Punts Are Turnovers, Too

June 24th, 2024

Forcing punts is good.

You know, if defensive coaches emphasized getting off the field on third downs as much as they stress takeaways, a team might win a couple of more games a year.

One of the worst culprits of takeaways-are-everything was, of course, lousy Lovie Smith. The former Bucs head coach didn’t give a damn what his defense did (or more importantly, didn’t do) so long as they got a turnover.

But without a takeaway, opposing offenses too often marched up and down the field on Lovie’s defense and dragged would-be tacklers for first downs. It was friggin’ sad, man.

Current Bucs coach Todd Bowles isn’t anything close to being as bad as Lovie was. Bowles often has a decent defense and he really stresses stopping the run.

Last year, however, the Bucs didn’t do such a good job in pass defense. And they were just as bad about getting off the field on third downs. The Bucs ranked 22nd in the NFL in third-down defense.

Joe is going to go ahead and call it right here: Bringing back Jordan Whitehead will make a world of difference; MIA Randy Gregory won’t.

But it sure would help if the Bucs can just get off the field on third downs. Like Joe told Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht shortly after Team Glazer launched Lovie, “Punts are turnovers, too.”

13 Responses to “Punts Are Turnovers, Too”

  1. SB Says:

    How many weeks until hitting starts?

  2. Anon Says:

    Thank you! And that goes for our offense too. Run run 3 and out punt is a like a turnover. So obsessed with protecting the ball that you can’t keep it for more than a minute.

  3. Defense Rules Says:

    ‘Punts Are Turnovers Too’ is obviously true, but the difference between a takeaway & a punt is typically field position. And defensive coaches especially seem to love to play the field position game. My guess is that’s where the analytics that you noted the other day Joe come into play the most.

    Last season the Bucs’ defense generated 26 takeaways, and turned 1 into 7 points via a Pick-6 (Shaq’s INT near the goal line in the Bears’ game). Of the other 25 takeaways, Bucs’ offense scored 58 points (7 TDs & 3 FGs) and coughed it up 3 times (1 Safety, 1 fumble, 1 INT). They also punted 4 times, had 1 drive that was out on downs, had 2 drives that ended the half, plus 5 drives that ended the game. So our offense basically scored on 40% of the 25 takeaways they were handed, with 65 or their 348 points scored last season coming off of turnovers.

    I can see why Todd Bowles emphasizes takeaways Joe.

    o Bucs had 7 games where our defense had 2 or more takeaways. Our record: 5 wins, 2 losses.

    o Bucs had 7 games where our defense had 1 takeaway. Our record: 4-3.

    o Bucs had 3 games where our defense had 0 takeaways. Our record: 0-3.

    Personally think that Turnover Differential (ToD) is a lot more telling.

    o Bucs were 6-2 when they had a positive ToD.

    o Bucs were 3-2 when they had a break-even ToD.

    o Bucs were 0-4 when they had a negative ToD.

  4. garro Says:

    We have got lots of buletin board material this off season.

    Can we put this one up there some place?

    “Punts are turnovers, too.”

    Mostly for the players but for Todd as well.

    Go Bucs!

  5. Hodad Says:

    It was frustrating beating teams on 1st, and 2nd down, but losing on 3rd down. We need to start faster on both sides of the ball this year. I’d like to see us win the toss, and go down and score a T.D. once before I die! What’s the winning precentage of teams that score a TD on the opening drive? Bet it’s pretty good.

  6. Leighroy Says:

    Defense Rules, correct and I would add momentum as a difference maker to your field position argument. But your right, taking the ball over after a fair catch at the 11 is different than a sack fumble at mid field and a first down away from fg position.

    I also think it bears mention that selling out to stop a 3rd and 6 for example leaves you open to the big play over top. Allowing explosive plays are something like the opposite of sacks and turnovers on defense.

  7. garro Says:

    BTW remember when it was not uncommon for a team have trouble crossing the 50 on our HOF defense?

    Just saying.

    Go Bucs!

  8. Defense Rules Says:

    garri … ‘BTW remember when it was not uncommon for a team have trouble crossing the 50 on our HOF defense?’

    Aahh yes, the good old days. No question that was one of the best defenses of all-time. Not only was it extremely talented, but literally everyone on that team was a team-player. And in the end, 4 of them ended up in the HOF (and Simeon should’ve been the 5th IMO). I wonder if any other defense can say the same thing.

  9. Defense Rules Says:

    Leighroy … ‘I would add momentum as a difference maker to your field position argument.’

  10. Defense Rules Says:

    Agree 100%, and oftentimes momentum becomes the more important of the two.

  11. Mike28277 Says:

    Am curious to know points off turnover v. points off punts?

  12. Cobraboy Says:

    Take-ways and punts just mean another offensive possession.

    More possessions = more potential points.

    Both punts and takeaways are critically important to outscoring an opponent.

    It’s not rocket surgery.

    The difference is that a takeaway has a deeper psychological and emotional impact than a punt. Oh, and it generally results in better field position, a big factor.

  13. Dave Pear Says:

    Thanks to Joe’s for pointing out the poor performance of Todd’s defense on the key measures of passing yards allowed and 3rd down defense.

    Personnel changes might help, scheme adjustment definitely would help. Todd knows these stats and can’t / shouldn’t be happy about them.