Monday, October 18, 2010

Who Done It???

Normally the day after a game I do my Tampa Bay defensive line critique "Bull Rush" post and my "The Good The Bad And The Ugly" post about the performance of the Buccaneers team as a whole. I decided not to do that today in light of how ugly things got yesterday against the Saints. Instead I wanted to highlight a few of the running plays on defense so as to place blame where necessary. Plenty of people will be blaming different people for the Saints gaining more than 200 yards on the ground against the Bucs defense yesterday but I thought maybe people would want to know exactly what happened.

Here are 8 plays that gained a total of 134 yards on the ground. You can look at the diagrams and follow along by the numbers. You can also go back and watch the game online at for the next couple of days to see the plays for yourself.

1. First and 10, 11:49 in the 1st quarter and the first time the Saints touch the ball starting at their own 6 yard line. They come out in a one back set with a tight end and wide receiver to each side of the formation. The run a zone cutback that bounces outside for 18 yards. The Saints doubled the left end, Tim Crowder, with a tight end and the right tackle. The nose tackle, Roy Miller, is lined up in a G alignment just inside the right guard and the center and guard double him up to the Mike linebacker Barrett Ruud. The undertackle, Gerald McCoy, is double teamed by the left guard and left tackle up to the Sam Linebacker, Quincy Black. The tight end to his side tries to cut Stylez G. White off from the C gap between the tight end and the left tackle. The wide receiver to the defense's right blocks Ronde Barber.

Everyone fits up pretty well into their gaps but Barber gets a little too heavy into the wide receiver and isn't able to come off and make the tackle on the running back. Because he is the contain element of the defense, once the running back bounces it outside of him there is no one else to make the tackle until the Safety gets there. If Ronde keeps leverage and is able to either make the tackle or turn the running back inside to his help, the play probably doesn't gain much of anything. Instead the run gets the Saints off to a good start on the day.

Another note on the play is Roy Miller got pushed around and that would be a recurring theme all day.

2. First and 10, 8:27 in the 2nd quarter from the Saints' 24 yardline. The Saints come out in the same formation which they used quite a bit all game. This time they sealed the left end, Michael Bennett with the tight end, and they cracked on the Strong Safety, Sean Jones with the wide receiver on the defense's left side. When the wide receiver crack blocks the corner on that side is supposed to replace the Strong Safety's fit to the outside. Instead E.J. Biggers continued following the wide receiver and there was no one to turn the ball back inside. The Saints running back bounced it outside and gained 33 yards before he was taken down.

3. Second and 6, 7:05 in the 2nd quarter at the Bucs' 39 yard line. The Saints came out with one receiver to the defense's left and two to the defense's right with two backs in the backfield. The fullback was offset to the right. This was essentially an ISO running play with the fullback leading up on Ruud. The center and guard double teamed Miller up to Black and there was a lane between the fullback and the center. Jones had an opportunity to make the play but missed the tackle. The Saints gained 8 yards on that play.

4. First and 10, 6:33 in the 2nd quarter at the Bucs' 31 yard line. The Saints go back to a one back set with a tight end and wide receiver on each side. This time the Bucs used a line stunt where McCoy rips into the A gap from the B gap and Miller rips from the A gap to the B gap. The tight end on White's side gets inside of him and cuts him off from the C gap. The Left Tackle goes up to seal Black inside. The Saints running back starts to the defense's left and then cut's back to the C gap where White is supposed to be. Even though White isn't there, Jones has an opportunity to make a play on the running back but he loses sight of him and over runs the play. The result is the play earns the Saints another 16 yards.

