Another Look At The Defense

August 3rd, 2017

Don’t sleep on Bucs defense.

Yes, yesterday Joe noted the defense is winning.

Heck, even Dirk Koetter said so yesterday.

Joe is thinking ahead and it is also a subject that was touched upon in today’s “Ira Kaufman Podcast,” which readers enjoy twice a week.

Last year, the defense carried the Bucs to the brink of the playoffs. Remember, the offense was ranked below the Kansas City Chiefs and maligned quarterback Alex Smith. It was the offense, not the defense, which let the team down in the fourth quarter in critical games at Dallas and at New Orleans in December, both one-score games. It is also a reason why the Bucs went heavy on upgrading the offense in the offseason by acquiring DeSean Jackson, O.J. Howard and Chris Godwin.

But let’s think about this: Once the defense got its communication down — that’s a very broad if not polite term from what Joe heard was going on — it became a force. Yet the Bucs added to the defense by signing Chris Baker, by drafting Kendell Beckwith and Justin Evans, and by signing J.J. Wilcox.

Is it possible the Bucs actually improved a defense that was one of the best in the NFL in the second half of the season? Very likely.

Also throw in that the Bucs should be fully comfortable with defensive coordinator Mike Smith’s ways. That suggests the defense will only grow.

So the surprise this season? If the early days of training camp are any indication — and it’s dangerous to project from the first two days of padded practices — the defense might even be better this season.

27 Responses to “Another Look At The Defense”

  1. BradentonBuc Says:

    Interesting tidbit regarding the Bucs communication on defense and the “polite” labeling. Would be very interested to see you expand on that topic if you can Joe. I myself wondered how a defense that looked as awful as it did last year against the Cards and the Falcons could all the sudden turn it around. Of course you can reason the Cards game we were coming off the week 1 victory high and the Thursday night Dirty Bird game was after an OT late Raiders game but really, I had never seen Keith Tandy play like that and Chris Conte really stepped up his play making. It just seemed like the pass rush-pass defense finally became in tune with one another

  2. Evolvingbucfan Says:

    Would love the see this defense gel together and dominate “the whole season”. We got a great sample of what they could be after those hard losses, i think they had the proverbial wake up call on prime time TV last year and hope they come out swinging with something to prove this year. Time to live up to the hype and prove that the later end of the season wasn’t a fluke, this team is going to be fun to watch this year i can feel it.


  3. The Buc Realist Says:


    There were many reason’s why the Buc’s defense “turned it on”!!!!! First they had to “Coach the lovie out of them”!!!!!! Then they did have some injuries on the D-line!!!!!! The return of R. Ayers and then Noah Spence NS57 made a huuuugggeee difference. Usually in the past teams could just double team GMC93 and everyone else would win their 1 on 1’s. But teams were sending help RB, Or TE to help block NS57 and he was still getting pressure!!!!!

    The Key was NS57 getting attention and They became much better at disguising of bringing a blitzing LB!!!!! Daryl Smith actually had some very good pass rushes!!!! Even though he did not get a sack!!!!

    Now they have helped their biggest weakness, and that was “rush defense” and should have a better rotation to hopefully keep the DL healthy!!!!!!

    We need the defense to come out firing, until the offense can get their feet underneath them, due to all the new players in new positions!!!!! They have had quite the overhaul if you look at last year’s starting roster and compare it with the “projected” starting roster for this year!!!!!!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Defense Rules Says:

    @Joe … “the defense might even be better this season.” With the personnel upgrades & 1-year under their belts, our Bucs’ defense has to be even better this season. We finished last season ranked 15th in pts allowed, but were ranked considerably higher during the 2nd half of the season. Takeaways tell an interesting story there I think. First 8 games: 11 takeaways by the defense; 14 turnovers by the offense (record: 3-5). Second 8 games: 18 takeaways by the defense; 13 turnovers by the offense (record: 6-2). We won the turnover battle starting with the Chicago game & great things happened. This season I’m confident our D can win that turnover battle starting much earlier.

    But what I’m hopeful will also make a difference is getting stronger against the run. Guys like Baker, Stevie T, Wilcox & Beckwith should help us improve there. Throw in an offense that should be able to increase pts on the board AND time-of-possession (translating into less time on the field for the defense?) and good things should be happening this season.

  5. RayJameisStadium Says:

    I am eager to see the d-line this preseason. Two things I’m dying to see.

    1. The McCoy and Baker 1, 2 punch
    2. The Big Boy Tu’Ikolovatu in the middle on the 3-4 line up.

    This defense will keep us on games. Then watch Jameis have pedal to the medal.

