Disturbing Pass Defense

September 13th, 2018

“Mike, you have to get these guys stronger.”

This is why Joe is sweating over the pass defense like a fish in the Gulf.

The Bucs had two main priorities last offseason: Beef up the line of scrimmage (both sides) and get the secondary help.

So in the process, Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht traded for a defensive end, signed three defensive linemen, drafted a defensive tackle in the first round and drafted three defensive backs, including two corners in the second round.

You wouldn’t have known Sunday.

Yes, the Bucs won and that’s great. But there didn’t seem to be any improvement in the pass defense, which ranked No. 32 last season — dead last in the NFL.

Bucs coach Dirk Koetter told Joe to his face at the NFL combine in February that “We can’t have 22 sacks.” Thus far through one game, the Bucs are obeying his command. They are on pace for a 16-sack season.

And the secondary, yikes. Not only did it not do well against Drew Brees, but due to injuries, the Bucs are down to the aforementioned rookies and Ryan Smith. If that thought isn’t enough to start chugging Crown Royal, Joe isn’t sure what is.

Last week against Brees in the future Hall of Famer’s home crib, he threw for 432 yards. That sounds like a good defense of the Bucs defense, that Brees has a lethal arm and he is more than capable of lighting up any team. That’s true, but consider the following:

1. The Saints blew out the Bucs last year in New Orleans 31-18 and Bucs fans rightfully howled how hollow the pass defense was. Well, Brees threw for 109 fewer yards that day than last Sunday.

2. Last year Brees never threw for 400 yards in a game. The most he had last year was in an overtime win over the Redskins when he racked up 375 yards. The last time Brees, 39, threw for 400 yards in a game was October 2016 against Carolina.

Now you tell Joe how in the hell a team can add so much new talent to a defensive unit, have five months to prepare for a division rival and at least through one game, the defense actually grew worse! How is that possible?

Now Joe is not a passer ratings guy at all. But the folks at BSPN’s NFL Matchup gave the Bucs the second-worst rating for pass defense last week. The only team worse was the Saints.

This sorry pass defense very well may drag down what could be an explosive offense.

52 Responses to “Disturbing Pass Defense”

  1. Lamarcus Says:

    We still have the Flatboyant leader clogging the middle. I’m pretty sure they were flat. Oh yes flat.

  2. 813bucboi Says:

    you ask how joe?…..

    smitty, that’s how…..

    you give any other DC what we have on defense and they’re at least respectable…..


  3. doolnutts Says:

    At this rate, I would be happy if the pass defense somehow improved to the low 20’s lolol … If Koetter ends up surviving this season I still think Mike Smith has to go this is getting ridiculous.

  4. Jp_09 Says:

    Not all of the yards count though, a lot of them were in garbage time when the Bucs were up by 24. At least that’s how it is when Jamies has a good stat line and we lose

  5. Dapostman Says:

    Look the Saints have one of the best OL’s in the league. That’s why Brees has time to throw and Kamara and Ingram run like crazy. The Saints, Eagles and Steelers probably are all in the top 5 OL’s in the league. The Bucs DL may be in the top half or not. There’s no Simeon Rice on this line. There’s no Von Miller. Don’t expect a lot of sacks the first 3 weeks. Cam Jordan had 13 sacks in 2017 and did not record one in week 1. Bottom line our offense outplayed the Saints offense. Our defense outplayed their defense. Most right now would take a winning record at the end of the season. Enjoy win #1.

    #Get After It!

  6. Pickgrin Says:

    Too small a sample size to make any definitive conclusions about this year’s Bucs defense yet. Playing in a shootout vs Brees in his house skewed the initial “data” quite a bit IMO.

    After the first 4 games heading into the bye week we will have a much better sense of how this 2018 Buccaneers team is trending.

