“We Need To Improve Our Pass Rush”

August 13th, 2017

New Bucs defensive tackle Chris Baker

Interesting theme pulsating through power players at One Buc Palace.

First, Joe will go to Friday night’s preseason broadcast on WFLA-TV, Ch. 8.

Ronde Barber, when offering broad perspective on the Bucs late in the game, said he has concerns about the Tampa Bay defensive line.

Joe is always interested in Barber’s takes since he attends Bucs practices, is a superior film guru, and is often seen talking to general manager Jason Licht. In fact, Barber has been sort of a part-time member of the Bucs’ personnel team.

During the offseason, the Bucs added pass-rushing defensive tackle Chris Baker in free agency. Also, Robert Ayers is healthy, Gerald McCoy is in his prime, and Noah Spence is a budding superstar sack master, according to his teammates. And given all that, and William Gholston and Clinton McDonald in the house, Barber has concerns.


And then there was Dirk Koetter on NFL Network, Koetter was asked Wednesday about Year 2 in Mike Smith’s defense.

Koetter raved about what a force Gerald McCoy is, and he was pumped about Lavonte David, Kwon Alexander, Vernon Hargreaves and Brent Grimes. Koetter said the Bucs’ defensive talent is underestimated. And then Koetter said, “We need to improve our pass rush.”

File that away in the back of your domes, Bucs fans.

Joe agrees that the Bucs pass rush has a lot to prove and needs work. Yes, Tampa Bay was ninth in the NFL in sacks last season, but pressure from their front four was inconsistent. Outside of a few standout games, it was below average.

Injuries played a role, absolutely, but that’s the NFL.

Noah Spence will be a huge X-factor this season. His game needs a lot of work, more discipline, too, but he’s oozing speed and work ethic, and there’s a lot of technical skill in place.

Joe wouldn’t bet a nickel on Spence being a double-digit sack guy this year. But if he can develop and stay healthy, the Bucs pass rush should see significant improvement.

49 Responses to ““We Need To Improve Our Pass Rush””

  1. Pickgrin Says:

    “We need to improve our pass rush.”

    Yea Duh – for the last 12 years. Lets hope that doesn’t turn into a Bakers Dozen

  2. Destinjohnny Says:

    Well then why take a saftey who can’t tackle in space with a 2nd round picks when there are 8-10 sack guys on the board at that pick

  3. The Buc Realist Says:

    The pass rush is inconsistent!!!!!! If you only rush 4, only NS57 has the talent to pressure the QB!!!! Last year, (and this year) they manufactured pressure by bringing an extra guy, or overloading a side, or brought 4 rushers but 1 would be from the back 7!!!!!!!! One of the main reasons the defense took off, was that they finally disguised who was rushing much more after the Atlanta game!!!!!!!!!!

    I don’t know why Joe is down on NS57????? when year after year we would read stories of JS56 being on the “verge” of a breakout player and getting to double digit sacks every year??????

    In Fact Joe, before the end of the year, many will be saying, that NFL GM Jason Licht will need to find help on the Defensive line to complement Noah Spence play!!!!!!!

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

  4. Johnnie Says:

    Joe any word on j smith knee and estimated return?

  5. Nole&aBuc Says:

    Its difficult to generate a pass rush when you’re getting owned in the run game. I’m worried about the D.line as well.

  6. Lord Corn Says:

    DT/DE next draft for sure. Need more youth there

  7. dooshlarue Says:

    Need more hunger as well Lord.

  8. RayJameisStadium Says:

    I’m hoping the McCoy and Baker duo creates some havoc in the regular season.
    The way McCoy brings up his knee issue to the media. I wouldn’t be surprise if neither McCoy nor Baker (who does not like to practice) give their best effort in preseason. If so, I could care less. But, I want to see them giving 110% in the regular season.

    Save those beat up knees for when it counts!!!

  9. The Buc Realist Says:


    a speedy, undersized DE that has 2 knee injuries is not good!!!!!! even if he does come back!!!!!!!!!!!

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

  10. RayJameisStadium Says:

    Yes next year hopefully Licht can find the next McCoy with some Ayers Nastiness = Another SAPP.

    The way Licht is finding GEMS, I wouldn’t be surprise.

    If this triggers your Aguayo 2nd round pick tantrum, GET OVER IT!!!!

    No GM is perfect!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!

  11. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    I think we are going to sign some guys off other teams once cuts are made. Just one cut down day this year right?

