Ranking The Defense

September 8th, 2020

Bucs DC Todd Bowles

It’s hard to imagine the Bucs stinking on offense this year.

Oh sure, the Bucs may sputter some, especially early. While the Bucs may have had the third-best offense in the NFL last year, this year’s team has new parts. And while six-time Super Bowl-winning, park-invading, home-invading, NFLPA-ignoring Bucs quarterback Tom Brady is no slouch, topping 5,000-yards might be a stretch.

Even with overcoming rust and learning a new offense and mostly new teammates (without a normal offseason incubation period), it is difficult to see the Bucs offense not being a top-10 unit, especially after upgrading running back and tight end.

So will the defense step up not just to be better, but to be good enough to pick up whatever slack there may be on offense?

The gang at CBS Sports HQ believes so, as you can see on the graphic below. Now we know the run defense was tops last year so they only need a repeat (hard to be better than best).

In passing yards-per-attempt, the Bucs were surprisingly tied for seventh-best in the league last year; tied with the Rams and the Saints. Overall in passing yards allowed, the Bucs were third-worst giving up 4,322 yards through the air.

For the Bucs to be a top-five passing defense as CBS Sports HQ thinks it will be, the young secondary must play like grown-ups.

Joe has a hunch for this team to be among the league’s best, it will be determined by the secondary’s improvement (hopefully) over last season.

28 Responses to “Ranking The Defense”

  1. Roy T. Buford Says:

    The Bucs run defense is largely unchanged and will be even better this year with JPP here from the start, and with Vea and White having some experience now. The pass D may seem discouraging early in the season but should find their groove early on given not a lot of changes there.

    Somehow Ryan Smith keeps finding a way onto this roster. But I’m okay with that seeing that he’s likely not coming in for the nickel, and hopefully will play mostly on special teams (where he’s done okay).

    I expect the rust and penatles from lack of game practice will be the only problem the offense has.

    Once this team finds its groove, look out!

  2. Bucsfanman Says:

    Roy- I agree. Having players in the 2nd year of a system and the return of that DL will make a huge difference.
    I imagine not having your morale torn to shreds by costly TOs on offense might help too.
    This unit only needs to improve to “average” and we will be set. We saw good things last year. Lets hope they build upon that.

  3. Clean House Says:

    Cleveland south- the Bucs aren’t winning the Super Bowl. Don’t get run over by the Hype train!! Secondary gave up 4332 yards!!! Terrible!!!
    Are they that much better? NO

    And I agree it will be tough for TB12 to surpass 5,000.
    It will be even tougher for him to surpass 5,109.


  4. El Buco Realisto Says:

    The sheep only saw “good” things at the end of the year, when they played backup QBs and slappies!!!!!!!!! The toilet bowls defense will be exposed!!!!!!!!!!

    And everyone will need to be prepared to hear massive player injuries throughout the NFL in the first 4 weeks of play!!!!!!!! Without the preseason, teams will be putting players on ir at a record pace!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    go bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Armybucfan Says:

    Clean house—- go be a saints fan and get off this site. The Bucs gave up a lot of yards last season because they were always playing from their own red zone since Jay Miss would either fumble or throw an interception. It is apparent that you have never played football in your life and do not realize just how much one side of the ball depends on the other. When you have a crap offense it’s demoralizing to your defense. I honestly believe this year will be completely different because we have a young defense that won’t want to let the GOAT down. Trust me when I say Brady will have more impact on this team than any other player or coach.

  6. Alan Collingwood Says:

    Only five days, then we’ll see what we’re rooting for. GO BUCS!!!

  7. El Buco Realisto Says:


    Where have you been????? Do you think the Bucs were only turning the ball started last year????? The Bugs have been top 5 in turnovers since 2014!!!!!!!!!!!! And saying the old cheating goat Brady will have a bigger impact the coaches is not a great leap!!!!!!!!! Ole stale biscuit has not had a winning season since 2015!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    go bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Clean House Says:


    No disrespect, but I’ve played enough football to know that being backed up to your own red zone means you only have 20 yds left to give.

    Let’s do some math…. 4,322/20=216

    I know it’s popular to blame Jameis, but the secondary issues were mostly their own.

