Did Bucs Run Defense Get Better?

June 5th, 2022

Rookie DL Logan Hall

The Bucs were good against the run last year. And one man who follows the Bucs closely thinks they got better.

Last year the Bucs ranked tied for seventh in yards allowed per carry at 4.3 yards. The Bucs were third in the NFL in total rushing yards allowed (1,573) and no team got tested less on the ground than the Bucs. Teams simply didn’t run on the Bucs, with just 366 attempts.

And while the Bucs lost a monster brick in the rushing wall in Ndamukong Suh (Joe thinks it is fair to suggest he is gone because he is still looking for work), Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com is of the belief the Bucs will be better against the run this season.

Why is that? Well, Smith points out that while the loss of Suh is a tough one, look who the Bucs added on the defensive front.

What I find interesting is that if you go back one more season before the arrival of Bowles and Suh and all of that, to 2018, the best run defense in the NFL belonged to…the Chicago Bears, who featured Pro Bowl defensive lineman Akiem Hicks in the middle of the trenches. Hicks had 7.5 sacks that season and a total of 23.0 from 2016-18, which obviously had a lot to do with his all-star recognition, but the 6-4, 335-pound defender was also a key part of that stifling run defense.

The Buccaneers used their first 2022 draft pick, [No. 33 overall], on Houston defensive lineman Logan Hall, who they will slot into the three-technique spot to hopefully generate some pressure from the inside.

As Smith points out, health for Hicks will be the key.

Joe sees Smith working here. It’s not like Akiem Hicks is kneeling Akeem Spence. This dude is very, very solid. And Joe understands the Bucs are very eager to see Logan Hall put the pads and go at it against Shaq Mason and Ryan Jensen. So is Joe.

So yeah, even though the Bucs did lose Suh, in theory, the Bucs could be better up front against the run.

22 Responses to “Did Bucs Run Defense Get Better?”

  1. Goatfarmer Says:

    Suh. Maybe a second ring could entice him to play for a discount. He can be the 2022 version of Stevie Mac.

  2. David Says:

    Those stats are misleading. The Bucs were great against the run early and got worse as the year went on. No LVD, JPP was a shell, SUH got progressively worse. Because of that I think they will be better against the run.
    The pass rush remains to be seen. It all depends on if VEA gets more snaps (70% seems reasonable) and how JTS progresses.

  3. Crickett Baker Says:

    In the videos, that guy looks like a speeding freight train! If he is still that good we really have a beast.

  4. Stanglassman Says:

    No wonder Bears fans love this guy so much. Seems like he cares about people being killed for no good reason.

    Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks says many more NFL players would have joined Colin Kaepernick in kneeling for the national anthem, but they worried about losing their jobs.
    Hicks said he believes the majority of players who stood for the anthem were thinking that if they didn’t, it would end their careers. And he was one of them.

    “At that time when Kaepernick was taking a knee, I had the same thought that 85, 90% of the league thought at that moment: ‘If I get down on one knee in front of this stadium, I am fired,’” Hicks said, via the Chicago Tribune. “’My job, my career, my life is over. I will be blackballed.’ And then to come out on the other end and watch it actually happen to Kaepernick, it just tells me my feelings were real. It was the reality, and hopefully it won’t be going forward.”

  5. Bucsfan4ever Says:

    The NFL almost died of Colin cancer

  6. Goatfarmer Says:

    Glad to have Hicks.

    Now get Suh to sign for a big discount.

  7. Goatfarmer Says:

    Hey Joes — how about putting up a Suh highlight video?

  8. Goatfarmer Says:

    Just re-watched the Todd Bowl again.

    Are you really ready to be a head coach again, Todd? Them Rams playoff games kinds of show decisionings that say otherwise. What are you going to do different to not totally suck in the clutch?

  9. Defense Rules Says:

    Scott Smith … ‘defensive lineman Logan Hall, who they will slot into the three-technique spot to hopefully generate some pressure from the inside’.

