“Improved” Pass Defense?

May 10th, 2019


Joe has a gnawing feeling the Bucs pass defense may not be much better (if any better) than that horror show we witnessed last year featuring the galling worst-ever pass defense under shamed defensive coordinator Mike Smith before he was bounced.

Though some numbers crunchers think a pass rush is a non-factor, that’s just asinine and the Bucs are living proof.

Remember when quarterbacks were blow-torching the Bucs defense last year, the team wasn’t terrible in getting to the quarterback, ranked 19th in sacks. Now a freak injury to Jason Pierre-Paul and a botched salary cap situation, which cost Vinny Curry his job and likely Gerald McCoy, the Bucs, on paper, may be down 21 sacks and 48 quarterback hits before training camp begins.

Good luck trying to stop Matty Ice, Drew Brees and pouty Cam Newton when they have enough time to get haircuts in the pocket.

Now over at ESPN, Jenna Laine believes the pass defense will be improved after a draft in which the Bucs drafted three new defensive backs.

Where the team improved this offseason: Pass defense. The Buccaneers ranked last in completion percentage allowed (73 percent), yards per attempt allowed (8.2) and Total QBR allowed (65) last season, according to ESPN Stats & Information. When a linebacker was the nearest defender to the targeted receiver, the Bucs allowed a league-worst completion percentage of 82 percent last season, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. This is a big reason they selected Devin White, one of the draft’s best coverage linebackers. They also drafted three defensive backs — Sean Bunting, Jamel Dean and Mike Edwards — who collectively give them more press-man ability, speed and ball-hawking skill.

Joe cannot buy the pass defense will be better. With virtually no pass rush, we should not expect rookies to get exposed? That’s sort of a leap of faith to Joe.

Did the secondary get deeper? Sure. Is it better? Down the road it should be, yes, but to not expect growing pains is wishful thinking.

And if you are Sean Payton and Dirk Koetter, for example, why on earth would you run the ball against Lavonte David, Vita Vea and Devin White when your Pro Bowl quarterback can get a shave in the pocket and have Michael Thomas and Julio Jones go up against rookies?

68 Responses to ““Improved” Pass Defense?”

  1. Phil Says:

    There’s no way it can be as bad as last year.

  2. BucsAnthem Says:

    The only there’s improvement in the 3-4 defense if the LBs get home…….

    if not, then we’ll be screwed again like last year

  3. LynchMob Says:

    Step away from the ledge Joe. Let things play out at least through the summer, until we know more about JPP. Too much doom and gloom. I get it’s reality right now, but hope springs eternal. How about a positive article for once?

  4. SCBucsFan Says:

    I know you can do it… I know you can post a positive article.

  5. tmaxcon Says:

    SCBucsFan Says:
    May 10th, 2019 at 11:17 am

    I know you can do it… I know you can post a positive article.

    Why does truth and reality scare you so much???? Maybe you have bought into the worlds greatest selling fairy tale too much.

  6. Buccernutter Says:

    Joe, come on man. Most articles are negative lately. It’s getting old.

    And yes our pass defense will be better. Vh3 is a vet, Davis in his second year. Evans in his third. Whitehead in his second.

    We were on Pace for the worst in history last year. You really think bowles won’t improve it, even with jpp out?


  7. Sailor Jerry Says:

    So you are saying that our defense will force teams to become one dimensional

  8. D Says:

    Buccernut I think the players will be better as well. But what is there positive for Joe to talk about everyday? McCoy makes 13 mil for whatever reason,. JPP broke his neck, we suck and don’t have cap space, we took another kicker in the draft, we have no running backs, no dline depth, we have the same online from last year, on and on. Once our Bucs perform better they’ll be more positive posts.

  9. The Graham Tram Says:

    Why are the patriots so good

  10. Lord Cornelius Says:

    I’m hopeful. Hard to do much worse.

    We didn’t give up a high completion % due to bad pass rush IMO. We got dinked & dunked mostly on short completions where a pass rush wouldn’t have even helped much because the guy is running free in between our CB & LB.

    At the same time if we don’t get pressure on the QB then it doesn’t matter because he’ll find someone. The lack of pass rush is more so a problem in giving up the big plays – hence our horrible YPA given up as well lol.

    Going to need to be creative in terms of blitzing more which is what they’ve been saying they’ll do in this scheme. Press aggressive man coverage to negate the quick 2-3 second passes that we were willing to concede last year, while sending an extra body on a blitz more often than not.

