Todd Bowles: Overall Defensive Improvement Needed

January 15th, 2021

Bucs DC Todd Bowles.

Joe has to give Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles props for this. At least he was a standup guy and didn’t dodge the fact his defense played shamefully last weekend.

In the win over Washington on Super Wild Card weekend, Bowles’ defense nearly sank the Bucs’ postseason hopes. Facing a backup quarterback XFL hack, Bowles’ defense was embarrassing as it made previously unknown but to his family Taylor Heinicke look like a combination of Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen.

Pass coverage? Washington receivers — hardly Mike Evans or DeAndre Hopkins — ran as free and open as deer in an Illinois cornfield.

It was a shameful performance. So much so even Bucco Bruce Arians in his postgame remarks called the Bucs defense “terrible.”

From the way Bowles sounded in his weekly presser, he had a near-total collapse defensively.

“I thought we busted some plays in the second half [and] I think we let the quarterback out of the pocket a couple times in the second half and let him run from that standpoint,” Bowles said. “I thought we busted a couple of coverages that led to some points.”

Other than that, how did you enjoy the car ride, Mrs. Kennedy?

There is no question the Bucs defense must improve on all three levels this week: Pass rush (hello, anyone home?), tackling on the second level and pass coverage.

That’s a lot to ask for and expect in a week.

Perhaps it could help if the defensive coordinator did not have his corners nine yards off the ball on third-and-six? Is there some 11th commandment that slimy Saints receivers cannot be jammed at the line to throw off their timing?

This is why Joe is not confident the Bucs defense can contain the Saints on Sunday and the Bucs should prepare to win a shootout.

First one to 40 likely wins, which is also Warren Sapp’s magic number.

35 Responses to “Todd Bowles: Overall Defensive Improvement Needed”

  1. Howard Cosell Says:

    Howard is going to assume that this defense needs Devin White and for this Sunday the Bucs will have Devin White. That has to be scary to the aints

  2. Howard Cosell Says:

    Howard is going to assume that this defense needs Devin White and for this Sunday the Bucs will have Devin White. That has to be scary to the aints

  3. Howard Cosell Says:

    Do it Devin!
    Blitz like an F-22

  4. timbucs2 Says:

    Not sure Devin is the answer for Brees. As a QB he excels vs. the blitz and knows to pick on White in passing situations. We need to get pressure with 4 and go more heavy with man coverage, which Brees has more struggles against.

    And Brady needs to go nuts.

  5. TampaTown Says:

    Can I just say that both Joe’s and Ira have been totally on point and sharp as a tack all week long with their commentary, sarcasm, analysis, and snark and are still going strong. Great job guys! Hat tip to all three

  6. Howard Cosell Says:

    JoeBucsFan brought their A-game to the big dance!

  7. unbelievable Says:

    “some” plays…

    “a couple” coverages…

    That’s putting it nicely I’d say. timbucs2 is correct, steady blitzing on Brees rarely ever works. The must be extremely well timed and planned. We need a pass rush with 4 and tight coverage on the back end.

    Tall order, no doubt. Hit Brees early and often and we can at least get him off his mark…

  8. gp Says:

    Press coverage and checking at the line to take away the short timing throws.

    Safeties need to be paying attention to the coverage and back up the corners who get beat instead of watching Brees.

    The longer he holds it the more likely the rush will get home, especially with the occasional delayed blitz that White seems to excel at.

  9. Joe Says:


    Thank you!

  10. gp Says:

    For the first couple of series at least, send a couple of safety/corner blitzes to harass him and keep him from getting into a rhythm.
    And get the hands up to take away his throwing lanes.

    Offensively, establish the run early. Everyone expects this to be an airshow but I think the team that wins the running game will control the scoreboard.

  11. Onetrickpony Says:

    If Bowels haven’t got this straightened out we’re done. If he hasn’t get this straightened out by now he should go before the lynch mob takes over. Defense is so inconsistent it makes it scary

  12. adam from ny Says:

    what if:

    bowles still has philly cheesesteaks on his mind…

    like whether he should go to geno’s or pats…

    whiz or no whiz…

    with or without…

    it could be a realistic issue heading into the weekend…

    philly cheesesteaks can do this to the best of men without a doubt

  13. dmatt Says:

    Bucs defense has to do more than the norm on all three levels this week:
    1. Pass rush – they need to yell, shout, get their arms up, deter the passer, bat
    the ball down, watch out for kamara sneaking out the backfield for a screen

    2. Tackling on the second level- please quit arm tackling; please quit slinging the
    runner down because kamara in particular will break his fall or regain his
    balance n continue his progress for big yardage. And gang tackle.

