Missing Defensive Leaders

October 28th, 2022

Clearly missed.

One thing Bucs coach Todd Bowles won’t say about what’s wrong with his run defense is the personnel isn’t as good as what he had in past years.

It’s not the pass defense that is killing the Bucs of late, it’s the run defense. The same run defense that made the Bucs famous (at least for a couple of seasons).

So why is this year’s run defense so much worse? Personnel.

Ndamukong Suh is better than Rakeem Nuñez-Roches, and Akiem Hicks is AWOL (injured) since Week 2.

Jason Pierre-Paul is way better than Joe Tryon-Shoyinka against the run.

Jordan Whitehead is better than Keanu Neal.

Those four missing players play in the middle of the field. Folks didn’t succeed up the middle as a result (yes, Joe knows Hicks played for Chicago last year).

Of course, Bowles won’t cry about not having Suh or JPP or Whitehead. They’re gone and only Suh has a chance of returning.

Joe believes the core reason why the run defense is getting gashed so badly is obvious. Some 204 rushing yards by Baltimore in the second half yesterday was obscene.

77 Responses to “Missing Defensive Leaders”

  1. Bucfan Says:

    Suh may have slowed down a bit but his coaching ‘on the field’ made up for it. His leadership is sorely missed. AND he did stay healthy!

  2. Da Bucs Guy Says:

    It’s funny to see some realize what most knew months ago. But keep propping up GM licht as if he has done a good job instead of what he really has done….. And that is a poor job.

  3. Pewter Power Says:

    It’s more seems the coaching staff poorly underestimated the value of suh and I’m pretty sure he’s giving them the middle finger more or asking for even more money to come back

  4. Bobby M. Says:

    Suh was reliable and solid in run defense. Can’t say that with Hicks who has a history of being injury prone. The best ability is availability….We got greedy thinking with a little more speed we would be even more disruptive but the reality is we are lite in the pants and undisciplined. Coach all you want, they can’t stop anyone even when they know what’s coming.

  5. Bucsfan13 Says:

    Was Joe in the locker room after the game? I keep reading reports of Brady being in a state of shock. It’s been described that he was in some catatonic state for ten minutes.

  6. Pewter Power Says:

    Either the bucs thought JPP and suh were overrated or the salary cap situation caused this. Licht couldn’t me dumb enough to place all his faith in a second year inconsistent player and that no one on the d line including Shaq could possibly get injured

  7. mark2001 Says:

    Too bad Bowles didn’t have any say so in who we signed and who we drafted on the D side of the ball. What? He is the HC and the defensive guru? I guess he did have a say-so. He just screwed up. So who is surprised?

  8. Leopold Stotch Says:

    Please art of me thinks we could go on an absolute magical run and if we trade or sign for someone we can fix this. The other part of me says fudge it. What’s the point. It’s hard to think that having Tom freaking Brady as the qb though…

  9. Oxycondoms Says:

    Not only leadership but they were dawgs and nasty

  10. mark2001 Says:

    Pewter… you know how it works, don’t you? Licht doesn’t just dictate from on high in signing or not signing guys. He talks to the HC and coordinator about personnel moves. At some point Bowles had to give him the green light. Honestly guys, you think he didn’t have some say-so in that decision?

  11. mark2001 Says:

    Magical run? That sounds like “Chicago bears thinking” to me.

  12. tampabayallday Says:

    Devin White gotta GO

  13. Paratrooper Buc Says:

    If the $10 million for Hicks was split in two and each half given to Suh and JPP, we would be better off on Defense. If the millions to Gage, Jones, and Rudolph, was given to a better TE and offensive lineman, we would be better on offense. Licht signed the wrong players. We don’t have leaders.

  14. FortMyersDave Says:

    So can the problem get fixed by changing up the play schemes or is that impossible given the current talent and mediocre coaching? I am going to guess that Licht will not be able to acquire any talent via trade without getting fleeced and Suh likely is not coming back. When the Bucs lose to the Lambs and choke in Europe it seems likely out of self preservation Bowles will blame Licht and Licht will blame Bowles to deflect blame from oneself. If you were the Glazers, would you sack Bowles for this gaffe or do you hold Licht accountable as well since unlike the Leftwich debacle, Joe points out that this is not just shoddy coaching, it is the talent Licht let go and did not replace well enough!

