Just The Beginning

May 22nd, 2019


The Bucs have taken a wrecking ball to a dismal defense, and that’s a good thing.

You knew massive changes were coming on that side of the ball as soon as Bruce Arians made his first hire, naming Todd Bowles as defensive coordinator. Those two worked wonders for two years in Arizona after Arians inherited a 5-11 club that couldn’t make key stops.

The Cardinals ranked seventh in scoring defense in 2013 and moved up to fifth the following season as Bowles was named the NFL’s Assistant Coach of the Year.

Those accomplishments led to a head coaching job with the chaotic Jets, but now Bowles is back doing what he does best — shaping a defense in his image.

Versatile. Aggressive. Fast. Ornery.

Nobody does ornery better than Ndamukong Suh, who generates turnovers and suspensions in equal measure.

The release of Gerald McCoy was the latest step in this dramatic overhaul, and there’s no reason to believe Bowles and Arians are content with the current roster.

Game Of Groans

On Tuesday, Arians was asked about his new defensive line.

“I don’t know who’s going to be there in August,” he said. “This thing changes all the time and to say that this is our football team today … not even close.”

Of the 11 defensive starters who took the field in New Orleans for the 2018 opener, only four figure to open against the 49ers in Week 1. Check out last year’s starting defensive line in the Superdome: Jason Pierre-Paul is recovering from a fractured neck, Vinny Curry is back in Philadelphia, McCoy is looking for a new landing spot and Beau Allen looks like a reserve tackle behind Suh and Vita Vea.

Kwon Alexander will be looking at the Bucs from across the field as a new member of the 49ers.

Ryan Smith is a backup corner, if he even makes the team. Chris Conte is currently out of football at the age of 30.

That leaves Lavonte David, Justin Evans, Vernon Hargreaves and Carlton Davis as likely holdover starters. Hey, something had to give.

During the past eight seasons, the only time the Bucs have ranked better than 21st in scoring defense came in 2016, when a five-game winning streak helped them finish at No. 15.

But even that year, when they were 8-5 and poised to make the postseason, the Bucs headed to Dallas and New Orleans and allowed a combined 57 points, 49 first downs and 866 yards.

Not nearly good enough. Buc supporters have been through this game of groans long enough.

Run Stuffer?

It’s been quite a contrast to the franchise’s glory days, when Tampa Bay reeled off 10 consecutive years of Top 10 scoring defense (1996-2005) and made the playoffs six times in that span.

The names have changed. So have the coaching staff and the schemes. What about the results?

“Like I said, some of the pieces are there,” Arians says. “Vita Vea I think is going to be a premier nose guard. I think he’s going to be an outstanding player and we’ve got speed at linebacker. We just got a young secondary that has to grow up.”

Suh’s a different player than McCoy, but he’s not a miracle worker. He played next to Aaron Donald last season and the Rams still couldn’t stop the run.

Still, he brings a nasty attitude and some playoff experience to a defense that needs both attributes. As expected, change has been constant at One Buc Place, particularly on the defensive side.

More reinforcements will undoubtedly be on their way before John Lynch and the roster he built in San Francisco venture cross-country for a Week 1 encounter.

The new-look Bucs will be waiting. Bring your scorecard.

29 Responses to “Just The Beginning”

  1. Magadude Says:

    Right now the D still looks like it has a net loss over last year, which was terrible. Going to need more DL help before we can say they better on paper. The O is clearly a net loss over last year.

  2. Bird Says:


    You been hitting the sauce a little early today ?
    Generates turnovers

    For his entire career (143 games) he has 4 forced fumbles and 1 INT
    Ornery part is right.

    Let’s hope he brings some toughness in the one year he will be here.

  3. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    So he is not sure who is going to be there in August? But all I can hear is its all about coaching? So bucs are going to get cut vets to try and be the glue of this defense in August, wow…great strategy in building a franchise

  4. Defense Rules Says:

    @Ira … “The Bucs have taken a wrecking ball to a dismal defense, and that’s a good thing.” Whatever you do Ira, DON’T call it a REBUILDING. We’re just reloading … our entire defense.

  5. BucsNation08 Says:


    He said generates turnovers and suspensions in equal measures, 5 turnovers (not sure how many of those FF they recovered) and 2 suspensions, almost equal and those

  6. Darin Says:

    Even if he plays equal to McCoy they saved 4 mil. Its the attitude theyre adjusting more than anything. They wana attack. McCoy didnt fit they deemed. His will not be a Bucs D we have ever seen. The safety and corner blitzes we havnt seen since the 90’s are comin back. Cant wait.

  7. Fred mcneil Says:

    At least Suh won’t cry like a baby if he has to play anything other that 3 technique. He’ll play end or nose when asked.
    So far only Joe has Suh’s salary among dedicated Bucs sites. Two haven’t even reported the deal as finalized yet.

