Maul Prep, All According To Plan

September 30th, 2020

Shop now at Bill Currie Ford quality and service is second to none. Ask GM Sean Sullivan for guidance & JoeBucsFan discount.


Who knew?

The addition of Tom Brady dominated the offseason headlines for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and rightly so. When you bring in a first-ballot Hall of Famer under center, a man with six Super Bowl rings in his collection, people around the league are going to take notice.

But all the while, sneaky Bruce Arians had another vision in mind.

He craved Brady because he wanted leadership at the game’s most important position, but he also wanted a guy who wouldn’t undermine his defense with another 41 giveaways.

NFC’s best defense?

Six months later, all is going according to plan. Tampa Bay’s defense is now thriving in a featured role while Brady provides solid support.

And while Brady is far from an afterthought, he is no longer the primary storyline on a first-place club.

“We built this team on defense,” Arians says. “Tom Brady was just the icing on the cake.”

It’s time to cut into this multi-layered cake and salute the delicacies Todd Bowles is serving up each week.

There’s a powerful argument to be made that the Bucs suddenly boast the NFC’s best defense. This is not the marauding Buc defense of 2002 or 1999, but it’s a unit to be feared.

Inside The Numbers

Those clubs were led by Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp, John Lynch and Rondé Barber — worthy Hall of Famers at every level. Still, as Drew Brees, Teddy Bridgewater and Jeff Driskel can attest, the 2020 Bucs keep offensive coordinators up into the wee hours.

Todd Bowles

Let us count the ways.

Opponents are averaging a mere 4.7 yards per offensive snap, lowest in the NFC. The Bucs have allowed the fewest first downs in the conference and an NFC-low 2.9 yards per rushing attempt.

Tampa Bay blitzes more than any team in the NFC and Bowles is very crafty in the way he releases the hounds. Here comes Devin White up the middle. Here comes Jordan Whitehead off the edge. Here comes Antoine Winfield Jr. … from everywhere.

The Bucs are one of only three teams that have more interceptions than TD passes allowed. Only 28 percent of opponents’ drives end up with a score of any kind, the lowest rate in the conference.

You get the picture.

Changed Bar

Through 10 games last season, Bowles failed to live up to his reputation as a defensive guru. His young secondary lacked confidence and all those giveaways put too much of a strain on a unit struggling to implement a new system.

Perhaps most importantly, Bowles was still trying to determine the strengths and weaknesses of his players.

All of that uncertainty changed in November and the Bucs closed with a string of impressive defensive efforts. Arians became a believer at that point, imploring Jason Licht to retain Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamukong Suh in the offseason.

Shaq Barrett wasn’t going anywhere. That was a given.

While the versatile Winfield shocks teammates and coaches with his football intelligence, this defense has now reeled off nine consecutive solid efforts.

How solid? Opponents have averaged 22 points during that stretch, compared to 31 points in the first 10 games of the 2019 season. That’s a heck of a remodeling job for Bowles.

“Our defense is built on multiple pieces being able to do a lot of different things,” says Arians.

In the offseason, it was fashionable to think how far the Bucs could go if their defense could somehow reach the middle of the pack. We didn’t realize this group would transform into a pack of hungry jackals.

At this point, middle of the pack seems like an awfully low bar.

Tom Brady was a nice story — for a while. But even No. 12 would acknowledge this defense is now driving the train.

Next stop? A rookie quarterback, about to be run over.

Ira Kaufman’s column is presented by Bill Currie Ford, where the stunning offers are waiting for you. Click on Ira to visit, where GM Sean Sullivan will help you personally.

37 Responses to “Maul Prep, All According To Plan”

  1. No Risk It No Biscuit Says:

    Great one again Ira!

    It’s a privilege to read your input in what should be and it is so far a great season.

    Thank you and go Bucs!!!

  2. SlyPirate541 Says:

    Buc’s D last 2 games: 11 sacks, 17 QB hits, 6 TO.


    Herbert is big, nimble, and smart. It will be interesting to see how well he can read defenses and avoid this pass rush.

    I think the offense will get up early in the game and the defense will keep rolling. 4 sacks, 8 QB hits, and 2 INTs.


  3. #1bucfan Says:

    Why is the defense playing well because Winston isn’t giving the ball away like Christmas presents. Nice article Ira.

