Rotten Pass Rush Exposed

July 9th, 2018

Not all his fault.

This made Joe rifle his bowl of cornflakes against the fridge this morning.

Yes, we know the Bucs were just so pathetic with the pass rush last year. It took Joe’s breath away.

Essentially, when the Bucs rushed four men, they had all the ability to shed blocks and get past offensive linemen as a bunch kindergarten kids playing Patty Cake in a playground.

Scott Kacsmar of did deep research into pass rushes last season and it was appalling how bad the Bucs were. Per Kacsmar, the Bucs sent a four-man rush at passers 77.3 percent of the time, which was fourth-most in the NFL. Yet while running a four-man rush, no team was worse than the Bucs and it wasn’t even close. The Bucs got pressure on opposing quarterbacks with a four-man rush 24.1 percent of the time. At No. 31 was New Orleans with a 26.9 percent rate on four-man rushes.

No wonder former defensive line coach Jay Hayes was run!

Here is something else maddening: When the Bucs blitzed bringing five rushers or more, their success rate in pressuring the quarterback skyrocketed to 45.7 percent, No. 12 in the NFL. You guessed it, the Bucs rarely used this package and their frequency was No. 27 in the NFL.

To further the aggravation, the Bucs were No. 29 in using defensive back blitzing packages. But when the Bucs did use that package, they were in the top 10 in the NFL at getting pressure on quarterbacks. The Bucs used a defensive back blitz package 2.9 percent of the time, yet they had a pressure success rate of 55.6 percent, tenth-best in the NFL.

So if the Bucs couldn’t breathe on a quarterback using four rushers, but did significantly better using defensive backs in a blitz scheme, why the hell didn’t they bring defensive backs more often?

Not getting pressure using four defensive linemen, that’s on Hayes. But why the Bucs didn’t use blitz packages more often since the pressure success rate was significantly better, that’s on defensive coordinator Mike Smith.

Yeah, bringing a defensive back, especially against the quarterbacks the Bucs played last year, would open the team up for getting roasted by explosive plays. But the way the defense was getting worked over as it was, what was there to lose?

Talk about being scared of your own shadow!

43 Responses to “Rotten Pass Rush Exposed”

  1. Knoxville Buc Fan Says:

    Joe it sounds more like someone pi$$ed in your cornflakes and then you slung or rifled it against the wall. Relax a vast majority of the readers are still hanging around JBF and counting the days till another thrilling Buccaneer season kicks off! BUT Joe i get it. The Bucs suck! JW F’d it all up. We have the worst defense in the history of the NFL including YOUR 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. What the hell, I have thought about it for days now. I’m gonna click on the DOLMAN LAW GROUP and file a civil Case against JBF for causing me to slip into a deep depression with all the doom and gloom and Bull$hit you all have been feeding my brain

  2. Bucfanrich Says:

    I agree with Knoxville, all Joe ever post is Doom and Gloom..

  3. Bucsfanman Says:

    Exhibit a-z as to why Smitty should have been canned. Lack of creativity and lack of adjustments. But hey, he’ll get it right THIS year, right?!

  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    It looks like our new Dline should free up our LBs and DBs for more blitzes…..especially our LBs. We have great speed there…..looking of LVD to really come alive in 2018.

  5. BucEmUp Says:

    That s easy joe….its hard to blitz the dbs when they are playing on the other half of the football field 12 yards back. C’mon its Mike Smith we are talking about.

    Font worry, Buckner will be scratching his head soon like Hayes wondering why his line isn’t getting home

  6. Roy T. Buford Says:

    Given GMC was constantly double-teamed and it was clear the D line still couldn’t get someone to the QB, I frequently wondered why they didn’t do more LB blitzing..I figured it was because Smith also didn’t trust the DBs in the center of the field. The whole D stunk.

  7. SCBucsFan Says:

    Thank God for a fresh spin on this subject. Changed my mind.

  8. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Jason Licht went out and signed 4 new defensive lineman and drafted a mountain of a defensive tackle because the D line did not get it done.
    Similar results from the Db’s necessitated the drafting of three new players.
    Licht neglected the defense and last year, it is just as much his responsibility as Smitty’s.
    Credit Licht for seeing this and making moves to correct our deficiencies on defense. Smitty should have the opportunity to to prove he has the ability to
    mold a better defense.

