Winning With Defense

October 7th, 2023

Winning with defense.

At least Bucky Brooks is an honest man.

The former NFL cornerback and kick returner turned scout — turned NFL Network talking head –confessed in his weekly column that of the first-place teams, the most surprising is the Bucs.

Baker Mayfield’s success has Brooks most surprised. What is not surprising to Brooks, it seems is that Bucs coach Todd Bowles has a strong defense.

Tampa’s defense has flexed its muscles, with the stars playing exceptionally well in an aggressive scheme that creates splash-play opportunities. With NT Vita Vea (3.5 sacks), LB Lavonte David (28 tackles, three tackles for losses, one sack), LB Devin White (26 tackles, one tackle for loss and an interception) and S Antoine Winfield Jr. (31 tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries) dominating the middle of the field, opponents are met with playmakers right up the spine at all three levels.

While 0-4 Carolina appears to be in the midst of a rebuilding season, Atlanta and New Orleans (both 2-2) could make a run at Tampa Bay– though the Bucs just blasted the Saints in their house this past Sunday.

Joe was sure the defense would be fine and maybe outstanding if it got a consistent pass rush.

The pass rush is better, but it can’t vanish for an entire game like it did against Philadelphia.

26 Responses to “Winning With Defense”

  1. 74 Bucs Fan Says:

    Thanks Joes for this awesome site!

    There are some All Star posting fans on here – your comments bring the site quality to another level!

    54 y/o south Tampa native – been here my whole life – dad got tickets in ‘74 (before the team had a name) – and this site brings us all together as a family. Good stuff my brothers and sisters!

  2. TampaBayBucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Bucs did not blitz nearly enough against Iggles-too much using 45 as a spy.

  3. Vsy Says:

    Defense has been great. If we only could improve at getting after the QB. Calijah will certainly bring a good improvement.

  4. Defense Rules Says:

    I remember in the Spring when Todd Bowles emphasized getting more takeaways and some kinda poo-pooed that (feeling that it was more luck than skill?). Through these first 4 games, our 10 takeaways have made a huge difference. Our offense has scored 13 points off those (1 TD/2 FG), our defense scored 7 points (Shaq’s Pick-6) and 10 of our opponents 42 drives came to a grinding halt. Bucs are on-track for 43 takeaways this season, that’d be a significant improvement over the 20 takeaways we got last season.

    Our 12 sacks have also helped end drives & cause bad things to happen for our opponents … 2 of those sacks resulted in fumble recoveries, and 2 more on 3rd/4th down ended drives. Bucs are on-track for 51 sacks this season, quite a ways from the NFL record 72 sacks in a season by the 1984 Bears, but an improvement over last seasons 45 sacks.

  5. Since76 Says:

    The BUCS are winning because of defense this year. Period. Baker is ranked as an average QB right now. That’s all he has to do. Keep playing within the system don’t be a hero. When he tries to too hard he is just like Winston. If Kancey returns 100 percent the defence will be able to cram it up with another disrupter next to vita. Baker could be our Rob Johnson 2.0. Lfg

  6. stpetebucfan Says:

    Sorry for sounding like a broken record but the Bucs still can improve dramatically even on Defense.

    Imagine DW45 and Vita heal during the break…then imagine Calijah getting back to full speed and the continuing development of Yaya. The D could get scary good. I know a lot of ifs and imagination required but it’s not really that hard to see. IMO the major fear I retain is not the talent but whether the talent can stay healthy. At least the young DB’s have made us go Jamel who? I hope for his sake his big bucks are guaranteed beyond this season…then again Dean has a history of turning it on just as quickly as he leaves hurt. When he’s in top form if you put Davis and Dean behind that scary front 7 the Bucs will be tough!

  7. A Bucs Fan Says:

    Bucs defense was limited against the eagles with 45 and 50’s injuries mid week. Vea hardly got any push all game. D White would have housed that pick if he was healthy. Both both shouldn’t have played.

  8. TampaBayBucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Clean up the penalties as 11 vs Motown will not work.

  9. Duaneu Says:

    The rankings tell the story:

    Bucs are 7th in the league in points allowed (the only stat that matters) and 20th in points scored (again, the only stat that matters).

    So yeah a very good defense and a mediocre offense. For all the hype about Baker Mayfield, he’s just an average quarterback – 18th in passing yards. The reason for all the hype of course is that preseason most of the NFL “experts” said he’d be the worst quarterback in the league. So by comparison, mediocre looks good.