  12. Bucsfan951 Says:

    Yo realist, can I get one of your realist reposts?

  13. Defense Rules Says:

    I agree with you Realist that the Bucs pass rush was quite inconsistent last year. The way our DLine is constructed, we have to get consistent pressure from the interior DLine to be successful. That didn’t happen against Cincy. GMC had a couple good rushes, but I was unimpressed with Baker (he looks to me to be slow & out of condition … maybe he should’ve shown up at practice more). Clinton McDonald looked the best of all the DTs to me (Stevie T. looked like he was getting pushed around like a rag doll).

    I’m sure everything was very vanilla, but our LBs weren’t all that impressive either. Bengals are just an average running team (ranked #21 in 2016) & they pretty much had their way with us. Not a good look since run defense is the area we had problems with last year (especially in the 1st 8 games).

  14. The Buc Realist Says:


    You want it!!!!!!!!! You Got it!!!!!!!!! Its another “Requested” “Realist Repost”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The Buc Realist Says:
    December 3rd, 2016 at 7:47 am
    One huge improvement that no one is talking about, Is how the back 7 when asked to blitz/rush is that they are disguising it much better. The timing has been very good as they walk up to their spot at the last second!!! Earlier in the year they were giving away the defenses when they would come up to soon!!!!

    And once again bighogheinous reads a couple of words and totally misunderstands another article!!!!!

    This coaching staff finds answers and use all kinds of techniques to get the correct results!!!! Adjusting and changing the culture!!!!! We are very blessed to finally have a great coaching staff here in Tampa!!!!! The Fans can see it, and so will the rest of the NFL!!!!!!!

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

  15. stpetebucsfan Says:


    I’ve got five cents here. I’ll take that bet! 🙂

    I think the Bucs pass rush will improve…not just because of improvement in the personnel on the line.

    If Grimes and VHG stay healthy…if our safeties can play adequately…combined with the fact that in another thread this morning we learned that Kwon spent the off season working on his pass defense…means that we might at last get some coverage sacks.

  16. tmaxcon Says:

    how can we have the greatest DT on the face of the earth for the last 7 years and still have to worry about a pass rush. stop making excuses for mediocre underachievers with a smile and accept the fact the mentally weak and SOFT GMC is the problem not the solution.

  17. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    “how can we have the greatest DT on the face of the earth for the last 7 years and still have to worry about a pass rush.”


    For the same reason the Cleveland Browns can’t protect their QB, even though they have one of the best left tackles in the history of the NFL. A line works together. It is not 4 individual players doing their own thing. They all work together. If one isn’t doing his job, the other 3 (or 4 if you’re talking offense) won’t be effective. Now I know that is a lot of information for an idiot to comprehend, but I’m holding hope for you yet.

  18. Dave Says:

    I disagree Joe. I think Spence gets 10+ sacks.
    The offense should put up more points allowing for more opportunity to rush the other team as they pass more. Plus, another year in the defense trusting where other people are and knowing where to be.
    Health not being an issue, I think McCoy and Spence get to 10

  19. Buc 4ever Says:

    For the last time we don’t have a great DT. He is average. I’ve watch the 1st quarter 3 times and Mccoy was being pushed back and around to make holes. It’s like he was avoiding contact.

  20. Destinjohnny Says:

    Jordan Willis from Kansas state was the pick
    He crushed is Friday night.
    Evans can’t tackle man

  21. BucEmUo Says:

    T seema like common sense to use Noah spence in more of a con miller role and stop playing this soft zone coverage in the back end. I am.confident with our offense but I have found it funny all.off season how everyone just expects our defense to be dominant. Not.gonna happen

  22. Brett Says:

    I’m real excited about the Bucs defensive potential this year, but they haven’t done anything yet. Hope the line will be as promised, but they haven’t done anything. I think they were really bad against the run and the Bucs first opponent, the Dolphins, have a great RB.

  23. Bama Rich Says:

    The game is chess not checkers!

  24. DislocatedBucsFan Says:

    Baker looked awful yesterday. Lost his rush lanes, little pursuit. Man he looked bad, GMC atleast gave effort. Baker didn’t even seem to try. We had a big man chase a play 25 yards down field to get a tackle assist. It was # 71 or 75 I believe. Haven’t looked at the full roster yet. But thats the type of effort we need.

  25. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    “For the last time we don’t have a great DT. He is average. I’ve watch the 1st quarter 3 times and Mccoy was being pushed back and around to make holes. It’s like he was avoiding contact.”


