Tackling 101

April 21st, 2018

Back to basics.

Joe cannot remember the year famed NFL broadcaster John Madden marveled at the Bucs.

It was a Monday Night Football game and it was either the Bucs or the Steelers playing and Madden remarked how much he enjoyed watching both of those defenses play. Madden noted both were coached up by long-time savvy coordinators, Monte Kiffin and Dick LeBeau.

But what Madden said that night still rings true in Joe’s ears; the reason why the Bucs and the Steelers had such good defenses was superior tackling. Madden said the two teams were the best in the NFL.

Since, as the years have passed, it seems tackling is a lost art. Dudes either don’t want to tackle or simply want to blow up a ball carrier. But if he doesn’t go down, the opportunity to take off for a monster game is wide open.

Hell, Lovie Smith almost frowned on tackling. He wanted takeaways at all costs and so many times Joe saw opposing ball carriers dragging Bucs defenders two, three, four yards down field for a first down because Bucs defenders were too busy trying to punch the ball out rather than wrap up and bring a guy down. This resulted in moving the chains.

For some reason, Lovie couldn’t figure out that a punt is a turnover, too.

Earlier this week Bucs ferocious middle linebacker Kwon Alexander was asked about the new NFL rule (which has yet to be explained to players in any sort of detail) saying players cannot lead with their helmets. Alexander, who initially flipped out on Twitter about the new rule, seemed to be at peace with it.

In short, Alexander said folks have to be more fundamentally sound in tackling.

“Nobody wants to be hurt or not be able to play the game again, so obviously we have to change the way we tackle and keeping our head up,” Alexander said. “That is what we are supposed to do anyway; more grabbing instead of trying to go through somebody, just trying to wrap them up. [The new rule] is going to make you wrap up better. That is how I feel. It is going to help.”

This is music to Joe’s ears. Look, Joe enjoys a bone-rattling hit as much as the next red-blooded American male. Who in the world did not enjoy Alexander splashing Stewart McClown?

But the key to the game is tackling and putting a ball carrier on the ground. Don’t allow him to squirm away with extra yards and a first down.

24 Responses to “Tackling 101”

  1. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    John Madden and Pat Summerall……………….the best broadcasting duo ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Man……………I miss watching games with those two in the booth

  2. Bucsfanman Says:

    Good tackling was badly missing from our defense and Kwon was one of the culprits!

  3. Easy Says:


    Thank you!! Kwon whiffs on waaay to many tackles IMo. He’s an. Average MLB

  4. Radsy Says:

    This will be good for the NFL. Tackling with your head across the body is very common and ineffective, not to mention damaging. Tackling with the crown of the helmet is pure idiocy. I watch Super Rugby as often as NFL, and the truth is, taking the head out of the tackle does not diminish big hits at all. The neck absorbs energy, whereas the shoulders have very little give. A shoulder charge or dump tackle punishes the ball carrier more.

  5. Defense Rules Says:

    Hopefully the new rule results in improved tackling techniques & fewer injuries (to both the player being tackled AND the tackler). Agree with Bucsfanman & Easy that Kwon’s ‘one of the culprits’. Not a good look for a MLB & a ‘Jameis of the Defense’.

  6. Kobe Faker Says:

    The RedHead Matador

    “OH LAAAA!”

    Kobe Faker

  7. The Buc Realist Says:

    I remember when Coach Schaino first got here and was running fundamental talking drill and the local media scoffed at him daily!!!!! Now they are asking for it!!!!!!!!!! Agenda indeed!!!!!!!!

    GO Bucs!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Issic Haggins Says:

    @Easy , You are dead on !! He really didn’t his rookie year but now he sure does, almost like he’s pre predicting what the ball carrier is doing . He’s def less instinctual than he was year one !!

  9. Dooshlarue Says:

    Actually, calling him the Jameis of the defense is kinda fitting.
    Kwon misses tackles often and JW fumbles way too often.

    I wonder if Kwon likes to eat dem Ws too?

  10. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    Ironically the very thing that provided greater protection…helmet technology…has also driven all this head hunting and greater CTE potential.

    Originally with the old leather helmets nobody was going to lead with their heads and exposed faces…much more like Rugby…then Paul Brown invents the face bar…eventually grows to a “bird cage” face masks an variations…and guys could get away with leading with their helmets which in addition to providing protection also became weapons.

    I certainly support wrapping up and on the way if you can blast a big shoulder into a guys chest you can knock the wind out of him and send the same message as trying to concuss him with helmet to helmet hitting. A lot of difference between getting the wind knocked out of you…very very uncomfortable…and getting concussed…you don’t even remember the hit half the time.

    Going low is not the answer because players knees are their livelihoods.

  11. lambchop Says:

    @Issic Haggins,

    What exactly is pre predicting? Sounds like some Inception stuff.

  12. Pickgrin Says:

    “new NFL rule…saying players cannot lead with their helmets”


    More game delays due to penalties.

    More power in the hands of Refs to change games via “judgement” calls.

