Gentlemen, We Must Gang-Tackle

September 8th, 2023

Tackling a team thing, says Larry Foote.

Joe always likes citing his old high school coach because, damn, Joe learned so, so much football from the guy.

And it was cool to have a high school coach who played for John Madden and Tom Landry while his position coach was Gene Stallings.

One thing Joe’s old coach told the defense — emphatically — before every game, “Gentlemen, we must gang-tackle.”

Following this order was not optional. If he caught you standing around on defense, or not hustling to the ball, out you came. And that was often quickly followed by a royal arse-chewing.

Joe was reminded of this listening to Bucs inside linebackers coach Larry Foote yesterday. Rather uncharacteristically for a Todd Bowles-coached team last season, the Bucs slipped up defending the run, finishing No. 15 against the run in total yardage.

The Bucs led the NFL in total yardage allowed on the ground in 2019 and 2020 and were third in 2021. So dropping to No. 15 is a huge dropoff.

Yesterday, Foote said one way to get back to a lockdown run defense, in so many words, was gang-tackling. He said the secondary has to be more involved.

“All hands on deck,” Foote said of improving the run defense. “Our front seven [always get talked about] rightfully so, but to have a good run defense, you need all 11 guys – corners, safeties, everybody has got to put their hand in there.

“There’s a lot more running quarterbacks in this league. … The standard is the standard around here. We’ve got to make them one-dimensional.”

Joe doesn’t worry about Antoine Winfield. He loves contact and damn, he’s a good tackler! It still blows Joe away that Sports Information Systems had Winfield with just one missed tackle last season — one!

So the way Foote seems to look at it, if Carlton Davis, Jamel Dean, Ryan Neal and Christian Izien can each contribute a little more (yes, Joe knows Izien is a rookie),the Bucs will return to their arse-kicking ways with the run defense.

Simply put, gentlemen, you must gang-tackle.

18 Responses to “Gentlemen, We Must Gang-Tackle”

  1. Fire Bowles Says:

    Great way to stop the run…gang tackle!
    2 birds, 1 stone.

  2. Hunter's Crack Pipe Says:

    “… if Carlton Davis, Jamel Dean, Ryan Neal and Christian Izien can each contribute a little more…”

    … and if Diva White improves his discipline and technique. Those DB sometimes take angles to the ball based on where they expect the linebacker to force to runner to go. If the linebacker whiffs on his technique, it can make the others look out of position, too. Same with JTS, who often gets pinned inside when it looked like he was supposed to have a containment assignment.

  3. BA’s Red Pen Says:

    The biggest reason for the drop off with the run defense was because they got rid of Suh who brought it every down and replaced him with sorry azz Hicks who basically stole Glazer money all last season. Old boy Donny Smith get called for holding and cost the Chiefs the game last night? The more things change, the more they stay the same! lol

  4. Boss Says:

    suh was the gang

  5. Everything is just horrble! Says:

    2 more days and everything is glorious!!!
    Licht for presidente!

  6. Plex Says:

    Drop that Donovan Smith article! I almost died laughing last night LMAO

  7. Da Bucs Guy Says:

    Suh was the difference.

  8. KingLDavid54 Says:

    I’m not convinced that the absence of Ndamukong Suh is the difference maker, much less made a difference. It’s always telling when someone from the Bucs leaves the team. It provides you an opportunity to see what other teams with fresh eyes see in them. For Suh, it ultimately resulted in 8 games played for the Eagles last year, in a total of ~30% of the defensive snaps.

  9. Glass Half Full Guy Says:

    I think we’ll be ok in the middle with our run D. I do worry a little about our edge guys keeping their discipline and maintaining the edge contain vs the run. With so much emphasis (seemingly) being placed on getting after the QB, I hope equal time is spent working on that. It seemed that too many backs got good gains running outside last year. (Inside too last

    Gap discipline usually slows things down enough for others to get in on the gang tackling.

    Detroit did a great job last night. Only allowed 90 rushing yards and half of that (45) was Mahomes scrambling on busted pass plays.

    Can’t wait for Sunday!!!!

  10. Defense Rules Says:

    Joe … ‘And it was cool to have a high school coach who played for John Madden and Tom Landry while his position coach was Gene Stallings.’

    I can’t even imagine what a thrill that must’ve been Joe. To have a coach who played for just one of those would be awesome, but to have a coach who played for all three? Wow! I went to Tuscaloosa last Fall to the Alabama-Auburn game & had a chance to spend a couple hours prior at the Bear Bryant Museum on campus. Total goosebumps.

    Larry Foote’s right BTW. ‘You need all 11 guys to put their hand in there’. Gang tackling was a trademark of Monte’s defenses. None of this ‘Let the other guys do it’ horsepuckey. All hands on deck.

  11. Jeff Says:

    What a revelation! Football is so complex! How could us ham and eggers every understand such a complicated game?

  12. Defense Rules Says:

    KingLDavid54 … Ndamukong Suh brought the same thing to the defense that Ryan Jensen brought to the offense … ATTITUDE. The attitude that says ‘This land is my land & I’d love to have you try to take it from me’. JPP kinda brought the same ATTITUDE, and that’s what made him special also IMO. Youngsters like JTS & Hall haven’t developed that same attitude yet, but they’d better if they expect to be successful in this league.

    I think Suh was special because you could see a big difference in the defense starting in 2019 when he came onboard. A lot of other changes occurred at the same time (new coaching staff, lots of new players, etc), but the impact was immediate. On defense, Suh set the tone & brought others along. For instance, his impact on Vea & Gholston was pronounced & immediate; they both blossomed with Suh out there.

  13. BillyBucco Says:

    Watching Gardner-Johnson last night was the way I want our safeties to play.
    I’m not too worried about Winfield but sure hope Neal is as advertised.
    We really need Davis and Dean to step up and have solid technique also.
    I also hope Izien is good at blitzing.
    Their defense is still ranked as the 29th best defense, so I don’t see why EVERYONE is picking them?
    Last year was an anomaly that won’t be repeated and they just are not that good IMO.
    LFG win this thing!!!!

  14. Infomeplease Says:

    The young guys need to step up. Many high recent draft picks were devoted to the d line and linebackers. It’s time for them to step up and earn their roster spots!!!! This team has no room to beat itself with missed tackles and penalties. The journey begins Sunday!

  15. HC Grover Says:

    Bowles D and game plan.will be the key to the game. The O should rack up some scores on our WR’s v the Vikes rookie CB’s.

  16. 1#bucsfan Says:

    If the defense can can get back to stopping the run and find a pass rush it will be great and it will help out the offense tremendously. Until the offense can hit on all cylinders the defense needs to lead the charge and you start by suffocating the run and turn up the heat on the QB. Really hope the defense comes together and plays great. Let ketch the league off guard

  17. teacherman777 Says:

    Suh may not have gotten a lot of sacks.

    But he was “the immovable object.”

    Suh was never pushed off the line.


    JPP also didn’t get much pressure his last year. (He had 1 arm)

    But JPP was also impossible to move.

  18. garro Says:

    Not just the back end Joe the entire defense looked like they have never seen a proper form tackle last season with the exception of Gholston, AWJ, LVD. and that indeed reflects poorly on the defensive coaching staff as a whole.

    I did notice a bit of the gang tackling in preseason. Though some still lacking technique. Still too much grab grab grab as Vince Lombardi would say.

    Go Bucs!