  15. LVMYBUCS Says:

    Absolutely we miss Suh and JPP I remember watching JPP on the sidelines hyping players up at the SB and that’s what we are missing. Players have taken on the head coaches uninspiring attitude towards football how else can you explain such a dramatic drop in one season

  16. Lamarcus Says:

    This starts with Devin White period. He’s the Qb of the defense, top 5 pick as MLB, and looks like undrafted rookie from Miami (OH)

    Man I was rooting for him. He’s not that guy

  17. Francisco Guzman Says:

    Tryon has been a huge bust. Vea has been inconsistent.

  18. Bucsfan13 Says:

    @Lamarcus. Devin was awful last night! Flat out embarrassing. He gave no effort and quit on plays.

  19. Francisco Guzman Says:

    What happened with hicks? How long is this guy out for?

  20. Bama2k22 Says:

    The run is over. Fire Leftwich today. Once we go 5-12, then fire Bowels. Blow it up and start again with high draft picks.

  21. Jerry Says:

    Seems most of the players on this team were content winning that one Super Bowl. Now they are just going through motions, cashing in on paychecks, and basking in their very brief former glory. There is no heart or soul. There is no will or desire to win.

    The whole thing needs to be blown up.

  22. HC Grover Says:

    The Super Bowl Run has been Bowlesd over.

    bowlesed o

  23. doolnutts Says:

    I dont even know if its the players honestly. The ravens ran how many plays 80? The offensive play calling sucks and its trickling down through the whole team. The defense was GASED!!! I guess its no excuse but 80 + plays the ravens ran its insane. The defense was strangled to death because our offense couldn’t hold a drive.

  24. Thomas Edrington Says:

    What we need is a Todd Bowels Movement to the unemployment line

  25. Marine Buc Says:

    The one positive note regarding ILB D. White – the Bucs won’t owe him anymore guaranteed money after this season… We can (and should) cut ties with him if this low level of play persists.

  26. Waterboy Says:

    Missing offensive leaders too. Brady has been checked out since his planned exodus to Miami.

  27. Tvan101 Says:

    Not resigning Whitehead may be one of Licht’s biggest mistakes.

  28. Rob Hamada Says:

    I agree that this team misses the leadership and productivity (even though less) of Suh, JPP, and Whitehead. Those guys were tough and mostly reliable. I look at the 2021 draft as another reason this team is weak up front. Outside of Joe Tryon and Robert Hainsey, the 2021 draft was a waste. Trask, who might be a decent QB in later years, was not a good pick for this team at that time. We could have picked up a quality OL, DL, or DB. The fourth round was wasted on Jaylen Darden. You can never have enough quality OL/DL/DB on a team.

  29. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Tvan

    Agreed. Whitehead was our best tackler last season and created several turnovers because of his abilities.

  30. Francisco Guzman Says:

    A coaching staff can derail a team. The season can still be saved if they fired this incompetent coaching staff

  31. Simeon97 Says:

    Look at rhe scoreboard. The Bucs defense isn’t giving up a ton of points. The offense is terrible.

  32. Simeon97 Says:

    Oh and the defense is on the field the entire game

  33. HC Grover Says:

    The whole outfit is just a giant mess it seems.lose the next 3 in a row then what? I doubt any coaching changes coming to the rescue.

  34. HC Grover Says:

    Firing the whole bunch now would give Brady an opportunity to escape this calamity.

  35. Anonymous Says:

    If you believe TMZ, Gisele filed for divorce today. He no longer has that hanging over his head. Single Tommy can finally get him a younger model. Good riddance to that washed up Yoko Ono!!

  36. ElioT Says:

    If I’m Jason Licht I’m making it known that every player on the roster outside of Wirfs, Evans and Godwin are available for the right price.

    It’s time to blow this up – let Brady retire and acquire as much draft capital as you can to help this long and tedious pending rebuild.

  37. Bucs since 76 Says:

    Suh was faster the Hicks coming out of college. Also, he works hard to stay in shape. Hicks is still injured should have been put on IR weeks ago and we could have signed Suh. Sign Suh now as all is not lost yet.

  38. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Simeon97

    “Oh and the defense is on the field the entire game”

    And why do you think the Bucs D was on the field so long?

    Because they suck and gave up 231 yards rushing!!!

    I think it’s safe to say that both our offense and defense suck at this point. This team has become a dumpster fire…

  39. Erik Hesson - Fine Artist - City of St Pete - Founder of UniqueModernArt.com Says:

    The main reason our run defense was so good was the combination of Suh and Vita in the middle.

    That set up our entire defense and kept the O-loineman occupied and kept our LB’s free to make plays.