  9. JameisNOT Says:

    The D should be much better this year with Fitz as the starter. Less turnovers will bring the result in a much better defensive moral along with a rested overall team. It is demoralizing to a D when they make a stop and only have to go back out on he field due to the QB making yet another turnover.

  10. The Buc Realist Says:

    Just because their was a higher percentage of pressure does not equate a sack, or stops a “explosive” play from the gaping hole that the player left!!!!!!!!!

    I think you threw your cornflakes for nothing!!!!!! Did you not know that the defense was not good enough last year???? Did you expect to have very high blitz percentages when LVD and KA58 who are main blitz’sers missed significant time due to injury??????

    And Joe is mad at Coach Smitty and not NFL GM Licht for not having one guy on the D-line worth a D@*& last year???????

    Joe not only threw his cornflakes over nothing, but also in the wrong direction ( once again )!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Waterboy Says:

    Does the defensive line coach or defensive coordinator make the calls on defense? Jay Hayes did fine in Cincinnati but I do remember Mike Smith getting fired in Atlanta because of their awful defense.

  12. Defense Rules Says:

    Thank you TBBF for a ray of hope (to many Negative Nellies crawling around this morning). Apparently the Jameis hassle is getting old, so it’s ‘Pile Back on the Defense’ day in Bucsville.

    Understandably Joe cherry-picked Kacsmar’s analysis to show how bad the Bucs were last year by focusing on their rankings. What’s more interesting (at least to me) is what the BEST teams did that made them most effective. Check out what their analysis says about the Jaguars for instance:

    “Jacksonville’s four-man rush was obviously effective, with the third-best pressure rate and best DVOA. That’s why they used a standard four-man rush more frequently than any other defense at 83.7 percent. They blitzed the least frequently of any team in the league, (14.3 percent) but they were very impressive when blitzing too, producing the second-highest pressure rate and third-best DVOA.” (DVOA by the way stands for Defense Adjusted Value Over Average).

    So the Jags used the 4-man rush significantly more than even the Bucs, yet they came in at the top of the heap. They blitzed less than anyone, yet they had the 2nd-highest pressure rate in the NFL. Hmmm, how can that be Joe? Better coaching? Just a thought: How about better Secondary & DLine T-A-L-E-N-T. Jags had superior talent across the board, which kinda makes it easier to get the job done. Hopefully the upgrades in T-A-L-E-N-T that we’ve made this off-season will yield similar results to what the Jags achieved last year.

  13. Bob in Valrico Says:

    The best pass rushing teams utilize their four man front most of the time,freeing up db’s and LB’s to cover and blitz just enough to keep the offense guessing.
    Even with a makeshift defensive backfield the defense produced 23 turnovers
    which was tied for 6 th in the league. Better players and better effort should produce more turnovers and sacks.

  14. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Looks like some other posters were faster on the keyboard to make their points.
    Agree with TBBF and DR.

  15. The Buc Realist Says:

    Joe asks the defense, why did they not blitz more? post the players that were injured and missed time!!!!!!!!!! Its an easy answer Joe!!!!!!!

  16. Defense Rules Says:

    Oh and Joe, the rest of Kacsmar’s analysis has some really interesting nuggets applicable to the Bucs this year also. For instance:

    “Two of the least effective blitzing defenses last year also featured two of the youngest secondaries: Cleveland (25th in snap-weighted age) and Green Bay (29th). Those were the only two defenses to rank in the top 12 in blitz frequency, but in the bottom 12 in DVOA.”

    Hmmm, sound like the Bucs’ Secondary from last year? Blitzing more with a young Secondary can yield negative results also. Maybe an experienced DC like Smitty took that possibility into consideration? He was ‘damned if he did, damned if he didn’t’ with last year’s T-A-L-E-N-T level. I might be wrong, but it looks to me like Smitty is more concerned about trying to minimize POINTS ALLOWED (given the talent levels he had to work with) than he is with YARDAGE ALLOWED. Take a close look at those results in 2016 & 2017 versus Lovie’s results in 2015 and I think you’ll see an interesting picture. Our 2015 rankings in Passing Yardage Allowed (#16) and Rushing Yardage Allowed (#11) were considerably better than our rankings in 2016 & 2017, AND YET … our 2015 defense ranked #26 in POINTS ALLOWED … considerably worse than we ranked in 2016 or 2017 under Smitty.

  17. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Guys if you don’t identify a problem you can’t solve it.