    In 3-4 this could simply be both OLB’s rushing (Barrett/Nassib) in addition to Vea/McCoy/Nelson or Gholston where there’s a lot of 1 on 1 opportunity.

    If given the option between Mike Smith’s soft zone coverage with JPP or

    An aggressive press coverage defense that blitzes often without JPP

    GIve me option 2. THat’s why I’m hopeful personally.

  11. BucsBandit Says:


    The joke of this new coaching regime is the thought that Bowles is some sort of defensive mastermind. He was easily obtainable because he’s not that in demand. I’m not expecting much from the Defense this year.

  12. DR FEELGOOD Says:

    Lord Cornelius, you just eloquently said essentially what I was about to say. I don’t know where we ranked in blitzes last year, but I’m pretty sure it was near the bottom. That changes this year with speed from the new corners, Edwards, White, and LVD. There won’t be QB chill time under Bowles.

  13. Jean Lafitte Says:

    GMC’s 6 sacks can be duplicated by any JAG. Going all the way back to the 2012 season we had a couple of JAG’s who had 4-6 sacks for the season. Remember Jacquies Smith 6.5, 7 sacks, Clinton McDonald 5, Michael Johnson 4, Te’o-Nesheim 4, Clayborn 5.5, Robert Ayers 6.5, N Spence 5.5. My point is that we don’t need a $13 million dollar 3tech that gets almost every snap but only has as many sacks as part timers. The one stat that gets my goat the most is that GMC only had 1 pass deflection last season. That’s sorry. I’ve seen many times where a DT who couldn’t get penetration would get 2 or more pass deflections a game because they would always throw their hands up in the passing lanes. He’s slipping big time.

    “1” ..unbelievable

  14. Shane247 Says:

    Look, how many years have we won the off-season and the draft only to look like hot garbage halfway through the season. Either all of the analyst and experts were wrong or we just have had terrible coaching, player development, schemes and philosophies. I would not be surprised to see Spence and Hargreaves play great this year. It would not surprise me if our Oline shows a marked improvement and if our special teams is at least respectable, we’ll be fine.

  15. JA Says:

    Impossible request. Seems Joe is conforming to the world we live in—filled with the click grabbing duo of negativity and hate.
    For instance, Joe has JPP dead and buried (career wise) before any official word from any physician—only unnamed sources given to ESPN.
    When I think of a broken neck I conjure up an image of someone dangling from the gallows. Yet JPP was treated and released from the hospital.
    Not saying that there isn’t damage there, just that we do not know the LEVEL of damage. Guess the world is passing me by as I refuse to make judgement until facts about anything are analyzed and perused.

  16. Lord Cornelius Says:

    @ Feelgood

    Yeah I tried to find it but can’t. I saw the top 10 in blitzing and we weren’t on it though.

    PFF also has an article from 3 days ago about how Coverage is more important than Pass Rush per all their analytics / grades / etc

    I think you really need both but I’m also always looking for optimism lol

  17. Bird Says:

    Mike smith was the coordinator last year
    Dude couldn’t stop a 5 year old from running thru our defense

    I think it could be better just cause we got some legit coaching
    Bowles coaches based on strengths
    He can work some angles

    He may send Lavonte or devin white up the middle on any given play , especially passing while the other drops into coverage.

    Or blitz the nickel for pressure

    One thing we do have is speed

  18. NOSBOS Says:

    Wrong..Bucanthem LBr are not required to get there in the Patriots system. And with bunch of no names they win the Super Bowl every year. I wonder why.

  19. #1bucsfan Says:

    Pass rush is really important. An yes we are going to see mistakes out there by rookies an 2nd year players ( growing pains) but like LC said it can’t get much worse an I agree we were rotten but I think we are going to see a big difference. Bowels brings the heat something that got lost year yea that leaves our inexperienced DBs on a island but they have bin marketed as fast an ball-hawking so if it’s tru we could see a lot more turnovers which equals defense off the field an more chances for the offense time will tell keeping coming joe soo bored

  20. BucEmUp Says:

    Yaaaawn. This secondary and defemse as a whole has been led to the wolves year after tear by poor coaching and leadership. They may not be a top five unit but I will bet cash they are nothing close to the embarrassment they were under both lovie and mike smith

  21. rrsrq Says:

    They will not be shaving in the pocket when you don’t know when the blitz is coming, Brees maybe, but Marty Ice will freeze under the pressure, We don’t even know if Cam will be ready week 2, he is not even throwing yet.

