Third-Down Woes

November 16th, 2021

Todd Bowles

Once upon a time back in 2016, when disgraced defensive coordinator Mike Smith was considered a commodity by fans from Lakeland to Largo and at One Buc Palace, our Buccaneers led the NFL in third-down defense.

Nobody was better.

Cornerback Brent Grimes led the NFL in passes defensed and the secondary stepped up to overcome a second-tier pass rush. The Bucs got off the field on third downs better than anyone. Opponents moved the chains just 34.4 percent of the time.

Fast forward to this season and Bucs opponents are racking up first downs at a 42.7 percent rate, which ranks the Bucs 24th in the NFL behind Detroit.

The stat is hardly the most telling or compelling, but it was on the mind of Bucco Bruce Arians yesterday during his chat with Dan Lucas of WFLA-TV. Arians was appalled by his defense’s performance on the money down.

“It’s terrible. It’s not what we’re built on,” Arians said. “Obviously, we couldn’t get off the field. The big thing was allowing them to be in 3rd-and-1-through-5. Our first- and second-down defense wasn’t good enough.”

Bucs fans have seen it all unfold. No need to rehash the issues here. But what’s most troubling about this stat for Joe is the opposing quarterbacks that have produced the data. Not a lot of superstars on that list.

20 Responses to “Third-Down Woes”

  1. Conte Piscateli Says:

    Sadly, prefer to see us in 3rd & 3 or less. We stand a chance at stopping a run on 3rd down better than stopping 3rd & 8

  2. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Maybe Vea and Shaq are not great cover guys! Another media outlet BA chooses to throw his team under the bus on. Make sure yout PR team reaches out to WMOOSECRAP radio in Bangor Maine, they haven’t interviewed you yet.

  3. PSL Bob Says:

    The Bowles’ philosophy of pressuring the QB on 1st and 2nd downs and then dropping into zone on 3rd down is an abject failure. It would be fine if we only allowed the opponent to complete short passes and then made the tackle before they reached the line to gain. But we can’t tackle worth a damn. I don’t know how many times Sunday I say a receiver catch a short pass and rather than our DBs running downhill to make the tackle, they waited until the receiver came to them. And then low and behold, 1st down. Time to get back to tackling school. I say put pressure on the QB every down. Hell they’re going to get a 1st down anyway, so why not give it a shot?

  4. unbelievable Says:

    This Swiss cheese defense sucks.

    Devin White is wildly overrated.

    JPP and LVD are either finished, or both still very injured (we know JPP is injured)

    And Shaq and Suh only show up against weak teams…

    And in a depleted secondary and this is what you get- soft, sloppy pathetic defense.

  5. Goldenbuc Says:

    Noticed Shaq not producing as much bend around the corner as much in the past. I feel like the team is still kind of recuperating from last years long season and trynna save juice for this year’s longer stretch. They’ll be reader come playoff time.

  6. Francisco Guzman Says:

    The D-line has to pick it up. Also the guy they paid millions to rush the passer.

  7. Dean Giusti Says:

    I just saw the All 22 tape of this game. It’s even worse than I thought. This defense is so bad that this team will not make the playoffs. Call me crazy.
    But the tape showed just how ugly it has gotten. We can not beat ANYBODY w this defense and they are going to prove me right when the Giants beat them next Monday. Then maybe you’ll agree that this team are frauds. It has nothing to do w TB12.
    He had a bad game. Simple as that.
    But there’s no hiding this defense’s woes any more.
    Sickening to see what they’ve become.

  8. August 1976 Buc Says:

    You know, BA just cannot get off the Field on 3rd down, Oh I forgot it is the players
    BA is horrible,
    BA is terrible,

    Because I am so perfect lol lol lol

    Troll on buddy

    BTW how many Super Bowls has the Perfect Billy B won without Brady Oh thats right 0, the same as BA

    GO BUCS!!!

