Don’t Ignore The Defense

May 3rd, 2019

Not a one-way coach.

Even if then-Bucs coach Dirk Koetter had agreed after the 2017 season to unload Mike Smith as his defensive coordinator, Koetter was a dead man walking.

That seems to be the conclusion from Andy Benoit of In going over teams’ drafts (Benoit gave the Bucs an A-), Benoit suggested Koetter’s indifference or downright neglect of the defense was a big reason why the Bucs changed coaches.

This draft underscores that the Bucs do not have many needs on offense, and why the brass in Tampa Bay felt that a coaching change—Dirk Koetter out, Arians in—was the best way to improve on [the defensive] side of the ball. When was the last time an offensive-minded head coach saw his new team draft defense and special teams with its first six picks?

That’s a helluva point. Joe can think of defensive-minded head coaches who have allowed their team(s) to go heavy on offense, but rarely can Joe remember an offensive head coach going full-blown defense in the draft. Koetter began his tenure with three defensive players and a kicker.

Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich summed it up yesterday. The coaching staff as a whole agreed that such a total sieve of a defense cannot be tolerated again.

Koetter absolutely tolerated it.

38 Responses to “Don’t Ignore The Defense”

  1. Cobraboy Says:

    Koetter & Company gambled they could outscore opponents.

    That rarely works out well, although the offense could be fun to watch.

    Not much room for error.

  2. tmaxcon Says:

    They have HUGE NEEDS on offense at RT, RG, AND LT….

  3. Cobraboy Says:

    @tmaxcon: D needs > O needs x 2

  4. SteelStudBuc Says:


    You definitely right about the o-line needs there. Smith is pretty durable… he’s got that going for him… other than that I’m more concerned about RG and RT. There’s always next year Right?

  5. JA Says:

    Recent defenses from this organization have often looked like a pebble trying to stop the Niagara River before the precipice of the falls.
    Bowles got his wish with this draft (probably a condition agreed upon before his hiring). Now let’s see if he can turn that pebble into a boulder large enough to stop or at least slow down these free flowing offenses that have humiliated the Bucs for years and years.
    Should be an interesting watch …

  6. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    There is some lying going on…..well, maybe not outright lying but….fibbing.

    You don’t draft for need?……we certainly did……I will take those statements that you don’t use your first pick for need….pick the BPA unless it is an obvious non-need…..for us this year, it would be LT, TE, QB, WR…..

    We definitely needed CBs….and the MLB… far as kicker….we needed some competition for Cairo but not necessarily a draft pick.

  7. AlteredEgo Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    Cobraboy Says:
    May 3rd, 2019 at 9:04 am
    Koetter & Company gambled they could outscore opponents.

    That rarely works out well, although the offense could be fun to watch.

    Not much room for error.

    That would be Jason Licht….as the defense was ignored draft after draft after draft….while Jason tried to plug holes with defensive used tires in the FA market

  8. ManzielMadness Says:

    That maybe true, however Arians is also tying himself to Jameis… would think he’d want to put Jameis in the best chance to succeed, think he could’ve used some resources towards our OL. I don’t count Watford as an upgrade, Benenoch isn’t good, Dotson is injured every year, Cappa is an unknown.. don’t have a good feeling about this… no wonder Jameis is gaining weight…

  9. 813bucboi Says:

    dirk and smitty ignored the defense 2 1/2 years…..about time someone pays attention…..

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  10. LakeLand Says:

    The Bucs drafted All-Offense in 2014. Then they only spent a 4th round pick on a defense player in the 2015 draft. This is what sealed Lovie Smith fate. Neglecting the defense and going all in with the offense.

    I have never seen an defensive coach neglect the defense

    But the allegedly was following the “Plan”

    And that so-call plan got him sacked

  11. LakeLand Says:

    **But he allegedly was following the plan**

  12. Buc1987 Says:

    None of it matters…..cause Winston’s the scapegoat for this coming season.

    Go 6-10….blame Jameis and start over.

    See how easy it is?

    Screenshot it.

  13. Cobraboy Says:

    Except for one OL, I would have been surprised if the Bucs did NOT have an all-D draft.

    A lot may have depended on what players fell at a given point.

    If Arians (make no mistake, this was a BA draft, not a Jason Licht draft; I doubt BA would have taken the job otherwise) had thought other positions were that weak he’d have drafted them.

    And let’s not forget what he said: drafting OL is for the next coach.

    I’ll put my faith in BA & Co. until they prove my faith is misplaced. Certainly, I have more faith in BA and Licht than in casual Couch GM fans.

  14. Buc1987 Says:

    No defense, no running game.

    Lot’s been saying that for months now.

    Hell the new staff comes in and sees it too…

    Doesn’t matter.

  15. Cobraboy Says:

    BTW: Nobody was complaining when the Bucs were drafting all O in prior years.

