The Worst

December 2nd, 2017

Defense, including pass rush, is in shambles.

As we are now a day away from the Bucs facing the mighty Packers in Green Bay, here’s a reminder of what an uphill climb a win will be — even facing a career nobody like Brett Hundley.

The Bucs have five starters that just about any NFL general manager would crawl on glass to have. Bucs stud defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is likely having his best season of his career, as is linebacker Lavonte David. Brent Grimes is an ageless wonder who should go to the Pro Bowl next month in Orlando. Kwon Alexander and Kendell Beckwith are solid if not strong linebackers.

With five players like that, that’s a helluva nucleus for top shelf defense: Pro Bowlers on each level.

But no, the Bucs defense is horrible, specifically on the road. So bad are the Bucs on the road, that even with quality defensive performances at home, the road defense has dragged the team down into the abyss.

The Bucs have the worst pass defense on the road. They are giving up the most yards-per-game in the NFL. They have the worst third-down percentage in the league, allowing 49 percent conversion.

(Shockingly, the Bucs are only No. 20 in the NFL in points allowed.)

To make matters worse, the Bucs bring the worst quarterback pressure in the NFL. Per BSPN’s NFL Matchup, the Bucs, in percentage of dropbacks where the defense puts pressure on a quarterback, the Bucs are dead last, getting quarterback pressure 20.5 percent of the time.

As you can see by the graphic below, that’s well below the second-worst Buffalo Bills.

Now Joe understands two starting defensive ends the Bucs banked on never made it to the third game of the season healthy. Oft-injured Jacquies Smith, coming off major knee surgery, played a few snaps and was cut. Noah Spence blew out his shoulder (again) on the first snap of the second game. He was later placed on injured reserve. Robert Ayers, a capable defensive end (not a sackmeister) has been dinged up all year.

So Joe gets that Bucs coaches have little to work with. Still, why can’t defensive line coach Jay Hayes craft some sort of magic?

Will Gholston, who in the offseason signed a five-year, $27,500,000 pact, has no sacks this year. Nada. To be fair, his career single-season high for sacks is three. Do you expect Gholston, who is a strong run defender, will get three this year? Why can’t Hayes find a way to improve Gholston’s quarterback rushing skills?

Ayers, who has started eight games and played in 10, has but two sacks. Even if he doubles that number in the next five games, he still will have his worst single-season sack total numbers since 2012.

Defensive tackle shy, belly shirt-wearing, practice-hating, kicker-heckling, tree-grinding , non-contact-football-loving, chicken-wings-grilling, playing-time squawking, TV cooking star Swaggy Baker, who signed a three-year, $15,750,000 contract this spring (only this season is guaranteed) has yet to sack a quarterback this year. Even if he gets three sacks in the final five games, Swaggy will have had his worst season for sacks since 2014.

Defensive coordinator has not done a good job this year. Downright awful in fact. There is no way around it.

But please, someone point out to Joe a defensive lineman who has improved his pass rush numbers working under Hayes?

21 Responses to “The Worst”

  1. Blake_Bucsfan Says:

    Mike Smith was always the wrong Hire.

    For as many deficiencies as I feel Dirk has in his current role of Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator/Playcaller, and as much as I feel that he is in over his head… I can’t help but admit that he would have been so much better off right now, if he had hired Jim Schwartz to run the defense.

    I’d go as far as to say in doing so, we would have made the playoffs last season. And Dirk wouldn’t be so firmly on the hot seat.

  2. Blake_Bucsfan Says:

    But I guess this is the result of hiring someone because of a handshake deal you made with your bud that just took a year off Coaching to write a book, instead of the candidate which was clearly more qualified.

    Did Mike Smith write his book in Lovie Smith’s Basement? The world may never know.

  3. Joe Says:

    Did Mike Smith write his book in Lovie Smith’s Basement?

    Oh! 🙂

  4. BigHogHaynes Says:

    How you going to drag LOVIE’S name like that….with so much better talent on the team right now, this defensive unit is worse than the one LOVIE fielded!!TAKE A KNEE…KEEP AMERICA FREE!!!…THE COACHING STAFF HAS CHANGED YET THE RESULTS REMAIN THE SAME!! IT’S ALL ABOUT THE CONSPIRICY!