    Jameis put them in some bad spots yes, but not 216 times in the red zone.

  9. Roy T. Buford Says:

    @BucsFanMan who says: “I imagine not having your morale torn to shreds by costly TOs on offense might help too.”

    That’s got to be a HUGE factor. Great point!

  10. Jason Says:

    Just curious, but we had the #3 and #5 dbs in passes defended correct. My question is what PERCENTAGE of passes were defended by these guys. Did they have high numbers because they were targeted more than most, or did they improve during the year? Stats can be deceiving.

  11. Roy T. Buford Says:

    @Cleanhouse (aka NDog’s siamese twin), who says: “And I agree it will be tough for TB12 to surpass 5,000. It will be even tougher for him to surpass 5,109.” The top five passers in yards last year were all on teams that didn’t make the playoffs. Yards have to be “quality” yards. Less’n your Winston’s dad or something to make you proud.

    “Bang for the buck” is what is important. How effective are the yards? We saw from the epic bust JW3 that throwing for record yards doesn’t mean jack when you give the football to the other team like Halloween candy.

    At the end of the day, addition by subtraction alone (Winston cast away, and rejected by all 32 teams as a starting QB) means the Bucs are 10-6 under last year’s situation alone. Or better…due to the GOAT himself being here, and with Gay, who lost 1.5 games, also gone…add to that a likely better D.

    Can’t believe you waste your time here in the Week1 runup if you have that much contempt for our hometown team. That’s your call, but guys like you just fire up the fan base more while making average football IQ fans look like geniuses.

    Go Bucs!

  12. Joe in Michigan Says:

    We’ll know more about the Bucs defense after the Saints game this Sunday. Last year was last year, not this year.

  13. Bobby M. Says:

    I think a productive yet protective offense will boost the defense. Sustained drives, better game management, less turnovers….it all adds up to less time on the field for the defense.

  14. Jmarkbuc Says:

    Clean House

    While I get your reference to Cleveland south, and I hate the term Dream Team…we do have TB12, where Brownies have Shorty-Smart ass Mayfield…

    Big difference there.

  15. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    There are no guarantees…..but you would expect that returning all starters and adding Winfield would make for a solid defense this year.

  16. Clean House Says:

    You know what Jmark, you’re correct, Brady has certainly earned the benefit of the doubt. He’s far superior to Just about any qb especially Mayfield. He’s been put in a tough spot without a true offseason. He’s even admitted publicly that he’s behind the 8 ball in terms of preparation and continuity. If anyone can make it happen it’s him. I’m pretty sure the Saints D is fired up to put him on his ass. I think our two weaknesses are the o line and secondary.
    If they step up consistently the team can get ten wins. If they suck, count on 6 maybe 7.

    I’m not excited to see Cam Jordan vs a rook, no matter the training camp reviews. I’m not excited to see Brees and Michael Thomas vs any of our secondary.

    That guy is the best and always shreds us. He makes them look like lost children.

    The fact is we do not have a stand out shutdown corner. I think maybe Dean has the most potential for this but he’s not even listed as the starter.

    It’s on the Bucs to prove me wrong- not on me to join the mania and be a good little fan. They’ve been feeding us crap for over a decade and telling us it tastes good. We win almost every offseason. Let’s see it.

  17. Jmarkbuc Says:

    Clean House

    I get you on the preseason hype…seen plenty of it. To me it’s all about the secondary. Brady can make up for a lot of their short comings. I doubt seriously That he’s gonna stand there like a deer in the headlights like, you know who. Maybe the offense can sustain some drives and keep Brees off the field. Who knows maybe Brees smacks his thumb on a helmet in the first quarter and we get to see the return of JBoo, i’d feel better about the secondary then.

    I do not understand our defense being ranked as a top five unit when we’ve been dreadful for the last God knows how long. Front seven Is good but as much as I love Lavonte David he’s not Derrick Brooks. To be honest I’ve always been a defense guy if you’re a true Bucs fan you’re a defense guy.

    So we shall see.

  18. Clean House Says:

    As far as the #3 and #5 in passes defended stat, that’s great and very exciting, but obviously it’s about as meaningful as JWs 5109 yds, and other league leading stats, if the unit was bottom 3 where it counted.