    3. Pass coverage- Jam ur man at the line. Get physical. Please teach our players
    how to jam the receivers n quit doing the tango with them.

    4. Catch the ints. U can’t continue to let Brees dodge a bullet he will make u pay
    for it. If he give it to u, you must catch it.

    5. Watch for the trick play on offense, punt, field goal.

    6. Get aggressive n creative as a coach. Go hard count. Put Suh up against
    CJordan. Put all the marbles on the table.

  14. Rob Tanner Says:

    Seriously, what happened to that packers defense? We’re the packers just way off that day? I really thought at the time we as a defense had arrived. Boy was I wrong. #ItsABucsLife

  15. #1bucsfan Says:

    Welp for a while there I just thought that our defense standard was that of our 90s to 2000 Bucs. Guess those guys set the bar to high cause we haven’t seen that kind of defense since. I love defense but man watching our defense is worse than pathetic. Worse than embarrassing. If our pass rush doesn’t show up like it has in several games this year our defense is worse than trash. This has to be fixed. I know joe keeps talking about a shootout like a few years back but man wouldn’t it be nice if our defense shut down the saints. Come on defense rise up play with some dam pride.

  16. DavidBigBucFan99 Says:

    He says I THINK we busted a FEW plays!!!! I THINK????? Everybody in the world who watched that game and14 out of 16 games this season KNOW the Bucs defense has been busting out a lot of played period! The same thing has been said all season long and no change. It makes no sense the way thru locked down Green Bay and Detroit but thru get destroyed by other teams! It’s funny nobody asks directly why our corners line up 10 yards back when it’s 3rd & 6 or why or constantly look at the qb while a receiver runs thru their zone only to catch the ball wide open!!! It’s not just the coaches or the players it’s all of them. It makes no sense that the only real time they make a play is when the game is on the line or when they start pretty hot they turn stone cold and forget how to play just like against Washington.

  17. Bucsfanman Says:

    This defense is predicated on the pass-rush. No pressure and our DBs are going to get exposed. They’re just too inexperienced.
    As to the off-coverage, that remains a mystery to me. Bump these guys at the line and take them off their route. That makes the QB hold the ball and allows pressure to reach him.
    Brees will make us pay if we don’t get pressure.

  18. Defense Rules Says:

    Saints this year scored 482 points this year based on 1045 total plays … 494 rushes and 522 passes. That’s about as close to a BALANCED ATTACK as you can get. They scored 30 TDs rushing and 28 TDs passing. Again, about as close to a BALANCED ATTACK as you can get.

    Bucs on the other hand scored 492 points this year based on 1017 total plays … 369 rushes and 626 passes. We scored 16 TDs rushing and 42 TDs passing. Nope, NOT a balanced attack at all, but just as effective.

    BOTH of these teams score points, and LOTS of them. But they have to be defended quite a bit differently for obvious reasons.

    Saints defense allowed 337 points & 4974 yards this year based on 992 total plays … allowing 11 rushing TDs & 1502 rushing yards on 390 rushes (3.9 YPR) and 28 passing TDs & 3472 passing yards on 557 attempts (5.8 YPA). Oh and they got 18 INTs to rank #1 in the NFL.

    Bucs on the other hand allowed 355 points & 5234 yards this year based on 1023 total plays … allowing 10 rushing TDs & 1289 rushing yards on 358 rushes (3.6 YPR) and 29 passing TDs & 3945 passing yards on 617 attempts (5.9 YPA). Plus they got 15 INTs to rank #7.

    I think that BOTH defenses match up well against the other’s offense, with turnovers being a huge factor in how effective they are. If we don’t give the ball away, we can hang with the Saints in a slugfest. If we do turn it over (like we did in our first 2 games this year), it’ll be ‘Good night Irene’.

  19. Wideleftandright Says:

    #1Bucs fan
    Not just the 90s and 2000 defense that identified who the Bucs are ,but also the 1979 thru 1983 Were also an acco.ished group that set the groundwork for the Team to be defense oriented.
    It kills me to watch ANY teams wrs get WIDE open for 15 to 20 yard plays time after time.
    How lucky to be 11-5.

