The Demise Of The Defense

December 9th, 2017

Coaching questioned.

Watching the Bucs defense this year drives a Bucs fan to jam a finger down his throat so he can hurl and get the episode over with.

The road defense is simply pathetic. Players have fallen off the map. Jenna Laine of ESPN did a nice breakdown of what went wrong with the defense this season.

One element is the disappearance of Keith Tandy.

In the final five weeks of the season last year, Tandy had four interceptions, tied for most in the NFL not just among safeties but all defensive backs. His 34 solo tackles in that span were also the most among defensive backs. But he’s averaging just 14.2 defensive snaps per game, the fewest of any Bucs safety. To be fair, he didn’t have that great of a training camp and wasn’t moving as well as he did last year.

Now Joe isn’t trying to be mean here and perhaps is giving Tandy a pass. The way the Bucs finished last year, specifically the play of the defense in the final eight games, helped fuel the high expectations for this season.

Joe has gone over this several times; last year the Bucs thought, after they beat the Dixie Chicks on the road to open the season, they had things figured out and did a sleepwalking routine in Arizona and got blasted. The way the team played to finish 2016, and the high expectations that followed for this year, did Tandy perhaps think he had 2017 figured, thus wasn’t properly prepared for 2017 and never could recover from a subpar preseason?

One thing must be done when a team is struggling like the Bucs; start holding people’s feet to the fire, such as Joe being harsh on a good man like defensive coordinator Mike Smith. But as Dirk Koetter said on SiriusXM NFL Radio last night, the NFL is a results-oriented business and the results Smith has gotten from his defense this season, specifically on the road, are unacceptable.

Joe likes veteran defensive line coach Jay Hayes a great deal as well. But someone please point out to Joe any lineman he has developed or helped in his time with the Bucs.

Granted, Hayes has little to work with for a pass rush (what edge rush?), but has he made anyone better? Will Gholston is a virtual shadow of former self, for example. Hayes isn’t a magician, but he can’t squeeze an extra sack or two out of guys he’s been working with a year or two?

And what about secondary coaches Jon Hoke and Brett Maxie? And how exactly did Vernon Hargreaves go from a competent if not a promising rookie to a benchwarmer in less than a year? And see what happened to Tandy, as mentioned above.

If you ask Joe, it isn’t just Smith on the coaching staff who hasn’t exactly earned his salary this season.

27 Responses to “The Demise Of The Defense”

  1. ShutTheBucUp Says:

    The rest of our division are fighting for playoff spots in the coming weeks and here we are, dwelling in the basement once again. So many of you guys told the rest of us not to be overly optimistic but we wouldn’t listen. You guys insisted that we were at least a year or two away from contending for any kind of playoff spot. I got my hopes up and they have been thoroughly crushed. I have hope for the future but the future won’t begin until Koetter, Smith AND Licht are jettisoned.

  2. Wombat Says:

    When you have players that wouldn’t get a start on any other NFL team, you have problems. I guess you have to look at who is buying the groceries??

  3. America's Groper Says:

    Good points Joe, my concern that if we get anew DC, will they be able to salvage Tandy, Gholston, Hargraves.

  4. BucEmUp Says:

    Please tell me how Jay Hayes can coach up a pass rush when the QB has wide open wide receivers every play? When your DC is to ignorant to realize his system of zone coverage with his DB’s playing 10 to 12 yards off the wr’s is making it IMPOSSIBLE to get to the QB without blitzing.

    Every game
    Every Sunday
    Every Play

    There is ALWAYS an open wr in this system. It is impossible to get a four man pass rush when you are making it that easy for the offense. Promote Jay Hayes to QB and I guarantee you see those corners playing up on the line.

  5. What in the buc Says:

    We let the players walk and start on other teams… Bennett, Spence, Talib (not that I liked him but just saying) and the list goes on and on we keep letting good players walk why? Is it because they don’t fit in our schemes? Maybe we should try changing the scheme and keeping the talented players…. still need a pass rush from the edge no scheme can fix that!

  6. BucEmUp Says:

    And before some idiot responds with something along the lines of “We don’t have the corners to play bump and run they will get burned and man handled” …..

