Monday, October 25, 2010

Bull Rush

4-2 and it feels so good!

First off, raise your hand if you thought the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would be 4-2 right now. And remember that I have some of you guys' predictions, lol.

I DID predict they would have won 4 games at this point in the season but I thought we would beat the Steelers here at home and probably lose to the Bengals on the road. But the truth is for all the predictions in the world, nothing really matters until the games are actually played. I'm just happy that the team lived up to my expectations and is showing the signs of turning things around from an abysmal year last year.

Now people will try to detract from all of the Bucs' wins, but I say let em. I can tell you one thing, some preseason darlings like the Cowboys and the Vikings would LOVE to have their record right now. And in the end, that's all that matters.

The game yesterday was pretty ugly in the first half but by holding the Rams to no points in the second half and coming back to win the game, the Bucs showed a maturity that was rare last year. They weren't perfect, but they were good enough win it counted and that's how they won the game.

One thing I want to point out is that they ran the Over Stick call that I drew up a couple of weeks ago at least four times yesterday. I am not in any way shape or form trying to take credit for that but the point is IT WORKED! It gave the Rams fits because they weren't used to our weakside in coming inside and it really messed with their blocking schemes. It appeared that Geno Hayes was going to blitz outside a couple of times too which made it even better. I'm hoping that it becomes a regular part of the call sheet.

Was it just me or did the Bucs keep Gerald McCoy out of the game longer than usual in the second quarter? The Rams were driving and I kept wondering "Where the HELL is McCoy?!"

Also last week the Saints really got after the defensive line with cut off blocks by the fullbacks and tight ends. As I predicted, because this is a copy cat league, the Rams tried to do a lot of the same. Thankfully the ends were a lot better on it this week. But on the other hand the Rams ran three or four bootlegs with some pretty good results and so I would expect that they will see a lot of those in the coming weeks as well.

One last thing, we didn't play one snap of 3-3-5 this game that I saw. I don't know if that was just because of something the Rams did or not but I do think we were better off for it. I wouldn't mind seeing it once or twice a game on 3rd down but we were running it entirely too much in my opinion.

The defensive line had a lot to do with the win as they were very productive and played pretty good ball through out. So without further delay here are my individual breakdowns.

Kyle Moore: I thought Moore played well coming off his shoulder injury. He had two tackles and a assist along with a fumble recovery by my count. He also had a good bullrush and showed really good hustle on one of those tackles. If I had a complaint its that he still isn't dominating the tight ends the way he could and should be. But one thing he did well was getting under the cut off blocks that were killing the defensive ends last week against the Saints. That made a big difference in our run fits.

Gerald McCoy: McCoy promised that we would see a different player on Sunday and I think he lived up to his words. He came out of the game with 2 tackles and 3 assists by my count. The most significant and noticeable change was how he got off the ball and up the field. The only problem was that he got reached a couple of times. But the reality is it was worth it to have him pushing the offensive line backward and making the running back have to cut deeper or bow his track a little. He still didn't notch his first sack but he did have a good rush on a rip and run. The more he continues to get off the ball and get up field like that the higher the more plays he will make and those sacks will surely come.

Roy Miller: Just as the team looked distinctly different from half to half yesterday, so did Miller. In the first half he was still getting pushed around a little too much. But in the second half he started really hunkering down and played a lot better. I had him with 3 assisted tackles and he showed good hustle all day. What he has to do now is learn to play the whole game the way he played the second half and the whole defense will benefit from it.

Stylez G. White: Lost in all the negative talk about the loss to the Saints last week was the fact that White really picked up his pass rush against them. He beat a guy clean coming around the horn and he also was a lot more physical and even, gasp, made some inside moves. Unfortunately Dree Brees was able to get the ball off but Sam Bradford wasn't so lucky. Stylez got his second sack of the year along with a caused fumble that set the offense up with a great opportunity for a score. The offense ended up coming away with only a field goal after a series of miscues, but in a game where the margin of victory was a single point, that play was HUGE!

And it wasn't just that one play. I had him with 2 other tackles, two more pressures, another hit on the quarterback and one other good rush where Bradford completed the pass. He had a great hump move right off the line of scrimmage and but for Bradford getting the ball off quickly would have had another sack. Mind you its not like he had a ton of opportunities as the Rams ran quite a few bootlegs and quick passes. If he continues to play at this level then those double digit sacks he (and I) predicted will become a reality.

Tim Crowder: Crowder had a really good all around game. He had 2 tackles and an assist by my count. He also had a pressure and two other good rushes where the pass was completed. Hidden in that is two hustle plays that he made. One that was huge was on the draw in the fourth quarter late in the game on 3rd and 11. He went up field and then turned and ran to the ball to stop Steven Jackson a couple of yards shy of the first down. That forced the punt that eventually led to the game tying score in the final seconds. If he doesn't make that tackle its highly likely that Jackson falls forward for the first down and perhaps seals the win for them. Its plays like those that don't have an asterisk beside them in the stat sheet but have a major effect on the game.