  7. Joe Says:

    Not all of the yards count though, a lot of them were in garbage time when the Bucs were up by 24. At least that’s how it is when Jamies has a good stat line and we lose


  8. The Buc Realist Says:

    The Bucs defense does not play Drew Brees for the next 15 games!!!!!! They were the #2 offense in the league last year!!!!!!!! and GM Licht just did an emergency patch to the defense this past offseason!!!!!! To think that the work in progress roster is done is beyond foolish!!!!!!! To think that it would be a dominate defense day one is beyond foolish!!!!!!! Despite all the reports from training camp, rookies will make rookie mistake and good players can get schemed out, and all the new faces will take time to gel!!!!!!!!!!!!

    To expect a 4 sack game and shut down New Orleans is not “realistic”!!!!! It makes the “real” fans question some so-called fans opinion!!!!!!!!!

    #trust the coaches!!!!!!!! Fix the “real” problem!!!!!!! The roster!!!!!!!!!!!

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

  9. Rossta 61 Says:

    We hear all the time about how to be aggressive, how the offense was aggressive, how the defense was aggressive. Well Smitty’s defense is not an aggressive defense! We need an aggressive coach, a defense minded coach why do you think they got rid of him in Atlanta

  10. Not there yet Says:

    Joe your always leading the panic brigade for some reason or another. Saints have weapons we know Smith always allows the key players to destroy his scheme. The eagles receivers are average to below average and so is Nick foles, if this defense gets boat raced again Smith has to go

    After 3 years in this system one thing has remained consistent and that’s bad play on Mike Smith’s side of the ball. At some point you gotta stop blaming the players and look at the scheme the coach and his stupid philosophy. I think going all in for the playoffs means step up or get lost.

  11. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    The LBs are average the secondary is below average and the DL is meh, hopefully foles doesnt catch fire, but the eagles running game is pretty good and that friggin buc killer sproles is back to his old shenanigans again, i hope conte,lvd, or kown sees him slipping up the sideline on his wheel route….i still think this is a fg game and both qbs are going to throw multiple ints and the game will be ugly

  12. Mike Johnson Says:

    I agree. Much to early to tell about our Defense just yet. You can’t make judgements based on one game. Lets see what Philly brings. As I’ve said all long. though Our Defense is the key to us winning. You gotta stop people in this league. Yes, its just that simple. just Ask them Jaguars.

  13. RawDog Says:

    Crown Royal gets chugged every Sunday by Bucs fans. If they win, it shocks the world & we drink in celebration. When they lose, we finish the bottle, patch the holes in the walls, & go to bed.

  14. Knoxville Bucs Fan Says:

    I don’t need a reason to chug Crown Royal… both defenses last Sunday pretty much mirrored each other except the Bucs managed a sack and two turnovers. Both offenses for the most part mirrored each other in terms of points. So mix in a few rookie Db’s against a first ballot hall of famer and you’d have to say victory rookie db’s. Granted they got beat many times but there was 3 or 4 drives in a row where Brees couldn’t beat them. I’d say put the brakes on and see what happens by the bye week and we’ll know pretty much what the rookies are gonna do and the defense as a whole….

  15. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Brees trailed a BUNCH for most of the game. This is why he had to air it out especially after we choked the FG. Of course instead of lauding our run defense one of the reasons Kamara may not have rushed for much is that same reason…game out of hand the Saints had to throw.

    But here is an amazing improvement over last season and perhaps as much as any reason we won the game.

    We got off the field on 3rd down when the game was still very much in doubt. IMHO this is the BEST thing our D did Sunday. They forced Brees into three punts at critical junctures in the game. That’s called playing defense!!!

    Yeah too bad they couldn’t do it the end of the game….but they did it well enough at a critical juncture to win the game.

    Getting off the field on 3rd is the difference between good D and bad D. Does anybody remember us getting off the field at critical junctures last year? I’ve lost count of how many 3rd and really long..as in 15-20 yards…our opposition last year converted first downs against us.

    Forcing three punts against Drew Brees in his house may not be awesome…but it is a major improvement over last year and it was enough for a WIN!!!!

