Arians: 43-Defense Hurts Special Teams

February 16th, 2019

Improving special teams a goal.

There’s another hint out there that the 43 defense Bucs fans have long been accustomed to is on the verge of being phased out.

In an interview with Carmen Vitali of that largely dealt with family issues, Arians mentioned that he and his coaching staff have work to do with the Bucs’ special teams and how that is an area that needs improvement. Arians believes that the Bucs previously being a 43-defense led to the special teams being slower than he likes.

“I think we’re fine offensively,” Arians said. “We’ll score points. I want to stress this year a lot on defense and special teams. Special teams is really where I think we’re lacking, big bodies that can run – 4-3 teams have always had that problem. When you have four linebackers on the field at a time, you have more of them on your team, so you’re a faster team.”

Joe never thought of it like that but it makes a whole lot of sense. If a defense is going to be a four-man line, the roster clearly will have more linemen than linebackers. As Joe has learned well since this here site was launched in 2008, if a player hopes to make an NFL roster and isn’t a starter, he better be able to play special teams.

A roster with more linemen than a 34-defensive team, means more bigger, slower guys. And those guys are asked to play special teams. It all adds up.

(This also helps explain some of the scary special teams tackling data last year.)

42 Responses to “Arians: 43-Defense Hurts Special Teams”

  1. BucEmUp 7 Says:

    I cant wait to see noah spence playing lb like a god coach would have him playing at his size

  2. Not there yet Says:

    I guess so but I just don’t see the personnel for 3-4 so guess we’re going linebacker fifth overall and going linebacker heavy in free agency. It’s easy to see vea Nassib and JPP, then David on the outside but Kwon wants too much money, Beckwith is a complete unknown health wise and the rest of the linebackers aren’t even good enough to play 4-3. Yes we have starters but if and when vea and JPP come out of the game or get hurt the rest of the front 7 is pure garbage. Beckwith can’t even blitz all that well. Heck yea they have a lot of work to do because this was the worst 4-3 defense in the nfl and changing to a 3-4 isn’t a cake walk especially from a personnel standpoint. The Geraldine era may have to continue unless we can trade down and get more first round picks

  3. Bird Says:

    Devin white may be that all world player we are looking for. Middle linebacker is most important position in 3-4

    Ray Lewis and Patrick Willis comparisons

    They could even trade back a few spots and get him.

  4. Owlykat Says:

    BA makes good sense. The Three Four can also make Spense valuable as an OLB. Get Minter back who is an ILB and use David and Kwon as OLBs and pickup a fast ILB in the second round and use CeCe, Taylor, and Beckwith or Bullogh as backup LBs and bring in Spense on third downs as an OLB to get to the QB. Bullogh could also start at ILB with Minter. You could trade GMC for a draft pick. You could use Kalean Saunders as your backup Nose Tackle. He is athletic and 320 lbs.

  5. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Well…he just confirmed the defensive scheme there.


  6. Bradentonbuc Says:

    I believe Koetter mentioned this too on one of his Friday Q&A radio broadcasts on friday. About having more athletic bodies on a roster for ST with a 3-4

  7. ncbucsfan Says:

    No. Lavonte will NOT be an OLB in a 3-4 look. He is a read & react LB that can BLITZ, not an edge- rusher, big difference! He would man 1 ILB position and the other, as the roster stands now, would feature Beckwith or Kwon. JPP will be an Edge-rushing OLB, DE in nickel packages opposite Spence, Nassib. We NEED another edge-rusher (draft Montez Sweat maybe Brian Burns later, or sign Anthony Barr in FA). Keep Minter at ILB for depth and familiarity with Bowles defense. Cut Bullough! Sig Deone Buchanan from the Cards! Along with the secondary and Oline needs, unless we trade back and get a haul of picks, we are probably going to try to restructure McCoy and sign/franchise Donovan Smith. I like Khalen Saunders also for the Defensive line.

  8. Cobraboy Says:

    Noah Spence = OLB in a 3-4.

    Minter & Beckwith = ILB, Alexander & David = OLB

    Of course, I do expect 2 LBs to be drafted.

  9. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    We’re not running 3-4. He as much as made that obvious. The whole 3-4 scheme change rumor was media speculation.

  10. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    ncbucsfan Says
    “No. Lavonte will NOT be an OLB in a 3-4 look. He is a read & react LB that can BLITZ, not an edge- rusher, big difference! He would man 1 ILB position and the other, as the roster stands now, would feature Beckwith or Kwon. JPP will be an Edge-rushing OLB, DE in nickel packages opposite Spence, Nassib.

    We NEED another edge-rusher (draft Montez Sweat maybe Brian Burns later, or sign Anthony Barr in FA). Keep Minter at ILB for depth and familiarity with Bowles defense. Cut Bullough!”

    In your scenario, why wouldn’t Nassib be the edge rusher? And, btw, Spence is going to be released.

  11. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    lol…it amazes me…Arians said 4-3, but all of you seem to have read it as 3-4.

