Bruce Arians Doesn’t Care About Defensive Rankings (At Least Passing Defense)

October 8th, 2021

It’s about points.

The Bucs like to crow about their best run defense in the NFL. Only a dumb team would try to test them on the ground.

And the Bucs should be proud of how well they stifle opposing running backs. Damn proud.

So Joe thought it was a bit amusing today when Bucs Super Bowl-winning coach Bucco Bruce Arians was asked about the ocean-wide gap between his run defense and pass defense rankings, suddenly Arians didn’t care about rankings.

For example, the Bucs have only allowed through four games an impressive 190 yards rushing, or 2.7 yards per carry.

Passing? Well (gulp), the Bucs have given up the most passing touchdowns (11), most completions (137) and are third-worst in pass completion percentage allowed (73 percent) and passing yards (1,310).

The Bucs don’t seem to want to talk about those ugly numbers.

“We don’t really care about that part of it, it’s about points,” Arians said. “Right now, we’re giving up too many points.”

Arians isn’t wrong here. It’s all about points. How many can you score? How few can you allow?

Currently, the Bucs as a defense rank No. 23 in points allowed per game (26.2).

“We want to keep people to 17 or less, and the biggest statistic we look for is points per game,” Arians said. “We do take a lot of pride in stopping the run, but when they throw it 50 times, yeah, there are going to be some yards. But we’ve got to keep them out of the end zone.”

A reason teams are scoring so much is the Bucs are giving up the booty in the air.

For example, the Bucs have allowed the most passing touchdowns in the NFL. How many have been Hail Marys? You see what Joe is getting at? Kind of hard to throw touchdown passes regularly from midfield or beyond.

Yes, the Bucs are ravaged by injuries at cornerback. A better pass rush sure helps, as evidenced last week.

Miami has a lousy offensive line. Time for the Bucs to smother Jacoby Brissett in order to help out the secondary.

15 Responses to “Bruce Arians Doesn’t Care About Defensive Rankings (At Least Passing Defense)”

  1. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Yes he does….

  2. PassingThru Says:

    What Bruce is really trying to say is: “Would you quit talking about pass defense?”

  3. BucsBeBack (Artist formally known as: BringBucsBack) Says:

    Joe, last week you called the BeliCheats’ o-line “lousy”. While they did give up a few sacks, they also played well enough to win & for their rookie QB to complete 19 consecutive pass-attempts, at one point. Why should our Bucs take any team for granted?

  4. Bojim Says:

    We’ve been giving up yard’s in the air for years. Maybe take a hint???

  5. JimmyJack Says:

    To me its easy. Play better redzone defense and those points plummet. We have been awful in all 4 games in the redzone.

    We getting turnovers so thats a positive. Last year what made our defense good was turnovers and we were pretty good in the redzone(i dont know the stats)………We are still built the same way we gotta win the same way.

  6. Francisco Guzman Says:

    Defense still wins championships and you better learn to stop teams.

  7. Youngbucs Says:

    Rankings balance out some of the top defensive teams so far have played bum offensive team’s.

  8. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Francisco: Kansas City won a Super Bowl in 2019. Did they have a great defense? Did the Bucs have a great defense last year? While I wholeheartedly agree that it’s ideal to have a good/great defense, it’s not a necessity to win games if you have an elite offense.

  9. geno711 Says:

    Agree with Joe. Lots of ways to win in the NFL. There is no have to have one of the best defenses or have a top running game anymore.

    But there will be thousands who will say defenses win championships or you have to be a good running team to win championships. Bullcarp.

  10. August 1976 Buc Says:

    Joe, the Pass Defence is a G A P I N G W O U N D and Arians knows it.

    Can just imagine what is being said between BA and T Bowels.

    So there is not much more he wants to say in a press conference, at least right now.

    BA, like fans just want to get healthy bodies back there to at least be competitive.

    But even with their starters they were being shredded from the first drive against Dallas.

    Going to be a roller coaster ride of a season as long as the secondary is not competitive.

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  11. Rod Munch Says:

    Just for some fun, I thought I’d compare this pass defense to the GOAT of pass defense, the 2002 Bucs… Lets look at the numbers…

    To be fair, I’m going to take the 2021 numbers and x by 4, so we’re comparing 16 games to 16 games…

    2021 Bucs 16 games, passing stats against our defense
    73.7% comp, 5464 yards, 44 TDs, 20 INTs, 102.6 QB rating

    Now the 2002 Bucs defense…
    50.8% comp, 2785 yards, 10 TDs, 31 INTs, 48.4 QB rating

    Wow, I never looked at the stats that way, but wow. And to think the Bucs defense in 02 got better in the playoffs, and those were all against top 8 offenses including the #1.

  12. Defense Rules Says:

    Rod … I never looked at the stats that way either, but it is interesting. Of course, staying healthy helps …

    o That 2002 Secondary was probably the healthiest AND most experienced we’ve ever had. Our 2 CBs (Barber & Kelly) both started all 16 games. Our FS (Jackson) started all 16 games also, and our SS (Lynch) started 15 of the 16 games. That’s pretty good continuity back there.
    o Our 3 LBs (Brooks, Quarles & Singleton) were all also totally healthy all season, as each played in all 16 games.
    o Our DLine also stayed incredibly healthy. Only McFarland missed any time (6 games due to injury).

    All together, that 2002 defense used 15 starters & key rotational players that season. Those 15 only missed a TOTAL of 9 games all season (and 6 of those were by Booger). Staying healthy helps. So does chemistry developed by playing together for several seasons.

  13. jiminPH Says:

    Why should teams even try to run the ball when they can pass at will? It is a passing league. Pass defense is the real issue.

  14. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Rod and DR what you are missing is the fact that the passing game today is more relevant than 2002, new rules in place that protect Qb’s and WR’s. Teams just pass more in today’s game. Opposing teams simply go to a 3 step drop dink and dunk Bucs underneath until Bucs adjust then take a deep shot that normally is successful. This cannot be stopped unless Bucs can get to the QB without blitzing. BA & Bowles need to figure this out or opposing teams are going to keep on attacking Bucs D this way.

  15. Defense Rules Says:

    Listnfrmafar … Agree wholeheartedly that it’s much more of a passing league today & that the rules have changed, however, fact still remains that the 2002 Bucs defense was incredibly healthy throughout the season. Fact also remains that they all had talent & had experience (aka chemistry?) playing together. Also had a pretty decent DC named Monte Kiffin?

    I wish they’d kept blitzing stats back in those years, but can’t find any. I remember that they did blitz, but nowhere near what our current Bucs have been doing. The vast majority of the 2002 sacks came from the DLine (Barber had 3; Kelly had 1; Brooks had 1, Quarles had 1; Singleton had 1; Safeties Jackson & Lynch had 0). So the whole back-end only had 7 sacks all season; DLine had 35 sacks.

    BTW I agree with you also that the Bucs need to be able to get to the QB without blitzing. That means the DLine has to really step up if we expect this defense’s ranking to be better than #20-25. We’ve got to find a way in the process to reduce the 3rd down conversions considerably. We rank #29 now, allowing 48.2% 3rd down conversions. (Panthers lead the league & are over twice as good in that category at only 23.8% allowed).