  16. Phil Says:

    Our defense is terrible. I was hoping they were going to better this year but so far it doesn’t look like they will be. I have no faith that Mike Smith will be able to turn things around. He makes Lovie look like a genius. If Koether goes down this year it will be because of Mike Smith.

  17. AlabamaBucFan Says:

    @ Dapostman – “Look the Saints have one of the best OL’s in the league.”

    Eagles have a better Oline!

  18. Bucman0620 Says:

    So lets see, Drew Brees was sacked 20 times last year…. 20! We had three of those. 1 in the first game (we lost) and 2 in the final (we won). He hasn’t thrown for 400 yards since 2016… Seems to me like he was due for a big throwing game. Then you throw the 24 point lead on top of that and he is going to be getting some yards up there. Why doesn’t Joe learn how to post something positive about the team instead of feeding this OMG the ship is sinking mindset that so many Bucs fans get by reading your depressing stories. This is the first time in a year that I have been on this site. If the reporting is still this way looks like I will stop giving you the clicks. What a bunch of losers the Joes are.

  19. Buc-Up Says:

    From what I saw, the majority of the time we played Press and Man Coverage the defense did better against the pass as well as the run. When they play Off Coverage guys are wide open and runners get to the open field. That’s all on Mike Smith not using a Defense that catersvto his players’ strengths! Like Joe said before the draft, “Donwe trust these defensive coaches to coach them up?” The answer was and is still no!

  20. Knoxville Bucs Fan Says:

    If the defense is in the bottom 5 still by the bye week i would have to make a change. Buckner or anyone else for that matter can’t do worse than 32nd. Hell you may hit the jackpot with a guy like Buckner. You hear the dline talk about him all the time what a hell of a coach he is. Koetter you can still have Smitty over for dinner buddy. Friend or no friend he’d be kicking rocks after the Bears game if we’re losing multiple games because of his defense. Cause this cat could cause all of your a$$e$ To be gone

  21. Buccernutter Says:


    Man I’d hate to be around you during a game with all of the liquor chugging and personal property destruction. Lol

  22. Architek Says:

    Why are we being negative when for 3 years the same rotten defense has been rotten and one game into this season it still looks rotten.

  23. Lord Cornelius Says:

    I haven’t posted since the game but what a f*cking experience. Got back from New Orleans late yesterday and it was one of the best trips of my life; and easily the best football game I’ve been to.

    There were about 8 of us; mostly Bucs fans; and then there were literally like another 15 bucs fans in the row behind us; which was just crazy. They were all from a bachelor party and had me cracking up the entire time with the sh1t they were yelling.

    The defense definitely didn’t look good; but I’d say the pass rush did look a lot better to my eye than last year. There were at least 2-3 plays where we could have had a sack but Brees made the defender miss when it counted.

    Secondary is about what I’d expect for rookies with our top 2 CBs out. The LBs are what disappointing me most. They’re supposed to be making plays not being a liability.

    Brees throwing for a lot fewer yards last year is no surprise. They were up early and they were running the offense through Ingram & Kamara. Vs being down 48-24 against a prevent soft defense that was just trying to eliminate the big easy TD and force the Saints to use clock; which they did.

    It was a freakshow of a game and I loved every minute of it; but the next few games will give us more of a reality check on everything imo. The positive of our young secondary due to injury is that our rookie CBs are going to get a ton of experience this year.

  24. Spellcheckr Says:

    I don’t understand why Joe is so negative — Joe is actually often very positive. Look at, thsay, the last posts, or any good snapshot, and you’ll see. … Joe. and why every once in a while he can’t just say Bucs GM Jason Licht instead of AC/DC loving blah blah. Actually, Joe only uses the AC/DC thing about half the time. It’s fun. What’s wrong with fun? –Joe It shows a lack of writing talents and makes all your articles look like a child wrote them, and one that likes to panic and doesn’t really understand much about football but realizes they need an article. Get serious – your writing isn’t up to par nor is your insight. Yet you continue to read, likely because what you’re saying here is not correct. Thankfully, Joe will pop 2 million pages viewed on the website this month alone. Joe appreciates your support. –Joe

  25. Bucman0620 Says:

    But does it really look rotten? I mean, I seen a lot of good things out of our defense last week. Yes I seen some screw ups. But I seen way more good than I had in previous years. This week is a good test for us. We are facing another really good O-line and another great D-line. This isn’t in any way going to tell us if we are great, good , or even “rotten”. This is going to tell us if we are willing to battle it out.