    I’m as big a homer as anybody but at the end of the day I want the truth not some song and dance full of excuses.

    I think Joe came from journalism. I majored in journalism. Here is a solid lesson for you. “FAKE NEWS” is simply a term created for all the legitimate REAL news created by our President. He doesn’t like the truth so he lies an average of 6.5x a day and is peoed at the media for telling the truth. BTW I’m well aware not ALL media tell the truth…there is at least ONE major exception that simply spews propaganda.

    I’m seeing the same thing here. Looking at this site as a journalist with the realization that blogs are more like the editorial pages and are free to express opinion I see that the Joe’s still have their journalistic grounding. So do you guys want unfounded propaganda making everything LOOK good or do you want honest journalism. I think the Joe’s do a good job on the latter and they are very clear when they are simply expressing their opinions.

    This story is a prime example of reporting TRUTH and then letting us chew on that bone to analyze.

    This thread does not make Smitty…or Koetter since he’s the ultimate boss…look very talented or even bright. They see the same numbers as we just saw yet they stuck with their refusal to blitz nearly as often as they should have.

    In fact by Einstein’s famous definition of insanity…”Doing the same thing over and over hoping for a different outcome”…Smitty might check in with a shrink today.

  18. Defense Rules Says:

    @Bob in Valrico … “The best pass rushing teams utilize their four man front most of the time,freeing up db’s and LB’s to cover and blitz just enough to keep the offense guessing.” B-I-N-G-O Bob! (Of course, that just cost you a job working for JBF).

  19. BrianBucs Says:

    I think that the Bucs didn’t blitz more because Smith knew that he had to protect his very weak secondary. Wanted more men in coverage.

  20. Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    what would be very interesting to go along with those stats is yards gained by the opposing team in those different pass rushing situations. That would answer the question of why Smitty did not send a 5 man rush more often. But we all know that bc we witnessed it…

  21. BringBucsBack Says:

    I’m not positive but, I seem to recall Joe being critical of Buccaneer blitzes last year. I believe it was on a radio broadcast with Duemig.

    While not yielding a lot of sacks last year, the blitzes were obviously at least somewhat effective in the form of hurried passes and offensive confusion which, begets off-target passes. For some reason however (prob poor DB play & scheming), Smitty trusted his front four & crappy coverages and didn’t blitz more often.

    One can be sure that the Bucs would prefer to be more like the Jags and rush only four much more frequently than to blitz. As is typical DR makes some good points.

  22. Harry in Costa Rica Says:


    Well said. Coaching is only as good as the TALENT they have to work with. Lets hope we don’t have any tree-huggers this year.

  23. Destinjohnny Says:

    When u have no talent in the secondary and no talent on the defensive line….
    How do u expect any coach to have success…
    After 5 drafts this is Jason’s d line and secondary.
    You happy ??

  24. Bucsfanman Says:

    I see we’re still trying to excuse the coaches on this matter. If play ‘A’ does not work, and there is a 50/50 chance play ‘B’ works, aren’t the odds in favor of play ‘B’? Or, as the saying goes, “If you try and fail, at least you tried!”
    We all KNOW this team lacked(s) talent. The only way to make up for a lack of talent is to have good coaching. When you have neither talent NOR coaching, you have the worst defense in the NFL.
    ZERO creativity, NONE! That’s coaching.

  25. Duthsty Rhothdes Says:

    The bucs DL couldnt get pressure & top it w you cannot blitz because the back end of ryan smith, conte, evans, hargreaves, grimes do not excel at man coverage nor cover for 10 seconds, like stated above the crappy defense is on lcht… DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS, licht missed that phrase in GM 101 class

  26. Dooshlarue Says:


    You have anger issues my man!
    Maybe you can get in on that psychological evaluation with Jameis.

    Remember, like he said……. God is good.

  27. Defense Rules Says:

    @Destinjohnny … “When u have no talent in the secondary and no talent on the defensive line…. How do u expect any coach to have success.” NFL DC’s can scheme all they want, but there’s still no substitute for T-A-L-E-N-T at the NFL level. Bucs simply didn’t have enough of that last year. That said however, Smitty has better talent (on the DLine especially) to work with this year, and he needs to produce better results for the T-E-A-M to be successful. Bucs defense STILL has issues IMO (Secondary?) but better scheming should be able to help minimize any weaknesses there.