    Thats worse than how our defense is playing now how?

    Hell if anything I’d rather give up the big play every now and then opposed to letting the opposing offense chew up the entire time of possession throwing dink and dunk passes down the field all day.

  7. Bob in Valrico Says:

    the two things that have affected the defense the most are injuries and counting on players to come back from Injuries received last year. Lack of offense is also
    a factor.
    But the person most responsible in my mind is Jason Licht. Counting on Jaquis Smith to come back, and Baker and Ayers shore up this defense was a gamble that failed. Noah Spence’s injury left this DLine woefully lacking in the pass rush.
    Licht has to do better at getting the D coordinator more players to make a difference.

  8. tmaxcon Says:

    Another Year the bucs defense captained by a mentally weak career loser and anorther year in the basement. Cancer93 approach SUCKS the life and desire to win from all he comes accross… bucs can keep changing coaches and front office but until the leader of losing culture is eradicated nothing will change. The undisputed leader and face of the basement years cancer93 is the root problem. His weak approach and love of losing offsets the overrated quick first step which rarely is enough to finish….

  9. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Until Hargreaves plays up to his draft status,Licht also has to take the hit for
    his pick.

  10. tmaxcon Says:

    Hargreaves is a future pop warner coach and pe teacher not a nfl player. he has proven that he rather dance and act like a clown than cover anyone. another high round wasted pick by one of the most embarrassing sports franchises the world has ever witnessed. no hope with glazers making the decisions.

  11. not there yet Says:

    Nonsense calling out Jay Hayes. No player develops here, they get drafted here and become good or fall off until they play for another team. Why is it no one has ever developed will gholston into a pass rusher? That’s because he was limited to begin with and it was known sorry of like that talk about bullough in hard knocks. Not every player is a hidden gem our diamond in the rough. That 5 game streak was the best Keith Tami has ever played in his entire career and it’s the only time he’s ever played like a true starter but leave it to Tampa hands to point to 5 games in like a 7 year career to say ah ha

  12. Defense Rules Says:

    Great article Joe, although you managed to finger everyone on the defensive coaching staff but never once mentioned the REAL culprits: the Glazers and Jason Licht, our GM. Fortunately Wombat and Bob in Valrico had your back.

    This thing about ‘our defense on the road sucks’ is a flimsy excuse for lazy analysis on the media’s part. It’s the SAME COACHES and the SAME PLAYERS. So what’s different? The TEAMS WE’RE PLAYING and the conditions that we’re playing under. Beating a (presently) 3-9 Bears team at RayJay is one thing. Losing to a (presently) 10-2 Vikings team in their house is quite another. (Could go right down the list but you know exactly why we’re doing better at home … just look at the records of the teams we’ve beaten).

    This entire Bucs’ T-E-A-M has regressed this year, defensively AND offensively, while our division ‘competition’ has largely improved (Saints? Panthers? and yes, the Falcons, at least defensively). Licht & the Glazers have ensured that we’ll be the NFC South doormats for probably years to come. This current team lacks leadership. It lacks play-makers who can consistently make big plays at critical times. And it lacks aggressive, imaginative coaching that can stay one-step ahead of the competition. It lacks depth. Most of all though it seems to lack a V-I-S-I-O-N of what we want this T-E-A-M to be. We’re floundering with no clear direction, and that’s on the Glazers AND the GM as the owners and designers of this thing.

  13. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    To me, it looks like the NFL has caught on to Mike Smith’s defensive schemes.
    And we also failed to provide Mike Smith with a legitimate pass rushing threat.
    Not defending Smitty, but no NFL defense can stop an opposing team for long, w/o a pass rush.

  14. Mike Johnson Says:

    Every yr, teams like the Steelers, Pats, Bengals..take no name players and plug them right in. One goes down, another steps in without missing a beat. And then there are..Excuses teams like us. Injuries, systems, Talent..You name it we got the excuse. I told you all during the HBO premeires No to believe the Hype until you saw our Defense play. I knew we were in trouble without addressing our D line during the off season. Now sit back with a libation come Sunday and..Moan some more. Koetter and pressbox Smitty need to pack bags.