    The wussification of this game just gets worse every year the past few via new rules and new judgement calls.

    Might as well just break out the flags now – because flag football is where this league is headed…

    Its really sad to see this game be completely changed for the worse – in the name of “safety”.

    These players know what they are signing up for. They know it is a “tough” game – a physical game – a game where injuries happen.

    Its all about the spectacle. NFL players are the modern day Gladiators. They are well paid to play this pro game (even the lowest paid players make 10X+ what an average person earns per year).

    They accept the risk of injury gladly because they want to perform as athletes on the highest stage – and because they are WELL paid to do so.

    Athletic Entertainers.

    Big Hits and intimidation and “physical-ness” have always been a part of this game. Frankly – its largely for this reason that football became so popular in the 1st place. The NFL itself USED to embrace this aspect of the game – putting out “biggest hits” video tapes each year and with every highlight themed talking head show showing the best hits and toughest plays from that week’s slate of games.

    But No More.

    The game of football is being ruined – bit by bit – piece by piece – new “safety”rule by new “safety”rule…

    And the only thing that long time fans of this game can do about it apparently is watch it happen, shake ours heads, and complain on footballcentric web sites.

    Hey -King Goodell. Wanna know why your league’s rating are REALLY down each of the last 2 years ? Quit F**KING with the very way the game is played and you might find out…

  13. Pickgrin Says:

    So running backs can no longer plow into the line with their head down or lower their head to deliver a blow forward of their own when contact is approaching?

    How is this even going to work?? There will be a dozen “leading with the head” penalties per game – and if there aren’t – it just means the refs are calling it “selectively”. More judgement. More opportunity to influence or even change the course of games at their own personal discretion…

  14. Not there yet Says:

    Oh all the problems this defense has last year he was hardly one of them especially having been injured. Whiffing on tackles happened but don’t exaggerate how much. Better to be in position to make a tackle than to be out of position constantly allowing runners to run right where your supposed to be like a certain pro bowl defensive tackle always does

  15. BringBucsBack Says:

    Buc Realist brought up Schiano and his teaching of the fundamentals. Does anyone remember McCoy saying that until meeting Shiano, no one ever taught him how to tackle?

    We can criticize Schiano for a lot of things but he did teach the fundamentals. even the ball carriers were carrying the ball high and tight when he was here. I have not seen that or quality tackling, since he left. For our Bucs, it’s back to basics indeed!

  16. SteelStudBuc Says:

    Kwon is over rated. Mediocre and average. Talks too much for a guy who can’t speak English properly.

  17. Gambelero Says:

    I agree with Pickgrin. The way I read this; it’s only going to be applied to the defense. I don’t think they’re going to call running backs or receivers for lowering their heads. It’s going to be so tough to play defense in real time.

    Football to its fans appeals to our most atavistic instincts. For most of the tens of thousands of years of human existence we cheered our warriors as they went into and returned from battle because a lost war or even a lost battle meant the end—of our language, religion, lives and freedom. The losing side became slaves, if they were allowed to live. Football is a game played by the elite amongst us, the biggest, baddest, toughest guy in every village still only has a very small percentage chance to play at the NFL level. Taking the toughness out of the game will ruin it.

  18. StPeteBucsFan Says:


    I don’t see calling that on RB’s. The defender has the ultimate last choice in making contact or not making contact.

    A WR going over the middle and being vulnerable does not have the choice to avoid the head to head contact…he is at the mercy of the DB…a DT…LB..DB does have some choice in how they approach an RB heading into the line. Mostly they are going to be restrained into using their shoulder or simply getting lower than the RB’s head.

  19. SteelStudBuc Says:

    Kwon needs to tuck his shirt in on game day like a big boy and lead by example. Tired of seeing him mumble with his jersey half inside out… undershirt hanging out… missing tackles… guy was a total bum last year.

  20. Issic Haggins Says:

    @ L Chop great point !! I’ll take a stab at it ……Pre predicting , I guess that would be watching so much film you have predicted what a ball carrier will do in your head before the actual game / play or Prior to the actual play ,which may be different than the film so that’s pre predicting LOL .

    Aka ……Overly Educated Guessing !!!

    Read the play then let your instincts take over not your pre predicting . LOL

  21. unbelievable Says:

    This team hasn’t been able to tackle since Ronde retired.

    They need him to come in and teach these guys how to wrap up and tackle like a “T”

  22. JimmyJack Says:

    Whoever they get for our secondary better be able to tackle because he will be joining one of the most pitiful tackling units in the league, maybe in history.

  23. Tackling dummy Says:

    Great. Now can they learn to focus on the player’s belt buckle when they try to wrap up? That is the player’s center of mass. It goes where he goes and it doesn’t lie like head fakes or dancing feet.

  24. Joe Says:

    Great. Now can they learn to focus on the player’s belt buckle when they try to wrap up?


    That’s what Night Train Lane used to say.

    No, Joe’s not talking about the guy that works for 620. 🙂