  16. LakeLand Says:


    I was predicting the Bucs to go 6-10
    But then I went back and look at the schedule and the dates

    I honesty believe they will go 5-11 again
    At best

  17. Captain Dan Lawrence Says:

    Seriously? Does this Joe not realize that we are not at all impressed with his need to constantly take shots at a coach who is not the Coach of the BUCS? GTF over it!

  18. TOM Says:

    Let’s face it. Licht & Co. do not know how to draft BA said drafting for need is for losers, so what happens they draft for need. Actually except for White they drafted for depth. I really don’t see any real starters in this bunch. Of course to cover there ass they will put a couple in and call them starters.

  19. DBS Says:

    During the fix the o line and #WeaponsforWinston. Everything revolved around Winston. But people will rewrite history.

  20. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Jason Licht was the knucklehead who has ignored the defense and its criminal that he has drafted more K than edge in his tenure, then he is drafting corners that may or may not fit the scheme that coach smith was running, makes ZERO sense

  21. Billy_43 Says:

    We didn’t draft for need.
    They were gonna select Cody Ford but got jumped.
    Had Bunting as next BPA.

  22. The Buc Realist Says:

    This article is just another example of how poor the ownership is in Tampa and the mixed messages and change of agenda at the drop of a hat!!!!!!

    They have told coaches and GM’s that the glazer’s want offense and then fire you for poor defense!!!!!!! They hire people and talk about how they want to draft and develop and teach, then by year two, have the coaches playing for their jobs with playoffs or bust ultimatums!!!!!!! They charge coaches to clean up the locker room and then fire them because their favorite player was caught up in the cleanup!!!!!!!! The glazers were all onboard and like a flexible defensive coach, and then shut it down when a so-called star player did not feature him and forced the archaic failed loser lovie scheme so said player would be happy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2019 will reveal answers to the sheep, that the “real” fans already know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

  23. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Each season about half or more of all of Winston’s turnovers come in just 2 games.

    In 2018 his worst games were Cincy & Cleveland. Those performances were on him. I defend him a lot but he was rusty/pressing/seeming to feel the Fitzmagic pressure.

    Still – if you take out those 2 games, he had 18 TD to 8 INT in the other 9 performances…

    2017 Worst performances were the Vikings game (3 INT) and final game with the saints (3 INT) that he pulled out of his 4ss at the end to cost us Quenton Nelson/Bradly Chubb lol.

    Saints game was on him but the Vikings game we were down 21-3 with time left in the 2nd quarter. He had one bad INT.

    Take out those 2 games and he is at 16 TD: 5 INT in the other 9ish games (technically 11 apperances but injured early in 2 of them)

    2016 – 40-7 Arizona blowout – 4 interceptions. 2 of those were when we were down 24-0 in the 2nd again. Then the Dallas game where Godser Cherilus/the entire O-line was getting DESTROYED.

    Take out those 2 games and he’s at 25 TD: 11 INT the other 14 games.

    So basically every year Winston has typically had 2 really bad turnover prone games, and half of all of those were games in which the D was also getting shredded and forcing us to press.

    On the other hand our defense gets completely blown out in like 4-5 games per year, and gives up leads in another 2-3 games per year. So they have been a 6-8 game liability while Winston has been a 2 game liability if you want to think about who is killing us. In general both need to play well but just saying.

    Take out those 2 games per year, and he’s at 59 TD: 24 INT ratio the last 3 years, across a pretty large sample size of 34 games.

    Basically averaging ~ 1.75TD / 0.7 INT per game; or 28 TD: 11 INT if he could get through a season playing at the level of play he had for 34 of his last 40 games (85%)

    He needs his overall to be closer to 3:1 but

  24. Lord Cornelius Says:


    I agree with this take of yours on the owners. Refreshing pivot from dumping all over BA & staff.

    BA deserves respect man. Dude’s a legit coach.

    The Glazers / Licht / whatever the h3ll is going on there on the other hand in terms of the brains behind the “team building” philosophy that we’re all confused about….

  25. Defense Rules Says:

    @TOM … “Actually except for White they drafted for depth. I really don’t see any real starters in this bunch”. I think it depends Tom on how you define ‘starters’. For instance, lots of coaches seem to feel there are probably in the area of 15 (or more) ‘starters’ on defense (which would include different skillsets needed for different packages).

    Unless something happens, Devin White is our MLB. I wouldn’t be surprised though to see Sean Bunting win a starting CB job. Jamel Dean & Mike Edwards may not be ‘starters’ in the classic sense this year, but have a feeling they’ll both see quite a bit of playing time as key rotational players. DEs Terry Beckner & Anthony Nelson BOTH intrigue me, and I’ve got a hunch they could end up getting some key rotational time also. And Matt Gay probably has a 50-50 chance of winning the kicking duties (assuming we keep only 1 kicker that is). None of our defensive draft picks were chosen to ‘develop’ for future years. I’d contend that they were all picked with the intention that they contribute THIS YEAR.

  26. OBP Says:

    It’s a sound strategy, for years we’ve had historically bad defenses, with the talent we have at WR and TE and how much we like pushing the ball deep down field improving our D would go a long way in our O as many chances as possible to win.