  8. phattitudes Says:

    What a turn around. Younger. Faster. Tougher. The only thing missing is experience. With coaches all over the place and accountability. These players could climb the learning curve quickly. Having McCoy and JPP gone in some ways is a blessing. They will all be coming up together and White can grab the leadership role without having to grab it from past regimes. The house has been cleaned. Let the position battles begin.

  9. #1bucsfan Says:

    Well said phattitudes

  10. Bird Says:

    This should be interesting to see the responses to McCoy Instagram goodbye (that was just put out)

    Have a feeling he will get shredded

  11. DBS Says:

    Fools did the same thing to McCoy and Winston. Make a rookie the team leader and God. Leave him the h3ll alone and let White concentrate on his job and position.

  12. tmaxcon Says:


    I doubt his Instagram post can be more embarrassing than all the blowouts he captained.

    Bucs got better and tougher yesterday. Finally hope the leader of the losing culture has been eradicated

  13. LakeLand Says:

    Tell me all of this in December
    Then we will be discussing the 2020 draft

  14. LakeLand Says:

    I hear this every time the Bucs hire a new coaching staff

    I have to see it on the field

  15. pick6 Says:

    the bucs have been putrid on defense for most of this decade, through 5+ defensive coaching staffs and probably twice as many assistants at each position. I suspect that Warren Sapp and Derek Brooks would not have sniffed a HOF nomination working under this coaching staff, despite their clear greatness. The bucs need to find and keep the right coaches or they will keep killing the careers of promising players by undermining their production and confidence with weak schemes, bad advice, and the mental anguish of being the lesser man\defense EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK.

    happy to see the bucs understanding the importance of a clean(er) slate by clearing the decks to have guys sporting the C’s and leading on and off the field who are not suffering from kicked dog syndrome thanks to a stretch that is competing for peak futility in a franchise that has set the bar for futility

  16. pick6 Says:

    *typo: I suspect that Warren Sapp and Derek Brooks, despite their greatness, would not have sniffed the team success or a HOF nomination working under the staffs of the past decade

  17. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Defense is still so freaking important in the modern NFL. Even Kansas City’s defense – who people think sucked – was WAY better than our defense last year in every metric, especially once you factor out the Rams game alone that was one of the highest scoring games ever.

    You can’t win with a horrifically bad defense and general team no matter who your QB is.

    Aaron Rodgers went 6-9-1 last year with a much better D than ours (22nd in points given up). Think he was banged up.

    Drew Brees went 7-9 three years in a row because even a HOF QB can’t overcome bottom 5 defenses.

    This has been this team’s biggest problem by far. But national media focuses on Jameis Winston lol.

  18. Race to 10 Says:

    Vea is a run stuffer

  19. D-Rome Says:

    Still, he brings a nasty attitude and some playoff experience to a defense that needs both attributes.

    Heard this all before with different players.


  20. 813bucboi Says:

    the team will improve because the coaching has improved….simple as that..

    GO BUCS!!!!

  21. Doctor_berto Says:

    Lets hope hargreaves isn’t starting come week 1. Dude is horrendous

  22. Snook Says:

    They could’ve kept the same roster and only cut McCoy and it would’ve been an upgrade.

  23. SOEbuc Says:


    “What a turn around. Younger. Faster. Tougher. The only thing missing is experience. With coaches all over the place and accountability. These players could climb the learning curve quickly.”

    And this gigantic stack of young, fast, tough DBs we’ve picked over the past couple years is going to be learning from the Bowels’ book. A pro safety and secondary coach through his career that took him DC and HC. Acquired some hawks. Very excited about the back end of this defense the next few years.

  24. WhatdaBUCisthis Says:

    New Chapter…
    I agree, let White just do his job. Stop with this b.s. about he needs to be the “savior” @Joe. Coaching will make a difference. I’ve said it before. Licht has been quietly building an, albeit not successful, 34 defense, press man, swarming to the ball ass kickers. Last staff wanted to do it their way… ok. Now here we are. THIS BUCS TEAM will come to play.

  25. SOEbuc Says:


    VH3 was playing well in the nickel for the two games he played last year. But yes one can only pray he’s not playing outside.

    …if not, who is? Bunting? Dean? Smith? Come on folks gimme some feedback. I’m voting Dean.

  26. Buzz fan Says:

    Joe read this : https://www.patspulpit.com/2019/5/22/18634233/bill-belichick-iowa-state-future-of-defensive-football-nfl-new-england-patriots-chiefs-rams

    We may be running a similar scheme base next year with our personnel

  27. Joe Says:

    Thanks Buzz.

  28. BucsBall80 Says:

    Phattitudes nailed it. Attitude! This was a great move. Sue will set the tone for the men up front. Hey will do better keeping are Linebakers clean to roam free, shoot gaps and make plays. We get about the same production for cheaper. We got tuffer up front. And McCoy would of been a distraction the rest of the season. Its open for new guys to step and lead. Let the battles begin! Nobody is safe!

  29. Doug Spatz Says:

    Trying to contact ira Kaufman. I have a research phamplet 240 pages on Norb Sacksteder who played100 years ago