  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    At the risk of repeating myself….I’ve been predicting a very stout defense because our entire starting D from last year is on the field with the addition of Winfield…..that, along with familiar schemes and coaches.
    It’s a no-brainer…..with all of the early media attention deservedly going to the new offense with Brady, Gronk & Wirfs…’s the defense that will carry us forward.

  5. Ryan Cannon Says:

    I think Bowles calls a blitz when he backs out of his driveway


  6. Buc1987 Says:

    Realist will have you know….that Mike Smith did a much better job.

  7. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    Winfield maybe the most important addition to this whole this off-season……NO JAKE.

    He’s being used sacks, coverage, and man-to-man…………….he’s all over the damn place!!!!!!

    ……………it’s his smart play that’s why helping out that secondary alot.

    Then adding Carlton Davis improvement……well this secondary are miles ahead then what they were this time last year.

    The Front four and linebackers maybe the best overall units in the NFL.

    Yeah…………if Captain weenie noodle armed Brady can’t get it done on the offense…….then it’s painfully clear the defense will have to carry this team.

  8. 813bucboi Says:


    shut up CHUMP!!!!!!!

    you’re the 3rd biggest and dumbest troll on JBF!!!!!!!


    GO BUCS!!!!!!

  9. thisisouryear!! Says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m super excited about the D. I only remember one tough offensive opponent in those games. They are going to get tested in a few weeks with the Packers. I’m hoping by then the O is firing on all cylinders to complement the D. The O is close though. They showed it in the first half last week. Go Bucs!!!

  10. Bucamania Says:

    Can’t wait for payback vs NO with this defense humming and the offense starting to gel.

  11. Bucsfanman Says:

    Defense is fun again in Tampa Bay!!!

  12. KnoxvilleBuc Says:

    Great article as always. I can’t wait to see this defense matchup with KC, Green Bay, and a revenge game with the Saints. As much as the NFL wants to push offense, fantasy, points down our throats it feels good to sit back and watch a good defense. Defenses win championships still. Hopefully this good defense can gel and stay injury free. I haven’t seen this speed and swarming in a long time.

  13. Steven007 Says:

    For the last five plus years I get heart palpitations anytime we go up against a rookie or second string quarterback. So different from the late ’90s early 2000s when I would look forward to it. I hope we are getting back to wreaking havoc on young quarterbacks who have no business having their first big success against the Bucs.

  14. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Next stop? A rookie quarterback, about to be run over.

    Let’s don’t get too cocky- last year another rookie QB came back from a 28-10 halftime deficit to beat the Bucs at RayJay.
    Chargers have a good D, Herbert threw for over 300 yards last week, and if not for 4 turnovers vs Panthers, they’d be 2-1

  15. Swampbuc Says:

    Let’s not underestimate Justin Herbert. I was hoping for Tyrod Taylor.

  16. Steven007 Says:

    Anthem, it’s clear by now that you yourself must have an embarrassing weenie arm and you’re simply projecting. The Brady’s arm strength meme has been thoroughly debunked. Obviously you already know this. But 813 is keeping score. You are an impressive troll I’ll admit.

  17. Jmarkbuc Says:

    We’re not near good enough to assume wins on Wednesday.

  18. 74 Bucs fan Says:

    Ryan – LOL!!!!

    Winning post of the day!

  19. orlbucfan Says:

    When the Bucs have been an actual football team, and not the clown princes of losing, they have tremendous defenses. Go back to John McKay and the 1979 team. That defense led by all universe-HOFamer LeRoy Selmon (RIP) went to the NFC championship in 4 seasons. So, Todd Bowles is part of a great tradition here. If BA does nothing else, bringing Bowles here to finish building this defense is good enuff for me. 🙂

  20. mark2001 Says:

    Last game against the Saints, Jameis knew more about the Arians system than Tom did. That gave the Saints some intel edge. It won’t be the case the next time we play. And if Brees should falters and be replaced? Well, if that is Jameis, Bowles knows every weakness in his game. At that point, any advantage goes to us.

  21. SB Says:

    He craved Brady because he wanted leadership at the game’s most important position, but he also wanted a guy who wouldn’t undermine his defense with another 41 giveaways.

    Oh but………but, but, Winston was a Great Leader!!!
    30 of those turnovers were on either the WRs, wind, or bad coaching.!!!!
    Losses were on the Defense and the Kickers!!!
    Check Yo Sheet!!

  22. Brandon Says:

    Anthem…. you’re an idiot. Davis is improved? You mean the same guy that finished 2nd in the league in passes defensed and allowed QBs less than 50% competitions last year? Is he improved or are morons like you finally paying attention?

