Todd Bowles Says Run Defense “Keeps Me Up All Night,” Fingers Vita Vea

October 25th, 2022

Head coach Todd Bowles

The Buccaneers defense was handcrafted to stop the run with elite run stuffers and a philosophy that prioritizes it, but Tampa Bay only is an average run-stopping unit this season.

In fact, the Bucs rank 16th in yards per carry allowed and have had 590 yards run on them in the past four games.

Head coach Todd Bowles was on the Buccaneers Radio Network this evening and was asked whether the run defense struggles keep him awake at night.

“Yeah, that keeps me up all night and I can’t sleep,” Bowles said before talking about two busted run fits against Carolina that led to big plays.

“And it’s a shame because it’s a routine play and one of our guys got out of our gap one time and one of them got out of their gap the other time. And they were right there and didn’t make the play, and that’s disheartening. We gotta have more pride and self-esteem when it comes to somebody trying to run the football on us. … We talk about it all the time. Two mishaps can mess up a whole day and it really did.”

Bowles later added that manbeast defensive tackle Vita Vita was “the culprit” on one of the plays.

In his fourth year coaching the Bucs defense and with a lot of veteran players, Bowles said the fails are certainly from the neck up.

“I see it them as a mental lapse because they do them right thing six to eight times during the game. And they see the same thing, and then the one time they do it wrong, it costs us,” Bowles said. “And they have no rhyme or reason to see anything to do it wrong. So we got to be more mature there … “

The fall of the run defense is shocking after the Bucs truly were elite at stopping the run in 2019 and 2020, one of the great run defenses of all-time.

It took a step backwards last season but was still strong. Now it’s becoming a liability.

Sad times at One Buc Palace.

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62 Responses to “Todd Bowles Says Run Defense “Keeps Me Up All Night,” Fingers Vita Vea”

  1. Ohyuh Says:

    Woah, is that going to warrant an investigation?

  2. Bucsfan13 Says:

    I blame Vea’s marital issues. Guy just does seem all in. He’s checked out.

  3. Your Mom Says:

    Suh was the secret sauce in that recipe, sorry….

  4. Roc Says:

    Vita is playing just like McSofty did on a team under Raheem with no fire just like this team under Bowles

    History repeats its self

  5. Beej Says:

    I’m starting to wonder if Vita feels lost without him

  6. HC Grover Says:

    Clue….put Plan 9 on the bench.

  7. Craig Says:

    Vita has always seemed out of shape to me, but he is the biggest clog in the pipeline, so he has to build some stamina.

    He can get off of some plays early, but fades quickly.

    Also, you can’t just blame him. Devin White is supposed to half of the second line and he just can’t tackle a running back cleanly.

  8. Destinjohnny Says:

    We haven’t had a draft pick that was any good on the d line in a long time that wasn’t a high pick.
    You have to hit some of those picks to get it and keep it going.
    Vita got paid but this to me falls at he feet of our GM

  9. bucs4life Says:

    Vita Vea is one man. Unfortunately we lack depth at the defensive line. That’s pretty much it.

  10. robert Says:

    still blaming players…….and they wonder why there seems to be no fire in this team.

    when a boss constantly blames his people for things…it usually leads to resentment. people don’t forget when they are thrown under the bus. this team and coaching staff are toast, even if they seem to turn it around for a short while.

    These coaches need to be fired before thursday night. I bet they would come out and beat the crap out of the ravens if only the glazers would do it. NOW

  11. 74 Bucs Fan Says:

    Could Winfield give tackling lessons? First in line – Devin White

  12. T REX Says:

    Vea is another awful Licht pick.

    Dude is awful

    Can’t even play 50% of the snaps

    Cut him. He’s a loser

  13. CleanHouse Says:

    As I’ve said all along (this must make me a troll…)
    Suh and JPP held it together
    Look for captain fireworks to have 3 Ravens sacks on Thursday

  14. steele Says:

    “No rhyme or reason.” That says it all. These lapses are happening in the minds of many, including the veterans who are supposed to be setting the example.

    Collectively and individually, someone needs to take charge, in a way that gets in the heads of resistant, mentally off guys to perform consistently, every single play. Not easy, because the malaise has been gradual and worsening since….winning the SB.

    The entire culture needs to be reset and changed.