    Now that we don’t have a 2nd DT who requires a double team, the Olineman can get to the 2nd level and block our LB’s.

    Losing Suh (and JPP on the outside tbh) brokedown the entire defensive chain.

    MAn, the Bucs suck.

    Bring back BA.

    Bring back Suh.

    Trade for JPP.

  40. ChattBucsFan Says:

    This team is missing leadership across all phases the game including coaching. Those of us who have been fans forever have seen this all too many times in this franchises history and we all know the next chapter to this story. Years of rebuilding

  41. Faspro Says:

    It’s the coaching…other teams have less talented players, more injuries and still manage to make the bucs look like the worst team in the league.

  42. Bucanero Says:

    We missing all mentioned on D plus Barret! we missing as many on Offense, hell we even miss AB and surely would be better off with BA. Most of all we missing winning football 🏈. What a downer and we facing the Champs and Gisele’s threat on Brady. It’s getting darker and people starting to break down. What happened to Devin White? Penalties, effort, focus, we know it’s on the players but such a debacle has to be on coaching energy. Get BA screaming on the sidelines ASAP please.

  43. Darin Says:

    Devin white gota go? He’s the best linebacker in the game! Just ask him🤣. What a farce he is. Never gonna like him after he made those asinine comments

  44. rsjcheapseats Says:

    It’s absurd to criticize the defense. It was clear after Barrett left they were less effective. It is also clear that the inability of the offense to hold the ball led to a spent defense.

    The bottom line is the Bucs have a player above reproach – and who is not playing well.

  45. Darin Says:

    Bottom line tho is it seems nobody is in position to succeed this season. Getting out coached by even the worst of them.

  46. Tbbucs3 Says:

    I could tell from the way these guys ran out of the tunnel that’s there no motivation on this team no energy…..they look like they could care less about their professional careers (outside of their contracts)….it’s embarrassing

  47. Rand Says:

    The defense would most likely be fine if they weren’t on the field for so many minutes. Our offense is sputtering and it’s Brady’s fault whether anyone wants to admit it or not. I agree it’s not the same well oiled machine from last year but in my opinion Tom Brady is NOT taking any risk. I don’t expect him to be as careless as Winston was but whatever happened to fitting balls into tight windows? Where’s those anticipatory throws? Where’s his signature slants? He’s either checking down or holding the ball to long and everyone points fingers at the receivers and offensive line when in most cases they should be pointing at Brady.

  48. Oddball listens to what #8 Says:


  49. Tbbucs3 Says:

    “Its not Bradys fault”

    Not your fault Brady for missing a wide open Kyle Rudolph in the endzone!
    Not your fault for throwing into Ravens DBs hands all night!

    My word, it’s so hard for some of you to admit that a 45 year old QB’s best days are clearly behind him. Quit living in the past, this isn’t about the 7 Superbowls, this is about 2022 and 2022 Brady has been a mediocre QB

  50. Yucs2Bucs Says:

    @joe I still don’t understand after two seasons where one brought the Super Bowl and obviously last years meltdown against the Rams they would be the laughing stock of the NFL ? I can’t ever remember a team have such a collapse that quick and what Tom Brady wants he obviously gets because not only has it ruined this year, but years to come. They paid ( Shaq, Gholston, CG, CD ) a lot of money and one thing you can’t buy is leadership. I don’t know how many on here are season ticket holders, but will not be renewing after this season. We are stuck with over priced FA and it’s hard to feel sorry for Shaq after getting paid such a hefty bag and stinks because they can’t trade them. It’s the greatest lie ever sold to Buc Fans !!! The trainers must be feeding them donuts and skittles because Lenny and most on the defense are so out of shape and yes they won the Super Bowl 2 years ago, but besides Whirfs I would trade everyone!!! Lastly Tom Brady is injured and those throws ( 3 were easy INTS ) and his pocket awareness is so off because the O Line didn’t play that bad. He obviously is dealing with a lot and since they are 3-5 why not put Blaine in ? It can’t get any worse, but his mind is elsewhere and if that’s from Pete Davidson to his divorce. The locker room is very divided and those players loved the attention when the GOAT came here and played extremely well and they somehow won a SB in the first year. Now it’s over and time to blow this team up while players like Evans, White ( who’s horrible ) and others can draw interest. It was a nice 2 years and might have been 3 but unfortunately now they can play for a good draft pick… thanks for your site and the fun takes, but I’m officially done with this organization until they blow it up and start over

  51. Scooter Says:

    fOX cable news has Brady and Gisiele filing for divorce today.