5. First and 10, 12:10 in the 3rd quarter at the Bucs' 46 yard line. Same formation again with the one back set and a tight end and wide receiver on each side. The Bucs are in an under front this time with Black walked up on the line to the defense's right side. The Saints run the zone that way and once again Miller gets pushed around by the guard and center. McCoy gets a slip block with the guard and right tackle and the left end gets a cut off block by the tight end to that side. The truth is everyone is in pretty good shape on this play as far as being in their gap, but the Will linebacker, Geno Hayes, decided to try to run through his B gap to make the play. Instead the right guard cut him and the Saints' running back cut back into the hole he was supposed to be in. Instead of little to no gain, the runner ended up with 9 yards.

6. Third and 4, 3:07 in the 3rd quarter from the Bucs' 27. The Saints came out with a trips bunch set close to the formation with one running back and one wide receiver on the opposite side. The Bucs were in nickel personnel. It appears that because it was 3rd down Ruud and Black expected pass and didn't read the run right away. The tight end in the bunch formation closest to the right tackle came across the formation to kick out White which he did. The left tackle was able to get up to Black and seal him inside. That created a lane for the running back to run through for 16 more yards.

7. First and 10, 5:35 in the 4th quarter from the Bucs' 45 yard line. The Saints came out with two tightends and two running backs with one wide receiver. Both tightends lined up to the defense's left and the wide receiver lined up to the opposite side of the formation. This was actually a play that the Saints had success against the Bucs with last year. So much so that the Carolina Panthers copied the play and ran it against the Bucs last year after the fact. But its still a good play design and its hard to defend.

The tightend furthest from the ball and off the line of scrimmage takes off for the flat giving the impression that it is a passing play and pulling the corner away from the formation. The tightend lined up on the ball avoids the defensive end inside to get up on the linebacker but to the defensive end it looks like a pass route. For that reason the defensive end's first instinct is to get up the field and pass rush. But the fullback takes a step to the defense's right and then runs right behind the offensive line almost hiding till the last moment to kick out the defensive end. And that's exactly what happened to Bennett. He has to get under that block and either make the play or make it bounce outside. Ryan Sims was in at undertackle and he is also partially at fault because they initially double teamed him with the right tackle and guard but the right tackle eventually came off to block Ruud. Sims however had been knocked out of his gap at that point and couldn't get back in it in time to make a play on the running back. This play netted the Saints another 7 yards.

8. Second and 3, 4:52 in the 4th quarter at the Bucs' 38 yard line. The Saints keep the same personnel but this time they start off with a tight end on each side and the wide receiver to the defense's right. Before the snap the tightend on the defense's right side steps off the line and motions all the way across the formation. Once the ball is snapped he goes out to block the corner. The stationary tight end comes off and base blocks Bennett. Sims gets double teamed by the right tackle and guard. The fullback comes to kick out the Free Safety, Cody Grimm. The left guard pulls to block Ruud. Hayes' fit is inside the fullback's block and he actually gets there. But the running back ran inside off the fullback's block and for whatever reason Hayes wasn't able to make the tackle on him. That one was all on Geno and I'm sure he knows it. Unfortunately because he didn't make the play in his gap and because Jones and Black also weren't able to bring the runner down, the Saints picked up another 27 yards at the end of the game.

So what do we make of all this? Well first of all aside from Roy Miller getting tossed around on several plays which is unacceptable, we mostly gave up the big yardage because guys weren't on the details or missed tackles rather than having been physically manhandled. Second of all there are some problems that we are having that are recurring. Our defensive ends aren't getting underneath kick out blocks like they should and that's all about technique and using your eyes. That's something that can definitely be fixed but you have to wonder why it hasn't been to this point. Thirdly you will notice that aside from the one line stunt, these were plays where the Bucs just lined up in front of the Saints like it was drawn up on a chalkboard. I don't know that movement or blitzes would have solved all of our problems but I have to wonder when we will at least TRY to start helping ourselves on early downs with a few zone blitzes to give offenses a different look to block.

