Takeaways Masked Shaky Defense

February 20th, 2022

Led NFL in key stat.

Now if you show any defensive coach some sort of crystal ball that demonstrates his defense would have the most takeaways in the NFL after a season, that guy would likely have to change his pants.

The Bucs led the NFL in takeaways this year. That’s right. The Bucs led the NFL with 36 takeaways. Pretty cool.

But the Bucs didn’t have a great defensive season. Oh, they had good games here or there but overall, it wasn’t that impressive. Not like the defense was in 2020 or even for stretches in 2019.

Takeaways can save your hide. The playoff loss to the Rams was a perfect example. The Bucs were getting their collective arses handed to them by the Rams, especially the Bucs defense. But because the Bucs forced so many second-half turnovers, the game was tied with under two minutes left.

So many injuries prevented the Bucs from having a dominant defnese. Rarely did they have a healthy secondary. Shaq Barrett and Lavonte David missed time with injuries as did Devin White. Jason Pierre-Paul was robbed of his pass-rushing ability with a torn rotator cuff.

Takeaways can make an average defense look fantastic. And takeaways can make a good defense look downright dominant.

25 Responses to “Takeaways Masked Shaky Defense”

  1. alaskabuc Says:

    Do those takeaway’s make our high scoring offense look more proficient at scoring than they really were? Takeaways mask a lot on both sides of the ball.

  2. David Says:

    I do not see takeaways as masking anything. The vast majority of the time better defenses create turnovers. That is just a statistical fact. The defense was shaky because of JPP’s injury, a mash unit in the secondary, and LVD missing plenty of time.
    They create a turnovers and were fifth best at points allowed.

    If JTS takes a huge leap forward and/or JPP comes back looking like he did two years ago, then with a healthy secondary this defense should take a big jump forward. It will be needed considering they don’t have a quarterback

  3. firethecannons Says:

    Good stat to have!!!!!

  4. steele Says:

    You can’t make blanket statements. The answer is game by game. Sometimes takeaways mask, sometimes they don’t.

  5. Tim Says:

    I’m not counting on JPP even coming back, let alone coming back strong. And likely if he does, it’ll be at a reduced salary. But one thing I was wondering all season, where did the defensive touchdowns go? Turnovers are great and very important, but I can’t even remember the last time we scored defensive TD’s. I’m sure we did, but it couldn’t have been many. It would seem that’ll be even more necessary this coming season, as I anticipate we will score less on offense.

  6. Cleanhouse Says:

    That season was a huge letdown- we just never really turned it on. Hurt all year- never jelled- didn’t deserve that championship- sad, what a waste

  7. Defense Rules Says:

    Wow Joe, this article got me so excited I almost peed my pants. We’re actually talking FOOTBALL; that’s so (wait, what’s the word for it?) … oh ya, rare nowadays. All I’ve been seeing lately is what we used to affectionately call ‘spit-balling’.

    I for one agree with the title: ‘Takeaways Masked Shaky Defense’. Agree with Steele though that it’s not a 100% deal; ‘Sometimes takeaways mask, sometimes they don’t’. But also believe there’s a flip side of that … Sometimes takeaways mask a shaky OFFENSE, sometimes they don’t. Our last playoff game this past season was a good example IMO. All those Bucs’ takeaways masked a shaky Bucs’ defense AND offense. We didn’t play a very consistent game on EITHER side of the football.

    Our defense excelled in 2020 AND 2021 in takeaways especially in the PLAYOFFS. In the combined 6 games the Bucs defense generated SIXTEEN takeaways total, slightly over 2.5 takeaways average per game. That’s incredible, especially against the better playoff teams. But like Steele notes, that has to be looked at on a game-by-game basis. For instance, Bucs had FOUR takeaways against the Saints in our 2020 playoff game (for a PLUS 4 Turnover Differential). We also had TWO takeaways against the Packers in our 2020 playoff game, but our offense gave it away THREE times (for a MINUS 1 Turnover Differential). Without those 6 takeaways, I doubt we would’ve won either game.