    This defense looked to be loaded at all levels coming into 2020 with the only question mark the safeties. A truly smart fan already knew this.

  23. Anonymous Says:

    TheBucsAnus = Captain Weenie Noodle Brain

  24. WhoCares Says:

    I gotta be honest. If I knew my QB wasn’t literally gonna be a sucking suckfest suck face sucker of a QB who turned the ball over all the time and flat out sucked………!!!!!!!!!!

    I would of balled out like these boys are doing now for the greatest QB to EVER wear a Bucs uniform.

    Swagy hummping a tree was one thing. Our QB sucking his middle finger in a pre game hype moment was…….. DOPE!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. Ndog Says:

    Yeah you guys are right this defense let D. Jones destroy them last year cause they didn’t like Jameis. The let Bridgewater rip them apart because of a pregame speech 3 years ago. The let Brissett tourch them because Jameis threw a pick 6.
    Yep these guy are a bunch of 12 year olds that are playing the game for free.

    Do you people even come close to realizing how incredibly ridiculous you sound?

    And BTW if you are right, which you clearly are not, then these players are the most mentally weak players in the league and a bunch of quitters. So either way you lose, if they did what you say then this team has no chance of winning anything cause they are mentally weak and soft. And if they didn’t you are simply full of crap.

    I vote that it is option number 2.

  26. Ndog Says:

    Also by your way of thinking why didn’t the offense quit a long time ago like after the Capitol Collapse, or after the Falcons game that Thursday night when Freeman ran all over us, or after the Giants game last year, or after the Seahawks game last year, or after the first Saints game last year, etc….

    You see those that live in glass houses can’t throw stones. You people comment on here like no one watches the games and people will believe your lies. Well news flash your lying and everyone knows it

  27. Buc1987 Says:

    Ndog…are you done yet?

  28. REDZONE BA Fan Says:

    Easy win vs Chargers – Rookie QB and loss of starters in secondary for Chargers, and Bucs at HOME. Tune-up game for Bucs and Brady.

    I am interested in how we compete vs Bears on road, Packers, Chiefs. The remaining games on schedule should be wins. 11-4. Bucs get into playoffs – but winning playoff games is what matters, and Chiefs, Packers games will help gauge where we need to improve during the season, for playoff wins. Those “in-season” losses will be “wins” later.

  29. Buczilla Says:

    Great article Ira. Having a consistently good defense again after getting clobbered for so many years is awesome.

  30. Op Says:

    Anyone else notice that everything for our defense started to turn around after we dumped VHIII?

  31. Ndog Says:

    Buc1987 Says:
    September 30th, 2020 at 11:55 pm
    Ndog…are you done yet?

    Are people done lying and saying stupid sh*t?

  32. El Buco Realisto Is a Dicko and NDog is a Crybaby and TheBucsAnus is a Troll Says:

    Face it NPup, you are one of the few #3 nuthuggers left around here. From everyone else’s point of view, you’re the liar and the one talking stupid sh*t.
    Now jump back in your crib, pop that binkie back in your mouth and STFU!!!!!

  33. Ndog Says:

    Facts are facts there is no point of view that’s what you people don’t seem to be able to comprehend.

  34. Bobby Says:

    Yep Ndog. Fact is…Winston is fine and we’re finally winning!

  35. Bobby Says:

    Gone not fine

  36. Cainishere Says:

    Offenses in the NFL will soon know that the Buccaneers, who have throughout their history been known as a defensive team, resting their pride on being a
    great defense, have created the world’s BEST defensive unit of all time.
    Hall of Fame Defense! Each snap is a HOF moment and they are just getting started. Expect record breaking sack and INT and hopefully fumble recoveries.
    Let Loose The Men of War!! We Are Chasing Destiny!!
    AARRRGG Shiver Me Timbers!! We Arrg!! Goin Plunderin’!!
    GO BUCS!!!

  37. #1bucfan Says:

    NDOG everyone knows we couldn’t do it with Winston turning the bell over 30x bro and that’s just on ints not including the fumbles can’t win games like that. You can keep crying all you want about it. It’s over Winston is gone and we started a new era. You talk about this team being mentally weak, you can’t quit crying about Winston he’s bin gone for awhile now your the mentally weak one and you keep proving that to us by every comment literally every single comment you make is whining baby talk. It’s time to grow up bro. Not your fault tho your parents raised you weak sorry. Toughin up buttercup