    Hey I would be thrilled to be wrong- I hope these kids step up and dominate. I would happily say I spoke too soon.

  19. Clean House Says:

    I agree, I’m a defensive guy as well. I’m just not seeing the cohesion so far.
    I see a lot of attempts at deception and over aggressiveness in the blitzing. It’s gimmicky.
    I don’t have any clue about the top 5 ranking either. It seemed to me like there were glaring boneheaded lapses left and right. The run d was fantastic, however it’s not a running league. Shaq Barrett was a great surprise. I agree Lavonte is no Brooks, but he is pretty good.

    I’m really hoping that White can be some sort of enforcer.

  20. Bucsfan951 Says:

    I expect the offense to take a few games to get it all together. The lack of preseason games, practices, and a qb learning a new system will be hard to overcome. There is zero doubt in my mind that Brady is smarter than JW and has better pocket awareness along with getting the ball out quicker. I am not too worried about the offense too much.

    We already know what the Bucs run defense can do and I expect the same as last year. The biggest question mark to me is the secondary. Yr 2 in the system should obviously help them but are they going to take that next step forward and not backward?

    Special teams… who knows. It’s always a crapshoot with them these past 10 or so years. I think we got better but every time I think about it, my head starts to hurt lol

  21. Bucsfan951 Says:

    “I agree Lavonte is no Brooks, but he is pretty good.”

    I’m glad you think he is “pretty good” lol

    Lavonte David=pretty good
    Jameis Winston=defend until your blue in the face

    I don’t get some Bucs fans.

  22. Buc4evr Says:

    I’d feel a lot more confident if we could sign Earl Thomas to a one year contract.

  23. Brandon Says:


    To answer your question, not only did Dean and Davis finish top 5 in passes defensed, but they are also the only duo to allow 50% or less completions by opposing QBs. SMB wasn’t quite as low (63%— but was less forgiving by leading the team in INTs). This is a young secondary on the rise.

    Time for the haters to lay it on the line. Make your predictions… when you’re wrong, you STFU.

  24. Youngbucs Says:

    I don’t care what nobody say winston killed the defense last year. And let’s stop the narrative the Bucs defense was bad half the season it’s a lie look at each individual gm. Start with week 1-2 the defense was the team!!!!!

  25. Roy T. Buford Says:

    The Bucs should have a Top 15 pass D this year, but if they are in the Top 5 against the run, will still pan out. I think they are underrated overall, so we’ll see. They at least won’t be worn out from Winston sending them back onto the field 3-5 times per game.

    Speaking of which, with Winston being 3rd string in NO (no surprises), Freeman being out of the league, and Mike Glennon getting cut from Jax and now a free agent…pretty good conclusion the last three Bucs QBs drafted are ALL busts.

  26. Rod Munch Says:

    This is not a top 5 defense – that’s ridiculous. This defense was the worst defense in team history for half of last year before turning it around. I think they can be an average defense – and if they can just do that, it will be good enough since you’d expect the offense to be at least as good as last year.

  27. BillyBucFan Says:


    Why is it that you only start saving face once you have been called out?
    What exactly do you think is gonna happen when you come on a Bucs site with fans that obviously have a ton to be excited about and predict a WORSE season than last year?

    Do you honestly think this team is worse?
    The hype train also happened in Miami and although they lost to Dallas year 1 in NBA, they still went, and then won the next 2.

    Hype Train is real.
    Get on or get off but don’t talk about it if you are OFF.

    Only thing that could possibly accomplish is you saying, I TOLD YOU SO, which is actually a defense mechanism.

  28. August 1976 Buc Says:

    The Bucs are good team with a chance to be a great team. The only thing preventing a winning season and maybe even making it to the Big Dance is injuries. There has never been a 6 time World Champion QB (GOAT) to change teams. So you can’t honestly compare the Bucs with any other team in the past. No one knows what will happen. That is why they play the games. I for one am going to enjoy the 2020 magical mystery tour the Bucs are taking us on. Fire those Cannons, and lets get the show on the road. Nawlins baby here we come. lol GO BUCS!!!!