Is Defense One Player Away From Elite?

March 5th, 2023

Bucs coach Todd Bowles.

Last year the Bucs defense was probably one player away from being really dominant.

This year? Joe fears the Bucs will be two players away if Jamel Dean leaves in free agency next week.

One thing jumped out at Joe looking at 2022 team stats last night. The Bucs were ninth overall in defense and in pass defense.

For a losing team, that’s impressive — and shameful that its offense with so many stars couldn’t take advantage.

But think about it: The Bucs had a top-10 defense without an edge rusher. Everyone from Team Glazer to your hardcore Bucs fan sitting at Hooters is waiting for Joe Tryon-Shoyinka to do something, anything, other than get a sack once every four games.

And remember, the Bucs lost Shaq Barrett for the second half of the season with a blown Achilles. Joe fears he may never be the same.

So as frustrating as the 8-10 record was, and as outrageous as it was to see the incompetence of failed Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich on full display, Bucs coach Todd Bowles did at least a solid job with the defense.

If the Bucs only had an edge rusher.

44 Responses to “Is Defense One Player Away From Elite?”

  1. D-Rok Says:

    An EDGE is probably the Bucs biggest NEED at this point.

  2. tampabuscsbro Says:

    We are going to need it with how the offense may play this year.

  3. Voice of Truth Says:

    One player away? Two?

    How about we have exactly 1 DT and 5 of the top 7 DBs are FA

    Oh and LVD too

    The spin machine on heavy load this morning

  4. Letsbucinggo Says:

    The offense is also his responsibility he is the HEAD COACH not just the defensive coordinator. If Lefty was told to do something different and he didn’t thats a different story.

  5. Joe Swanson Says:

    The defense went from 1 player away to 6 players away.

  6. SKBucsFan Says:

    Can that one player play LB, CB and DT? If he can sign him up!

  7. sasquatch Says:

    Need to draft 2 Edge guys.

  8. Dooley Says:

    No, not with the amount of starters and depth we might end up losing to free agency. Hard to know what our defense will even look like with all the expected turnover let alone whether it’ll be a player away from being an “elite” unit. Way too many job openings to know how it’ll even function by opening weekend.

  9. Fansince76 Says:

    They should definitely draft best EDGE available in first round and Hooker in the second if he is still there. Third round should be best DB still on their board

  10. 97 bucBaby Says:

    Lmmfao this team is at least 3 to 4 defensive players away from being good and 3 on offense in order to be somewhat a factor lol

  11. SB~LV Says:

    Stop the BULL SHEET !

  12. Joe Swanson Says:

    Sasquatch we need to draft 2 edge rusher, 2 defensive backs, 2 defensive tackles, 1 linebacker and 1 offensive tackle that adds up to eight.

  13. Oxycondoms Says:

    Didnt look like it vs the cowboys

  14. SB~LV Says:

    Scratch Barrett
    He will never get back to his old self. Sure he can contribute as a knowledgeable veteran but he will not have the difference making abilities.
    We’ll know at the end of camp

  15. tampabayallday Says:

    If DW45 could actually play coverage and get turnovers then yea but that seems like a dream

  16. Marine Buc Says:

    No – this defense has way too many holes to be considered “elite”…

    We only have one starting CB.

    We only have one starting D-lineman and Logan Hall.

    We only have one starting safety.

    We only have one starting ILB.

    We only have one starting OLB who is healthy.

    We currently need way more than just an edge rusher to even be considered an “OK” defense…

  17. Goatfarmer Says:

    When Blowzo played anyone good, and/or even mediocre, he got roasted. He’s a disgrace. That defensive stat was the result of playing horrible QBs and still losing to them.

  18. BucsfanFred Says:

    Echoing what everyone else is saying: we need a lot more than one player. We are definitely letting several key cogs walk as free agents. No choice.

  19. BucsfanFred Says:

    Like Goat says, we blew chunks against elite offences. We did play Dallas tough for two series then after that first interception in the end zone we collapsed on both sides of the ball.

  20. Bucs Guy Says:

    Need a DE/OLB (maybe 2 if you lose Nelson or Nassib), DT to replace Hicks, LB to replace White (trade him) or LVD, at least one CB and a S. Yeah, we’re almost there.

  21. Gerald Yancy Says:

    How much football do y’all REALLY know. Drafting s bunch of rookies expecting them to come in a start is just stupid.
    There are players in the pipeline that know the system and at some point they have to be given a chance to show n prove. Now is that time!
    Britt , McCollum,Gardner , Russel, Snowden it’s there time , Yes , a rookie here or there is needed and expected.
    Several of the FA will resign , the only concern is David , will he forgo $ to retire a Buc!

  22. dmatt Says:

    You’re correct, we need to draft 2 Edge guys. I say good riddance of JTS if he haven’t elevated his game by game six. After watching him make multiple bone head plays that made him look like a fish outta water. He played lost most of the season n seemed to be out of his element.The no brainer play he failed to make against the Bengals after denying an easy under hand pass for int n possible td to him by Joe Burrow discussed me. No excuse for that bad play n it has nothing to do with sitting out his last year of college or leaving school early. A defensive end on any level in football knows not to bat a possible int down that is thrown to u n u only. I say draft Kansas St defensive end Anudike-Uzomah. Select edge in 1st n 2nd round. With pressure up front then u can use mediocre cb.