  15. steele Says:

    Does anyone remember how everyone was talking up Vea this spring, that he was in shape and more beastly than ever before? That he was one of the stalwarts, as long as he was healthy and stayed on the field? That as long as Vea was there, they didn’t have to dramatically add help, and Suh wasn’t needed?

  16. Adrnagy Says:

    Whitehead is missed. Last year without him we struggle. Whitehead and Winfield made a good combo.
    Edwards is missing angles.

  17. DoooshLaRue Says:

    I hope Todd washed his finger.

  18. Pelsbuc61 Says:

    Suh and JPP were the alpha dogs that didn’t tolerate these types of defensive sh%tshows. Devin White just freelances all game long and he’s never been scolded or benched. Vea is a waste and Tryon is approaching bust status as well. But for Brady for 2 yrs, GM Licht is back to showing again his glaring incompetence.

  19. Winny Testaverde Says:

    VV is trending down…way down. Super Bowl 55 win is irreplaceable. But the greedy guy in me points out that Josh Allen was taken with the Bucs original pick…traded for VV and MJ Stewart. Yikes. Winny still had a year to stink up the joint further and leave no doubt but yeah…Josh Allen. ( Denver hates themselves too for passing on him ).

  20. adam from ny Says:

    The rock of gibraltar…big suh brought it all together…he quietly led the troops and the rest are complimentary pieces


  21. Beej Says:

    I see them busting big runs right up the middle. I suppose 2-3 guys can be overpowering Vita

  22. SB Says:

    JOE I am really upset with whichever one of you is typing this article with the Headline that Vita was implicated as a good reason for the collapse and Bowles
    Fingered him.

    ONE play that you won’t even breakdown and all we get is
    “Bowles later added that manbeast defensive tackle Vita Vita was “the culprit” on one of the plays”
    I mean he JUST said that it was six to eight plays and you write a ‘sensationalism article ONE ONE BAD PLAY?????? First, re-read what’s here. Bowles noted two bad plays not six or eight. Second, it’s the head coach talking, and it’s rare for him to name names. In fact, he didn’t initially on this broadcast but opted to name Vea later. The coach said it and Joe shared it. The specifics are not relevant. Failed run fit. –Joe
    Without even getting into specifics???\
    You are better than this.

  23. SB Says:

    And……..I say that respectfully. Been here for 12 years as I am sure you well know.

  24. Bojim Says:

    Well blame it all on Vea. Can’t do it himself and a few of you guys loved him and now say JL shouldn’t have drafted him. SMFH.

  25. SB Says:

    Roc Says:
    October 25th, 2022 at 8:04 pm
    Vita is playing just like McSofty did on a team under Raheem with no fire just like this team under Bowles

    History repeats its self

    “IDIOCY” Personified in this post.
    DUDE Vea is not the one having his corners play 9 yards off on a 3rd and 4 or 3!
    You definitely do NOT know football Or you are a latecomer OR BOTH

  26. SB Says:

    If you don’t post my comment Joe than you are just like Mainstream Media that you claim to hate. I said nothing unacceptable in that post Unless You don’t accept it

  27. SB Says:

    Thank You Joe!

  28. Whoolio? Says:

    Vea needs a trainer and a portable oxygen tank on the field. Can’t make the right decisions or get any push when you’re exhausted having to play more then 50% of snaps.

  29. Beej Says:

    Rumor is Broncos gonna trade Bradley Chubb if they lose to JAX overseas

  30. Aceofaerospace Says:

    I’ve said it before Suh at 50% is better than Hicks at 0%.

  31. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    SB…..had some of that “Montana Moonshine” tonight?

    As for the run defense….I could buy that Vita missed a play & isn’t as dominant as before…
    But I am seeing running backs carry 3 or 4 Bucs on their backs getting an extra 3 or 4 yards on many carries….we are simply too soft…..way too soft and it’s not just Vita.

  32. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    TBBF is packing it in for the night…..

    Can I hear a “Let’s go Brandon (Byron)”?

  33. Defense Rules Says:

    Vea played 70% of the snaps in that Panthers game. Sorry, but he’s already shown that he can’t handle that. Keep him down at 50%, max 60%, and he’s OK, but more than that and he’s easily handled. I watched him get double-teamed constantly in the game, which is understandable. Still, he did manage to get in on 5 tackles (2 solos), with 1 TFL, 1 sack & 1 QB hit in his 35 def snaps. Better than the rest of our DLine did COLLECTIVELY.

