Defense Must Improve

November 8th, 2015
gmc 1025

GMC has been playing at Ghost Johnson-like levels the past three weeks, save for one monster play.

Yes, the Bucs are 3-4, on the cusp of pulling even and perhaps making a wild card run.

Their downfall, if the team doesn’t have a successful final nine weeks, likely will be the defense.

First, the Bucs must get better play from their high-salaried alleged studs, Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David. The two are shells of their former selves.

Joe is starting to wonder if GMC is hurt. Joe has been and is a defender of GMC, but there is no excuse for his vanishing act the past two weeks.

Sure, GMC (finally) made a huge play that wrapped up a Bucs win in Atlanta last week, forcing Matty Ice into a terrible throw on fourth down. But a play does not make a game and GMC was a shadow. Per, GMC had one tackle last week. As a starting defensive tackle. How is that possible?

Geez, Joe crucified Ghost Johnson for putting up paltry numbers like that last year. Against Washington two weeks ago, GMC was equally invisible. He tallied one tackle and one assist.

In fact, in the past three games, GMC has three tackles and three assists. In three games! From a Pro Bowler!

Joe is going to guess that GMC is hurt. How else to explain that kind of drop off?

David has been nearly as bad. In the past five games, three times David only had three tackles (though he had 12 assists against Houston).

What has happened to these two pillars of the Bucs’ defense? Even NFL analyst Andy Benoit of can see Tampa Bay is a mess, particularly up front.

12 Responses to “Defense Must Improve”

  1. Bucs Fan 1963 Says:

    Lovie has said GMC is hurt, but he said no worse than others this time of year. So there’s always more when Lovie says something like that. I don’t look at David as dropping off as much as I look at Kwon Alexander picking much of it up and opposing teams not running the ball much or throwing short passes. They know they can burn the Bucs big in the secondary. However, I also note that David hasn’t had a pick this year or last year, where in 2013, he had 5. Is it because of what I mentioned above or is he really dropping off. If so, I can’t help but wonder if it’s the psychological throttle back players make after big deals like David got.

  2. FortMyersDave Says:

    I think Joe has something in stating that GMC is probably hurt. The fact that he is still on the field if hurt is telling as well Joe. This indicates that a GMC playing at 40% or so is better than anything the Bucs have sitting on the bench. Its sounds and looks to me as if Lovie did a very poor job in procuring starting and backup talent for his defense. This defense has been going backwards since lovie has taken the reigns from Schiano. The team is getting blasted by the deep ball and the front 4 can not put much pressure on any qb and make guys like Bortles and Cousins (2nd half of his game) look like future Hall of famers. Simply put: if Lovie had a DC who was running a defense this bad he would have been fired by now, probably as soon as the redskin collapse was over but he can not step down from play calling duties without looking weak thus we fans will have to endure this slop until the end of the season when the baby Glazers may force Lovie to fire his whole defensive staff (including himself as DC) as a condition for getting a third year. And I bet I know what Lovie will say to critics: “We have devoted the first 2 years of my drafts to improving the offense, let me have one more year to draft defensive and get my guys on board….” Something tells me he will skirt around the fact that almost all of his defensive FA signings are busts with the exception of now injured Clinton McDonald.

    How many more wins can we realistically expect with this defense playing at its current level Joe? I speculate that the Bucs could reel off 3 or so more wins with 6-10 being the the likely mark (and this will also save Lovie’s job BTW) and that could include a win this afternoon so potential playoff speculation while a nice thought is pretty ****ing far away in this fan’s opinion. Lets see the Bucs win today and try to make their way out of the NFC South cellar first…

  3. Lou. Says:

    Joes —

    It has been widely reported that GMC has a bad shoulder. (IIRC it happened in Week 2). So do you really need to “guess” that the guy is hurt?

    What is your report? What do you guys see at practice and hear through the grapevine?

    You might be able to answer some of your own questions.