    If Aguayo and McNichols become starters this year, then a statue of Licht should erected at One Bucs Palace.

    Go Bucs!!!

  6. The Buc Realist Says:

    @Defense Rules

    and don’t forget that the Bucs Defense played so many top offenses!!!! IT was a gauntlet of a schedule!!!! Playing a top 10 scoring offense 7 times!!!!!! or top 15 scoring offenses 10 times!!!!!!!!!!

  7. RayJameisStadium Says:

    ^Solid Starters

  8. USFBUC Says:

    I wouldn’t get too excited for a guy drafted in the seventh round besides Baker could easily fill that NT position in the 34 look

  9. tnew Says:

    Mike Smith was the most important signing of the off season. It would have been tragic Buc luck if Jacksonville or San Diego would’ve hired him. I commend Licht and the Glazers for seeing just what an integral part of the team he is. I also commend Koetter and Smith for not letting their egos get in the way of this dynamic duo.

    It took time but once the players committed to his culture, his system, trust flowed through the locker room and spilled onto the playing field. Players started playing their roles and trusting their team mates to do the same. Watching the games over and over it was revealed how the team started trusting each other and trusting themselves as the year progressed. The end of the season revealed the importance of Gholston. He does a lot of things that allow GMC to play aggressively. This is the reason that there was such a priority to sign him. Very underrated player for this team.

  10. D-Rome Says:

    First they had to “Coach the lovie out of them”!!!!!! Then they did have some injuries on the D-line!!!!!! The return of R. Ayers and then Noah Spence NS57 made a huuuugggeee difference.

    This made me laugh. You spout off nonsense about Lovie Smith then go on to detail precisely the reasons why the Bucs defense improved in 2016.

  11. Pickgrin Says:

    If the Dline plays well- the rest of the D will fall into place. It all starts up front. We have plenty of talent in Ayers, GMC, Baker, Spence, McDonald, Gholston and hopefully Jac Smith. The biggest question is how many of those players will stay healthy this year?

  12. The Buc Realist Says:


    Yes, they had to “coach the lovie out of them”!!!!!! They had to install discipline, cut out mental mistakes, and penalties, and promote a winning culture, and accountablity!!!! All very important stuff before the snap of the ball!!!! And something that coach my scheme could not accomplish!!!!!!!!!!

    Just because you do not like the terms, does not make it any less true!!!!!!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!!!

  13. Wausa Says:

    The Bucs defense looked great during the 2nd half but obviously the Bucs need the line to remain relatively healthy throughout the year.
    I would love for the Bucs to have Smith healthy to team up with Spence.

    On obvious passing downs having McCoy and Ayers inside and a healthy Smith and Spence on the outside would be a very difficult line to block.

  14. Pickgrin Says:

    “McCoy and Ayers inside and a healthy Smith and Spence on the outside”

    = Turbo Package

  15. Bucsfan951 Says:

    You’re right realist! Just to show him, you should drop one of your “omg it’s another narcissistic post”

  16. Kobe Faker Says:

    All our 3 division rivals likes to put their quick wrs in open space

    this is efficient and highly probable offense

    the ball is out quick so you cant pressure the qb

    these 10-20 rac pass plays in the middle of the field has a “break the dam and all will crumble effect”

    our rivals will not run the ball between the tackles to Fatboy baker to his awaiting arms. They are going to slant and quick pass us to death than run to tired spent middle

    All 3 of our rivals philosphy of the quick pass attack is our weakness

    only way to beat/slow this offense is physical los press/man 2 man defense from our 3 corners and good pass defense from our lbs…

    we dont have the personnel

  17. The Buc Realist Says:


    You want it???? You got it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Back by Request,,,,, Its the “Realist Repost”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The Buc Realist Says:
    February 11th, 2016 at 10:45 am

    I think your wrong that Lovie could have done anything to save his job!! He was on the verge of being fired after the first year!!! To many blowouts!!!

    As far as the “letting it go” that will be the real issue!! The Tampa2 mafia is mad! Just wait and see once the season starts and how quickly they will disparage and try to clown the Bucs over the most trivial of things!!! I tried to tell you last year that the players in the locker room were not happy and looked how that turned out!!! I am telling you now that once the season starts, the Tampa2 mafia and their sheep will be coming for the Bucs!!! Pay attention!!!

    Now that the Bucs have competent coaches, they first need to see what they can salvage out of the roster and coach the lovie out of them!!! It is now finally heading in the right direction!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!!!!

