Defense Wasn’t The Problem (But Easily Could Be)

March 7th, 2023

Bucs coach Todd Bowles.

Joe guesses you could say Bucs coach Todd Bowles’ reputation precedes his team’s win-loss record.

And it says something about Bowles that even though he had a No. 9 defense overall last year, people squirm thinking he’s lost his touch.

Former Titans safety Tank Williams, typing for, listed three ways the Bucs can get back to being a powerbroker in the NFL. And the first, Williams says, is to bring fire to the defense.

Rediscover Swagger on Defense

Coach Todd Bowles has a reputation for giving offensive coordinators and quarterbacks nightmares. The Buccaneers’ defense didn’t play up to their standard as far as getting sacks and interceptions last season, probably due to all of the injuries they had.

They’re going to lose some players in free agency, probably [Lavonte] David. They need to try to retain [Jamel] Dean. So there will be some fluctuations on that defense. If they can stay healthy and get that swagger back, that will help them.

If the Buccaneers are going to have a young quarterback, they need to attack the football on defense because Trask is going to need the help. That will help build the franchise back to the level it was at just a few years ago.

“This Joe” has worn out his keyboard typing all offseason that the Bucs need to keep Jamel Dean. Without a pass rush — and Joe doesn’t expect one next year short of signing an established pass rusher — losing Dean might be disastrous.

And then, folks will have a reason to stomp and holler.

20 Responses to “Defense Wasn’t The Problem (But Easily Could Be)”

  1. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Dean has been okay in his Bucs career. Probably had his best season in a contract year. What would be a fair contract for him? Probably $7.5 mil a year. Will he get more than that? No doubt, probably double that. If he got a fat contract, would he go back to just being okay? Who knows. There are several good corners in the 2023 draft.
    Is this the same “Joe” that wants to tank? If so, and you want the Bucs to lose all of their games, what does it matter if Dean is back?

  2. K_bassuka Says:

    So Joe gets to bash certain college QBs because by picking and choosing games where things didn’t go their way, yet want us to believe everything is great and dandy with Bowles led defense even though the Cowboys moved up and down the field on the alleged “top 10 defense”, this is the same Cowboys team that couldn’t score ONE TD the following week when they faced a real top 10 defense. Love the double standard Joe!

  3. SB~LV Says:

    Bowles is a big problem
    the the Glazers and Jason need another season is a real mystery.
    Run FA’s Run !

  4. Bucfan Says:

    I’m looking forward to 2024 when the Bucs will have the #1 pick in the draft along with a NEW head coach.

  5. Mike C Says:

    Hey “Bucfan” why don’t you look forward to the top of the skyway, with your outlook on things….. why not?

  6. Defense Rules Says:

    How well the Bucs do this season is more dependent upon Jason Licht restocking this very depleted team than it is about Bowles’ coaching. I’m convinced that Bowles will let Canales run the offense … period. He got ‘his guy’ and to micromanage him would be akin to sabotaging him (besides, Bowles doesn’t strike me as a micromanager).

    It’s what he does with the defense that concerns me much more than that. I much prefer that Bowles focus on the head coaching role, and hire a DC. I thought George Edwards was gonna be that guy, and maybe he still will be. Regardless though, i see our defense vey likely ending up this year back to where we were when Bowles first got here in 2019. Tons of new moving parts, and it took a whole season to start coming together. Actually it wasn’t until halfway through 2020 that it all gelled.

  7. Joe Swanson Says:

    Not a pro bowl player not worth the money Winfield needs to get paid next year and Wirfs 5th year option next year roughly 18 mil or more if he switches to left tackle. Umm maybe thats why they don’t want toove him to left tackle. Money first team last.

  8. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Joe Swanson Says:
    March 7th, 2023 at 7:28 am
    Not a pro bowl player not worth the money Winfield needs to get paid next year and Wirfs 5th year option next year roughly 18 mil or more if he switches to left tackle. Umm maybe thats why they don’t want toove him to left tackle. Money first team last.
    If the Bucs switch Wirfs to LT, they don’t have to take a Tackle in the 1st. They can draft a CB to replace Dean or an Edge. The Bucs could probably find a starting RT in the 3rd Round.

  9. NEfan Says:

    Smoke & mirrors, #9 against shat teams. 60+ points last two PO games, 30+ avg points to all teams over 500. I love the injury excuse when the team went 13-4 in 2021 with far more injuries to the DB’s. Blows should not be a coach in the NFL, old school doesn’t cut it anymore.

  10. Infomeplease Says:

    After free agency this defense will be way different next season, not even top 15. At best mediocre. Sad but true.