  26. Casual Observer Says:

    Got to agree totally with Joe on this topic. The pass D has got to get smarter. Hope that is possible. IMO, it’s the “scheme” more than the players.

  27. Ride the A Train Says:

    Joe – you are absolutely right! Where was was our Defense? They played a few downs made a couple of good stands but for the most part – disappeared!
    WTH – Coach Kooter – you had the opportunity to get some decent CB’s, even up until a few days ago, and you decided not to? Oh, you picked up Marcus Williams.
    Thats like the consolation boobie- prize at the circus. You could have won the big bear but – you didn’t – so you get the consolation stuffed tird in a bag!
    Yay – we won one – but now Hardgraves is down, Grimes pulled his groin – more than likely done by his wife and we are putting our hopes on two untested rookies and a guy that has bounced around the league for the last three or four years on everyones practice squad. This is why Kooter & Licht will be unemployed in less than a year!

  28. Chris in WA Says:

    The only missing link from Last year is Chris Baker. We should resign him immediately!!!

    /I’m kidding please don’t ban me joes!

  29. Joe Says:


    Feel free to go to Buccaneers.com where they will have you believe the Bucs fefense rivals the 1985 Bears and you can read AP style wring. Joe didn’t build a successful business by being like everyone else, many if not most failing.

  30. toopanca Says:

    Most of the yards and points came while the Saints were losing. When the game was even, the Bucs defense got stops and turnovers. Winston has passed for almost 12,000 yards in only three seasons – most of that came when the team was losing. When losing, teams usually air it out as much as they can. The yards and points the Bucs put up while ahead – those are impressive.

  31. BucEmUp Says:

    Soft coverage kills the dline every time. Play more press get more sacks….Simple!!!!!

  32. rrsrq Says:

    2016 was the year the saints defense was porous, like Sunday, they played from behind a lot that year. Mark Ingram wasn’t the Mark Ingram he was last year.

  33. Joe Says:


    This may come as need to you!!!!!! The Daints play in the same division as the Bucs!!!!!!

    The Saints play the Bucs again in December!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  34. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Grimes/VHIII/JPP/Vea/Unrein all either out or playing hurt week 1.

    Can we get some injury luck man lol. 3 of those dudes were the potential upgrades and 2 of that list are basically done for the year

  35. Dapostman Says:


    The Eagles may have a better OL than the Saints but not much better. One thing I know is the Eagles don’t have a Brees, Kamara or M Thomas suiting up for this game.

  36. D the Bucs fan Says:

    It’s about adjustments. they made adjustments in the third quarter and they didn’t score we get the big 24 point lead and start playing prevent defense and a hall of fame qb will pick you apart everytime. I can remember a Monday night game in 03 where we had a big lead and if your a fan you’ll would know what Peyton Manning did to us that night. Smitty needs to be more aggressive or maybe he should give up Playcalling like Koetter so we can get better results.

  37. Jmarkbuc Says:

    Most of the yards and points came while the Saints were losing.

    Well that’s how you Un-Lose…


    Can you and DR tell me where to get my I Heart Smitty Tshirt?

  38. Buc4evr Says:

    @phil. Agreed, I was hoping for a better D this year, but all the pieces are in place to be another miserable year. Ineffective D-line, linbackers that can’t fill gaps, rookie CB’s and a miserable safety that just chases his tail. Maybe it’s Smith’s scheme, idk, but the bottom line is that this defense is going to lose games for us.