  15. Jack Haydon Says:

    BOOM – Bob in Valrico – couldn’t agree more….we brought in folks based on who we thought we could count on from last year – you nailed it.

  16. DBS Says:

    Never fall for the hype of this team and you won’t get let down. It is always show me and one game at a time . Because even when it looks like they may be on the path. They will blow it!

  17. Cobraboy Says:

    Under Mike Smith’s 27 game tenure, there have been maybe 6-8 stellar efforts.

    That’s it.

    And there have been maybe 12-15 complete, embarrassing disasters…with possibly 3-4 more on the way.

    How Smith chose to cover Julio Jones tells you all you need to know about D coaching.

  18. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    Cliche’s exist for a reason! It’s because they contain TRUTH!!!

    So the old football cliche…it all starts up front encapsulates the Bucs disaster this year.

    We need to be honest. I like GMC…I like Ali Marpet but we gotta admit…we are less than even mediocre in the trenches on BOTH sides of the ball.

    We are awful upfront! No run blocking…no pass rush…we are AWFUL in the trenches. Great receiving corps…promising young QB…mediocre RB’s…but we are awful up front.

    Let’s begin a massive reconstruction of our trenches!!!

    On D we have solid linebackers…our DB’s are shaping up with the emergence of Evans and Smith…hopefully VHG can find a spot on the field…But our DL is awful…no pass rush at all!!!!

    Build from the trenches out on BOTH sides of the ball.

  19. ruggyup Says:

    Do as you please Mr. Glazer but do NOT bring in Ken Norton as DC

  20. Dewey Selmon Says:

    If Smitty somehow lands the Giants job and releases Steve Spagnola, do we give him a chance here?

  21. Guzzie Says:

    Dewey really, you think Mike Smith will even sniff another HC job, are you kidding?

  22. Dewey Selmon Says:

    Guzzie, no I don’t think he should now after the last 28 games sample, but his name popped up couple days ago after the McAdoo firing. so back to the question.

  23. Bculaw Says:

    Tandy is the Peyton Barber of the defense. He made plays when given the opportunity. He just rarely gets the opportunity anymore.

  24. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Defensive line needs 2 new starters, and if Spence can’t return or stay healthy-3. Talent makes coaches look good or bad – Bucs need to invest in linemen in the draft- don’t count on free agents
    Could be worse-Bucs opponent this week last won a championship 60 years ago against Jim Brown’s Cleveland Browns with a backup qb

  25. Rrsrq Says:

    Tandy opened up communication on the defense last year, between him and McDougal, I think Smitty has his favorites, is Bobby Mc, really that special, is Conte better than Tandy, I get Ward he was coming off of a pro bowl year. Develop R. Smith, he will be fine. VH3, he’s a nickel. Back to Tandy, not great skills but showed instincts last year.
    As far as the defensive line, no talent on the ends, outside of Spence. You can’t make edge rushers, they either have it or they don’t, we just decide to trade up for a kicker

  26. dmatt Says:

    I WANT JIM HARBAUGH…a proven aggressive type coach who take chances n put players in position to maximize their talent. And, And, he will not allow his DC to have corners playing 10 feet from the receiver. Panthers corners jammed Falcons Julio Jones at the line of scrimmage on Monday night threw him off his routes…that’s an example of great coaching.

  27. I'm a Tandyman Bucs Fan Says:

    Thanks Joe finally after 8 losses to sense something I have been saying all season. I Coached Keith and know how he’s wired. He is talented he is smart he plays hard knows his craft and I have no doubts he was a reason the Bucs were successful those last few games because of him. He hurt his hip 2 games in this year and for what reason I have not been able to figure out Smith and Koetter didn’t play him again. Evans is a talented rookie and he and Keith could have made a good Safety Secondary. Know it would have been better than with Conte and Ward. Say what you want but I know Tandy is a winner and Koetter and Smith have likely lost their jobs by not playing Keith and I say it deserves their ignorance right. Watch tomorrow and see how much better the back line defense is when Keith is on the field!!! GO BUCS!!!!