  11. Jvato24 Says:

    Dean will probably get 18 million a year or more, he’s gone. And Bucs will get a 3rd round pick for it after season

  12. HC Grover Says:

    Bowzo had an offense led by Brady that scored 35 a game.

  13. sasquatch Says:

    The defense will look quite different this year. How can it not with all these free agents? I believe we’ll have a defense-focused draft and start several rookies. Dean isn’t coming back. Edwards will probably be allowed to leave. Hopefully Nelson is back on a reasonable contract (maybe 6-7 million).

  14. Goatfarmer Says:


    Four consecutive losing seasons as a head coich. And counting.

    What a great time to be a Bucs fan.


  15. Craig Says:

    If D. White doesn’t engage his brain he might turn the Bucs defense into even more of a problem.

    They made twp back up QBs look like All-pro players and that wasn’t a problem?

    I still think Bowles cleaner is over extending himself trying to be HC and DC at the same time, maybe he missed a few things.

  16. Rod Munch Says:

    Bowles could help out his defense by going back to being aggressive and to stop misusing his players. If White stinks in coverage, well, here’s an idea, don’t use him in coverage. If you’re not getting pressure from a 3-man or 4-man rush, well, here’s an idea, blitz.

    In 2021, with all the injuries in the secondary, Bowles went to playing a lot more zone, and that was the right call at the time, as you literally were starting guys off the street you signed only days before (Richard Sherman). But last year, you had most of your secondary for most of the year, and they still sat back in zone and blitzed at a much lower rate than in 2020. Because of that they didn’t create havoc, they didn’t bring pressure, and they didn’t get turnovers.

    One simple change goes back to White. I think he’s the best pass rusher on the team, and he’s a disrupter when he’s just tasked with blitzing up the middle. So just have him do that for 75% of the game and stop putting him in pass coverage for most of the game where he’s a liability. That move, alone, would help your defense tremendously.

  17. Scott Says:

    The defense sucked. Hardly any picks, sacks and we got torched. We need new blood on Def

  18. Defense Rules Says:

    The 2021 defense finished #5 in Points Allowed; our 2022 defense finished #13. So yes, there’s a slide there. Something was obviously amiss since our 2021 record as a team was 13-4, yet we slid to 8-9 in 2022.

    So what changed on defense? The DC & coaching staff was the same (although the DC did pick up an ‘additional duty’).

    o The number of points allowed was almost identical: 353 in 2021 vs 358 in 2022.
    o The number of defensive plays was slightly better last year: 1093 in 2021 vs 1073 in 2022.
    o We gave up a tad fewer total yards (5635 in 2021 vs 5513 in 2022).
    o We even gave up quite a few less 1st downs (344 in 2021 vs 314 in 2022).
    o Even our 3rd down numbers improved last season: we allowed opponents to convert 87 of 226 3rd down attempts (38.5%) in 2021, but that number decreased to letting them convert 87 of 236 3rd down attempts (36.9%) in 2022.
    o We even played roughly the same strength of schedule in 2022 as we did in 2021 (both years we played 7 teams with winning records).

    Based on just those stats, our defense looks like it actually did better last year than in 2021. And yet, SOMETHING changed because we fell to middle of the pack in ranking AND our record really took a fall.

    Obviously personnel changed. We lost Suh, JPP, Whitehead, McLendon, Cockrell, Minter, Desir, Adams, Sherman & Robinson (plus Shaq & Gill to IR) and replaced them with Hicks, Hall, Neal, Ryan, Nassib, McCollum, Senat, Avery, Russell, Fatukasi. Both years had a lot of injuries, but our experience level … and DEPTH … in 2021 seemed like it was a bit better IMO.

    I think the biggest change on the Bucs’ team that impacted the defense was the performance of THE OFFENSE. Our offense scored 511 points in 2021, but that fell to just 313 points scored in 2022 … a drop of almost 200 total points on the season; almost 12 PPG difference. That’s a MAJOR difference that had to affect the way the defense plays its’ cards. For instance, the Bucs blitzed 532 times in 2021, yet that fell to only 250 blitzes in 2022 … less than half. Decrease in takeaways (29 in 2021 down to 20 in 2022) also kinda indicates that guys just didn’t take as many risks in 2022. It’ll be interesting to see what 2023 holds.

  19. Bucswin Says:

    Defense rules.. Nailed it…..

  20. NEfan Says:

    DR, strength of schedule was determined at the onset of the season where teams like the Rams, Saints, GB were ranked much higher than what they were. Also what you failed to mention were the amount of defensive injuries in 2021 especially to the DB’s not to mention JPP. You sure have a way of spinning things in Blows favor.