Soft-Coverage Blues

January 11th, 2021

Yes, Joe is fully aware that a team can’t blitz and play man-to-man in the secondary on every snap. However, the Bucs playing softer coverage this year and often struggling in zone has Joe completely exasperated.

The all-22 film screen shot above is from the second quarter on Saturday, just after the Bucs foolishly went for two after a touchdown gave them a 15-7 lead (was there a good reason not to go up two scores against what you thought (at the time) was a shaky Washington quarterback?). Washington was driving with ease after an end-around went for four yards on first down.

As you’ll see above, Carlton Davis gives 1,100-yard receiver Terry McLaurin a nine-yard cushion — and Davis was backpedaling at the snap of the ball. The result was an easy first-down completion in front of Davis, a pitch-and-catch throw.

That kind of approach drives Joe nuts. It’s a flashback to the Mike Smith era, and that’s what Joe was hear a lot of on Twitter more than a handful of times through the game.

Why make things so easy — in Buccaneers territory — for a quarterback making his second start? Especially when your offense is hot?

Joe hopes the Bucs find a way to be a little more aggressive on Sunday. Fans have been told Davis is a Pro Bowl-level corner. Joe is confident Davis can handle a five-yard cushion versus this kind of charitable play.

Bucs legend Derrick Brooks and Ira Kaufman react to Saturday night’s win on TAMPA TWO. The fun is presented by The Identity Tampa Bay and Joe.

44 Responses to “Soft-Coverage Blues”

  1. Chuckstutz Says:

    Prevent defense. Prevents you from winning. That about it.

  2. Dewey Selmon Says:

    Why are the coaches allowing it and not screaming for him to play tighter? it’s not like Hickey could throw 40 yard dimes. Scared of getting beat deep. Has the Bucs, Browns and Bills ever won a postseason game in the same year?

  3. WiscoJoe Says:

    Joe why is it that drunken fans can notice this but the coaches can’t? I will never understand this especially when we hear how good Davis and Dean are at jamming at the line. MAKES NO SENSE.

  4. WiscoJoe Says:

    Especially against a team like the Saints where they like the short throws. You can’t do this against them and they did the last time they played. I’m driving myself nuts thinking about it

  5. Ufcguy Says:

    You know the definition of insanity right? That sums up this defense. When we play like we played against gb…we win. When we play zone we lose. How is it a veteran defensive genius can’t figure it out….these are just obvious to the casual fans. Todd Bowles is Mike Smith 2.0 he us too stubborn to change. When we blitzed a gap….we sack or win. When we just use 4….we get no pressure we lose. I swear to freaking God if this guy can’t use a tape of us getting shredded in zone last time he should be fired. I mean absolutely you’re fired Monday. Bc ba has said how many times now we are too soft….hint todd……stop playing zones. Did anyone see Chicago contest catch after catch….if we had our offense that defense. We win that game by 14 or more. On offense …..if we don’t use quick passing like the browns did with baker…2.4 seconds….balls out. Steelers did nothing. And they are number one in sacks. They didn’t touch Mayfield. This team has blueprints right in front of them to win this game. If they lose its bc this staff is too hard headed and rigid to make a change and go against the grain. 7 man protection. Keep backs in. Use brown in the quick passing game, play action and screens against pressure…you throw into the blitz…I repeat you throw…..into the blitz. We will see if that ass beating last time did anything to wake these morons up.

  6. SOEbuc Says:

    Vita was no doubt the biggest loss this year. Davis and Dean proved themselves as decent to great when they were finally for once playing closer to the line. I think of GB cus there is no way we picked off Rogers three times in this sh!tty Smitty zone Bowels keeps running. This is not acceptable.

  7. Curse of Gruden Says:

    If the defense uses this coverage against the Saints, we’re doomed. Can someone explain the Bucs reasoning to an old armchair QB that hasn’t played ball in 35 years?

  8. D-Rome Says:

    I’m not a football coach but I can see the reason why the Bucs may want to line up this way in this scenario. Perhaps Bowles guessed wrong on the formation Washington was going to take coming out of the huddle. In my opinion if Carlton Davis lines up closer to McLaurin he’s going to get burned. The safety is on the other side of the hashmarks and he’s not going to cover that distance if McLaurin burns Davis. Easy TD right there.

    I’m OK with it. They’re not going to get every play call right.

  9. Steven007 Says:

    For example, Michael Thomas, a good possession receiver but vastly overrated in my opinion, may not have ever caught a pass from Drew Brees that was greater than 15 or 20 air yards. He’s not going to blow past you so you play him tight. I hope to see some of that on Sunday.

