Gettin’ Off The Field

October 7th, 2016
Likes progress of third down defense.

Likes progress of third down defense.

Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith had previously said it would take four games before his charges would start to show they are learning the nuances of his defense.

In recent days, Smith has gently backed away from his previous four-game window, but not by much.

Lit up in consecutive weeks by the Cardinals and Rams, Joe started to see signs the defense was coming around against Denver. If you take away two short fields given to Denver on turnovers, the Bucs defense only gave up 13 points. To the world champions.

Today in his weekly presser, Smith said he is beginning to like what he sees with his third down defense. First and second down? Well, that needs some work.

“We were very efficient in third down [defense],” Smith said. “I did not like the way we played on some first and second downs. We gave up some first downs on first down and we gave up some first downs on second down.”

Smith noted if a defense forces an offense to 14 or 15 third down situations, the defense is doing a fine job on first and second downs.

“I do believe there was improvement,” Smith said. “We have go to tighten some things up in terms of our aggressiveness in terms of coverage and in defending the run. There are too many leaky seven- or eight-yard runs. There was a period of time where we didn’t have our gaps and were not as stout as we needed to be. We have to learn that the next play is the most important play. We can’t dwell on the previous snap.”

This is interesting to Joe. You always hear about cornerbacks need to have short memories. Apparently, Smith believes the entire defense needs to have short memories.

It almost seems Smith is suggesting guys are so peeved about giving up yards that they are not focused and locked in on the next play.

The good news in all of this is that the plague of Lovie Smith’s defense, which simply could not get off the field on third downs, is slowing becoming a memory.

13 Responses to “Gettin’ Off The Field”

  1. Tampa Bay Tailgater Says:

    Good post, Joe. I think we can all agree there are some signs of this D getting better and you do see more TFL and less 20+ yard plays (but not by much).

    I think talent is there but as the Commish says, we are more of a finesse team and desperately need more players adopting the Ayers attitude.

  2. Patrick in VA Says:

    The biggest difference between this group and the ones that we’ve suffered through before it is that they are identifying problems and addressing them directly. We obviously didn’t know what happened behind the walls with other staffs, but from a fan’s perspective this regime is at least doing their part to assuage the masses by letting them know that they’re not inept, they know what the problems are and they plan to address them. They don’t talk down to us and try to convince us that we’re ridiculous for pointing out what’s very clearly an issue. Yeah, they haven’t fixed it yet, but it’s easier to have faith when you know that they’re at least acknowledging the things that need to be fixed

  3. 813bucboi Says:

    i disagree…the broncos haven’t displayed a good offense in any game this season…their philosophy is simple…get a lead and have the defense protect it….Denver would’ve won that game 9-7 even if jameis doesn’t throw any picks….the biggest issue last year on defense was talent(secondary) and quality depth(dline)…we still lack both this year… a die hard bucs fan so i’ll take a “w” any way I can get it but proof of this defense turning the corner would be stopping a capable offense like the panthers with cam or raiders and playing more consistently overall all….this defense isn’t getting a chance to get off the field on 3rd down because as smith said, teams are beating us for explosive plays or td’s on 1st and 2nd down….after 3 trash outing in a row I need more than 1 game before I can say we’re turning the corner….GO BUCS!!!

  4. Seminole Bill Says:

    Wait a minute here. Sure, the offense put the defense into several bad situations with int’s and a fumble but…the Broncos starter left the game in the second quarter never to return. In came Paxton Lynch, a rookie. He looked like an all-pro, primarily because there was no pass rush. Yes, number 93 was out, but there were guys who needed to step up, and didn’t. I watched it from the stands and could tell little difference between the 2016 and 2015 defenses.

  5. Tampabaybucfan Says:


  6. Pierce Says:

    Our defense has a losing mentality.

  7. Defense Rules Says:

    Coaches and fans can say ‘next man up’ all they want, but if you don’t have the horses you’re in serious trouble. IF McCoy, McDonald, Ayers & Noah Spence are all out on Monday night, that leaves us with Akeem Spence, Hughes, Gholston, Howard Jones, Ward & Lambert to fill 4 DLine positions. Only Will Gholston was a starter at the beginning of the season. Two of the 6 are undrafted rookies, Hughes has very little playing time, and I was surprised that Howard Jones made the team.

    If the Bucs can’t control the clock offensively and keep our paper-thin DLine off the field, we’ll be in trouble. Jameis and the offense needs to step up big time in this game. He thrives under pressure and I believe that he can have a good game IF our OLine protects him and opens some nice holes for our run game, and IF our WRs can get open consistently.

  8. Stpetebucsfan Says:


    Agree with your take. The first step in fixing a problem is admitting it’s a problem.

    Sadly as DR points out we’re getting really really thin on the DL.

  9. ptwalk Says:

    This defense is amongst the worst in the nfl right now. I didn’t see the Improvement some said they saw against Denver. I guess not getting embarrassed is starting to turn a corner.

  10. PRBucFan Says:

    If we can stop turning the ball over, over 50 points given off of turnovers (Tops in the league), then maybe we can start winning games.

    The vikings d is beast but something people overlook is that their O has yet to turn the ball over. You can bet if their O turned the ball over like us that D would have given up many more points with how often they would of been backed up in their territory.

    As much as people wanna blame the D, our offensive turnovers have been our largest problem this season.

  11. Rod Munch Says:

    “The good news in all of this is that the plague of Lovie Smith’s defense, which simply could not get off the field on third downs, is slowing becoming a memory.”

    Huh? Have you watched this defense this year? Consistently on 3rd down the Bucs are going into soft zones and giving up huge plays. The Bucs defense was 23rd last year in 3rd down conversions, this year they’re at 27th and they don’t seem to be getting any better. Even facing two awful offenses in a row the Bucs gave up huge yards and lots of first downs.

  12. cmurda Says:

    Meh. I don’t know. The defense has been a let down through all 4 weeks for me. Improvement? I don’t see it yet. Let’s not get hung up on the whole defending World Champions tag. The Broncos won the Superbowl and continue to be a force because of their defense. It’s an elite defense. I would only put the Vikes and maybe, maybe the Seahawks in the same category. The fact of the matter is the Broncos offense is average at best. The defense at times got brutally dominated at the line of scrimmage and never threatened either Broncos QB. I’ll believe the defense is coming around when I see some more sneaky blitz packages and pressure from the Front 4.

  13. Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    That was well said. I agree completely. Denver was not a “Championship” type offense WITH Payton Manning. And what my eyes saw last Sunday was if the Broncos offense was playing against their D, it would have looked worse than the Bucs offense. Championship defense – most definitely. We should have added a DE with that 2nd rd pick we used on a kicker (I appreciate Licht’s strategy on getting a good kicker, but this team has to be better before we worry about battling out close games over a kick).