  12. BucEmUp 7 Says:

    Funny prople think we will not run a 3-4 still

  13. ncbucsfan Says:

    Lavonte at OLB in a 3-4 smh,……find another 6’1, 233lb edge rusher…..I’ll wait. Von Miller may be THE smallest one and he is 15-20 lbs heavier with longer arms! We started in the right direction with Vea in that we need more Size,, Length, and Girth (no, not referring to their male genatalia lol!) If we are ever going to make it to the postseason, we need to have the personnel to stop the run. Not to mention Alvin Kamara, Christian McCaffrey, and Devonta Freeman aren’t going anywhere anytime soon! Vea (0 or 1-tech), McCoy and Allen would currently make up the 3 down-limeman in a 3-4 look. JPP Edge, Lavonte ILB, are the only definite LBs now in my opinion. Lavonte was ILB at Nebraska and played it effectively!

  14. ncbucsfan Says:

    Bucaneer Bonzai. Nassib and JPP at edge rusher would mean 5 guys are definitely rushing the passer or the defense is definitely looking for a run because you dont really want either dropping much in coverage. McCaffrey and Kamara will eat them alive with underneath and checkdowns. They are essentially the same type of player. And I mentioned Nassib as an edge-rusher in a nicke package, which we will be in almost 65-70% of the defensive snaps. And releasing Spence would be stupid considering you have him on a 2nd rd rookie contract, which is peanuts and wouldn’t benefit them financially at all, so I don’t see that as being a likelihood…….but hey, I’m not Jason Licht so who knows, just my opinion

  15. SOEbuc Says:

    The more talk of a possible 3-4 defense I hear makes me want to draft Devin White more. That guy is gonna be a Pro-Bowler. (?/White/LVD/Spence). If Noah comes through, that could be a sick a$$ LB corp. Kwon could be nice on the outside opposite Spence. The position he should’ve been playing after we got Beckwith. But he sure as hell ain’t getting no $10 million a year.

  16. Bird Says:

    We ll see what Kwon gets in open market. He could get prove it deal for 5 mil from bucs.

    Not worth 10 mil his agent is looking for .. not after acl surgery.

    Can’t have enough linebackers in 3-4. Draft devin white. Dude is a stud. Hopefully Beckwith plays. I thought Beckwith was better mike linebacker then Kwon. Lavonte obviously plays inside in 3-4.

    Bowles could make Kwon that strong safety / linebacker hybrid. Like Deone Buchanan in role with cardinals.
    I think Kwon only weighs 225. Plus he is fast as nuts. And likes to hit. Bowles could make it work. Have him play towards line of scrimmage .

  17. Bird Says:

    Beckwith is 245 lbs. he could play outside in 3-4

    Devon white and Lavonte the 2 middle linebacker.
    Beckwith on outside.
    Noah Spence on outside.

    Kwon at strong safety / linebacker hybrid.

    Just need to make sure our free safety can cover. Not sure what Justin Evans can do with Bowles as defense coordinator.

    Jpp on outside. Nassib outside. Vea in middle nose tackle. They draft best Dline man available in end of 1st or 2nd round. With trading back for white they get extra pick and get best right guard /tackle. Right tackle is even fine.

  18. JustaBucfan Says:

    How many years have we used the 4-3 and we are now just learning this? Bucco is going to be a game changer for sure.

  19. Kobe Faker Says:

    “Seems like alot of Buc sheep who foolishly bought 57 jerseys still clinging to hope….

    You have to give Lord Corn credit….

    At least he burned his 57 jersey a year ago.”

    Kobe Faker

  20. TOM Says:


  21. Arian Nation Says:

    If they choose Josh Allen at #5 then it will be a 3-4.

    If they chgose Quinnen Williams or Ed Oliver it will be a 4-3.

    I wonder since Ed Oliver seems to be a tweener because he’s undersized for an NFL DT, some genius might relocate him to an edge rushing OLB like Kahlil Mack in a 3-4 defense?

  22. Tbbucs3 Says:


    What about Arians saying “when you have 4 linebackers on the field, it makes you a faster team”, make you think that Arians says he wants to run a 4-3?

  23. Tbbucs3 Says:

    Obviously the Bucs are not capable of getting the personal to running a 4-3 defense. A 4-3 is limited in what you can do and if you want to be successful with it, you better have some DUDES on your team. The Bucs lack those types of players on defense. A 3-4 gives you more flexibility and can compensate for not having elite players on defense. It’s more of a play and play scheme, like with the Patriots.

  24. ManzielMadness Says:

    It’s a one gap attacking scheme…. it’ll be a hybrid… sometimes lining up in a 3-4, nickel etc.

  25. Dewey Selmond Says:

    Everyone is debating 4-3 or 3-4 and no one has mentioned the fact that defenses are in nickel/dime 70% of the time. You have to replace a LB with a DB.

  26. BucNole Says:

    ManzielMadness Says:

    It’s a one gap attacking scheme…. it’ll be a hybrid… sometimes lining up in a 3-4, nickel etc.