  10. unbelievable Says:

    Thank you Joe.

    Going for 2 at that point was beyond idiotic.

  11. jugheadfla Says:

    exactly, I mean the Offense is on fire, why would you not be super aggressive on defense? Its not like this is the early 2000s Bucs offense where you had to play the Tampa 2 because the defense literally had to score and win you games. Just man up send at least one blitzer on every play and hope for the best. It couldn’t be any worse!

    Also, anyone see MJ Stewart out there making plays for the Browns last night? smdh

  12. Ron Says:

    Can someone ask Todd Bowles about this? We would be wasting Tom Brady, if we do this against the Saints.

  13. Im tired and 87 is right Says:

    If our defense plays like that we are toast. As simple as that. We need to blitz and press. I’m tired of giving all of that cushion. Come on coaches wake up! Go Bucs!

  14. Mitch Says:

    I wonder if they are doing it because our corners are injured? Carlton Davis (groin) and SMB (unknown but Arians said he’s played hurt).

  15. aFEDupBUCfan Says:

    Our Corners are Trash just stop being blind to the fact. Pass rushing and cornerback help is what we need in the draft and free agency

  16. jerseybuc Says:

    First of all the young Washington QB did a great job. BUT…why in the world would you give him open looks and open space like this early in the game?

    And Joe I was also invoking Mike Smith’s name over and over as I yelled at my TV Saturday night. There is a reason that not just HOF QBs but backups like Derek Anderson have consistently torched our D over the last decade. Yes, you can’t play man to man tight coverage all day long, but come on lets know where the sticks are and stop backpedaling as you give a large cushion to an inexperienced QB. The soft underbelly of our D is so often wide open over the middle of the field. Just drop a pass over the LB, our D shows their hands too easily pre snap IMO. That said, Devin White will be welcome addition next week and the team is looking better than it has in years. Go Bucs!

  17. 813bucboi Says:


    i agree…

    joe said theres no way but think there is….rotation…play and coach your best defense and just rotate guys to keep them fresh….

    MJ Stewart has played great all year…

    GO BUCS!!!!

  18. 813bucboi Says:

    or maybe bowles didnt want to put too much on film knowing we would play a team we lost to earlier…

    maybe…just throwing it out there…lol…

    GO BUCS!!!!

  19. Capece is Kaput Says:

    It seems our game plan was set up to stop Antonio Gibson and not respect Washington’s pass game to have any sustained success. They succeeded in stopping Gibson, but they guessed wrong on Washington’s ability to pass. We still won the game and I never really felt (because of Brady) we would lose it, but still it was one of those where your stomach feels kind of blah because you pushed the envelope a little bit too far with the hot sauce. Main worry I have is that I fear this was the game plan to stop Alex Smith and once we found out Smith was not going, we rolled with it anyway and made few adjustments.

  20. Snook Says:

    It’s been like this pretty much all season and it will continue on Sunday. Bowles sucks. Hopefully we can score 40+ and keep this game close. #23 also sucks.

  21. Alanbucsfan Says:

    The safety was shaded to the opposite side of field, Davis didn’t want to give up big play- bend, but don’t break philosophy and blitz when time is right.

  22. alton green Says:

    D-Rome;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;; he MAY HAVE GUESSED WRONG IN THAT SCENARO???????????????? Try “guessing” wrong for 14 games!! In watching for 60 yrs i’ve learned a little. When your bucket has a hole in it, fix the damn thing. I don’t know why they pay Bowles so much money. Being stupid is absolutely free and as Ron White says “can’t be fixed” I’ve been screaming for the last 15 games, “what the Hell are you doing?” Generally speaking, there are 2 things that have to happen. O-line keep up the good work. Keep Tompa’s jersey totally clean AND fix that damn defensive coach!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Bobby M. Says:

    I dont think he has much choice… impression is Davis is a tad banged up. Looking at the screen shot, it appears Winfield is playing up on the opposite side. That leaves the other safety to help either #35 or #23 from getting burned deep. My guess is Davis was strategically positioned due to having no help and being less then 100%.

  24. Buc4evr Says:

    Only way to win is tight coverage and max pressure on Brees with a whole lot of different blitz schemes. Oh and containing Hill and Brees and keeping them from running. Trick plays also kill us so the D needs to know this will happen on Sunday.

  25. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    One reason New Orleans wins so much, is they play great defense AND control the ball.
    Brees will pick apart almost any zone, unless he is pressured.

  26. Capt.Tim Says:

    We are 11-5, and just won a playoff game.
    The Coaches might know a bit about winning.
    Great, tight coverage wont hold ip, if the QB has time.
    The blitz will expose your undermanned secondary, if it doesnt pressure the QB.