  18. 1sparkybuc Says:

    Just a hunch, but I believe Steve (Mr. T) will replace Baker before this season is over. The Redskin defense was one of the worst in the league last year against the rush. Couple that with Baker not liking to practice while Mr.T appears to have a passion for the game. Like I said, just a hunch.

  19. Clodhopper Says:

    “The Buc Realist Says:
    August 3rd, 2017 at 8:43 am ”

    I cant wait til November when THIS is a “Realist Repost!

  20. Defense Rules Says:

    Realist, this year’s schedule is no easier, and may actually be harder. Must admit that your observation (“coach the lovie out of them”!!!!!!) has a lot of validity to it, although IMO it’s a lot deeper than that (the Tampa 2 as Lovie tried to employ it was a joke, his defensive coaching staff left a LOT to be desired, and the players that he was working with didn’t fit what he was trying to do). And BTW, there is no Tampa 2 Mafia. Nevertheless, water under the bridge & I’m even happier than tnew that Smitty is our DC (agree tnew that “Mike Smith was the most important signing of the off season.”)

  21. The Buc Realist Says:

    @Defense Rules

    You are correct my friend!!!!! And if you are keeping tabs,,, The Bucs are going to face current superbowl teams 6 times between this year and last!!!!!

    Go to hear about the out pouring of support for Coach Smitty!!!!!!!! Maybe, since he stayed,,,,,, something special to show our appreciation!!!!!

    OMG……..Its a “Realist Repost” of a “Realist Repost”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The Buc Realist Says:
    December 12th, 2016 at 7:56 am
    some people were excited back when the right moves were made!!!!!

    The Buc Realist Says:
    January 20th, 2016 at 2:10 pm
    I am so excited with the coaching staff that is assembled!! Really hope licht steadies the pipeline of talent and Coach Mike Smith remembers how fun it is to lead a dominate defense and just falls in love with our beloved area here!!!!

    If you are not excited right now, Then you need to question if you are a football fan at all!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. BuccoDav Says:

    I’m going to venture a guess that a full one third of clicks on are a result of “The Bucs Egotist” looking for his past posts…

  23. 813bucboi Says:

    Must admit that your observation (“coach the lovie out of them”!!!!!!) has a lot of validity to it…

    BS….it all came down to talent level and depth….2014&2015 we did not have nfl level of talent or depth at multiple positions…we multiple UDFA’s staring on both sides of the ball….

    we just recently started collecting nfl ready/talented player in 2015 with Winston, marpet,kwon and last year with VHG, noah spence,c.benenoch while continuing the trend this year with oj, evans, godwin, beckwith….

    no doubt the previous staff f’ed up but to say it was because of scheme and incompetence is BS…plenty of team still employ tampa2 defense…the biggest difference is that they had/have the talent/players/depth to do so….

    hopefully dirk can get the offense up to speed and put some points on the board….GO BUCS!!!!

  24. Defense Rules Says:

    813bucboi … If you’d read the rest of my comments, you might’ve seen that we’re saying the same thing for the most part. However, the Tampa 2 as Lovie tried to employ it wasn’t anyplace close to the Tampa 2 played by our 2002 Super Bowl team. Talent had a huge amount to do with it, but so did coaching … and our 2002 coaching staff was head & shoulders above what we had in 2014 & 2015. Plenty of teams use parts of the Tampa 2 right now as you said, but not as an over-arching defensive philosophy like we did back when.

  25. 813bucboi Says:

    DR…I read your comment…obviously I agree with most of what you said….teams like Seattle, CAR, MINN have been highly successful with it….coaches like Jim Schwartz jim Caldwell & sean mcdermitt have had success with it….I made that comment for the loser(s) who still has a hard on for the previous staff….GO BUCS!!!!

  26. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Lovie takes a lot of heat on this board and deservedly so. I think he might be like Wade Phillips who Joe profiles a bit on another thread. Phillips was a mediocre HC but a great DC.

    I’m certainly not calling Lovie a great DC but he was competent especially when compared to his HC days.

    What nobody has brought up about Lovie is that a cliche and a bad policy probably doomed him as much as anything.

    First the cliche…Power corrupts…Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
    Lovie was given far too much power and more power than he had the ability to manage which leads to my second observation.

    NEPOTISM…it almost always sucks and results in failure. Lovie’s sons should have NEVER been gifted their coaching jobs!

    The only thing Lovie left out was inviting his daughter and Son in Law to One Buc Place as “Senior Advisors”….yeah that’s the ticket…works out well everytime eh.

  27. MadMax Says:

    We win 12 games and play in the NFC Championship this season. Yeah, my try at it lol.