    Like Smith, I’m ‘hopeful’ that Hall can generate inside pressure, but will admit, I’m not ‘optimistic’ at this point. If in fact Bowles uses him primarily as a 3-technique, that makes Hall pretty much responsible for the B gap on runs, backed up by … Devin White, who just happened to lead the NFL in blitzes last season. What could possibly go wrong in scenarios like that when opponents double-team our 6’6″ 283 lb DT and run smack through the B gap and right past our blitzing ILB?

    BETTER run defense this year? I’m skeptical at this point. Suh may have lost a step, but he still was a beast when it came to holding his ground. Vea the same. I feel confident that Hicks will more than hold his own in the interior, but his past availability, along with Vea’s, still leaves me skeptical at this point.

    Also, last season Bucs’ defense surrendered a LOT of long runs. If you just look at the longest runs in each game over 10 yards, Bucs gave up 32 of those for a total of 597 yards rushing (average on those was 18.7 yds). That sucks. If you subtract those 32 runs from the season rushing totals allowed, you end up with 334 opponent rushes gaining 976 yards rushing, or 2.9 YPC average. Not that shabby at all. Our problem last year was that we allowed far too many explosive runs over 10 yards (almost 10%) that ate up almost 40% of the rushing yards we surrendered last season.

    THAT’S abysmal, and that’s why we slipped so far in average Yards per Rush. But the real question is WHY? And oh ya, WHO? Folks are using Suh as a scapegoat because he ‘lost a step’ (lazy analysis), but was he REALLY the culprit? Inquiring minds need to know BEFORE we make unsubstantiated predictions like ‘Oh ya, our run defense will be better this year’.

  10. Bird Says:

    It was funny but when i went to pull up akiem hicks stats my brain plugged in akeem spence being a lifetime bucs fan 😂. Whoops

    Look at this dline lineup:

    Vea , gholston, logan hall, nacho , shaq , tryon , hicks

    Cam gill and patrick oconnor are last two spots currently

    I think oconnor probably better then gill (unless he makes big
    And i would go get trey flowers instead of cam gill

    Thats pretty solid dline if you ask me with depth to keep guys fresher.

  11. Bird Says:

    Whoops forgot anthony nelson who is good role player. ^^^^ above

  12. Stone crab sam Says:

    In reality, suh is the rock and backbone of the Bucs d-line against the run. Always was.
    Licht May have been born at night, but he wasn’t born last night.
    Let’s see where this thing ends up at the end of the day, as the Bucs only have Brady for one more year, and licht knows this all to well and so does ownership.

  13. Creamsicle Mike Says:

    Nothing matters if it all comes down to a final playoff game and they call a zero blitz and let #1 reciever run loose!

  14. Chris Tucker@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I am skeptical too about us being better, against the run.
    Suh was a beast against the run.

  15. PassingThru Says:

    It all comes down to staying healthy. The Bucs will be excellent at stopping the run; I’m far more concerned about pass defense. The Bucs need to pressure the QB, and do a much better job in the defensive secondary.

  16. Hodad Says:

    Suh is gone, get over it already. Don’t know why fans have such a hard time letting go of players? I look forward to seeing Hall, Hicks, Tryon, and all our new players doing their thing this year. We don’t need old Suh, and shot JPP. Seems the rest of the league ain’t tripping over themselves trying to sign either one. We needed to shuffle the deck.

  17. Goatfarmer Says:


    Not Hodad.

  18. GOB Says:

    To answer your question Joe, yes.

  19. Destinjohnny Says:

    We need to draft better d lineman and backers in the 2nd 3rd 4th and 5th

  20. CleanHouse Says:

    Suh is an amazing all decade talent, the rest of these guys are trash
    Bad GM decisions.
    Game over

  21. Hodad Says:

    Suh oh Suh..you all sound like a bunch of school girls who can’t let go of a crush .

  22. PassingThru Says:

    Suh was an all-decade talent, too bad that decade is well behind him.