  52. Bucsfanman Says:

    Complementary football! Last night was a prime example of it by the Ravens. Long drives that wore out our defenders while keeping our (ahem) supposedly high-power offense off the field.
    Did someone say “run game”?!

    It’s clear we’re missing both their production and their leadership.

    “Paging Akiem Hicks”…

  53. Nprbuc Says:

    Gisele files for divorce. Tom said he won’t fight it. Maybe now he will think more of football?

  54. Tiny Dungy Says:


  55. Power of Pewter Says:

    Licht has not only failed to adequately replace departed players, those players were leaders. Who are the team leaders now? The guy who takes a 2 week vacay during training camp? It certainly isn’t the coaches, who can’t even hold themselves accountable. The season is circling the bowl, Glazers need to push the handle and flush it down, get a fresh start on next years rebuild.

  56. Rod Munch Says:

    I got the news alert on my phone that said Tom Brady in the title, and I legit thought it was that he announced he’s retiring again.

    Thankfully it was just his divorce being announced.

    Well, like any good workaholic, he should now throw himself completely into work and I wouldn’t doubt if we start hearing that he’s sleeping overnights in One Buc Place.

  57. Ed Says:

    Plenty of blame: coaching, Brady off, defense horrible, but possibly worst of all is the run game. 44 yards for an entire game, while the Ravens had 200+???? Absurd. Desperately need to be able to run the ball to take pressure off Brady and keep the defense off the field.

  58. Rod Munch Says:

    Keanu Neal is really really bad. He’s washed up, way too slow, should be cut.

    But the Bucs have ZERO cap space, which is why Hicks was never put on IR, because they can’t afford to pay even a replacement level player unless they absolutely have too.

    The scheme was fine, both last night and last week, but backups, #22, #27 and #30 KILLED the defense. Missing tackles, overrunning plays, and just flat out being too slow.

    #27 is a late round rookie who clearly isn’t ready yet – I wouldn’t throw him completely under the bus yet, but #22 and #30 should be cut, they provide nothing. But, again, the Bucs really don’t have the cap space to do even these minor moves.

    Out of the three, however, it’s Neal thats MUST go. He’s just too slow, and you’re not getting a step back at this point. Then, on top of being too slow, he can’t tackle.

  59. Ab Says:

    And how many could we have back if not for that ridiculous Gage signing?

  60. Buczilla Says:

    Suh will be in the hof someday and it was a bonehead decision not to resign him. I’ve been singing Lichts praises for awhile now, but his free agent hall this year stinks. He obviously signed off on retaining these gods awful coaches as well, so he has got to bear some blame for the current state of our team. I’m so pi$$ed at this point that I”d be fine with a clean sweep of both the coaches and front office at years end. Please make your every once in awhile good decision glazers and make either Jim Harbaugh or Sean Payton an offer that they can’t refuse.

  61. Statguy Says:

    Only time this year this team has played inspired football was after Evans was ejected and Arians was on the sideline

  62. Jeff Says:

    If this lousy offense was as “good” at the defense the Yucs would have 5 wins.

  63. Crickett Baker Says:

    I feel sorry for Tom for the first time. He couldn’t find a way to make it work in his marriage so he came back to football (imo). Now he is failing in that, too. I sure hope he makes a fantastic broadcaster.

  64. Rod Munch Says:

    Jeff Says:
    October 28th, 2022 at 12:18 pm
    If this lousy offense was as “good” at the defense the Yucs would have 5 wins.


    Actually, I contend they’d be 7-1 as they would have put the Ravens away early and made them pass all night, and they couldn’t pass worth anything.

    The only game the Bucs have been out of, that they would have lost even with last years Arian’s offense, is the Chiefs game.

    The defense has mostly done their part, although injuries are really stacking up now.

  65. captivajim Says:

    Licht lets Whitehead go , refuses to talk to Suh or JPP, but picks up Hicks,Rudolf,Jones, & Bernard…. . Licht should be fired –but I doubt Glazers will fire anyone….

  66. Browsing from DC via MA Says:

    Suh is someone who would also get special attention if not draw a double team which might allow #45 to stop running around like a mad man, getting tied up with a blocker all damn night like last night (smh) and get in on some tackles. White has just been bad lately on most run plays.

    True he spied a lot on Jackson but he got manhandled all night (again).

    It’s nuts that Hicks wasn’t pit on IR also. Plantar fascia injuries are hard enough for an average sized guy but putting 300 lbs on it? 4 weeks my arse. If he plays next week it will probably flare up by halftime.

