Which Defense Will Show Up?

September 8th, 2017

Will success continue?

Yeah, Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht did a nice job getting DeSean Jackson in free agency in the offseason. But his most important move may have been to keep Mike Smith from running out the door.

The defensive coordinator of the Bucs transformed a moribund, borderline sieve of a unit into one of the better defenses in the NFL. Andy Benoit of SI.com documented the turnaround.

In the first half of last season the Bucs’ defense allowed 29.0 points and 398.9 yards per game. In the second half it surrendered 17.1 points and 337.0 yards. What changed? The players’ comfort with coordinator Mike Smith’s zone concepts. The back seven played with much better spacing and awareness, and Smith, in turn, became more comfortable dialing up coverage disguises. Expect more improvement in 2017.

Holding teams to 17 points a game is damned good. Now, what can we expect in a week?

Logically, a Bucs fan should hope Smith and his defense pick up where they left off. The safeties have improved. Linebackers are deep.

The only thing this team is missing defensively? You can see this coming down Central Avenue in St. Petersburg:

A pass rush.

11 Responses to “Which Defense Will Show Up?”

  1. darin Says:

    Well Joe we definitely need a pass rush. But u know the game within the game. Wow look at kc last night. Beating down brady by rushing 3 most of the time. Thats why smitty is so important. Takes a great defensive mind even more when u dont have great pass rushers. Im confident enough in our guys and smitty. Also this is off topic but dang that kareem hunt looked great. I must admit i wasnt a big proponent of his during draft time. I even watched some tape. Looks like i missed that one. Of course only one game but the guy looks like the real deal. Would love him in our backfield. Go bucs

  2. BigHogHaynes Says:

    Without a consultant pass rush this defense will again be up and down…I’m somewhat glad that our O-line has another week to find themselves..I don’t think they could have handled Sue yesterday! If we can put together 4 or 5 back to back wins at sometime this season we should win 9 games!

  3. Zwak Says:

    But we have GMC he’s the best in the league?

  4. Eric Says:

    Put lipstick on a pig……

  5. Pickgrin Says:

    There was consensus agreement last year that when the Defense started to really ‘communicate” after the break – the play and results improved immensely. That was the buzzword anyway.

    But nobody has ever really articulated exactly what that means – which I find interesting.

    Does better “communication” mean that Kwon who gets the play call from Smitty did a better job of relaying the call to every member of the defense? Does it mean that after the play has been relayed by Kwon that all or certain members were talking to their neighbor – reinforcing the assignment for the play called – perhaps offering suggestions or observances they are seeing pre-snap?

    Its hard to not suspect that in the beginning of the 2016 season, learning the new scheme and “too much thinking, not enough reacting” as a result of the unfamiliarity was largely responsible for the defenses early shortcomings (along with multiple injuries to the DLine).

    IE: Via continued study and experience playing in the new scheme – once every player fully learned and felt comfortable with not only his own assignment but his teammate’s as well – then they were better able to “communicate” about that which they better understood.

    Interested to hear what others think about this “communication” that players and coaches said was the catalyst for such a dramatic defensive turnaround last year – what it really meant and why no one wanted to provide specifics?

  6. stpetebucsfan Says:


    I think you answered your question with when the players got to know each other’s responsibilities as well as their own…then they had mastered the D. They stopped trying to do too much and simply played THEIR position.

    Again…will a top ten pass rush satisfy folks here? That’s what we had last year…tied for 9th. I have not broken down when those sacks occurred as in how many took place in the first half of the season and how many in the second half.

    Whatever…as a team…we don’t have THAT far to go with our pass rush as most believe. Is it the team pass rush that counts or are sacks only valuable if they come from a DE..or if they’re delivered by double digits from ONE player?

  7. Cobraboy Says:

    I’ve said since the day it happened: keeping Smith at DC, and the continued continuity, is the single best off-season move the Bucs made.

  8. Cobraboy Says:

    With more three-step drops in vogue in today’s NFL, the outside pass rush is becoming less important than the middle push.

  9. Pickgrin Says:

    LOL – “continued continuity”


  10. unbelievable Says:


    Can’t recall where I read this, but I do remember someone saying they were only having meetings with their individual groups, but not as a whole defense.

    Then they had a joint meeting(s) with the entire defense together, and I think that’s when they started to better understand what other guys would be doing in different situations and alignments. So their overall coverage improved and they could play more instinctively, knowing where other guys would / should be.

    Something like that…. lol

  11. BucEmUp Says:

    I liked kansas cities defense last night. two saftey zone….but they pkayed deep and had the corners playing press. Then the occasional 3-4 look with spence blitzing. If its the same as last year it aint gonna cut it