Punishing Defensive Numbers

December 29th, 2020

Eye-popping production

From downtown Lakeland to the shores of Lake Tarpon, standards have been jacked up for the Buccaneers’ performance.

Some fans even think the Bucs defense needs a lot of work.

A look at this season’s defensive data, therefore, is likely to turn a few heads.

First, the Bucs lead the NFL in every meaningful rush-defense statistic: yards per rush allowed, rushing touchdowns, total yards, etc.

As for total yards and points, the Bucs ranked seventh in fewest points allowed and sixth in yards. So it’s a lock that the Bucs will finish with a top-10 defense.

(Yeah, Joe supposes the Falcons could put up 45 points and 700 yards on the Bucs on Sunday, but that’s not going to happen.)

Tampa Bay ranks fourth in forcing turnovers and fifth in interceptions. They’re also third in sacks, which is music to Joe’s ears.

The weakness? Pass coverage. Joe believes that’s primarily a talent issue, one that will be addressed in the offseason.

Take a bow, Todd Bowles. It’s well deserved considering the defense you inherited.

26 Responses to “Punishing Defensive Numbers”

  1. Buc Bro Says:

    Still way too much zone defense for my liking especially when your corners and LB’s struggle with it

  2. unbelievable Says:

    To be fair, our pass defense has been an issue going all the way back to Schiano so this isn’t really anything new.

    It’s temporarily improved in some years, and been bottom-3 during others. I do think we have some young guys with real talent / potential. Winfield is gonna be a stud. Davis and Dean are at least above average, with some flashes of greatness.

    A consistent pass rush really helps, especially if you can get pressure from just rushing 4 guys. Vea is definitely missed.

  3. Jaymiss Pick6 Again Says:

    Can you imagine if man beast aka: Tevita Tuliʻakiʻono Tuipulotu Mosese Vaʻhae Fehoko Faletau Vea aka: Vita Vea had not been injured….dang!!

  4. Robert Says:

    no slight on the defense, but I would wager a good amount of their numbers are when games are out of reach and padding stats in the second half. Their average, and I say that with respect, when the game is early and the other team is in the fight. I blame it mostly on the scheme though.

    They never let them hunt until the game is out of hand or at the tide has shifted.

    They are, as the offense, still predictable and gaining the confidence to dominate.

  5. Evolvingbucsfan Says:

    most of our yards allowed probably came from the Aints games , and one quarter of tyreek hill, lol.

  6. AlteredEgo Say: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    IMO… the success of the balance of the season will be run blocking… the post season success will live or die by the ability to run the ball at will…

  7. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Fix the pass D with Patrick Surtain II. Just like Antoine Winfield…Surtain’s father starred as a DB in the NFL.

    Put two super talented kids of stars in that defensive backfield and you’d have one of the best safeties and one of the best CB’s…we have enough talent to fill out the rest.

  8. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Our defense would be even stronger if the players used the bathroom before the game instead of at halftime…..
    Vs Detroit….players used it during the game and did big #2s on the Lions…..

  9. Brandon Says:

    Not necessarily a talent issue. Look at the stats on Davis and Dean. They’re still very good when targeted. SMB has been awful but improving. Winfield has really slumped regardless of whether people have e seen it or not. The biggest change might be getting Mike Edwards on the field more. QBs have something like a 32 rating when targeting receivers in his area. I like Whitehead and Winfield but QBs ratings are well over 100 in their areas. More talent? Not necessarily. More seasoning? Definitely. A young CB to battle for reps would be nice but not an early round priority.

  10. rsjcheapseats Says:

    Bowles has been great with the exception of the first quarter of the Chiefs game when he inexplicably tried to cover Hill with Davis one on one (maybe DPOY Gillmore could cover Hill one on one but I doubt it).

    It is a young secondary, and some, particularly Dean, struggle with tackling at times. This means we really can’t play press man coverage, and are mostly going to play zone to avoid getting beat deep (which is the right thing to do).

  11. Ed Says:

    Whether its coaching or talent, the Bucs corners appear many times to be out of position or running with receivers with no idea where the ball is. They are horrible in zone. Whats worse? Getting beat for the occassional big play or watching teams complete 15 yard passes and march all the way down the field and tire out defense?

    I’d pick my poison and rush White and David far more often than they do. Barrett hasn’t been as much of an impact on the pass rush and its really been White who has made the key sacks so take the guy out of coverage and use him as a more than part-time pass rusher. You put more pressure on QB’s and playing man isn’t as scary.