    That said, Suh is still a menacing presence in the middle. If he’s still in shape, sign him ASAP. If he didn’t have a face mask on his helmet, he’d tackle guys with his teeth.

  67. Vadertime Says:

    The offense sucks and as much as I love Tom Brady, he seems out of sync with his receivers this year. The running game is non-existent. The defense looks bad, because they can’t stay off the field long enough to recuperate, because of the sucky offense. The coaches suck. Todd Bowles didn’t do much up in NY and I feel like he will sink the Bucs’ ship. I am not sure what’s going on with Leftwich, but he has called some really bad plays this season – this was very evident in the Carolina game on 4th and 1. If the Bucs tank this season, then maybe they need to clean house and look towards a complete rebuild. Brady won’t be back and Trask is not gonna fill those shoes. BTW, both NBC Sports and ESPN are reporting that Brady and Bundchen have officially announced their divorce a little while ago. Sad, but that’s the way the football bounces. Go Bucs.

  68. Willie Says:

    Blame that on licht, if the glazers don’t intervene this team
    Is going to be the laughing stock of the NFL!!

  69. BucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Nice to finally see that the masses have grasped what a mess Jason Licht has created with his pi$$ poor personnel decisions. 8 wins could easily win this division Jason Licht – so get off your stupid arse Jason Licht and apologize to Suh and sign him NOW. Sign JC Tretter who you should have signed within a day of Ryan Jensen blowing up his knee. DO YOUR FREAKING JOB LICHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  70. Georgej Says:

    Well all you blaming Brady you won’t have to worry about that for long . He’ll be gone next September!!! Then all you will have is that lousy HC you all adore. He sucked coaching the Jets and watching him again he hasn’t changed . Good luck with him.

  71. Tony Says:

    I think all of the fans could be helping this team alot better than the front office & coaching staff. I said they should’ve considered trading for Quinn once everything came out about Chicago talking about possibly trading him & they could definitely use him now with Barrett gonna be out until next year. They need to go out & trade for Bradley Chubb or Josh Allen. I would’ve considered Josh Allen over Devin White that year they were coming out, too!

  72. Tony Says:

    Trade for Chubb or Allen & put them with Barrett because Barrett is gonna need somebody else with him. Tryon seems like he still needs more time & Nelson doesn’t seem like anything special. That’s why they need more picks, too! They need at least one more OL, one more DE, one more DT, one more CB, one more S, one more TE, one more WR & depending on Brady & what they think of Trask then another QB. There’s at least eight there & they don’t even have eight picks. They like to trade away their picks.

  73. Nick2 Says:

    EXACTLY Suh is not soft like Devin White!!! If Jason doesn’t bring him in soon we might as well tank fir draft picks WE SUCK!!!!!!!!@ Weve been missing Suh bad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  74. Rod Munch Says:

    Have any of you dummies ever thought about the fact that Suh doesn’t want to play? If he did, I’m pretty sure Licht brings him back. But Suh wants to be paid, nothing wrong with that, but he’s already on the books this year for $8-million. The Bucs literally don’t have the cap space to pay him another $8-million, and there’s no indication that Suh would do another void years deal where he might not see most of his money for another 2 or 3 years, which is the only possible way the Bucs could fit him under the cap.

    I know everyone says you can do anything with the cap — but the thing is, the Bucs have already done just about everything you can do. Looking at the cap hits, and where they can still free up money, you’re basically down to cutting a bunch of guys, and we’re talking about guys like SMB, Dean, Edwards, Nacho, Succop – ALL of them just to make like $7m in cap space. There’s not really anymore restructures they can do at this point.

  75. orlbucfan Says:

    We don’t need any more old fossils including Suh. We need a change at QB effective now. If Bowles has any brain matter left between his ears, he will let Trask practice with the first team offense. He’s got over a week before the Rams roll in. He will also tell White to shuttup, deliver, or he’s gone. It will boost morale, that’s for sure!

  76. FrontFour Says:

    Obvious. The new guys aren’t as good as the old guys. Period. Stop.

  77. DavidBigBucsFan99 Says:

    If the o line could block the guy in front of them even or runs up the middle would work. It’s not the just the play calls as much as the line being too weak to run block.
    The defense did a great job the first half keeping them to 3 points but were toast because they’re still trying to catch their breath from 3 games ago! The offense is killing this team only so much the defense can do to stop the flood gates