  5. Defense Rules Says:

    @Joe … “So Joe gets that Bucs coaches have little to work with. Still, why can’t defensive line coach Jay Hayes craft some sort of magic?” Seems like your first statement answers your question Joe … Bucs’ defense simply doesn’t have the horses; it’s not about coaches working ‘some sort of magic’. GMC’s been solid IMO, and so has McDonald, when he hasn’t been hurt. Baker has been a waste, as has Siliga. Gholston & Ayers have performed OK when not hurt, but neither seems to have played inside much to spell the DTs because we’re so thin at DE. Russell, Tapp & Clarke really haven’t contributed all that much in terms of QB pressures, sacks or tackles. Given such a pronounced deficiency of DLine talent, what ‘sort of magic’ should Jay Hayes be working?

    I personally don’t expect any more wins this season. The bigger question isn’t about Jay Hayes’ magic. It’s about who stays on this coaching staff (and in the GM position) if we go 4-12. After that it’s about which players do we keep moving forward, and which ones do we replace. This roster is a mess, on BOTH sides of the ball. Kinda obvious to me where the real blame lies.

  6. Bob in Valrico Says:

    With so many holes on the team and a limited amount of draft picks ,Licht has to be much more successful in free agency. To date Sweezy isn’t the road grader Light thought he was. Last I checked McCoy had more tackles than Baker who is sackless. We are so bad at DE that Licht signs George Rodgers who I believe had
    never started a nfl game since he 2011 just because he had 6 sacks in a part time role. We got 5 starts and too much time on IR from him. Really like
    Ayers attitude and effort,but he only played 12 games for 3 or 4 years prior to coming here and the trend seemed to continue here. Clinton Macdonald can be
    a beast when he plays but injuries have also cut into his playing time.

  7. The Buc Realist Says:

    I thought defenses were ranked by “points per game”???? I guess it does not fit the narrative!!!!!!!!

    Considering what they have to work with, it could be argued that the Defensive Coaches have done a “good job”!!!!!! We can point to several games and point to the defense as why the Bucs won and carried the day!!!!!! Is there a game where the offense carried the Bucs?????? So the verdict is inconsistent for sure!!!!!! But with the evident holes in the roster, at times it is too much for even this coaching staff (or any) to cover up!!!!!!!

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

  8. Mikadeemas Says:

    Yeah, I never got why everyone loves Jay Hayes. He couldn’t even get Michael Johnson to play hard. And some want HIM as our DC? I’ll admit he hasn’t had much to work with, but I fully agree Joe.

  9. Chris Says:

    Calling my shot, Hundley, 26-30, 375 yrds, 3 tds, 0 picks.

  10. Ptwalk Says:

    @Realist, I read your post as the joke of the day.

  11. StPeteBucsFan Says:


    As always you make excellent points but I can’t sake this weird feeling. You have logic and facts on your side I only have some stupid gut feeling.

    I just think there is still enough competitive fire on this team that they’re to surprise at least two teams…maybe starting this Sunday. The Pack is beatable for sure…they truly depend on Rodgers for more than just his physical talent…he’s like the soul of that team and they’re hurting right now.

    So given the old “On Any Given Sunday” I for some inexplicable reason feel that this team is going to pull two more surprises. I do like how they haven’t given up yet and #3 has a lot to prove as does our OL…DL.

    I don’t know that 6-10 saves jobs or costs them. At this point given all that has happened from hurricanes to injuries I’m ready to just roll with what we have and hope the continuity and lessons learned will lead to improvement. If not we can always fire a coach or two we’re good at that.

  12. StPeteBucsFan Says:


    Folks here simply do not accept the reality of injuries, nor the fact that it’s really hard to make an entire roster better in just a couple of years.

    So you have to gamble. Licht decided to roll the dice on Noah Spence and Jack
    Smith. I am not critical of the Spence gamble because he really flashed at times last year and one would have thought the surgeons fixed him. Jack Smith though was a shot in the dark…I always felt he would simply be a bonus if he showed up but I never really counted on it.

    So a very thin part of our team…edge rush…became non existent right at the start of the season.

    I do not think we’re that far away except in the trenches. If last year was #weaponsforJameis this year should be #buildthetrenches.