    Bottom line to me: If we don’t fix our defense, we’re not going anywhere in 2022.

  8. westernbuc Says:

    Todd Bowles’s defense looks like Mike Smith’s for stretches at a time. We had our best streak during the playoffs last year (credit is due) but his play calling is so infuriating at points.

  9. Bob in valrico Says:

    Agree with DR,
    Our defensive stops contribute to the high scoring offense. We had some shutdown games in the Super Bowl run. In our last playoff game the defense ,with an ineffective pass rush created opportunities for Brady to get us in the game. That masked a shaky first half for Brady who repeatedly targeted Gronk
    in double coverages for only 4 out of 11 completions. When it worked Gronk was carrying players downfield like Mike Alstott, when it didn’t the offense stalled. IMO
    the offense didn’t start clicking until Brady got Evans more involved the offense.
    Not having either Godwin or AB to distribute the ball to was a big factor in this game early in the game.

  10. Bird Says:

    Of course injuries played a huge role in crappy defensive play this year. But we did not have those injuries in 2020 and results not much different

    Look at good games the defense played first year 2020 :
    Panthers / packers/ broncos/ vikings

    And in playoffs they played well against saints / chiefs
    Meanwhile henieke made us look foollish in playoffs and packers coach kicks a field goal at end


    And this past year
    They played good in :

    Dolphins / bears/ eagles/ panthers x 2 / saints
    Eagles in playoffs

    Now look at the talent on defense …i mean we have some studs
    Sorry but there is more talent on team (defense) then having defense play a handful of good games both healthy and unhealthy . Of course the run defense was amazing. But it got to the point that teams did not really try it this year. Sorry but coaches need to put players in situation to make plays. And what was the turmoil lavonte was talking about?

    I think that is why bucs may really take a fall this year unless a miracle happens at qb. Brady not here to put team on back anymore. Even when down 17…

  11. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I suspect when you force teams to be one dimensional, you create turnover opportunities.
    Also, we have some very good players at creating them…..LVD, White, Shaq, Whitehesd, Edwards….to name a few.

  12. Allen Lofton Says:

    It was the inconsistences throughout the season by the defense that eventually did in the Bucs…so many mental mistakes…that’s inexcusable

  13. Kgh4life Says:

    The Bucs defense was not fundamentally sound. There too many instances of: guys being offsides, miscommunication, guys being out of position and giving up too many 3rd and long. Todd Bowles is a smart coach, but he’s stubborn to a fault, he blitzes too much. Which puts more pressure on a shaky secondary like the Bucs had last season.
    Todd has blitz less, get more pressure from the front four and make it easier for the secondary.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    Chunk plays win and lose games. Way too many chunk plays given up by this defense especially on 3rd and even 4th down all the way to the final chunk play given up vs the Rams. End of story.

  15. Onetrickpony Says:

    As someone once said, offense wins games ,while defense wins championships

  16. Listnfrmafar Says:

    C’mon, this D was reason the O was successful? Sure if a turnover gives the O positive field position like late in the Rams game but when a turnover like Akers fumble on the 1 yd line Winfield recovered or the final int in Indy or when a int is the same as a punt, those help the D not the O. Ya know what hurts the team game after game of successful 3 & 20’s, 3rd & 14, 15, 9’s that constantly are completed. The injury excuse is getting old when the back ups actually play as well if not better then Bucs DB’s are healthy. Special teams have been putrid forever and Darden should be buried on the practice squad yet BA praises him. This is an example of lazy coaching. I won’t call them incompetent but lazy absolutely. Could you imagine how many more TO’s this D would have if Bowles practiced the tip drill?