  9. Bobby M. Says:

    Shaq is a pass rush specialist who seems to only perform well when given 1 on 1 situations. He will be a non factor with JPP and Vea dinged up. White is our best option at creating havoc, Bowles will not only have to get creative with him but also take a lot of chances. If he does, then the secondary will continue to play off and keep everything in front of them until the field compresses. Our best hope is the CBs improve their tackling because they simply aren’t good enough to cover anyone.

  10. Francisco Guzman Says:

    Bonny M if they’re not good enough to cover than expected to see more losses.

  11. Listnfrmafar Says:

    August the funniest post I read on this site so far. Comparing BA to Belichick is the same as those that compare Jamais to Brady. Do you really believe Belichick had no input to the growth of TB12? Take a look at how the Pat’s are doing versus the ailing Bucs. Rookie QB, well balanced offense & defense and the ONLY game this season Brady did not throw a TD in. All we hear from BA is whinging and bitching. How about a SOLUTION!

  12. Craig Says:

    Shaq is a pass rush specialist who can only pass rush when he isn’t told to cover a back out of the backfield.

    Shaq is an outside linebacker and is better at that, this year, than as a pass rusher. I liked it better the other way, more splash.

    I think the biggest problem is that Devin White gets out of position way too often and isn’t home when needed.

    B.A. doesn’t suck, he is just out of the loop, he doesn’t know what his team is doing, he needs to connect and bitch.

  13. August 1976 Buc Says:

    All we hear from BA is whinging and bitching. How about a SOLUTION!

    You have been doing the same Bitching constantly about BA

    Give a rest dude

    Billy B has won how many Super Bowls without Brady? 0
    The same as BA.
    That is a fact, not a slam.
    Is BA as accomplished as Billy B, not at all.
    But your constant whining about BA is not going to change anything.

    GO BUCS!!!!

  14. RuKa_44 Says:

    Tod Bowles had half a season (+playoffs) of good defense out of 2.5 total seasons so far…
    This 3rd down problema plagued our D the whole 2019 season, the first half of last season and this one so far… is more of the same

  15. alton d green Says:

    this is not rocket surgery. WFT’s 3rd down would have been much higher except for the fact THEY DIDN’T NEED 3RD DOWN!!!!!! they got the job done on 1st and second down. and when they didn’t, they’d get it on 4th down haha. OUCH!! that’s gotta hurt!

  16. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Well August, you’re a fact guy Belichick has coached on 8 SB winning teams, so the magic # is 2 without Brady. Any other questions?

  17. alton d green Says:

    dear list. 8 SB winning teams???????????? can you name them?

  18. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Belichick was with the Giants for SB XXl & XXV. Next?

  19. Hodad Says:

    When you put your nose tackle in coverage, and sometimes your rookie edge rusher in coverage, it seem’s to me it would be easy to pick up 3rd downs. I don’t know who Bowles is trying to fool with that, but it wasn’t the WFT.

  20. August 1976 Buc Says:

    Hello List

    “All we hear from BA is whinging and bitching. How about a SOLUTION!”

    Your statement here,is exactly how you have consistently posted about Arians and the Coaches.

    WHY be angry with him about SOMETHING, since YOU HAVE BEEN DOING the SAME THING, bitching and whining about him, and the Bucs Coaches over all?

    I stated Billy B has won just as many Super Bowls without Brady as BA. 0
    You know I was talking about as a Head Coach.

    If this was about tit for tat, I would have mentioned that BA was Coaching with the Steelers and was part of 2 Super Bowl wins ALSO. But is not why I posted. I posted because of your angry bias that comes out consistently about BA and the Coaches here.

    Are these coaches the greatest, not a chance, but they are way better than your angry bias has stated on so many times.

    I do not know what your personal beef is with BA?
    Why not be a man, and go talk to him about it?
    Instead of just whining and complaining here lol
    Did BA turn down your resume to be on the Bucs Staff?
    Did BA piss you off at a party or something?
    Did he embarrass you in front of crowd?

    List there is nothing in this post that is trying to put you down.
    Just couple of facts and some questions to you.
    Not insults, like you throw at people here on this Blog and also the Bucs Coaches lol
    Have a good day lol lol

    GO BUCS!!!!!