topic : As I sit here waiting for the season like everyone else. I just had a thought. I miss Gene Deckerhoffs’s voice.

    That’s how bad I can’t wait until football season is for me. Even the little things I miss.

  33. bucs4lyfe Says:

    sure aren’t that many shutdown defenses left in the nfl if you ask me. defenses are basically needing to have those key turnovers, sacks or 3rd down stops to be effective. whether or not our team is successful this season will probably be about how many points we can score in the first half because if you have a high scoring offense you prevent teams from running the ball which is one of the tampa two weaknesses. you can have an average defense and be a really good team even a playoff team just ask aaron Rodgers or tony room. you can be the worst in the league at giving up rush and pass yards but a defense that keeps the opposing team out of the endzone im with that

  34. tampa2bucsforever Says:

    Maybe Joe should re-name this website joebuchaters.com or negativenancybucfan.com?

  35. Buc1987 Says:

    Oh here’s Gene calling Winston’s 5 TD game. Awesome highlights. Take it down if you like Joe.


  36. Joe Says:


    That couch line was beautiful!

  37. DooshLaRue Says:

    Hey Joe…..you ever consider outsourcing for a professional analogy writer?
    ; )

  38. Ray Rice Says:


    LOL. Glad you got that boss!

  39. Tampa Tony Says:

    Nole Buc Guy- just using probability and with how GB was moving the ball how could you not think that? After watching football for so long you can get a feel for how a unit is playing. GB offense would’ve scored in my view

    Here’s the power ball numbers. If you win pay the Joes to stop referring to Dom as a rockstar

    4 8 15 16 23 42

  40. WS99 Says:

    Jason Licht said after the draft, when asked about not picking a defensive end (in so many words) you can address only so many holes in one draft.
    I have a theory on this, I believe L&L moved up to draft Randy Gregory but Jerry Jones beat them to the punch so they were left with their pick in their hands, panicked and drafted Marpet. Not that I don’t like Marpet but don’t you think we should use a 2nd rnd pick for a day 1 starter?

    Like Licht said “so many holes”. If you wanted to gamble the pick away why not burn it on Le’al Collins? I’m all for a real life “Rudy” story but round 2 is still too valuable of a pick for a non-starter. I was all-in until I heard he is a bigger project than expected. Apparently the play book is tough, not to mention the completion he’ll face.

  41. Buc1987 Says:

    “I have a theory on this, I believe L&L moved up to draft Randy Gregory but Jerry Jones beat them to the punch so they were left with their pick in their hands, panicked and drafted Marpet.”

    99…I think you’re right. I was thinking the same thing when they traded up.

  42. BlogTalkFootball Says:

    Nice Beatles reference!

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

    Thanks for the numbers Tampa Tony. If I hit I’ll be sure to share some of the proceeds.

  44. LargoBuc Says:

    Yea Dallas was a call away from the NFC championship because of Romo, Bryant, Murray and that o line. The defense was pretty good. But the offense got Dallas where they went.