  17. ChiBuc Says:

    More often than not turnovers are the result of an exceptional play by a defensive player or a mistake by an offensive player, not a product of a coaches game plan, especially fumbles. All year individual performances by players masked the poor preparation, game planning, and coaching by the coaches. However a highly penalized team, cutting Mickens (not the greatest, but look at the replacement) for Darden, a predictable offense, and a one trick pony defense scratching their heads on the most important play of the season (a def that blitzed all yr and now they don’t know how to even do that) are all clear signs of an over inflated ego driven coaching staff that is inflexible and really never seemed to adjust with available players or to who the opponent was

  18. Bob in valrico Says:

    I don’t know, I still remember the days when one injury to a key player equaled a loss.
    So this team and coaching staff accomplished a lot more victories with key personnel missing than ever before, IMO.

  19. Wild Bill Says:

    I agree with Bob. This team actually did good when you consider all the injuries both major and not, that hurt both the offense and especially the defense. And special teams play was mostly average. Fact is Brady, Gronk. 4net and the offensive line kept the Bucs alive despite all the injuries and antics by AB, and mediocre coaching. Brady and other key offensive players made us good enough to make the playoffs despite a porous defense and weak game planing. Slow starts, a grim faced Brady discarding the game plan and taking charge was a repeating pattern. Last year Brady was a happy, smiling player/coach/cheer leader. That changed this year. Brady was not a happy camper. I would love to hear the full story direct from Tom, not just the usual pr blah, blah. There was a lot not openly expressed that lead to his retirement decision.

  20. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Wild Bill, you’ll never hear the truth from Brady, he hasn’t thrown anyone under the bus yet and I can’t see him doing it to BA or the organization. He’ll just go on and do his thing. I also don’t think Glaizers are going to be the ones who dictate what Brady’s future holds. I believe they will release him in a admirable way. That would be a bad look for the Bucs. As far as injuries every team had them and no team worst than Tenn that ended up the one seed. Look at Baltimore’s injuries and just missed PO’s. The loss of Godwin, Brown & Wirf was too much to overcome. One might ask if BA’s intention was to dump Brown, why didn’t he sign OBJ, Golden Tate or some other proven WR rarher than rely on Grayson, Perriman, Miller & Johnson. Or pick up a OT for the Rams game instead of playing Wells with one leg. These are all what ifs. No matter what with BA at helm Bucs won’t win again.

  21. Eli Says:

    Certainly no defense against the Saints and Rams who combined for 5 of out losses including playoff. What was Todd B thinking on that last play against the Rams?

  22. Wild Bill Says:

    @ Listen The only truth from anybody, players or coaches, is the truth that Brady was not happy. His list might be long or short but whatever it is he has not openly revealed. We all saw the tension in his face most of the season. Gone was the happy chear leading guy who we saw last year. His whole demeaner changed. We may never know all the details. Tom did not stab the Patriots or Bellicheat in the back. Not his way. He may reveal more if or when he hangs up his cleats. But unless he opens up we may never know for sure. One thing for sure is Brady can make millions easily without ever playing another down.

  23. Wood1982 Says:

    From 2015 to 2019, we didn’t have intelligent football dialogue about how poor defense, poor O-line play, lack of defensive splash plays,poor running attack, poor special teams, etc can force your offense into predictable,often catastrophic situations. All we talked about was the QB. Now, all of a sudden we seem to realize these things ultimately can derail any team. If you recall, prior to TB12’s closed door meeting with BA around Week 9 of the 2020 season, his production looked closer to the previous QB than we want to admit.

    My point is, despite the laziness of constantly chanting “30 INTs” the better, more logical way to look at it was BA’s offense, minus TB12’s one of a kind football IQ and experience, is enough to ruin any QB. Especially one without Brady’s cache. Remember, the previous guys had the 2nd best 5yr start to his career than any any other QB not named Manning. And…even with the “30” he threw for fewer INTs than Manning. All without a running game, a reliable defense, poor special teams, and everything previously mentioned.

    It’s amazing how we can see obvious deficiencies in our team as soon as the scapegoat is in another uniform. SMDH!!!

  24. Dave Says:

    Would you rather them not have a lot of takeaways?

  25. Dr. Buc Says:

    I guess all the teams on that list had shaky defenses because none of them were in the superbowl! Shaky take Joe!