Quicker Defense

June 14th, 2019


You cannot duplicate speed and you cannot replicate speed.

Although someone probably spoke the following phrase first, the first time Joe heard it was from Hall of Fame manager Whitey Herzog in the early 1980s.

“Speed kills.”

Herzog would never be allowed to do today what he did back with the St Louis Cardinals in the 1980s (thanks to how baseball has been hijacked by the nerds). He took a team that played in a big ballpark on turf and turned it into a track meet.

Cardinals players were so quick they just screwed with pitchers’ heads and frankly took over games. A walk or a single was as good as a triple. Joe vividly remembers Ozzie Smith scoring from second on a sacrifice fly in a World Series game.

Herzog relied on that speed and defense (dudes ran down flyballs like Randy Moss running down touchdown passes) to have the winningest team of the 1980s. And it was a whole lot more fun to watch than the launch angle/exit velocity/beer league softball hit-a-homer-or-strikeout ball the game has sunk to.

Joe brings this up because a Twitter from former NFL general manager Michael Lombardi got Joe thinking about speed and how it is essential for NFL teams. A slow middle linebacker makes an entire defense slow, Lombardi Twittered.

Interesting thought. He’s not wrong, either.

No, departed Kwon Alexander wasn’t slow, but he isn’t as fast as Bucs rookie linebacker Devin White. The Bucs tried to add speed to their defense. Not just with White, but with corners Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean.

There was a lot wrong with the Bucs defense last year. A lot. Could lack of speed have been one major factor? And if so, did the Bucs add enough speed through the draft to potentially make a difference?

23 Responses to “Quicker Defense”

  1. Bird Says:

    Two words

    Kamara and mccafrey
    And some of the best receivers in Thomas and Julio.

    Gotta have speed in our division.
    We got better from last year
    White next to LVD is gonna be savage

  2. AKickInTheBucNuts Says:

    Speed will equal more sacks.

  3. GrayBalls Says:

    As long as that speed can wrap-up properly and keep the ball in front of them, we should be fine. Just fine wouldd be a HUGE improvement for this defense. Hell, bad would be a big step in the right direction.

  4. OneBuc55 Says:

    You can coach X’s and O’s, techniques, game scenarios, etc but you can’t coach speed…you either have it or you don’t…

    Personally, I’d much rather die by the blitz than sit back being passive as the QB repeatedly carves you up like a Thanksgiving turkey…

  5. Defense Rules Says:

    Be still my heart … Joe is warming to the Devin White pick. Whodathunkit?

    Speed is awesome, but there’s something even more important IMO Joe: knowing what to do with it. Kwon was reasonably fast I thought, but you never knew where he was gonna end up. Devin White’s got a lot to learn no doubt, but I have every HOPE that he’ll be a LOT better at decision-making than Kwon was. Locking down the middle of the field against both the run & the pass is critical IMO; we got burnt badly in that area over the past couple of years. That’s White’s job, that’s Suh’s job, that’s Vea’s job … lock down the middle and force teams to run plays outside that. If those 3 can successfully do that, Bucs will have a very good season. If they can’t, it’ll be 2017 & 2018 deja vu all over again.

  6. Joe Says:

    Be still my heart … Joe is warming to the Devin White pick. Whodathunkit?

    Never remotely suggested he wasn’t a good player. Just didn’t think he was the smart pick.

    Same reason Joe was against O.J. Howard. Dude is a baller but Bucs had far bigger needs than tight end.

  7. Todd Says:

    Wonder how Kwon’s rehab is going?

    I hope sh!tty.

  8. Barbosa Says:

    Speed helps no doubt about it. What helps even more is a dictating defense instead of a passive one.

  9. Defense Rules Says:

    Hmmm … ‘Didn’t think he (White) was the smart pick’. And oh ya, regarding OJ – ‘far bigger needs than tight end’.

    So can we interpret that Joe as implying that the Bucs haven’t used our hard-won first Round picks well in 2017 & 2018? And since I seem to remember you being all-in on Johnny Manziel, and he was drafted AFTER Mike Evans, can we assume that you would’ve taken Johnny Football over ME13 in 2014? Now I know you were all-in on Jameis in 2015, but how about 2016? Were you all-in on Hargreaves too when studs like Rankins & Tunsil were still undrafted when we picked at #11?

    MAYBE Jason Licht really hasn’t done such a good job of drafting after all. But hey, WDIK? I would’ve much rather had Tunsil than VHIII. Hindsight is such a beautiful thing.

  10. NOSBOS Says:

    There wasn’t a player in this class that would’ve been a more significant pick than Devin White and it ain’t even close. You diminish bosa’s skill set forcing him into 3/4 scheme right out college. Q wasn’t a need after drafting a perfect 3/4 fit Vea the year before (seeing is how actually played in a 3/4 at Washington) and Allen is soft just like that NFL exec told told you.

  11. NOSBOS Says:

    The reason everyone attached Devin White to the Bucs is simple. It Made All The Sense In The World.