  12. Chesapeake Bucco Says:

    I agree with Ed!

  13. PSL Bob Says:

    When you boast the league’s best run defense and the offense is able to score at will, the opposing team is going to throw the ball a lot. So pass defenders typically take a hit in the stats. So, you really have to focus on overall defensive stats, and I feel pretty good about the numbers Joe laid out in his post. Top-10 defense and an all-star offense. IF everyone plays to their potential, no reason why we shouldn’t make it at least to the Conference championship and, hopefully, to the big show. GO BUCS!

  14. Cobraboy Says:

    Do a lot of blitzing against a Brees, Rodgers or Mahomes, and they will pick apart a weak zone D.

    Blitz a lot against a Wilson or Hioll, and he will hurt you with their legs.

    Not worried about that Rams guy who had thumb surgery on his throwing hand…

    To make it to the SB this team better tighten the pass D bigly.

  15. Bucs Says:

    I agree, this defense is much better than I thought it would be. It’s still maddening seeing how basically every pass opposing qbs throw is completed. Good thing we no longer have VH3. That poor guy sucked so much he probably wont have a job next season, it’s great to see him being bad for another team. Remember when he got released and signed with Houston and said it was great to play games that mattered again? lmao

  16. Rod Munch Says:

    The issue is that the Bucs defense is running up its stats against bad offenses. Outside of the Packers game, the Bucs defense has sucked against good offenses, and I think it’s mainly due to Bowles coaching cowardly and just playing soft. In that Packers game they were aggressive, I think it’s the last time we saw David blitzing (J Watson has more sacks than David since that game – which is a disgrace). Against the Chiefs at the end of the game when the Bucs had to get the ball back, what did Bowles do? He played a soft zone, brought no pressure, just let them run the clock out. In pressure situations Bowles chickens out because he’s more worried about making mistakes than making plays. NO that doesn’t mean he should play a cover 0 on the last play of the game like the Jets – but when it’s 3rd and 6 and the game is over if you don’t get the ball back, bring pressure – don’t sit in a soft zone and give up an easy 10 yards.

  17. 813bucboi Says:

    our weakness is the nickle cb imo….SMB isnt quick enough to play inside….keep SMB and Dean outside….we need to draft a cb like asante samuel jr….a small lighting quick cb that can cut on a dime and drive on the ball…..

    GO BUCS!!!!

  18. Wesley Says:

    This secondary is trash.

  19. Jon Wayne Says:

    DBs are not a talent issue but rather a technique issue. I can count on my hands how many times they are in man and two yards off the receiver. They need to be on the line of scrimmage and get their hands on the receivers knocking them off their routes and forcing them into favorable coverages on the back end.

  20. DavidBigBucFan99 Says:

    Giving up tds at 67% rate in the red zone will hold this team back as well as not bring able to get themselves off the field on 3rd and long and 4th down as well. Teams run to keep us honest they know the way is thru the air.

  21. orlbucfan Says:

    There’s a lot of talent in the secondary like Whitehead, etc. But, he’s disappeared. Why’s that as he isn’t injured. This defense is maturing. Bowles has only been here for TWO seasons.

  22. Iamabuc Says:

    Sometimes I’m amazed of all the on-line “coaches” that come to this pages to tell Arians what to do. Its hilarious . Like if he doesn’t know what to do. Guys, he got us to the playoff. Have been coach of the year . Lmao.

  23. Defense Rules Says:

    @Wesley … “This secondary is trash.”

    And yet, this Bucs defense is ranked #7 in Points Allowed and #6 in Total Yardage Allowed. Yup, pure trash Wesley.

  24. Mr. B Says:

    Get a shut down corner in free agency and with Vea coming back next year they’ll be set. Davis is a physical corner who makes splash plays , his weakness is lack of speed.

  25. ModHairKen Says:

    What is a “shut down” corner? A totally meaningless phrase. Like “gameplan” and “leadership.”

    Is the other corner not a shut down corner?

  26. David Says:

    They have some talent at safety and cornerback. They definitely need another DB who can cover though.

    At this point, in no particular order, I would say the priority in the first few rounds of the draft are DB, DL, OL, QB.

    Personally I would like to see them take Kyle Trask to sit for a year behind Brady. Then in the second round whatever is best out of those 3 other positions.
    My guess would be DB & DL in rd 2-3 with OL in 4. It seems easier to find good 0L in the middle rounds.