    Noticed Sunday that RNR was playing a lot more. He had 4 tackles (2 solo) plus 1 TFL in his 27 def snaps (54%). Senat got 4 tackles also (3 solo) plus 1 TFL in his 12 def snaps (24%). Neither of them have impressed me though.

    But it went downhill after that. Logan Hall got 21 def snaps (42%) but only got 1 tackle … that’s it. Will Gholston got 3 tackles (2 solo) … that’s it. Shaq Barrett got 2 tackle assists in 32 def snaps (64%) … that’s it. JTS also got 2 assists in 32 def snaps (64%) … that was it for him. Anthony Nelson & Carl Nassib both got in for 18 def snaps each (36%) but each only got 1 tackle … wow. Collectively our DLine & our DE/OLBs didn’t do squat. Well, except allow the Panthers to run for 173 yards.

    Personally I don’t think the talent’s there this year. JTS, Hall, Senat, Nassib, even Nelson haven’t impressed me in this last string of losses. Shaq seems to have all but disappeared. RNR & Gholston are good subs, but not lead dogs. And Vea has shown that he can’t consistently handle an increased workload.

    And all of us can forget bringing back Suh. I’ll give him credit for being a smarter than to re-sign back on to this sheet-show. Same with Gronk. Far as I’m concerned, we’ve got Licht to thank for this mess.

  34. unbelievable Says:

    Vea has been getting pushed around A LOT this season.

    It’s a damn shame he can’t handle playing more than 40 – 50% of snaps.

    And regardless of how much their play “dropped off” last season, JPP and Suh were clearly better than their replacements.

    JTS is Bowers 2.0 – gifted a starting job without ever earning it, simply due to draft position.

  35. Defense Rules Says:

    SB … Sometimes I have comments that simply don’t post. I’ll just go back 1 screen, then figure out what word is likely triggering Joe’s algorithm (not swear words BTW). Resubmit then it usually goes through. If not, send it out 1 or 2 paragraphs at a time & see if that goes through (If not, you then know where the problem is).

    Other times, some things end up in the cooler. Joe’s always good about posting them after a delay, oftentimes even when I include links to different articles (some sites won’t allow that). Far as I’m concerned, it’s Joe’s website (OK, blog) and he has to protect it. Far too many garbage sites out there & the world doesn’t need another one.

  36. JimmyJack Says:

    Since Vita clearly isnt getting it done as a run stuffer i say we find something useful for him to do and use him as a fullback on 3rd&1.

  37. unbelievable Says:

    And Shaq… I dunno man he either makes a splash play, or does nothing. At least that’s how it feels and looks. I haven’t checked his “pressure” stats recently.

    That said, I blame Bowles for having him running down the field covering a damn wide receiver.

  38. Anonymous Says:

    Bowers > JTS

  39. Buc king Says:

    Whole dline has been blah

  40. Whoolio? Says:

    Wait Bowles did what to Vea? Thats just wrong. No wonder he looked so shook on Sunday.. But for real Vea needs a portable oxygen tank on the field to be effective playing anymore then 50% of snaps. Get dude a trainer who holds him accountable and a 24/7 dietician who controls the lock that should be installed on his fridge.

  41. Whoolio? Says:

    LGB and FBL.

  42. Danbucsfan Says:

    Time to go 1 and 0 ten more times in the regular season, then the tournament starts and TB12 will lead us. GO BUCS! 1 and 0 STARTS THURSDAY

  43. Mike Johnson Says:

    People failed to realize how much fight Suh and JPP breathed into our D line. JPP had heart and really motivated that D line. And Suh plugged a lotta holes freeing up Vita. Now we got all those injuries in the secondary. It might get ugly come Thursday night guys. We could easily go 3-5.

  44. SB Says:

    I love your mindset Danbucsbro!!
    I wish we ALL could adapt to that theory!

  45. captivajim Says:

    no Suh and , no JPP……… and , who made that decision —Licht again !!!