  27. Bucsfanman Says:

    ’87- Who’s putting blame on Jameis in this thread? It feels like you’re on the defensive a little too easy regarding our QB.
    There’s a lot of blame to go around for a 5-11 season. Jameis is NOT immune from culpability.
    That said, I think EVERYONE would agree that the best recipe for TEAM success would be to play better defense and run the freakin’ ball. Running the ball limits the amount of throws from Jameis and reduces risk. It’s a tried and trued formula.

  28. Kobe Faker Says:


    with Jason Gump as GM…Nothing

    We should be happy with Gump bringing in BA?

    We have lost 2-3 more years and now our franchise is a hostage til BAs contract is finished

    BA is a good offensive coach but he is not a GM (he actually is terrible at it)

    We have the worst defense in the NFL …because?

    we have the worst defensive players…its that simple

    until we draft more core players each year (minimum 3 starters per draft0

    we are lacking in talent

    every year the top 8 teams with the most talent will make the playoffs…

    every year”

    Kobe Faker

  29. Chris Simms 2020 GM Says:

    You don’t draft for depth. They should have made a move for Taylor or Ford in the 2nd.

    If they really needed a CB, they could have picked Mullen, a legitimate “shut down” corner on a National Championship team that plays in the toughest conference in college. Just a small step up to the NFL.

    Bunting played on a miserable team in a very weak conference. They really could have found a better prospect in high school. That was the level of experience this kid had at Northern Nowwhere State. It will be a miracle if this kid makes the practice squad.

    Some teams will only select players from top 5 college teams. The Chippewas were not top 250.

    It’s not too late, fire Licht tonight.

  30. BucEmUp Says:

    Just about anything Koetter was questioned about regarding any part of the team, his response was always “yeah im noy involved in that I dont spend a lot of time in those rooms you’ll have to ask yhose coaches about that.

    NO BALLS!!!!!! No accountability!!!!! NO REAL COACHING!!!!!!

    Get ready to see what the REAL problem has veen all along!!!!

  31. Cobraboy Says:

    I laugh whan somebody says “he’s not a starter.”

    In the NFL, sooner or later EVERYBODY becomes a “starter.”

    Just because a player is not on the field first play of the first quarter does NOT nean they are not a “starter.”

    “Starter” may apply in college when a team 85 scholarships to play with an almost unlimited walk-on. But on a roster of 48 on game day, everyone is a starter, including special teams.

    And in exotic defenses to counter exotic offenses, if you are using 7 DB’s, you better be damn sure #7 is top-quality because HE is who the offense will try to exploit.

    So of a nickel or dime defense is used 70% in the NFL, who are the “starters.”

    “Starter” is a high-school term. In today’s NFL, everybody is a “starter” because, as the cliche goes and as we have seen ad nauseum in Tampa Bay, “a chain is only as strong as the weakest link.”

  32. stpetebucsfan Says:


    You’ve been rockin’ it lately. Great posts.

    @Lord C…as always agree with your stuff too.

    I’m still having difficulty understanding all the gripping over the “wasted” pick on Gay. Aguayo was a high enough pick that we could have drafted a decent player…5th rounders are crap shoots period!!! We focus on the fact he’s a kicker and go nuckin futs. Tackle..RB..edge rusher..whatever..the pick had/has a less than 10% chance…this is not the same as a 50-50 chance earlier in the draft…much less the 75% in the top five that we expect from White.

    Draft picks are totally UNEQUAL!!! Stop worrying about “wasting” picks in the last three rounds. The guys who go undrafted are frequently as good or better than those who ARE drafted. This is why EVERY year we see UDFA succeed. The odds are just as good…perhaps better that one or more of our UDFA’s will be better than our bottom draft picks.

  33. Pickgrin Says:

    Cody Ford was going to be our 2nd rd pick – but the Bills jumped in front of us and snagged him….

  34. Jim Says:

    Took too long for the Bucs to realize you need a well-balanced team…

  35. BigMacAttack Says:

    Defense wins. 16 points or less for opponents = 10-12 wins

  36. BigMacAttack Says:

    A good defense allows your offense to take more chances. Jameis really needs to step it up.

  37. BA FAN Says:

    Let’s wait and see if Liedtke starts as our RG. If so our OL will be a lot better. Half the time Warhop kept calling for zone blocking and our starters sucked at that. Fortunately, instead BA uses power OL plays which is just what the Patriots used last year to run all over their competition and won the Super Bowl. Done right it will create a perfect hole for Jones to run for TDs this year! With our two tallest TEs able to block on running plays they can be used to open holes too along with the OL power blocking when we have two TE formations.

  38. BA FAN Says:

    And near the end zone use Vea as our FB (which he played in High School) and let him blast a big hole for Barber to run through (remember the Fridge long ago with the Bears). That will lessen Jameis’ problem of too few scores from the red zone!!! That would also work on short yardage for first downs too.