  22. Dirks Great Granpappy Says:

    Josh Allen for devin white straight up 😬 we have Carl Nassib to show Joshua the ropes

  23. BucEmUp Says:

    Why does nobody see that the pass rush and coverage both go hand and hand? Yes its harder to cover without any pass rush, but if you take yhr leagues best sack defense last year and you have their degnese play stricktly soft zonr coverage 12 yards off the loc all season I GUARANTEE THAT SAME LINE sees a dramtic dip in production.

    You have to look at the big picture and stop being so fixated on only the line. The lineman would tell you off record that they wpukd greatly appreciate some tighter coverage and are excited to get coaching from a real defensive staff.

    Holy crap this isnt rocket science!!!!!!!!!

  24. lewis Says:

    Joe is a Debbie downer do u sit home at night and moan

  25. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Some nuggets from the lengthy PFF analysis:

    -Teams with top 1/3 coverage and bottom 1/3 pass rush did much better defensively than teams with bottom 1/3 coverage and top 1/3 pass rush

    -In general top coverage teams typically have good defenses, and it correlates to more defensive success than pass rush

    -However – pass rush is much more stable and easy to predict year to year for individual players / in general team to team, and is still an important predictor for defensive success

    Which kind of makes sense IMO. It’s easier to identify freak athletes that can win in the trenches than predict how well coverage players will do.

  26. DR FEELGOOD Says:

    And speed kills.

  27. Bird Says:


    He sits at home and pictures himself snapping the ball to Jameis
    True story

  28. Bird Says:

    And moaning involved

  29. Buccernutter Says:


    I respect your opinion first and foremost but that logic is insanely idiotic and I’m just not gonna address it.

    That correlates perfectly with our fan bases mentality though.

  30. Defense Rules Says:

    Lord C … Good stuff. I’m hopeful too, but maybe in a slightly different sense. Despite what BA has said about ‘this is not a rebuilding year’, we’re already had tremendous player turnover, especially on defense. If it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, chances are it’s REALLY a rebuilding year.

    But even so, no reason NOT to be optimistic. Don’t know about anyone else, but I wasn’t expecting Super Bowl this year. BA & his staff started with a MESS. There’s been a LOT of house-cleaning, and they’re POTENTIALLY fixed some holes, but we still have several starting holes and we still have depth issues. That doesn’t spell Super Bowl to me. I’m hoping for a definite improvement this year in terms of our play on the field. May not necessarily turn into WINS however, because we started pretty far behind the competition.

    And yes, PASS DEFENSE is one area I anticipate seeing improvement this year. I’m optimistic that our coverage will be tighter. It’s just a question of how quickly our youngsters progress, as individuals AND especially as a TEAM. But rather than pee & moan & constantly declare that the sky is falling, I choose to let it play out & see what we’ve got. BTW, I chose to take the same approach with Smitty … didn’t work out obviously BUT it wasn’t ALL on Smitty, he had some pretty bad TALENT to work with (many of whom are no longer with us now & others who probably won’t be come September).

  31. Sport Says:

    I recently listened to the Nick Rapone news conference. Sure its all talk, even he admits they haven’t been able to do much per league rules. But he does provide some interesting insight into scheme and approach to building a great football team.

    I liked what I heard…alot.

    In BA I Trust!

  32. LakeLand Says:

    The Bucs pass defense will face:

    Drew Brees (twice)
    Cam Newton (twice)
    Matt Ryan (twice)
    Jared Golf
    Andrew Luck
    Matthew Stafford
    Russell Wilson
    Eli Manning
    Jimmy Garoppolo
    Marcus Mariota
    Kyler Murray (rookie)
    Nick Foles
    DeShaun Watson

    Everyone of these QBs has playoff experience as a starting QB
    Outside of Garoppolo and Murray

    7 of them has Super Bowl experience
    They total over 100 years of NFL experience combined over 16 games

    Bucs fans think a bunch of rookies/2nd year players
    Will shut these veterans down


  33. jabuc Says:

    How can you say there will be no pass rush when that’s what Todd Bowles does from every position. This isn’t a traditional 4-3 Tampa 2 defense you realize that right?

  34. stvcl Says:

    Jabuc…you are on target. The Bucs played a vanilla outdated Tampa 2 last year that teams figured out 15 years ago. Playing a more creative defense with press coverage should keep the Bucs from dwelling in the cellar defensively this year.