    Add another idiot who thinks he knows more than everyone else to the list. First of all, you’re a damn liar. You are letting your bias dictate what you see. Second play of the game he damn near took the snap from the QB. He disrupted almost every single play. He was in the face of Dalton when he threw the pick. But there’s another genius that thinks he’s supposed to sack the QB every single play or he’s just average. Since you’re so fantastic at evaluating talent, how did Geno Atkins do? Is he average too? You have no clue what you’re talking about, which is totally fine. The problem is when you try to pretend like you do, because you end up making yourself look stupid. Let me give you a bit of a news flash – you don’t get selected to Pro Bowls, All Pro teams, and in the top 100 players every year for being average. I’m really not sure why this is so hard for people to comprehend, but it’s really become funny to watch the people who know nothing try to pretend like they are NFL talent evaluators.

  26. Owlykat Says:

    DestinJohnny put his finger on the problem. Licht after wasting a second round pick has done it once again this year picking a Safety that can’t tackle (and moved up in the Fourth for a slow LB who is a disaster at MLB in the Pros). He could have gotten us two great DEs with the two wasted second round picks and a good backup OT in the Fourth. I saw nothing from an out of shape Baker in the last game. He is lazy and isn’t earning his big salary. Jax will run us crazy Thursday night thanks to Licht’s ineptitude!!!

  27. Destinjohnny Says:

    Talked to numerous skins fans who were calling him out for being lazy.
    When your 2nd team dominates in pre season…
    You have something.
    How’s are 2nd squad look ?
    Jason has this thing with his 2nd round pics
    It’s just fear make.
    It’s keeping us from being great

  28. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Bucs sign kicker Zach Hocker

  29. Hawaiian Buc Says:


    That’s just not true. The Patriots second team typically gets dominated in preseason, as does many other good teams. There is absolutely no correlation between preseason success and regular season success. The second team will never all play together in a real game. You have to look at them as individual pieces. Not to mention each team approaches the preseason differently. We aren’t game planning for preseason games.

    As for second round picks, I think Licht did okay on Donovan Smith, Ali Marpet, and Noah Spence. I wouldn’t call them busts. Leaving out Just Evans, he’s 3 out of 5 on second round picks. That’s not exactly horrible by any means.

  30. Lord Corn Says:

    I thought Spawn held up pretty well in run support at least. I believe

  31. Destinjohnny Says:

    Great point Hawaiian
    Quality depth is overrated

  32. Hawaiian Buc Says:


    You must struggle comprehending. I didn’t say depth is overrated. Read my post again, maybe a little slower next time.

  33. Destinjohnny Says:

    Haole ya you are right
    I missed your whole paragraph on talking about how great it is to have badass
    Backups at every position.
    When tampa had its great teams
    I felt sorry for the 2nd teamers from other teams going against our squad.
    Funny how we won a super bowl when we had that.
    Funny how we haven’t had that since that time and we have not made the playoffs in that time and had 2′ winning records.
    When u have Tom Brady……
    My bad on not getting what that high iq of yours was spinning

  34. Reach87 Says:

    Coach is pretty clear that we need to improve our pass rush. He is also clear on how he and his coaching staff evaluate McCoy. Everyone (team game) to include the coaches (team game) has to make it happen. Singling out arguably our best defensive player in the face of all we see and hear from folks who are paid to know and have the team on the right glide path is simply moronic. Technique, scheme, and discipline from the front 7 (team game) and the defensive backfield (team game) is likely the best answer. Blaming McCoy without having a clue is moronic. Hawaiian, thanks for good solid analysis in the face of moronic bias.

  35. Bucfanincali Says:

    The same guy that wanted to bring Tebow in

  36. Dave Pear Says:

    Aguayo was picked up by the Bears off waivers.
    Battling Connor Barth for the spot.
    So we will see an ex BUC on week 2.

  37. Oxycondoms Says:

    Never understood the hype for the defense especially with grimes aging and McCoy isn’t in his prime anymore. The offense is going to be fine

  38. Dreambig Says:

    Watching the Bucs game again and pass D wasnt great but its a lot better than the run defense. Didn’t matter, 1st string, 2nd string, 3rd string all getting gashed to the outside, gashed to the inside. They can’t stop anything on the ground. Bengals have 129 yards already buy end of the 3rd. Thank god its the first preseason game and it doesnt mean squat!

