Turning The Corner

November 30th, 2018

Influence taking over?

On Oct. 15, Bucs Bit-O-Honey-snacking, Ozark-watching, yams-eating coach Dirk Koetter relieved then-defensive coordinator Mike Smith of his duties.

At the time, the defense redefined the term “miserable.” The Bucs, coming off the worst defense in the NFL in 2017, were well on their way to setting 99-year NFL marks for ineptitude. Smith, good guy that he is, fully earned his dismissal.

In his place, Koetter installed veteran defensive coach Mark Duffner, promoting him from linebackers coach. It’s rare to turn around a unit in the middle of a season. However, could Duffner’s influence be starting to improve things significantly?

In the past three weeks, twice the Bucs defense has held opponents to less than 17 points, including limiting the 49ers to nine points last week — the same defense that was on pace to allow an NFL record for points scored.

No, this year’s 49ers will never, ever make the folks in San Francisco forget the 1984 juggernaut 49ers. But still, holding any NFL team to nine points is strong.

Additionally, the Bucs have held each of their opponents to under 200 net passing yards in the past three games. This despite a secondary not just green as grass but injury-riddled.

Also, the Bucs have had at least four sacks in the past two games. Just based on last year’s woeful sack total (22), that’s 36 percent of the total the Bucs racked up all of last year.

Not to be forgotten, the Bucs had two picks Sunday, the first time the team recorded an interception since Week 3.

Now Joe isn’t about to knight this defense as the second coming of the 2002 Bucs. However, is this just a fluke the past three weeks or has Duffner found a solid combination of playmakers amid all the injuries?

Or is it that Duffner’s guidance, a different voice, is starting to sink in and produce results?

31 Responses to “Turning The Corner”

  1. it's only just begun Says:

    too little too late

  2. AlteredEgo Says:

    Just a reminder…….The Players have not Quit !…

  3. doolnutts Says:

    Regardless of how we finish, it is clear to me they are responding better to Duff. I like the blitz packages and trying to constantly mix things up. Allowing Davis to challenge the WR’s at the line of scrimmage has also helped him tremendously. I like seeing coaches scheme toward what he has not forced players to fit a scheme. I still think at the very least the entire defensive staff is gone but Duff hasn’t embarrassed himself.

  4. AKickInTheBucNuts Says:

    I agree with this. Haven’t seen as many wide open receivers, wrap-ups seem a little better and more people flying to the ball.

  5. jjbucfan Says:

    He is Blitzed Mullen because he wasn’t scared of him. If he keeps throwing the proverbial kitchen sink at these QBs, we have a chance. If he goes into a shell like his predecessor, we are dead.

  6. Hodad Says:

    Let’s see how they look against Carolina, and New Orleans the next two weeks. I bet we find out they are who we thought they were, bad.

  7. Conte Piscatelli Says:

    I have no doubt that if Smith had coached last week, Mullens would have likely sweet some franchise records against us. That’s what we did, we made backups and nobodies look like Hall of famers. I was truly shocked that didn’t happen this time.

  8. Tom Edrington Says:

    I don’t get it, the Bucs bullied a pitiful, two-win team and now they are world-beaters, in the playoff hunt and have turned the corner…..

  9. John B Says:

    Completely agree Conte – I was shocked, we saw Smiths squad shat the bed time and again against has been’s and never were’s

    Not sold on the unit yet, but certainly a step in the right direction

  10. budbuc Says:

    We will see Sunday

  11. Jeff Says:

    the opponents have been the Beat up Redskins, and the inept Giants and 49ers. So, if they are clobbered by the Stinking Panthers and the Saints, it was fools good. However, if they hold Cam, RunCMC and Brees and Co to modest point totals, I’ll believe …..

  12. Darin Says:

    Yeah its pretty simple. Doesnt matter if its Mullens or Breees. Gota get him off his spot. Presssssssure, no matter how ya get it. Smitty didnt believe in it. Duffner does.

  13. 813bucboi Says:

    redskins and 9ers lack weapons….lol…..

    this defense needs a coach that can put players in position to be successful and play to their strengths…..

    we need a coach who can develop players….we need a coach who is aggressive and pays attention to technique and detail……

    KRIS RICHARD 4 HC!!!!!!


  14. Robert Says:

    most of us have already committed to fishing.

    can’t wait for the NFL alternative. these guys are lil bit*hes

  15. stpetebucsfan Says:

    If this D line and Jameis play at the same level as Sunday we are going to be fun to watch.

