Can The Run Defense Improve?

June 3rd, 2020

Defensive key.

Yes, the Bucs are responsible for one of the best run defenses in the past 35 years.

The gang at Football Outsiders, led by founder Aaron Schatz, have been studying defenses since 1985.

And it isn’t a stretch to think the Bucs had one of the better run defenses since Schatz has been collecting data. No, it’s not the 1999 Bucs defense. No, it’s not the 2002 Bucs defense, both considered to be one of the in team history if not league history.

Try 2019.

Yes, in Schatz’ mumbo jumbo calculations, last year’s Bucs run defense was the sixth-best run defense since 1985, writes Schatz.

That’s pretty impressive. And when doing a breakdown of teams recently on, Greg Rosenthal said he believes Bucs fans should expect another staunch run defense by the pewter pirates.

The Bucs had one of the best run defenses of the last few decades. The key figures in creating that dominance — Vita Vea, Ndamukong Suh, William Gholston, Lavonte David and coordinator Todd Bowles — are all back. Devin White, last year’s No. 5 overall pick, could also help by missing fewer tackles.

Could that run defense get even better? The key lies, Joe believes, with inside linebacker Devin White.

Yes, White was a rookie last year who played solid ball when he returned from an early injury. He was still a rookie.

An old saying in the NFL is that a player often makes a huge jump from his rookie year to his second season. If White does make that jump, could Schatz be writing about the Bucs again having one of the best rush defenses since Schatz began running numbers in an Excel spreadsheet?

20 Responses to “Can The Run Defense Improve?”

  1. Buczilla Says:

    Vea and Suh are dominate against the run and if we can stop teams from grinding out the clock, that gives Brady an extra possession of two to win the game. If White does make the second year leap, then that is gravy man.

  2. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    Barring injuries, this unit should be a good as last year. Vea is the best run stopper in the league and should make the pro-bowl this year.

  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Teams abandoned the run early on us last year……..their passing was effective enough coupled with our turnovers to give them leads so they could go back to the run……we stop the turnovers and improve our secondary and the run defense can improve even more.

  4. Bird Says:

    Agree joe

    Devin white started slow but finished strong. He is in year 2 and now knows the defense like the back of his hand.

    Plus i would add Vea is about to blow up
    Dont forget he was limited in reps last year
    And he was injured most of his first year and Didnt really set sail towards the very end of 1st year.

  5. I Bleed Pewter Says:

    I hope we make every team one dimensional

  6. No Risk It No Biscuit Says:

    Good job Joe!

    Joe how was this defense with tackles for a lost. I think with the new safety the number will increase.

    Go Bucs!!!

  7. No Risk It No Biscuit Says:

    ^more safety blitz are coming

  8. PSL Bob Says:

    Can’t think of a reason why the D would regress this year. We kept the D-line intact. White now has a year of experience under his belt as do the rookies in the backfield. We added Winfield at safety, who by all accounts is a real baller. Certainly looks like this group is ready to cook with gas this year. Here’s to keeping everyone healthy.

  9. Mitch Says:

    Is adding Tim Jernigan for depth a good idea?

  10. Alanbucsfan Says:

    If D White wasn’t injured, does Daniel Jones rush for 2 td’s in Giants game?

  11. Etzel Says:

    The best run defense is a horrible pass defense. Why try to move the ball on the ground when you can get chunks of yards through the air??? This isn’t 1978, you need to be able to stop the pass.

  12. SlyPirate541 Says:

    2nd year of the same system with the same players. All signs the Bucs D will level up.

  13. Joe Says:

    Joe how was this defense with tackles for a lost

    Can only find individual tackles for loss.

    Bucs had three players in the top-52 (Shaq, Lavonte David and JPP). San Francisco had three players in the top-30.

  14. Bucsfanman Says:

    Etzel- You still need both, but you need better balance. The key for us will be to improve the pass defense, specifically that secondary. If they’re able to hold their own back there, this will be a strong overall defense.
    I think we saw improvement there, and we added a ball-hawking safety.

  15. 1sparkybuc Says:

    When it’s pitch and catch throwing the ball, why even bother with trying to run it? Our pass defense was a joke.

  16. firethecannons Says:

    JPP nothing to slack on either

  17. On To Tampa Says:

    Basically if the TEAM > ‘D’ can stay healthy, we’re gonna kick some NFL arse all over the gridiron this season; including the postseason! #BringItOn #LFG #BucsRULE

  18. Bucnjim Says:

    Well if this sleep walking first half team can stop turning the ball over I can see us playing with the lead quite a bit. You know what the lead allows you to do? Take chances in both RUN and passing blitzes. When you are down right away you have to limit the risks the team takes.

  19. Rod Munch Says:

    The 2002 Bucs were the best passing defense in the history of the NFL – literally every single statistic analysis shows that. Consider that in the playoffs the Bucs defense allowed a net of 3 points through 3 games, all against top 8 offenses. They “allowed” 31 points, which is nonsense, but scored 28 points – and it should have been 35 points if Rice didn’t take a stupid nonsense PF call on a Ronde TD return against SF.

    All of this was done against good offenses, unlike the garbage 2000 Ravens running it up against an expansion Cleveland team twice a year and beating Kerry Collins in the SB.

  20. Joe Says:

    Is adding Tim Jernigan for depth a good idea?

    Would love to see it, but cash would be an issue.