It was a terrible day for our defense, make no mistake about it, but in watching the replay online I didn't get the sense that we were physically dominated anywhere but our nosetackle position. The Bucs tried to play a lot of G with Miller which is something I thought might be useful, but with his outside hand down and outside foot back I think he was going to have a hard day regardless. Still you can't make any excuses, he HAS to play better. Otherwise I'm pretty sure that it won't be long before Price is out there with the starters. After all if we are going to suck on defense against the run we might as well suck with our rookie 2nd round pick in there getting some good experience.

I have some other random thoughts about the game in general so here goes.

- I thought Josh Freeman was off just a little all game. He made some nice throws but at times his accuracy wasn't what I was used to seeing this year. I did love it that he went after the Saints player who went after his knee. That's the kind of fight you have to have to lead a team.

- The 3-3-5 may be a useful tool but we are using it too damn much. And Coach Morris can't keep using the excuse that Quincy Black is a good rusher because he isn't. As I have said time and again he is a good BLITZER not a good rusher and there is a helluva difference. I went back and looked at my notes and aside from that sack against Carolina, Black has only had two pressures by my count. And those were on plays where he ran a pass rush game with Gerald McCoy. I don't believe that I have seen him win a single one on one pass rush against an offensive lineman this year. And I doubt I WILL see him win one because he for as strong and as fast as he is, he doesn't have any moves. Every time he is out there as a rush end that is a play where a true pass rushing defensive end is on the bench, our two rookie defensive tackles aren't pass rushing from their normal alignments, and there is zero chance to run a pass rush game unless its on his side.

We are cutting off all of that potential pressure just to get Black on the field. Hey, I have a novel idea. Why not just sub him in for Ruud or Hayes? If he is really THAT indispensable then why not allow him to play what he is best at? Hell you can blitz him from those positions too! You can even call Bark and have a FIVE man rush!

But here's what you CAN'T do. You can't say you want more pressure on the quarterback if you continue to refuse to use four defensive lineman for a four man rush. You can't say you want more pressure when you refuse to call overload blitzes to either side. You can't complain about not getting pressure when you aren't allowing guys to pass rush from their more natural positions.

You can't, you simply CAN NOT. Oh you can tell a few beat writers here in Tampa but its not going to fly with me. I SEE what's happening on the field and what isn't. McCoy didn't have a great day but he did make one helluva move when he was rushing from his undertackle spot and got a pressure. I can only wonder how many more times that happens if he gets more opportunities to rush from that position. Or hell maybe he gets to run a true TEX game with a defensive end instead of being a crash test dummy trying to free everything up for Black. Or maybe he can run a TOM game inside with Price where they create pressure up the middle on the quarterback who now can't step up and gets sacked by our defensive ends coming around the horn.

Or.....maybe we keep running that bullshit 3-3-5 and then complaining after the games about how much time the quarterback had.

- I am still waiting to determine what our bread and butter running plays are. One thing that makes watching a team run up and down the field against the Bucs defense even more frustrating is then watching our offense and never or rarely seeing them use similar blocking schemes. I know it isn't actually that way, but I swear at times it looks like every running play we run during a game only gets run once. A zone, then a split belly, then a sweep, then an iso, then a counter (if we're lucky). Never any rhyme or reason to it. Almost like we are just pulling running plays out of a hat.

We hardly ever double team defensive linemen up to the second level, we hardly ever cut block the backside defensive tackle or defensive end, we hardly ever just punish people in our running game. And that's the major problem we are having right now. People can say its Caddy all the want to. I want y'all to watch the replay of the game and tell me where you see any holes that he's missing. Better yet I want you to tell me what he's supposed to do when he keeps seeing the defense in the backfield play after play. Yeah maybe he could get another yard or two a game, but I can tell you this much unless we sign King Kong, nobody we put back there is going to put up big numbers on the ground until we fix our schemes and play calling.


- I'm really sad to hear about Kareem Huggins tearing his ACL and being out for the rest of the year. The kids worked his way up from the bottom and was finally about to get his chance to shine. Hopefully he takes his rehab seriously and can come back next year in time to give it another shot. Also we are really thin at running back now with Earnest Graham hurting his hamstring. Along with the fact that Huggins was our only true "scat" back I would say we are in the market for a guy with some speed. It will be interesting to see who the Bucs bring in, if anybody.