  12. NOSBOS Says:

    Had OJ. ended up with Sean Payton (a coach that actually believes in playing high caliber rookies) he would have made the pro bowl as rookie.

  13. Joe Says:

    Now I know you were all-in on Jameis in 2015, but how about 2016? Were you all-in on Hargreaves too when studs like Rankins & Tunsil were still undrafted when we picked at #11?

    Now now, don’t get huffy with Joe, Mr. Mike Smith Apologist to the bitter end.

    Joe was OK with Hargreaves because at the time, the Bucs needed a corner and he was believed to be the best corner available when the Bucs drafted.

  14. Joe Says:

    Had OJ. ended up with Sean Payton (a coach that actually believes in playing high caliber rookies) he would have made the pro bowl as rookie.

    Not sure where this narrative started (probably the imbeciles over at the PFF tribe) that OJ had a bad rookie year. He had one of the better rookie seasons for a tight end in years.

    Also folks seem to forget the Bucs already had a Pro Bowl-type tight end on the roster who very likely took snaps and targets away from OJ.

    OJ had a fine rookie season. Outside of the PFF tribe, Joe is guessing the fantasy football types are peeved with him. 🙄

  15. Prada...sec 147 Says:

    Kwon wasn’t fast enough or strong enough or smart enough. Devin White is going to be a BEAST !

  16. Pickgrin Says:

    First 4 picks:
    Rd 1 – ILB Devin White – 4.42 40 (39.5″ vertical!)
    Rd 2 – CB Sean Murphy-Bunting – 4.42 (41.5″ vertical!)
    Rd 3 – CB Jamel Dean 4.30 (41″ vertical!)
    Rd 3 – S Mike Edwards 4.50

    The Bucs defense absolutely got a nice infusion of speed and athleticism from the 2019 draft.

    You think Todd Bowles might have had just a little bit of influence over this year’s high draft selections?

  17. Defense Rules Says:

    @Joe … “Now now, don’t get huffy with Joe, Mr. Mike Smith Apologist to the bitter end.” Awesome Joe, touche. Reinforces the point though that ‘hindsight really is a beautiful thing’ … for all of us. Sometimes it really is bad coaching, not just bad players.

  18. 813bucboi Says:

    speed will help….but so will smitty not allowed at OBP….

    Go BUCS!!!!!

  19. Ghost of Darrell Henderson Says:

    If you look at the Bear’s game from last year, it wasn’t a lack of speed that hurt them, it was a complete lack situational awareness.

    For example, the Bears ran a trip right formation that the Bucs had evidently never seen or heard of before.The defense looked like a Chinese fire drill, big gain. Then the next play the Bears went trips left. No one called time out or communicated with each other, this time, monster gain. The Bears offense put on a clinic like they were playing the Washington Generals. All the speed in the world could not help.

    Still, Smitty was not fired.

  20. geno711 Says:

    Ghost of Darrell Henderson Says:
    June 14th, 2019 at 12:03 pm

    I was in Chicago at Soldier Field and never re-watched the game when I got home so I can not remark on the plays you mention. However, my memory is of some no name receiver for the Bears running like 3 or 4 Jet sweeps and we had no ability (or MJ Stewart had no ability) to stop that play. We looked slow too.

  21. SOEbuc Says:

    Arians, Bowles, and Licht looked at the 2018 tape and Bowles said this is how we’re (possibly) going to work the defense.

    “We’re going to draft more DBs that I like that show speed and blitzing abilities in my scheme.” – Bowles

    Totally trust Bowles on any DB he thinks will work well. Very excited to see we have a huge young group of talented secondary players. Most excited to see what Edwards and Dean can make of themselves.

  22. SOEbuc Says:

    Don’t know why everyone hates MJ Stewart so much when he was being coached his rookie year by a DC and squad that Bucs fans wanted to castrate. He’s not being moved to safety from CB like some kind of Ryan Smith nonsense. He’s going to be playing a box safety position. He’s a downhill banger like Whitehead and he can be good in coverage playing his natural man position.

    I’m going to be looking at his play in 2019.

  23. BucFan727 Says:

    I went back and watched the Bears game and Evans had 3 blown coverages that turned in to a TD. One that every one thinks it was Stewart. They where in cover 4 and Stewart was in man playing the slot. He broke off his guy because he seen the ball was in the air but that was Evans man and he was biting on the inside post witch was Stewart’s man. Stewart had alot of saving tackles that game. Evans was responsible for 3 TDs. How dose Evans get a pass when he played worse than Stewart last year. All of these guys should play better in a attack style under are new coaches. Weve been really bad at blitzing. And that didnt help the aggressive bitting on double moves or covering the wrong guy in zone. They played alot of cover 4. To easy to pick apart if your not gitting enough pressure. And when we did blitz it didnt get home. We where one of the worst teams blitzing the last 2 years. I know alot of fans wanted to draft players to upgrade the running game. But you got to be able to stop other teams from dropping 30 plus a game on us. You could tell we where out coached in alot of those games. Bears game comes to mind.