    Those are facts. Like it or not.
    So name your poison.

  27. FrankPillow Says:

    We need to score +35 next week.

  28. 123urout Says:

    Maybe, while the BUCS is in the middle of the game last saturday night, Toilet Bowles was daydreaming about his interview with Detroit the following morning.

  29. Bucsfan951 Says:

    I just have this inclination that the Bucs offense is gonna need to hang 35+ points a game from here on out to have a chance. All of the remaining teams (minus the rams) offenses can put up points.

    This defense is still missing 2-3 pieces before they can be taken seriously.

  30. orlbucfan Says:

    One question for Bowles: where is Jordan Whitehead? He is one of our best DBs. Why has he disappeared? Is he injured and I missed it?

  31. Jmarkbuc Says:


    Then he’s been guessing wrong all year. This positioning is literally taking candy from babies… even for a third string math student QB.

    If he does this Sunday , Brees , Kamara & company will make this a laugher… again.

  32. Brandon Says:

    Sorry. That’s a 10 yard cushion.

  33. Brandon Says:

    The reason for the big cushion is that the Bucs are in cover 3 and aren’t trying to disguise it as cover 1. Cover 3 doesn’t work unless it looks like cover 1. That cushion should be no more than 7 yards.

  34. gotbbucs Says:

    It is absolutely pointless to blitz and give that cushion. It makes every route a hot route and doesn’t allow the blitz to get there. These are 2nd and 3rd year corners that were drafted to play up. Playing corners 10 yards off the ball is an absolute nut kick to the defensive line. They have no chance of getting a rush.

    I can live with teams completing contested throws. I have a hard time stomaching guys catching the ball with the closest defender being 5 yards away.

    Thus was a game against a QB with one start under his belt and we’re not even disguising coverages, just giving him pre-snap reads and letting him pitch and catch.

  35. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    Simple. If this defense continues to play like it did two nights ago, we will all be talking about the 2021 draft by 10 PM this Sunday night

  36. Architek Says:

    I think Bowles is hiding guys that are playing with injuries and maybe can’t plant and run or open up their hips to run with speed guys.

    Honestly, it’s been a great season but we don’t have the pass rush or backend coverage to beat any of the contenders. I could be wrong but just being realistic about the situation.

    Next year we need more OL depth, DL youth infusion (with talent), vet CB, and RBs that can catch and play in space!

  37. alton green Says:

    for us older people, there was a tv show on years ago called “kids say the darndest things” Tony Dingie said something last night that made me turn my head like a curious puppy. He said “that’s typical Todd Bowles. Stop the run and force them to pass” Did you watch any highlights of the Bucs??? That’s the frickn problem. You need to call the right pass defense. We already stop the run

  38. alton green Says:

    hey Brandon, who’s on first

  39. alton green Says:

    I suspect that our secondary is “playing to not lose”

  40. Armybucsfan Says:

    If we play soft coverage versus brees and company it’s going to be a brutal night. Thomas needs to be double coverages and Kamara and Tyson hill need to be on the linebackers radar at all time. Brees excels on short pattern passes and makes us look silly so playing 9-10 yards off your receiver is begging for us to be embarrassed on national television again for the 3rd time this year by that team.

  41. Will Says:

    Joe yes like everyone else I hate seeing our DBs playing so far off. I also hate when in the rare occasion they do play tight they give a free release. BUT unlike us fans you get to ask questions to the coaches and not ONCE have I heard (Steve) ask this question that all fans want an answer to. I’ll admit I did hear you ask Bryon about running up the gut on first down so often did he feel he was tipping his hand to the defense and I also remember the look and the way he answered you. But as a fan I LOVED THAT QUESTION and wish you’d ask more of the type of questions that the fans are wondering. You’re our link to our favorite team and it seems you have problems with the same issues many of us have so do us all a solid please and ask them about it.

  42. Joe Q Says:

    The problem is the D coach and his predictability. We need a NEW D coach!!!

  43. Christos Says:

    The defence has changed since the Giants game, it seems more passive and reactive than attacking. First half of the season they played way much better than the second half. Agree that you cant play press man every play but these soft 8-10 yards cushions are there many many times (i think maybe they are afraid to get beat deep). Even in called blitzes and they give up easy quick throws. They nedd to cover better plain and simple. The first game against NO the defence played good, the second we all saw. I just hope the coaches put a better gameplan this time. I dont know we shall see. Go Bucs

  44. Wesley Says:

    Brees will destroy this team if they play like that.