“If You Don’t Understand Where You Can Get Beat, Then You’re Beat.”

August 3rd, 2015
Ronde Barber opens up to Joe about the Bucs' defense.

Ronde Barber, and Bucs middle linebacker Bruce Carter, open up to Joe about the Tampa Bay defense.

When Joe thinks of the glory days Bucs defense, Joe thinks of the talent, precision and relentless hunger.

One thing Ronde Barber thinks about is how well the legendary unit understood its weaknesses.

Joe dove deep into Lovie Smith’s old school Tampa-2 defense with Barber yesterday.

After chatting with Barber at a giant Hooters fantasy football event at the Stadium on Dale Mabry Highway, Joe and Barber got much deeper on the Bucs’ practice field.

After former Bucs linebacker Ryan Nece talked about how the real learning curve in Lovie’s defense is about checking egos, not trying to make plays and trusting teammates, Joe sought to go deeper into that with Barber.

The Bucs icon didn’t back off his 2014 assertion that Lovie’s defense is simple and easy. Not a tough defense at all, Barber said.

“The guys on the back end have to understand their lanes and their zones and their drops, but it’s not difficult,” Barber said. “The safeties have to be able to trust the middle linebacker on his run through, the underneath guy’s got to be able to trust that they can move in space and make tackles. Derrick and I were so good at doing that. The learning curve is really steep, and once you get it, then it’s there. But it doesn’t mean it’s difficult. This team has the right pieces on defense. They got to do it, you know.”

Barber expressed that film revealed the Bucs defense repeating mistakes last season, which was discouraging. That is coaching to a degree, he said. One role of coaches, he said, is to help guys understand the holes of the scheme, not just teaching assignments.

“We were good at understanding the weaknesses of the defense,,” Barber said. “If you don’t know the weaknesses, if you don’t understand where you can get beat, then you’re beat, essentially. We were really good at that. We trusted everybody. That’s probably what Ryan [Nece] was talking about.”

The Bucs have a new quarterback of the defense, middle linebacker Bruce Carter, the former Cowboys outside linebacker.

Joe talked to Carter about trust in the defense yesterday, and Carter said while most veterans of the defense won’t enjoy hot days of practice in pads, he said that training camp is so critical to building the on-field trust and camaraderie necessary to execute.

“You have to fly around in this defense and play for each other. That’s when the system comes alive,” Carter said. “I wasn’t here last year, but it’s an easy defense because you don’t have to do multiple things, like in a 3-4 or other defenses. That slows guys down. But you need that trust and commitment to stay focused on your job and know what’s happening around you. I’ve seen this defense work. I think we’re going to get there pretty soon.”

No, Joe’s not in the camp that believes the Tampa-2 is dead and Lovie is a walking dinosaur teaching ancient history in a modern world. But Lovie is out of time.

Tampa Bay has experienced defenders all familiar with the system. Plus, they have legitimate superstars in Lavonte David and Gerald McCoy, and former Pro Bowlers in Alterraun Verner and Henry Melton (Joe doesn’t count Mike Jenkins) and a starting nose tackle with a Super Bowl ring in Clinton McDonald.

There is no reason why the Bucs shouldn’t be at least an average defense this year. No excuses.

14 Responses to ““If You Don’t Understand Where You Can Get Beat, Then You’re Beat.””

  1. drdneast Says:

    Mason Foster was to slow to play this defence and I think Baron and Gholston were to stubborn and undisciplined to do so. Now all three are gone.

  2. Joe Says:

    Mason Foster was to slow to play this defence and I think Baron and Gholston were to stubborn and undisciplined to do so. Now all three are gone.

    Gholston still with the Bucs. Joe saw him; wrote about him Saturday night.

  3. tdtb2015 Says:

    After the bye we will have a top 5 defense.

    Special teams will be special.

    ….I’m not going there.

    Now that we have Winston lets see what magic Koetter brings to help the o-line.

    2016 back to the playoffs Baby!

    In Lovie and Licht I TRUST!

    Go Bucs!!!

  4. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    Nobody has ever sufficiently explained why the T2 is out of date. I believe Barber that it is more about the players doing their jobs than it is about scheme. Until offenses are allowed to play with 12 players (Hello Canada!), the T2 will work.

  5. Pickgrin Says:

    Ronde keeps saying that the defense is “not difficult” and has used the word “simple” before – yet also refers to the “steep learning curve” often as Brooks and others have as well.

    So, best as I can tell – this Defense is difficult to learn – but once you fully understand your responsibilities and have experience working within it, it is simple to execute.

    I also remember Brooks saying it took them years to “fully master” the nuances of Tony and Monte’s Tampa 2 scheme.

    So it sounds like the Bucs are not only at least a couple more good players away from having the correct personnel on defense, it also sounds like it will take more time for the players to truly have it all down and feel 100% comfortable executing their assignments in all situations.

  6. pick6 Says:

    Joe i think drdneast was referring to the SS Goldson, who was definitely an exploitable weakness in this system

  7. Danr Says:

    @joe i think he meant like dazhon goldson. The safety.

  8. Bucnjim Says:

    The T2 weakness has always been the middle of the field. Not a defensive pro, but it is my understanding that the defense is meant to take away the outside and filter runs back inside where LBs are waiting. This leaves them susceptible to play action. Also the reason TE’s have success a lot against the Buc’s. The one thing that really bothers me though is the fact that rookie & second string QB’s used to get killed by our D. Wish I could find the stat now that shows how many rookie’s and backups have beaten us since then.

  9. Fsuking Says:

    Dang tdtb2015 that’s bold. Top 5 defense huh? Offensive worry? I feel like the opposite is true. I’m happy to bet the over on almost all of the prop bets that vegas is rolling out for our offense this year. And our team in general, especially the over/ under 6 wins. Not even 6 1/2. I just put another $100 on it. This is free money, which Vegas rarely offers up.

  10. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    If Jack Smith can get ten sacks…that should free GMC to get double digits..and the rest of the DL should be able to contribute some pressure by committee.

    The Bucs D was very, very good, but didn’t become truly great until Simeon Rice got here with those sacks off the edge.

    I expect our DL to be decent this year. But we’re still a “Simeon Rice” away from being great. We fix that next year when we draft the pride of Fort Lauderdale Joey Bosa! Yeah I know he just got suspended for weed and grades…he’ll learn from that experience and be ready. If we’re really really lucky perhaps it will be enough to have him drop in the draft and we can get him. He COULD be the next JJ Watt.

  11. Fsuking Says:

    I wonder if Ronde could still play? Maybe RG?

  12. The original "Kevin" Says:

    Deshawn not william joe.

    I dont ever wish someone being hurt…but Karma does come to mind when seeing Michael Johnson on the ground at practice. Thats what you get for sitting on your ass and not rehabbing that ankle properly you bum.

    I know its an mcl but sitting on your butt all day doesnt help

  13. BlogTalkFootball Says:

    I think he meant Goldson.

  14. LakelandBuc Says:

    When you look at the players on this Buc defense, they have just as much talent as any team in the NFL.They just have to go out and perform, get it done on the field. The Bucs reminds me of the Georgia Bulldogs,they always have one of the most talented team in the NCAA, but they always underperform on the football field. But then when the same players goes to the NFL to different teams, they dominate the game. Bucs players does the exact same thing, when they leave Tampa they go some where else and shine. I don’t understand it, you really can’t blame the coaching staff. I believe our problem is stability, we need to quit changing our coaches every 2-3 years.