  39. Lord Cornelius Says:

    The flip side of aggressive defense with a 24 pt lead is the potential of a 1 minute score instead of a 4-5 minute scoring drive.

    I can’t fault going prevent up that much with 1 quarter left. One failed 2 point conversion, one stop; or us making that one FG = the game is never even a contest / there isn’t even a chance. None of that went right and we still won.

    Meanwhile – going aggressive on defense = maybe the Saints score even faster due to 1 or 2 busted plays.

    GO BUCS!

  40. DBS Says:

    But the again the Smith defense still looks like it is going to give up3 points a game. WHY did it give up 30? And don’t try to feed me the Brees garbage. Good teams have held him under 30. A couple more games of giving up these type scores points to one person. SMITH. And he will need to go.

  41. DBS Says:


  42. Aaron May Says:

    Let’s review this post after the Eagles game. We’ve been in this movie before – struggling Offense with a backup QB.

    Same result? Until the Bucs D proves otherwise I’m not very optimistic.

    Go Bucs!

  43. Dapostman Says:

    Lord Cornelius is absolutely correct. Each game is its own entity. The situation called for the Bucs to make the Saints use up as much clock as possible. The Saints were aggressive all game and guess what they got toasted. People calling for press coverage constantly are obtuse to the situation. From 14:54 left in the 2nd quarter to 8:54 left in the fourth quarter the Saints scored 7 points. That’s 35 minutes where the Saints scored 7 points. The last 2 Saints TD’s were scored when the Bucs were up big and were playing against the clock. Bucs did exactly what they needed to do except make that FG which would have iced the game.

    #Get After It!

  44. LakeLand Says:

    The defense really didn’t play that bad, they stopped the Saints when they needed to. Also the Bucs scored 14 points off defensive turnovers. The defense forced 3 punts and 2 fumbles, and the Bucs led 48-24. That’s not bad defense in my opinion. Especially on the road in a dome, playing a Top-5 offense.

  45. Alanbucsfan Says:

    4 games is a fair sample to judge this team’s potential-
    If they’re 2-2 or better, then they are a decent team with potential-
    If they’re 1-3, then DL still needs work

  46. Jmarkbuc Says:

    Oh the DL still needs work…guaranteed.

  47. DislocatedBucsFan Says:

    Jp_09 and joe.

    More often than not we’re that deep in a hole thanks to putrid defense and Jsmeid’s idiotic decision making.

  48. The Buc Realist Says:

    Joe Says:
    September 13th, 2018 at 12:09 pm

    This may come as need to you!!!!!! The Daints play in the same division as the Bucs!!!!!!

    The Saints play the Bucs again in December!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Did I say the “sanits” or “drew brees!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! according to the “realist” season simulation, I have a backup QB playing for the saints by then!!!!!!!!! Just know that when you take a step, The Buc Realist is already 3 steps ahead of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

  49. stpetebucsfan Says:


    I appreciate your attempt at humor but how about some facts. Do you remember this defense last year getting off the field on 3rd down?

    Do you feel 3 punts against Brees in his own house is an improvement?

    Do you consider a punt…STOPPING an offense a sign of success for any D?

    When the Bucs hit the playoffs and are playing good defense we’ll get your shirt for you.

    Nobody is saying the Bucs D is good…we’re trying to suggest it wasn’t quite the trainwreck being portrayed…especially in light of the injuries. After the bye both Grimes and Vea could be back..lots of nagging injuries like JPP can also heal. Our three rookie DB’s will have had their baptism of fire and this defense will begin feeling itself.

  50. jmarkbuc Says:


    When three punts in a game is improvement, that doesn’t say much….

    I’ll always push for fierce withering defense, which might be impossible in todays NFL, but I’ll keep hoping.

  51. DPbucs813 Says:

    @ Joe what’s the word on Bashaud Breeland?!? We could really use a veteran starter at CB right about now!

  52. Joe Says:

    @ Joe what’s the word on Bashaud Breeland?!?

    Teams must be spooked about his infection.