    This year’s Bucs’ team reminds me of where we were in 1997 (Tony Dungy’s 2nd year). We’d had pretty good drafts in 1995 & 1996 (both losing seasons) but we started on the upswing in 1997 (10-6 on the year & made the playoffs). The ‘fruits’ of the previous 2 drafts started paying dividends (Sapp, Brooks, Upshaw, Abraham & a couple others). Hopefully we’re at a similar point this year.

  28. BucNole Says:

    Sooooo in Realist’s mind there is no such thing as next man up.
    If your starter goes down you just dont even try to win.
    Glad you’re not a coach there pal
    BTW – ur posts mostly suck
    sorry not sorry

  29. 813bucboi Says:

    yeah smitty sucks and is incompetent……thanks for the reminder……


  30. Dooshlarue Says:


    Smitty is a nickname for Smith, obviously, but to me it’s an endearing name for a guy named Smith who does his job, usually well.
    Someone you can depend on.

    Mike Smith is not that guy!
    Just sayin….

    If the D comes out flat I’m confident Licht boots him.

  31. ArgYeMaties Says:

    “No wonder former defensive line coach Jay Hayes was run!” Dude, are you serious?

  32. Bob in Valrico Says:

    @ st Pete
    with all due respect
    Joe may have identified the problem, but he needs to drill down further to truly i solve the problem.The four man front responsibility is to sack the QB. The fact that Licht brought in 4 news defensive lineman in, screams that there was a lack
    of talent on our D line and that is Licht’s responsibility. Too much attention to the offense and not enough on defense. Just one example,did we really need to spend 10 Mil a year on DJAX and draft Goodwin.
    Given the fact that jameis and DJAX struggled to connect deep,I believe that 10 mil should of went to defensive side of the ball last year.

  33. 813bucboi Says:


    your right…..things will shake up quick if the losing starts early…..


  34. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Just like if you don’t maintain a car properly.Jason Licht is is having to fix things
    on defense that should have been addressed previously.

  35. The Buc Realist Says:

    @Bob om Valrico

    But this has been a full roster rebuild, that has been slowed by failures in free-agency and the lack to commit to a full rebuild at the begging of 2014 instead of try to fix up what they had!!!!!!!

    The Roster from talk show domink stunk!!!!! lovie made it worse!!!! and If Coach Smitty and Grimes weren’t tight, the only free-agent Licht found that was good is a punter!!!!!!!!!!!

  36. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Realist, there may some we missed ,but won’t get much argument from me.
    I’ll give him credit for signing Cherilous for one good year. He and Logan Mankins
    helped helped Smith and Marpet tremendously. Also Clinton Macdonald was cheap at 12 mil for 4 years.

  37. BucEmUp Says:

    Waterboy….EXACTLY!!!!! Smitty is worse than lovie something I didn’t think was possible

  38. 813bucboi Says:

    if you take out 5games in 2016, there hasn’t been any improvement……dirk and smitty have actually performed worse with more talent…..


  39. firethecannons Says:

    I hope Buckner makes a big difference, no confidence at all in mike smith

  40. stpetebucsfan Says:


    Agree completely. It took awhile but I think your spot on. While many here…not so much me because I’m an offense junkie and so I was thrilled with the #weaponsforJameis phase. I loved adding all that offense. But some here did identify the problem with our D line and thankfully as you pointed out so has Licht. His solution looks promising.

    I was referring to our current “problem” and any possible solutions. I think we all know the problem but disagree on the solution and some even on how big the problem might be.

  41. Mike Johnson Says:

    PLEASE. Cut it Out And Knock It Off!! The blame for our sorry A.. Defense goes to…. hits squarely on the head of..Yours Truly..Pressbox..Mike Smith our fearless,,,DC.

  42. I Bleed Pewter Says:

    I think we’ll see Smitty be super aggressive this season like “balls to the wall”, with lot’s of blitzes. He has too, the entire regime is in jeopardy this season. What do they have to lose? I predict as a team, Bucs go over 50 sacks.

  43. ManzielMadness Says:

    Agree with Defense, I don’t care how many yards a team puts up against us only the pints!! IIRC The pats ranked #29 in yards allowed, however, they were #5 in points against. Idc if teams avg 500 yards a game against us as long we keep them off the scoreboard and earn a W. Plus I’m sure it will help Smitty to have an actual DLine rotation for once.