    I do not see why they can’t and we have some backups like Curry who should be playing soon shouldn’t they. I love our front four…JPP and Nassib from the ends with GMC and Vea up the middle. I think these guys might be able to wreak some havoc over the next five games.

    I think our safety play continues to improve and Whitehead appears to be the real deal…get him some more experience and pretty soon it’ll be Derwin who?

  16. Tampa Bay Demon Says:

    Robert Says:
    “most of us have already committed to fishing.”


    Speak for yourself, my friend. Most of us are still completely dialed in at 1pm, ready to watch our Bucs, whether they are 7-3 or 3-7.

  17. joestang Says:

    If this defense turned the corner they will run into a brick wall with Carolina.Lets see how good we are against a good offense. I think Carolina will score more than 9 points this week.

  18. Not there yet Says:

    Lol you’ve either wasted your time with this article or you’ll have to write it again after this Sunday. The last 3 games and in two of them in the giants and panthers game they looked like amateurs I don’t care what the stats say

  19. Kobe Faker Says:

    “Matt Brieda ran the ball 14 for 106 yards at over 7 yards per pop and caught 3 passes for 34 yards…

    The only thing that stopped Brieda was he had to get off the field because he was winded from all that running

    Christan Mccaferty vs Duffner linebackers”

    “White chocalate goin to do dirty in Tampa”

    Kobe Faker

  20. Nick2 Says:

    I don’t know Joe, right when I want to think this defense is finally getting it they have a game like the Giants game and I just shake my head. If they had just stopped Eli once we would have won. And lets face it this years version of Eli Manning is no world beater. So I am not ready to think we have turned any kind of corner until we get a new defensive coordinator. Duffner did have one of the worst ranked defenses as DC of Cincinatti and was run out of town for it.

  21. Cobraboy Says:

    The last three games have been against sup-par offenses, and the Giants lit them up.

    The Kitties may tear these guys up. I’m not sure how this poor set of LB’s can hope to match McCafferty without felony indictments.

  22. TOM Says:

    The Bucs will find out who they really are after the Panthers & Saints games.

  23. Mike Johnson Says:

    Bucs are Outstanding at implementing changes and making them sorta work After..the season is lost and playoff hopes are out of reach. Its a..BucLife baby!

  24. Owlykat Says:

    Study the Carolina injury report and you will see why the Panthers have lost three straight games. They are not now the team that whipped Smith’s Defense in Carolina’s Home Stadium. I believe Duffner can come up with a game plan now that will negate the strategy that the Panthers used to dominate our Defense last time. I also think Vea is strong enough to break through even Carolina’s impressive OL and make it easier for JPP, McCoy, and Nassib sack Their QB who has a hurt leg but will still start. I just hope Duff uses Whitehead near the LOS to spy and take down any runs so they have to pass. Their TE didn’t even practice and Funchess is hurt too and likely out.
    The proof will be on our field this Sunday. Don’t count us out!

  25. SOEbuc Says:

    Uhhhh…Joe you been knockin back ole’ grandpa’s cough syrup? Wow. We’ve held Washington (#2 QB), NYG (ole man time), and SF (worst team in the league with #3 QB) to 17 or less points and you want to say this guy is making a turnaround of this worst defense in the league? Tell him to keep his bags packed.

  26. stpetebucsfan Says:


    Thanks for that scouting report.

  27. The Buc Realist Says:

    Its a shame that joe has to use the two softest, and horrible teams to put out this fake news to try and backup his opinion!!!!!!!!! We heard the same garbage after the cleveland game as well!!!!!!!!!

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

  28. Cobraboy Says:

    The Carolina injury report? They are one of the healthier teams in the league! No one has been ruled out against the Bucs I am aware of, and only one questionable.

  29. Owlykat Says:

    Cobraboy, apparently you did not read the Panther injury report published the other day by the Pewter Report. Nobody says in the injury report whether the player will play or not in the report but they have just as many injuries as we do. I would love to hear your explanation why the Panthers have gone 3 loses in a row if it wasn’t for their injuries.

  30. Owlykat Says:

    You are most welcome, StBucsFan.

  31. 1sparkybuc Says:

    When you’re the worst defense ever it doesn’t take much to improve. They are improving. That’s incouraging. Next season should be much better with the return of the injured plus additions in free agency and the draft. Fix the right side of the OL, add a decent RB, and we should be competitive with anybody. Blowing up the team and starting over from scratch is a mistake. Change a few position coaches and build on what we have.