    Nearly all veteran NFL linemen are banged up significantly at midseason. He practiced full contact this week. –Joe

  4. Defense Rules Says:

    For the Bucs to even get to 6-10 your by-line is right on Joes: “The Defense Must Improve”. And they’ve got to force more turnovers … that’s their key to contributing to a win.

    But also the offense will have to put up a bunch of points. Our defense doesn’t look to be talented enough right now to be shutting down opponents consistently. I thought for a long time that they were playing way too conservative, but I’m not convinced that’s it any longer. I think they’re playing scared … scared of giving up big plays. And the result? They’re letting their opponents march up and down the field.

    Last year about this time the defense’s chemistry started to gel, and the defense started playing looser it looked like to me. And the result was better performance on the field. I hope we start seeing a similar improvement this year … starting today.

  5. bryan Says:

    I watched the coaches film on gamepass. Granted I do not have the ability to understand things at Stephen White levels but I caught a few things.

    1) I do not understand the lack of respect for Lavonte. Clearly he is not making a lot of plays but he is being treated like a Darrelle Revis in the linebacker corps. He is irrelevant because they are game planning around him.

    2) Kwon had a great game sort of. He bites too easily on play action. The turnovers were awesome and he played very hard given what he was going through. But his and Lansanah’s discipline on play actions are what is giving up a lot of big plays. Most of the plays are crossing routes, right in the middle of the field usually on play action.

    3) This has been talked about to death but our cornerbacks are terrible. My thinking as to why Jenkins or Jennings have been playing is that Tampa 2 corners need to play the run very well, see Brian Kelly or Donnie Abraham. Jenkins is good at coming up and making plays in the run game but he has awful coverage skills. It seems that Lovie values the skills of tackling better than coverage. No other way to explain why they play over Verner.

    4) We played a lot of Tampa 2 vs Atlanta. Bend but do not break was in full force. It bends an awful lot without pressure from front 4 blah, blah blah…

  6. dreambig Says:

    When you have multiple pro bowl caliber players who are not performing, that speaks to a lack of leadership. To me that seems like coaches not doing their job to get players fired up and ready to play. Having said that, if the Bucs win today, it will be time for everyone (including me) to get off of Lovies back. 4-4 would be a pretty big improvement.

  7. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I think GMC is defiantly playing hurt…..and LVD has lost some of his intensity….he needs to step it up or Kwon will take over his role…..we need much more production out of Johnson & Melton.
    As for our CBs…….we need to draft two of them along with a DE.
    We will start to solve some of our problems with next year’s draft.

    This year….we are stuck.

  8. Fsuking Says:

    ODB is going to run freely through our secondary. Our only hope is that Mike Evans can do the same!

  9. godzilla13 Says:

    @Bryan Says – I see the same. GMC is definatly hurt and not at 100%. He also takes on double teams all the time. Even though his stats don’t show it, he is still disruptive and almost always the first player to pressure the QB. Just think the effect it would have if GMC did not play? Akeem Spence and Howard Jones are two players who are playing very well and should have an impact on today’s game. Lavonte David is thinking, not reacting. You don’t see that speed he had in the past. You used to rarely see him missing his gaps and over pursuing. I also agree with the comment about the psychological part with his play and the new contract. All of the linebackers discipline on play action and Kwon Alexanders coverage in the middle of the field is what they struggle with the most. By the way how come no body asks whats up with Lansanah? Like everyone else, it blows me away that Alterraun Verner is not starting? It is going to be up to Johnthan Banks today in covering OBJ. I agree that last year our defense started performing much better around this time of year. Stop thinking and begin reacting. Let it come to you.

  10. Buccfan37 Says:

    Make the Giants walk the plank, throw em in Tampa Bay. This is our game, our home. Get the hell out of here, you stinking pasty white aliens, and take the loss home with you.

  11. Brent Says:

    “Nearly all defensive lineman are hurt at this time of the year”. Generalization that is meaningless. Does that mean all injuries are the same and have the same impact on performance? Of course not! So what..

  12. Brent Says:

    No smith today! Hope jones can step up. The main thing you gotta do against Eli is get pressure from what I’ve seen. Go bucks!!