  35. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    I was 100% not expecting anything more than 6 wins, just wish BA wouldnt BS the bucs fans so much and say this team is ready now. If you hve a half a gump brain you can see this team lost way more than it gained and switching to a mentally tougher defense that relies on people being in specific spots to cover gaps and then shoving that to rookies who more than likely played cover 1-6 on their college teams and now bowles is going to be changing coverages based on routes & formations and who crosses whose face. The game is alot faster on the field and in the head and that is tough for a rookie to get all that down in a quick fashion

  36. Conte Piscatelli Says:

    Ok I get it, Bucs fans are still stuck on the 2002 defense and assume the only way to generate a pass rush is with a dominant front four. I don’t know how good we will be this year, but I hope to see a defense that shows some creative blitzes, and in your face man coverage. I really don’t care if we get beat for big plays I just cannot watch the defense sit deep and allow nobody neverbeens to carve is up like Joe Montana for damn near 80% completion. I’m tired of watching our defense give quarterbacks all the easy throws. If we can put a free runner on the QBs face and make him complete a harder down field throw I will consider Bowles a success.

  37. Bob in Brandon Says:

    Who would have thought, another negative spin by Joe, smh

  38. gotbbucs Says:

    The bottom line really is this. If you have coaches that are smart enough to recognize tendencies and make the correct call much of the time and a linebacking unit that can recognize what plays are potentially coming out of certain situations and formations, then you have a chance to be good regardless of whether or not you have the best players on the field.

    If you’re relying on reading and reacting to each offensive play and winning all of your one on ones then your screwed before the snap.

  39. Chip Chipperson Says:

    JBF.com….the new “Den of Depression”

  40. JimmyJack Says:

    How about we get a few picks this year?

    Halfway through last year we was sitting on 1 int I think. Or was it zero. That’s a big red flag right there.

    Any good defense eats up guys like Dalton and Trubisky and a rookie……heck, even Nick Foles.

    This is unacceptable and I doubt Bowles will stand for it. I’m sure it’s a big reason the draft went as it did.

    GO BUCS!!!

  41. JimmyJack Says:

    Lakeland Only Bress & Wilson scare me.

    Luck too if he has a good day.

  42. LakeLand Says:

    The QBs the Bucs defense will face in 2019 has seen every defense that exist. These guys are not college QBs. These guys are seasoned veterans. The Bucs defenders are rookies or 1 year removed from college.

    These guys has seen everything Todd Bowles can throw at them
    They know when to call audibles
    They can read defenses in their sleep
    When the Bucs come with 6 DBs
    They will run the football

    6 of these teams were in the Top-10 in rushing in 2018
    The Bucs will play 8 games against Top-10 rushing teams from 2018

  43. LakeLand Says:


    Trust me
    The Bucs defense don’t scare any of these QBs

  44. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    lakeland I have been following what you have been posting for 3-4 years and I have the similar beliefs on how winning teams are built, etc and you are spot on again with what good OCs will do against the bucs esp in the NFC south with their OL and RBs. When the bucs get a solid NFL competent ready team I will yell that the bucs are on the rise, similar to back when wyche built that team in 95 and then the 2nd half of dungys first year that you could see the way the team played and the defense was everywhere. Solid team up front on both sides. The bucs have none of that this year and wont unfortunately

  45. LakeLand Says:

    Dusthty Rhothdes,

    That’s the problem with the teams the Bucs defense faces
    The teams are balanced and have veterans QBs
    And they have excellent offensive play callers

  46. JimmyJack Says:

    Lakeland…..You got me there……and trust me I’m well aware of the list of garbage QBs who have looked like All Pro against us.

  47. ClwJB Says:

    No place to go but up with the garbage we have been watching for the past couple years.

    Id rather watch our CB get beat deep while trying than just laying 12 yards off the ball and watching like they bought a ticket to the game…


  48. NOSBOS Says:

    Thank you Lord C,and I know you’re probably bigger on the pass rush side of things but in today’s game you the elite edge guy is becoming more and more null & void. The league is becoming one big 7 on 7 drill you must fled the passing lanes with capable defenders i.e a bunch 4.3 4.4 running guys. Like Jason Licht stayed no one is running routes anymore. Just go’s,post routes,and nine routes.

  49. NOSBOS Says:

    Oh an drag routes. Having two speeders LBrs should help negate some of those.

  50. Nick2 Says:

    The pass rush will improve because we will be aggressive and not sit back on our heals. Bowles is light years ahead of Mike Smith and it will show. I dont care if we lost JPP the pass rush will improve and the 20 DB’s we have drafted in the last several years will finally show they were worth drafting as well.