  23. slacker Says:

    Give us all a break. This is total nonsense

  24. Defense Rules Says:

    ‘Joe fears the Bucs will be two players away if Jamel Dean leaves in free agency next week.’

    Great line Joe, and a great laugh for a Sunday morning. I was thinking that you’re ‘cautiously optimistic’ but on further reflection I think it’s closer to ‘optimistically delusional’.

    Given that we have no money & tons of open holes on defense, Bucs have to figure out how to flesh out a roster based on these needs:

    o 2 DT to replace Hicks & Gholston to go with Vea as a minimum (replacing Hall as a 4th DT might also be a good idea, then let him move more to the outside; he’s not much of a threat inside).
    o 2 DE/OLB to replace Nelson & under-study for Shaq (prohibitive to move him this year, but moving him next year is a definite possibility).
    o 2 ILB to replace LVD & add a 4th ILB to go with White & Britt.
    o 3 CB to replace Dean, SMB & Delaney to go with Davis & McCollum.
    o 3 Safeties to replace Edwards, Neal & Ryan to go with Winfield

    Hmmm, I’m guessing that your computer dropped the ‘1’ Joe. Was it supposed to be 12 instead of 2 players away if Jamel leaves?

  25. Marine Buc Says:

    @ DR

    I agree.

    Hey Joe – please put together a starting defense with just the players we currently have under contract…

    See how that goes.

    I know – I know – I’m just being “negative”…

    In this twisted world we now live in – being realistic is now considered being a negative tin foil hat wearing conspiracy nut job.


  26. teacherman777 Says:

    Draft a 6-4 CB with 4.3 speed.

    Like Wooten from last year.

    The Seahawks got him in the 5th round!

    Wtf were we thinking?

  27. Voice of Truth Says:


  28. NEfan Says:

    Voice of@ EXACTLY!!! This team couldn’t get off the field on 3rd down for 3 seasons. What a joke! Joe’s, you’re reaching.

  29. slacker Says:

    This is as much ridiculous as anyone thinking that the BUCS will win this division. Couldn’t do it with a far more talented roster last year. What is Bowles going to do with an average at best roster? Speak the facts. This post Brady collapse was coming, it was written on the wall. Just accept it. Doesn’t make you less of a fan to just admit they are going to suck. It’s suppose to happen. Last year’s crap fest was the more embarrassing result than being bad when your expected too.

  30. ABucAway Says:

    Ha haha hahaha hahahahhaahhaah

  31. NYbucsfan Says:

    I am not sure you see the whole picture. We play in the NFC South, six games against teams that are not lighting up the scoreboard. Also, what do teams do when the have a lead? They ground and pound. When teams needed to score on us, they usually did. Am I wrong?

  32. HC Grover Says:

    Hard for Bowles to ruin an offense and a defense in one year. Now that the offense is done for he will concentrate on ruining the defense.

  33. Seattle Buc is back in TB Says:

    The Ravens ran right at the heart of the Bucs defense all night, knew it was coming, couldn’t stop it. Far from elite.

  34. TampabayDJ82 Says:

    Gerald – Well said about the know it alls on this site !! Same guys that said we were going undefeated after the Super Bowl and loved this team until they started losing… Bandwagon fans… Go Bucs and I trust the front office will do what is best for this team , not a bunch of azz scratching , couch potatoes who think they are all GM’s

  35. sasquatch Says:

    We’ve got way more needs than we can fill in the draft without some major maneuvering… and we have no money to get free agents… So, I see them working the UDFA market harder than they have in a while and maybe they can get lucky and find a couple guys there.

    Despite the defensive needs, I could still see them going TE or OL in round one.

  36. Destinjohnny Says:

    No we don’t have one elite player

  37. mark2001 Says:

    Kind of looked to me last year, like it was no players away from being obsolete.

  38. Mike S Says:

    Lukas Van Ness – kid looks like a can’t miss pick

  39. steele Says:

    They are a head coach and defensive coordinator away from good. At the very least. Many of the issues, especially with the veterans, is squarely coaching, which results in mental errors, bad execution, bad discipline, freelancing, and more. Purely from a roster perspective, they are several players away. Losing the injured and overpaid is the first step.

  40. Woodenman Says:

    Maybe we won’t suck?

  41. Scott Says:

    In what world was that a top 10 defense

  42. Craig Says:

    I would say the Bucs need at least four, probably six guys to improve it.

    That is more than the draft will offer, because Bowles cleaner needs to make his new OC happy with a draft pick or two.

    UDFAs might get it closer to done.

    I hate the lip service that says the Bucs defense was good last season. It is like the Bowles cleaner has blinders on. He isn’t a race horse, he is an over-extended DC who can’t let it go to be a HC.

  43. Capt.Tim Says:

    If you cant rush the passer- you wont be an good defense.

  44. garro Says:

    One player away???
    Wasn’t a true statement last year certainly not a true statement this year.
    Look at past statements from him and use some critical thinking. Alot of BS has consistently come out of Bowles mouth.