  46. Your Mom Says:

    “Keeps me up all night… fingers Vita Vea”

    someone been watching too much pr0n i think

  47. adam from ny Says:

    nobody runs over big kong suh…and that’s a fact…

    he shoulda been brought in here at least a few weeks ago…

    we’re being run on like a lawnmower…

    cold getting mowed over…

    suh is probably watching at home and shaking his head…


  48. adam from ny Says:

    and jpp is getting crazy in the media already…

    yup, this game is his personal little superbowl…

    remember when even gerald mccoy had 2 sack a couple seasons back for carolina in his first game back vs the bucs…

    dudes really get up for these “well you think i’m washed up” type games…

    i swear if things get out of hand, jpp could average one sack per quarter himself on thursday night…

    i think he’ll get a couple sacks…hopefully he gently puts tom down and kisses his old teammates helmet and jogs back to the other side of the ball

  49. Bucobill99 Says:

    Wow so many future gms in this section

  50. Hodad Says:

    I’d say White is a bigger problem then Vea. There’s been to many high paid players under preforming. Put David on that list too.

  51. A Says:

    You know they say “60% of the of the time, it works every time”!

  52. MadMax Says:

    Well, if he’s up all night fingering Big V….then houston we have a serious problem lol.

  53. Bucamania Says:

    Vita Vea has been mailing it in this year. Huge disappointment.

  54. matthew a veal Says:

    everybody makes mistakes, you’ve got to find an advantage. old advantages die. the cover 2 was once a great defense and beofre that john mckay had a great 3-4 defense. now they are good situational defenses but not the way full time

    maybe a 3-3 -5 would work, i dont know. we need a new advantage.

  55. Goatfarmer Says:

    Pride. Self esteem. Lacking. I called it earlier this season. Collecting a paycheck they don’t deserve (Vita) and won’t deserve (Diva).

    Promote Myoron Leftboob to Strategic Vice President of Football Statistical Calibrations, name Clod as OC but quietly give the headset to BA while he’s upstairs.


  56. BucDaWorld Says:

    This is who Vita is. Let us not forget Licht had to talk to him to finally get him to play better. It wasn’t until Suh got here he started really playing with some fire. Now he and Devin are the leaders of that front seven and they are getting worse. The secondary was better with Logan Ryan and Winfield because they are better leaders and take their jobs seriously. With them out this defense is a mess. This is where David and Gholston have to step up as veterans and take control of this thing.

  57. View from 132 Says:

    Bowles fingers Vita Vea is not the best choice words.

  58. TBBucsFan75 Says:

    Devin White was the problem on a number of big runs for Carolina. Any time a misdirection or counter play is ran he initially over pursues and can’t get back in position to make the tackle. Teams see this on tape and are using it more and more against us. When are the Bucs going to realize White needs to be playing downhill into the backfield. Playing laterally or in coverage is not his strength, every week they take their most talented defensive player and stick him in a role that allows opponents to expose his weaknesses rather than in a position that plays to his strength and teams would have to scheme for such as Micah Parsons. That is the type of role Devin White should be playing for this defense. See ball get ball, whether it’s rushing the QB or getting into the backfield on run plays he is at his best when he is running in a straight line towards a target.

  59. Browsing from DC via MA Says:

    Suh was a mean s.o.b. and played like you insulted his momma if you tried to run at him. He looked at whoever was opposite him on the Oline as a pu**y who was just in his way. No swagger on this D and no fire from the coaches. He may not have posted “big numbers” last year but teams were also afraid to run up the middle so teams tested our beat up secondary instead. Not too late to bring him back. Use the “Gronk money”. Lol

    PS….look for JPP to have a big game against us Thursday night. Not out of revenge, just pride and he’s looked good so far for the Crows.

  60. captivajim Says:

    So , bowles fingers VEA-who has 3 sacks this yr vs the 3.5 he had all of last yr ???

    But ,bowles dosen’t finger one of his pets = “the mouth ” White, who has not been in position regularly , who tries to tackle high , who over-runs opponents , and who commits fouls at the most “opportune time “–could be roughing the passer , or just the garden variety personal foul….

  61. Ranger Walker Says:

    Suh is an easy answer to that but Whitehead is the forgotten secret sauce to our run defense as well and just put all around tackling. We miss him

  62. Ranger Walker Says:

    Quinn for a 4th… Where the Hell is Licht on all these, all the rumours we wanted offensive help like a WR but we don’t go after Toney for peanuts. All our opponents have gotten much stronger