    But that is OK and just what Coaches Bowles and Canales wanted from Mayfield. We won’t put the whole team on your shoulders, Baker … and in return don’t lose games for us by turning it over to the other teams. And that’s what the story has been thus far. It sure beats being in last place in the NFC South as so many “experts” predicted.

  10. Larrd Says:

    Better tackling, too. Izien and McCollum have been a big revelation, too. Can’t wait to see Kancey!

  11. Beej Says:

    He’s 18th in passing yards because we don’t throw it all that much. (20th in attempts) When we DO throw it, it’s usually short/intermediate, and it’s for about 7 yards, which happens on 69.7% of attempts, with 1 pick about every 60 attempts. Bucs could be more aggressive than that and still get similar success, as I can tell

  12. MadMax Says:

    Bowles is a defensive genius….you cant take that away from him. I think thats why Licht went with him this past draft….get the boys in, their legs under them and set up another SB run…

  13. Cobraboy Says:

    The Bucs scored a Lombardi with an excellent D and mediocre O. But that year, the O got better toward the end of the season as The Bull caught on fire.

    One irony is the Iggles beat the crap out of the Bucs in the regular season, 20-10, outside of a Brooks fumble return TD.

    Is history repeating itself? Wouldn’t that be a hoot?

    Not saying, buy just sayin’…

  14. HC Grover Says:

    No blunder offense and good defense can win Sunday.

  15. orlbucfan Says:

    What universe does Bucky Brooks live on? He needs to do some homework. Bucs won both SBs with brilliant, tough defense and competent (2002) O and ST, and very good (2020) O and ST. Snort! BTW, Bucs posse, do not underestimate the Panthers in this next game against Motown. They are NFL players and 0-4 does not sit well with any player at that level. If Detroit comes into that one, full of themselves, they’re likely to get declawed by their opposing cats. I’ll be watching the scores for sure!

  16. JimBobBuc Says:

    We need a better pass rush from the front 4 or 5. When was the last time Vita led the team in sacks? Even the blitzes aren’t great – Devin White has no sacks so far.

  17. Buddha Says:

    Vita led in sacks last year.

  18. R. Strader Says:

    To MaddMaxx

    Leave voodoo out of it. We are a God loving community who love our teams.

  19. BucU Says:

    I’m on a self imposed no more negative Kancey posts
    If he comes back vs Detroit everybody’s happy then.

  20. Seanbuc76 Says:

    I want to see how different the line will be when kancey returns I hope it frees up vea and Shaq and company to wreak havoc

  21. MadMax Says:

    @Strader, Im all about it

  22. Wild Bill Says:

    Let’s face it. Teams with a lousy defense rarely make the playoffs even if they have a decent offense. But really strong defensive teams can go deep into the playoffs with just an adequate offense! So far the Bucs seem to fit the strong defense, OK offense type. That combo should win the division. But the entire team needs to improve to go deep into the playoffs.

  23. Navfree17 Says:

    Since76: Brad Johnson?

  24. 1#bucsfan Says:

    I predict when kancey come back teams won’t really know what to do until it’s to late. Double vea or Shaq and boom get hit by kancey. Try to double kancey boom get him by vea or Shaq. These guys are going to get some 1v1 and I really hope they take full advantage. Man this could get exciting. Imagine they try to block vea kancey and Shaq right them boom in races on his horse DW45 or AW31 or LVD. So many option. Let bowels the mad scientist work is mad magic. Let’s goo

  25. garro Says:

    To little from the edge rush guys thus far. Love Shaq but we need him and whoever lines up opposite to start getting some pressure and sacks.

    We can win with defense but right now it is Vea, AWJ and LVD. If the OLBs can pitch in we are gonna be epic.

    Go Bucs!

  26. BillyBucco Says:

    Great defense and mediocre offense can get it done as the 3-1 record shows.
    2 of the wins are against teams that have the same QB and most of the same skill players from last year too.
    What’s exciting is Canales realizing and saying he is excited to see how good the O Line is at pass blocking and that he wanted to spread out the defense and take more downfield shots. That can only help the run game IMO.
    This team probably won’t hit its full stride offensively until weeks 8-10 so it will only get better I think.
    It’s good enough now to still beat the Lions if ME13 makes it back.
    Without him, it will be a tough task and some BRILLIANT play calls from Canales.
    Then there is always pick sixes and fumbles returned for TDs etc. Anything is possible, but man I would LOVE to actually be at Full Strength and see what we have.