Big Play Defense

July 21st, 2017

Sneaky pass defense.

There are more than a few Bucs fans harping on the defense of the Bucs needing improvement.

They point to the first half of last season and wince in pain. Memories of the loss to the rotten Rams have them chugging Mylanta. But a respected stat guy believes the defense was sharp when it needed to be.

Aaron Schatz of, a football thinktank Joe respects, has crunched numbers and even after factoring in the second half turnaround, Schatz is of the mind the passing defense was “sneaky” good in his look at every team that has a “sneaky” strength.

Defense: Defending the most important passes

Tampa Bay’s defense ranked 12th overall … last season, but the Bucs ranked third … against passes in the red zone and second … against passes on third down.

The ellipsis inserted above (you know, the “…”) is Joe’s move to replace some silly acronym that really just muddies the waters here.

If the Bucs were good on critical pass, that’s over half the battle. Generally, that’s where defenses get burned.

So this is comforting to read. Joe has a hunch the defense, after a year of learning under defensive coordinator Mike Smith, just might be better than many currently suspect.

17 Responses to “Big Play Defense”

  1. Byrd Says:

    IF our D line gets pressure our secondary should be just fine, and coach smith is back defense will improve overall easily top 10 this year!

  2. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I am more worried about our offensive line this year than our defense.
    We have gotten better on paper, but so has the rest of the NFL.
    I am optimistic for this season, but I have doom and gloom friends that are not.
    One of my doom and gloom friends thinks Tampa will collapse offensively this year, despite spending our number 1 draft pick and big free agent money on offense.
    He thinks this season will be the end of Dirk Koetter, and sees Mike Smith becoming our next head coach.
    Imagine that ?

  3. RayJameisStadium Says:

    These are not the old Bucs anymore.

    The defense got in cohesive after the Thursday night game. Real Bucs fan know that. Complainers will always do complain. That’s what they love to do. They are just seeking attention.

    Expect Different!!!

    Super Bowl Winners Again!!!

    Go Bucs!!!

  4. Bucwylde Says:

    Morning cup of Joe PLEASE!!!

  5. Brian Says:

    Chris, your friends take on this is ridiculous.

  6. tnew Says:

    Being able to hold on to Mike Smith could very well be the biggest move of the off season, in an off season full of huge moves. These two stats were prevalent in the Dallas game and kept the game close so that the offense could rally and take the lead.

  7. Oj "I Got The Juice" Howard Says:

    Mike Smith looks like The Teflon Don himself, John Gotti coming out of court in the mid 90’s.

  8. Joe Says:

    He thinks this season will be the end of Dirk Koetter, and sees Mike Smith becoming our next head coach.

    Willing to lay a nice piece of change that neither happens.

  9. Kobe Faker Says:

    Both our starting corners were injury free last year

    if 1 goes down for any length of time…we are screwed

    we need to pickup a legit corner before the regular season

    Kobe wants revis Island

    atlanta is coming out with

    wr- julio jones, mohamed sanu, gabriel on the slot

    te- hooper

    and 2 great pass catching rbs- coleman and free….how are we going to pass defend that? How are we going to defend that with VH3 or Grimes out?

    Its a shame if out season goes down from 1 FA cornerback acquisition that is needed

    3 milly for revis island

  10. Buccfan37 Says:

    I am excited with the entire Bucs team and prospects for a season to remember unfolding right around the corner. No way no how can I see it any other way.

  11. Stud Says:

    Defense needs to come out playing well from the start, and show they can at least slow down good QB’s. Playing well in 6 of 16 games is an awful ratio.

    In the second half of the season the Bucs play 6 good/elite qbs in a row, can’t risk playing awful in those games or this team won’t have a prayer at the post season.

  12. Ptwalk Says:

    Im not sold totally on Mike Smith. Last yr after the Atl beat down it was the players that had to get involved in the game planning that turned things around. Coach didnt have his players communicating properly.

  13. Pickgrin Says:

    Lovie’s defense was near the bottom if not worst in the league defending 3rd down just the year before. How many times did we see 3rd and 12 or similar get converted against that 2015 defense?

    To rise to 2nd in the league for that category despite the early season “issues” defensively last year is quite an achievement.

    I just hope our team stays healthy in 2017. Defense especially. We have the talent to be a good defensive team this year. But a couple injuries to the usual suspects up front – McCoy, Ayers, McDonald, Jac Smith – would put us right back into the not good enough zone. I guess that’s true of any team and I definitely like our talent up front if all are able to play. The injury histories of our Dline as a group though is pretty scary.

  14. Call Me W Says:

    @chris@roofcleaningrampa- I don’t agree with the rest of the Leauge has gotten better statement, there’s only 32 teams and they can’t ALL go up

  15. Kobe Faker Says:


    there is 1 man irreplaceable on our defense

    every defensive player can be replaced including GMC,David,Kwon, VH3….

    except…Mikos partner

    “we lose Grimes …were toast”

    Kobe Faker

  16. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Kobe –

    Hey Jude / McClain are vets that have experience outside and Ryan Smith has been groomed specifically as the outside corner.

    I wouldn’t say we’re doomed as much as it’d be more of an unknown due to Smith’s upside. If Ryan Smith is legit or just serviceable we’re fine.

  17. BucEmUp Says:

    How can the D line get to the QB when the debs are playing ten yards off?

    I look at 2 of the last three games against dallas and new orleans as big concerns. I will also point out that during that five game stretch of dominance by the defense, the first game was against Chicago who SUCKS, and another came against San Diego who had lost basically everyone of they’re stars on offense.

    I give the defense credit for the way they played against Kansas City….that was a good showing, and even though I think N.O was sleeping on us in the first meeting I will give a little credit for that game as well.

    All I got to say is the rest of the league is on notice now with Tampa, nobody will be coming to play us lightly and it’s time to step up. I have my doubts about Smith’s system. If he changes things up a bit like he is rumored to be doing, I will be optimistic. Until then I believe what I have seen and they need a lot of improvement yet.