  20. Bird Says:

    I re-watched the bucs vs washington game last night

    Again , offense not the problem. Mike evans had 2 drops although he got tugged on one , brate drop in endzone , godwin 4 drops and vaughn fumbles going in for score. We left so many yards on table- maybe another 75-100. On top of that ted larson looked like he never played football before and gave up mulitple stupid sacks. Receivers fell down a few times on crap field. Yet the bucs put up 31 against a top defense


    Now the defense flat out sucked. Missed 1 easy pick as it went the whiteheads bread basket on a tipped pass. Jpp played horrible. Shaq barret invisible. Even lavonte had a bad game regardless of sack. White’s back up had the tip but man he let qb run on a few. Dbs and whitehead sucked. Winfield played great. He was the exception.


    So again , todd bowles has looked horrible all season but especially in recent weeks. Is he more focused on his next interview? Not good enough.

    It will be the defense if we lose sunday. Glad white is back to add speed to defense cause kamara is a football killer.

  21. Listnfrmafar Says:

    You cannot completely change the Def. even though they should. Cannot play one way all year then change now, that has disaster written all over it especially with young players. White being back is great but he played in first 2 games. Henderson scares me he ran right through Smith and sometimes with Gronks help. Jordan doesn’t scare me Wirf will handle him. Comes down to heart. I like the occasional safety blitz.

  22. Jason Says:

    The team that makes the most mistakes will lose. Which unit on our team seams to make the most mistakes?

  23. Bradinator Says:

    Zone blitz. Please stop. No one (not even Taylor Heineke) is fooled by them. It just takes your best pass rushers and drops them in coverage.

    Apparently Devin White can blitz! Send him. He’s not great in coverage.

    Speaking of “coverage”, I’m in favor of us trying that out. How the heck are guys so wide open all the time? It’s mind boggling! Also in favor of hold Michael Thomas under 200 yrds. It’s not too much to ask.

  24. alton green Says:

    ever read something that you have to read it several times to be sure you’ve read correctly? Todd Bowles said there needs to be overall defense improvement. REALLY SHERLOCK?????????????? This country boy has been screaming since game 1 and after week 9, I had given up (on Todd) Who the hell owns that team, Malcolm X???????????

  25. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    For the negative Nancys and non-believers, all you have to do is look at the Browns.

    Smacked down by the Steelers in their first game, the Browns could barely beat the Steelers JV team in the 2nd regular season game and that game decided if the Browns would go to the playoffs. What did the Browns get as their reward? A wild card game with the Steelers the next week.

    Result? Browns were up 28-0 at one point and that was with TWO backup Oline men.

    Better than closing the Vet? #PoundBressIntoRetirement

  26. Tampabay AllDay Says:

    Top 10 defense = horrible? Ok.

  27. Dreambig Says:

    Todd Bowles searching for a job in the middle of the playoffs has so many terrible impacts. Every player knows he is out searching and we know from experience with Monty that can have an impact on how the team plays.

  28. bucnole Says:

    MISSED TACKLES. . . I’m tired of seeing backs and receivers running thru one defender’s arm tackle
    We need to gang tackle these fools – especially Kamara!

  29. DBS Says:

    The defenses will most likely do what they do. Face it. Let them run up and down the field just like everyone else they have played. This time can they hold? Keep Brady clean they can win.

  30. DBS Says:


  31. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    Has there been ANY articles on Kamara this week. He will probably be the one who goes off and beats us.

  32. bkBucsFan Says:

    Reading the comments the pst few months has been great, it’s nice that we don’t have to see any from a small few trolls since the team started winning. It’s so weird to hear people say Bucs and Super Bowl in the same sentence haha. We haven’t heard that in over a decade, it feels nice. I’m so excited for Sunday and I hope th players realize what an opportunity they have. To be able to except use your demons (The Saints), on national TV, in the playoffs, is pretty special and won’t happen many times in life, if ever. This game is what legends are made of, two of the great QBs of all time, one likely in their last season. Man, I’m lovin’ this! Go Bucs!

  33. 813bucboi Says:

    i hope bowles has a great game plan…

    GO BUCS!!!!

  34. John F Ensch Says:

    The defensive line will continue to hide like most of the season. The Bucs will be embarrassed again by the Saints. Prediction: Saints 46, Bucs 7.

  35. Scooter Says:

    Bowles HC job with Jets is a liability for him. A Super Bowl appearance with Bucs is his best resume. Rush 5 or 6 guys every down, Play tight man to man coverage. gotta role the dice. If Brees has to pass earlier than he wants to, he will throw more incompletions and Aints will be punting more to Bucs offense. Also hands up against a short QB.