    Exactly – most teams line up in some form of nickel over 60% of the time anyway so there will be 4 linemen

  27. JustaBucfan Says:

    We need a hybrid LB/safety like …well Mark Barron. Speaking of hybrids ..Noah Spence. Has anyone ever seen him in pass coverage?

  28. Joe Says:

    Has anyone ever seen him in pass coverage?

    Has anyone see him… period!

  29. Fritz50 Says:

    Not sure I buy this, as I recall the Bucs in the Super Bowl year’s had good Special Teams & they were a 4 / 3 the whole time

  30. geno711 Says:

    I hope everyone is right and Spence can be a valuable player. Problem is history shows that those guys with that type of shoulder injuries -have it reoccur. Therefore even if he has one good season, you’re not getting 2 or 3 in a row from him. He is on his rookie contract so if he can fight and win a job this year great. But he is a replaceable guy for sure.

  31. Rod Munch Says:

    As Aryans said early on it really doesn’t matter what your base defense is since you’re in a nickel or dime the overwhelming majority of the time. However I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t switch, and the player that benefits the most, assuming they use him right, is David. Him as an edge rusher, a guy who plays all over the field, that is one thing Schiano did right and David was literally the best LB in football. Don’t believe me? Take the BS year that Luke won the defensive MVP.

    Luke Kuechly
    156 tackles, 4 INTs, 2 sacks, 0 FF, 7 PDs, 10 STF

    Lavonte David
    144 tackles, 5 INTs, 6 sacks, 2 FF, 10 PDs, 18 STF

    Luke wasn’t even the MVP of the NFC South.

    Anyways I personally think this is exciting news for David, for him to be let loose again, to wreak havoc, man oh man… Of course this would mean the coaches need to actually know David can do all this – and I hope that is the case.

  32. Frank Pillow Says:

    I’ll say it again and again- Devin White is a transformational player at LB. He should be the key to the rebuilding of this D along with Vea at his ‘natural’ position at NT.

  33. JustaBucfan Says:

    lol Joe

  34. JustaBucfan Says:

    bring in the honey badger

  35. Tbbucs3 Says:

    Dewey And Bucnole

    NFL base defenses are still on the field 40% of of time. That’s a whole lot of football. If the Bucs defense has a chance to improve on defense 40% of the time, why wouldn’t they do that? In the NFL it’s focusing on little things like that that separates 10-6 teams from 7-9 teams, and 40% is still a huge chuck.

  36. Tbbucs3 Says:

    Point being that base defenses in the NFL are not at all irrelevant.

  37. Bird Says:

    Devin white.

    6’1 255 middle inside linebacker
    38 inch vertical. Has been clocked at 4.49
    Watch his YouTube. He can blitz right up the middle.
    Was running back out of high school where he rushed for 31 tds

    Experts are saying maybe best athlete in entire draft.
    This could be Todd Bowles main piece for defense 3-4 or 4-3

    Dude can flat out ball.
    Compared to Patrick Willis and ray Lewis

    Make it happen bucs. Middle linebacker most important spot in 3/4 plus he looks like he is a Dline rusher who can get after qb with that size and speed.
    Win win.

  38. Defense Rules Says:

    Now THIS is interesting. BA coughed up a morsel (on special teams?) and everyone jumps on it like he just coughed up the deepest, darkest secrets of how our 2019 Bucs’ team will be restructured. Seems like what BA really said was “Bucs’ special teams play stunk last year”. Folks seem to be reading a LOT more into that morsel.

    It MAY well be that a 3-4 team does better on S/Ts than a 4-3 team, but that’s NOT why the Bucs stunk it up last year. We crapped the bed because Licht & Koetter got rid of our best S/Ts players in these past several years. Shepard? Gone. Josh Robinson? Gone. Keith Tandy? Gone. In 2018 we didn’t have a single S/T player rank in the Top-100 in S/T tackles. Wonder if that’s what you get when you replace S/T aces with rookies & mediocre backups. And oh ya, S/T coaching REALLY stunk it up last year.

  39. BucNole Says:

    Tbbucs3 Says:
    Not sure what ur saying dude
    I get that we might be playing a 34 sometimes which is fine
    But people be losing they mind over that instead of understanding its probably not going to be the BASE D. . . js

  40. Mike Says:

    What a ridiculous assessment- as if special teams were our downfall-
    I hardly recall some inability to prevent runbacks or tackle returners.

    What a joke- our defense sucked- offense couldn’t finish

  41. Polkfan Says:

    I say we Re-sign Kwon have him and Lvd as our MLB’s , cut Jpp and McCoy , Cash out for Jadeveon Clowney and draft Ed Oliver or Rashan Gary.

  42. Stanglassman Says:

    Mike Smith announcer in AAF game. They called him former HC for ATL, didn’t want to bring Bucs DC. He has a big white beard. He’s already said “we’ve got to play better.” We’ve heard that before.