    What would it feel like if we had the best OL and best DL in the league? But that would probably mean our DB’s or RB’s or some other area was lacking. Hard to have it all in the NFL….but I”m ready for trench warfare!!!

  13. The Buc Realist Says:


    Some in the know, think that this team really just needs 2 starters on each Line!!!!!! Not that accomplishing that is easy!!! but between a very good free-agency and draft it can happen!!!!! Word on the street that the Bucs are already scouting line coaches on each side of the ball!!!! ( which will be a good thing)!!!! But the sheep need to stop trying to self destruct this team with the “its play calling” and to hand it off to anyone, even the towel boy!!!!!!! Lets keep the best play callers in the building calling the plays!!!!!! Then if it is deemed advantageous next year, and planned to pass on those duties then fine!!!!! But it needs to be planned!!!!!!! not reactionary!!!!!!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!

  14. Blake_Bucsfan Says:

    ^^ I’ve seen this defense get Blown the F out far too many times, regardless of injuries, to give Smith any kind of excuse or benefit of the doubt what so ever.

    Lovie couldn’t stop Case Keenum, and neither can Mike Smith. Lovie got canned for having a rotten defense, Mike Smith has a rotten defense?

    So what is the difference?

  15. The Buc Realist Says:


    If you think the incompetent one was fired just for a “rotten defense” then you were not paying attention!!!!!!! That was around the bottom of the top ten reasons why coach my scheme was fired!!!!!!!!!

    The difference is the penalties, accountability, the fact that lovie was selecting players, as bad as the defense is right now, lovie’s defense had a higher points allowed by 3 more points!!!!! Despite the fact that the 2015 team faced a low ranked offenses on avg!!!!!!!!!! Throw in the fact that coach my scheme defense never flashed in the whole time he was here, and Coach Smitty had a run last year are just some of “what the differences are”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Its 10:30, so I just told you what time it is!!!!! Twice!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

  16. I'm back...WhatDaBucisthis Says:

    @StPeteBucsFan…I was one of the ones calling for #TrenchWarfare the last couple offseasons. From Sheldon Rankins to D. Poe and C. Cambell. When we drafted VHlll I was sick! Now look at him…benched.
    I’m sorry but at the end of this session, I as a fan want someone’s head to roll. Glazers needs to fire the entire staff starting with the GM. Don’t care what it takes, get me Bill Polian stat!!! Let him create the winning environment we all crave so…

  17. Defense Rules Says:

    @StPete … “Folks here simply do not accept the reality of injuries, nor the fact that it’s really hard to make an entire roster better in just a couple of years. Have heard that too many times year after year StPete. Don’t personally agree with it though. Every team gets hit by injuries, that’s NFL football. And teams like the Rams show that yes you can make a team substantially better “in just a couple of years”. But not if your GMs screw the pooch when it comes to FAs, and when they essentially waste high draft picks (yes, that’s been going on for several years).

    My ‘gut feeling’ at the start of the season told me we could go 12-4 or thereabouts this year. Little did I know that my gut had it backwards. Bummer.

  18. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Agree realist Pamphile had his name called twice last week. They are all guilty
    of it at times and usually at the worst times.

  19. Blake_Bucsfan Says:


    You really didn’t tell me jackspit.

    That 5 game win streak was a complete and total fluke. Seeing that Mike Smiths defenses have been atrocious far more often than they have been good. And in retrospect, the only good teams we faced during that streak, were Seattle and Kansas City, both teams of course were dealing with major injuries.

  20. Bob in Valrico Says:

    I agree defense. Licht has tried to fill important holes on the team with late round picks that have failed.Robert herron,Kenny bell,Vitale,and McNichols to name a few. so we have to keep trying to fill them until a higfer surefire pick comes along. But the agency is the sopmething that that needs to be addressed.
    I think we need a separate frree agency department that vets these players.

    We can’t afford to get players like Anthony Collins,George johnson,Sweezy,Tj ward,
    Dj Swerringer with glaring weaknesses that don’t upgrade the team enough
    or end op on IR.

  21. Mike Johnson Says:

    Animals turn on their own kid for survival. Watch Licht and Koetter devour Smitty during off season. It will be..the Feasting of the Saints! Koetter job will be saved. When it probably should not be.