  51. Tony LA Says:

    This is a very negative for the sake of being negative post.

    Are the Bucs playing the same system as last season?

    Do they have the same coaches as last season?

    Will they have the exact same players as last season?

    JPP and GMC were not game-changing players. If they were, would the Bucs have gone 5-11 and have had the worst pass defense in the league?

    So what if they had some sacks. The overall defense sucked.

    So what changed?
    System, coaches, players

    The truth is – you have zero clue if the defense will be better or worse. From a statistical standpoint, thousands of teams have been better than the Bucs were last season and only a handful have ever been worse. Odds easily point to improvement.

    Systems matter more than players. A new system and new coaches are here.
    All you negative and whiny commenters can moan all of you want – but it’s uneducated moaning and whining, the worse kind.

  52. BucsBandit Says:


  53. down in the dirt doug Says:

    Many are saying three to six wins for the Bucs.Many are calling the season lost.Our coach won coach of the year twice.Bruce has a plan and I feel that we will win 8 games despite Licht leaving us worse off then we were before the draft.We still need a president of operations to protect the team from licht’s whimes!!!!

  54. passthebuc Says:

    I fear for Joe. Take away any sharp objects.

  55. NOSBOS Says:

    Super bowl homeboy.. And we gone win tha b$&@.

  56. Rod Munch Says:

    If you don’t think defensive backs, running around completely lost nowhere close to receivers, wasn’t a bigger deal than the pass rush – I don’t think you have a clue what you were watching.

    Again, 2003, Brian Kelly is hurt, the Bucs have garbage depth at corner, even with Sapp and Rice as pass rushers teams throw to where Kelly would have been knowing that the replacement stinks. Having one crack in that defense at corner meant the entire year was a failure. That’s ONE corner in the best pass defense of all time – and you don’t think defensive backs matter?

    Tisk tisk…

  57. JimmyJack Says:

    Tony LA great point. Neither JPP nor McCoy we’re game changing players. Yet, the way most fans make it sounds is like we are losing Lawerence Taylor over here.

    Let’s no pretend like losing either will be some type of insurmountable event. None like to lose a good player but there are many opportunities to replace them………..I will make a exception if JPP can find a way to play through a broke neck………You cannot replace that!!!!

  58. JimmyJack Says:

    Sorry Rod but P Manning inserts a dagger in us with or without Kelly. That much is true.

  59. JimmyJack Says:


  60. K2 Says:

    The new coaches and players have no chance of improving over the genius that Mike Smith brought to our team. I agree 100 percent Joe no chance of improving. I can’t believe the new guys want to compete and try to improve. Tell’m Joe… it’s just a waste of time.

  61. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Games Bucs would have won last year with better coaching and less mistakes-

    Pittsburgh- pick 6 and punt return for td called back
    Cincinnati- Jameis, for whatever reason, had his head up somewhere
    Giants, Bears and 2nd Falcons game- unbelievably bad defense – really a disgrace
    Redskins and Cowboys- some really stupid play calling
    2nd Saints game- thoroughly outcoached in 2nd half

    The current coaching staff may not get Bucs to playoffs, but the team probably won’t be the bumbling laughing stock of the NFL that they were last year and games should be interesting and hard fought

  62. JimmyJack Says:

    Alan don’t forget the Pittsburg game feature some of the worst tackling that has never been seen.

    One of the most embarrassing losses in franchise history. In front of a home crowd too.

  63. Rod Munch Says:

    JimmyJack – Go back and watch that game – Manning wasn’t doing anything until Kelly was hurt. You literally couldn’t be more wrong. Corners matter, those who refuse to believe that don’t understand football.

  64. Mike Johnson Says:

    Get busy jason Licht. Earn your money. Make somethin happen. We are down a great DE.
    Ansah/Perry/Wilkerson and Hayes are still available. Plus teams are cutting players daily due to salary cap problems. Find us somebody and plug him in. Find us a pass rush from somewheres..anywheres.

  65. Jim Says:

    Let the games begin,..I can’t wait.

  66. Pryda...Sec147 Says:

    Damn joe no confidence in this staff shame.

  67. Joe Says:

    Damn joe no confidence in this staff shame.

    Team is banking on WAY too many ifs to Joe’s liking.

  68. TOM Says:

    Jeez, after drafting 3 DB’s high in the draft the defensive backfield should be the most improved part of the team. (No brainer) If not the Bucs will be worse than I originally thought.