  39. Hawaiian Buc Says:


    I guess you still don’t get it. I guess I’ll have to dumb it down for you even more. The preseason is all about individual players. We don’t know their assignments, and we don’t know who is doing their job. The game is not about the score. We aren’t game planning for them. We should never have 4 backup defensive linemen in at one time. If we do, we are screwed, but so is every other team. As of right now, our backup DE is Noah Spence. I’m okay with that. Our backup safeties are JJ Wilcox and Justin Evans. I’m okay with that too. We have LB depth is well. We are deep at most portions. No team is deep at all positions, not even the 2002 Bucs.

    Point is, just relax. You can’t tell how good we are going to be from the preseason. Every year there are teams that look great in preseason, and then stink it up when the games count. There are also times where it works the other way around. There isn’t one person in the world that can make predictions based off the preseason, especially not some wise arse on a blog site.

  40. stpetebucsfan Says:

    So I just watched the game on the NFL rebroadcast which I had recorded.

    Prior to that I had to rely on the NFL typed PBP and you guys.

    After all the negativity here I expected to see a bad team. Our offense looked awesome against Geno/ and thugs Burfict and Pac Man. Yeah #3 did not connect with ME13 in the end zone…probably some PI but does it matter? We’ve seen that show a bunch and #3 is going to find ME13 most times…in addition we were beyond vanilla…OJ wasn’t even in the game plan.

    Meanwhile those first two drives from horrible field position showed me an offensive line that HAS improved and Ali wasn’t even in the game. I do not recall ever seeing #3 with this much time. I recall one time when the Bengal DE got outside of D Smith and #3 had to roll right.

    Those of you who watched the NFL version which picks up the home team broadcast got a different flavor. The Bengal announcers finally said…#3 is getting waaay too much time and he will pick any defense apart given that much time.

    I thought our OL got some very nice push against a team that is certainly a playoff contender. If the Red Rifle could stop choking in the playoff games the Bengals could go further. It’s not like we were playing chopped liver…the Bengals and their fans are just as pumped up as we are…they believe their team is really..really good.

    Just sayin’ Who was it who proclaimed they pay the other guys too.

  41. Mike Johnson Says:

    IF Joe? If so and so can improve we should see? I’ve said it all along..We’d better have a halla pass rush if we expect to contend this season. I watched a little of ATl’s preseason last week and they seem to have multiple rushers. No the 1st preseason game doesn’t mean didly squat. Beither does the 2nd or 4th. But you can take this to the bank..we start without a pass rush in our season opener and we will get run over. I don’t care how many spirals jameis throws. DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS.

  42. The Buc Realist Says:

    look, we all would be worried about the front 4 pass rush if we were still running lovie’s antiquated defense!!!!!! And all we can tell from the preseason game is just about how lineman look with a man on man blocking!!!!!!!! But Coach Smitty will manufacture a pass rush with the exotic looks he will bring, if they can not win their assignments!!!!!! We saw it last year int he back half!!!!!! And for those that are geeking to see the 3-4, word on the street is that they will start to use it more several games in the season!!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!!!

  43. Destinjohnny Says:

    All I was saying a hole was when your second team dominates it’s a good sign.
    Then you have to chime in with your Haole know it all attitude and be like the pats 2nd squad looks homible in pre season.
    2 words Tom and Bill.
    Okay let’s make u happy
    I hope are second gets crushed all through the pre season.

  44. Hawaiian Buc Says:


    I don’t know why you keep calling me haole. I doubt you even know what that means, so you should probably just stop.I don’t know why you’re getting your panties in a wad anyway. Chill out. It’s just a website.

  45. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    stpetebucsfan Says
    “So I just watched the game…”

    It was actually a pretty positive experience for the team. The starters did very well for the most part. Extremely well in my book.

    The issues arose for the backup QBs and the kickers (which was dealt with).

    What did you think of our other QB? The one that played at the end? 4 for 4 and a spike (which counts as an incomplete). I wish he could have stayed in the game just to see if he could score, because he was playing pretty smart.

    To be honest, I want to see more of him. He played better than either Fitz or Griffin, though against lesser competition. I say give him some second string reps. With Griff injured maybe they will.

  46. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I gotta side with Hawaiian Buc on this argument.

  47. Jimmy Says:


  48. Piratic Says:

    smh@owlykat. Jason Licht is the reason why we’re thinking about playoffs before the season has even begun, and this guy calls him incompetent. People are getting dumber by the hour.

  49. Not there yet Says:

    Pass rush can’t really say that needs to be improved after one preseason game but run defense was downright ugly