Ryan Sims: If they could keep Sims at nosetackle I think we would be much better off. He is a big guy who is strong and and hard to move and plays with pretty good leverage. He held the point well against double teams and also had some success against cut off blocks from a G technique. But he doesn't look good playing undertackle and that is just a fact. He got reached all the way to the opposite A gap on one play and that isn't easy to do.

I actually like Sims as a player and I love the effort he gives every Sunday, but I am hoping that the Bucs realize he is suited to nosetackle a lot more than undertackle and consider moving Roy to undertackle when McCoy needs a blow.

Michael Bennett: I have been high on Bennett since training camp but he had a bad game yesterday. He was basically the only end that still had some problems getting underneath the kick out blocks. He jumped offsides on a crucial 3rd and medium. He was soft a couple of times against the run and he also was on the ground. He did have a pretty good inside move at end versus play action pass but that was really the only pass rush he generated all game. On the bootlegs he got fooled bad at least once.

I'm not down on him after one bad game but he needs to pick his production up if he expects to continue getting opportunities.

Well that's all for now. Also its my birthday so my normal The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly post will have to wait till tomorrow. As always you can leave questions and add your two cents in the comments section. I'll be sure to try to get to them asap.


  1. I also though McCoy was MIA in the second quarter when Steven Jackson was doing most of his damage. When he was in, he was going upfield re-routing the RB.... much better job. Go BUCS!!!

  2. What ails the pass rush? This game was better, but our ends just aren't getting it done.

  3. Manu happy returns of the day Steve. Great read as usual. I was excited to see McCoy display that quickness again. Eagerly waiting for your Good bad and ugly article.

  4. Happy B Day Steve! I have had to eat my words about Raheem. He adapted in the second 1/2, and put the B Train in there. I hope you become an NFL coach one day, you sure know your stuff!

  5. McCoy was replaced by Sims for what I think was the entire second Rams drive of the second quarter. I have no idea why that happened, it made no sense to me as I felt McCoy was getting off the bal and doing exactly what he'd promised to do earlier in the game.

  6. Thanks for the insight Steve.
    I liked McCoy's play a lot more too.
    Looking forward to that GB&U...
    Happy Birthday!

  7. Steve, what was the number one thing the Bucs changed at halftime? What led to the dramatic improvement against the run? If you have the same players in for the second half,as I think the Bucs did, it has to be more than just focus or effort. Did they do something scheme-wise?

  8. Happy Birthday!!

    Thanks for all the great info Steve. You're the man!!

  9. Happy birthday Steve. Great analysis as usual.

  10. Thanks for doing this on your Birthday. Great read as always. I look forward to reading these every week. Enjoy your Birthday, I hope it's a happy one. Looking forward to the G,B & U tomorrow. Thanks again.

  11. Great analysis as usual Steve. Happy birthday, I bet its twice as nice after a win! I thought I saw McCoy out as well and could not figure it out.

    I think someone that is calling the shots is reading your blog Steve, haha. Their calling your plays and like you said, no more 3-3-5. Shouldn't you be getting paid?

    I hope McCoy keeps up the explosiveness against the Cardinals because they also have a rookie QB the only difference is he was undrafted. I hope Brian Price and Gerald McCoy have a field day and both get their first sack, that is if Brian Price comes back this week. Go Bucs!!

  12. Thanks for all the Birthday well wishes!

    @BucFanJeff I actually thought the pass rush was good we just didn't get a lot of opportunites between quick passes, our blitzes, and the bootlegs.

    @Anonymous I think Roy played better in the 2nd half and guys just were in their gaps better. The game plan didn't seem to change all that much though.

    @WestCoastBucsfan lol I wish! I don't think they are reading my blog though. I just think the things I say on my blog are kind of obvious to people who know football and maybe we are just thinking a like.

  13. Happy B-day Steve.
    The Bucs email a questionnaire to us after every home game, food, service, anything with comments. My comment after the Saint's loss was that Coach Rah should start reading your blog, and consider talking to you about consulting them on helping the young D lineman. I didn't call for Wash to be fired, but asked that they get extra help from you for those guys. Of course I mentioned that you coach for them as "WE ALL" say regularly. Lastly I told them that you had educated so many of us fans to the point that we can often pick them apart when they screw up, we watch games back in slow motion, and they are making a big mistake by not tapping into your wealth of knowledge that could only HELP and not HURT the team. At the very least, some intern in the dark annals of 1 Buc may have read it.

  14. I thought I saw McCoy take himself out in the 2nd quarter. Maybe he got banged up or had an equipment issue?

  15. Steve - You use the expression "Getting reached". What does that mean? Thanks