- Connor Barth...WTF MANNNNNNN?!

- Not sure what Aqib Talib's deal was yesterday but his effort both times he got bombed on left a lot to be desired. I believe Talib is a Pro Bowl player but he has to PROVE it every week.

Welp that's all for now, As always if you have questions just leave them in the comments section.


  1. Great write-up, Steve, really informative.

    I was wondering what you thought of the play of our linebackers so far. I realize the defensive line is struggling and that's not helping them, but they don't seem to be doing what they did late last year.

  2. Great analysis Steve.
    Now like you, I too believe Rah knows his stuff, as an ignorant fan all I can wonder is when these huge running plays stop and when will we get some friggin sacks.

    I remember from your previous posts on, you said you would personally call who ever you could to correct an obvious mistake if things were totally getting out of hand, may be you could email your analysis to Rah.

  3. Steve,

    Why would the defense be hesistant to run more line stunts to create more confusion? I know I'm a novice fan, but I always thought since the Bucs were considered a smaller, fast defense movement would be a critical element more than playing a straight up style for rush defense?

    I couldn't agree with you more about the three man rush. I know you have wrote this before and I agree moving McCoy around his hurting his growth. I wish McCoy and Price would just play at the DT position almost all the time. Yesterday was definitely tough to watch.

  4. What did you think of the linebackers as a whole? I see games all day where linebackers are making plays in the backfield, i never see that with our group. Is that scheme or the players? We need some thumpers out there.

  5. Great read as always.Is there anyway we can get Raheem to read this or atleast the D-Line coach!!!I'm starting to really doubt the D-line coach(Wash) as much as the O-Line coach(Mangurian).The offensive line is massively under performing for 2 years wait that is since he took over!!!The O-Line was going to be a strong point Enter the legendary Mangurian and Joseph does not look as promising, Faine is not who we paid for,Zuttah looked great as a rookie and finally Trueblood is not the Mauller he was!I say fire him and find a good one!!!

  6. Steve - this is a great read, as usual. Since there were so many, can you also break down the top 10 plays that involved high passing yardage? Thanks.

  7. Steve, thanks for adding a bit of commentary on what you thought of our O-line vs. their D-line. I've been screaming that for a while now, but nothing says it like you just did.

    I know the play call goes to the coordinators, but do you think the lack of improvement in techniques (e.g. Stylez not using an inside move, DE's not getting under kickout blocks)a problem with the position coach or the scheme/play call?

  8. Great read and insight. Thanks.

  9. Fantastic writeup. Much preferred to the usual banter.

  10. When McCoy first got here he commented that in college it was explode at the snap and get upfield but that here is was "take a half step first" to read the play and then get upfield. Yesterday, he commented that the Bucs D-line was not doing what Sapp used to do (i.e. jut get penetration). Are the Bucs D-lineman playing different than in your day as McCoy suggets?

  11. Thanks Steve, it was painful at the game yesterday. At least it was the Saints, a good team, and Atlanta wasn't much better against Phili. It hurts more to come in here and read these breakdowns week in and week out and see where they have problems that don't get corrected. I respect the hell out of your knowledge and your overly diplomatic critiques, but WTF is going on with our Defensive Coaching? How come you see all this and no one at 1 Buc does or just refuses to accept the facts? OMG, it was so freaking hard to watch them do the same thing on defense every play without trying any kind of blitzes, zone or otherwise. We had a lot of unhappy DIEHARD fans in the stands yesterday. It wasn't that we were losing, getting beat, I'll accept that, but that we made no adjustments or attempts to stop it. Someone at 1 Buc has to read this column. WTF? Now, how do we stop the Rams and Steven Jackson? If not, we're in deep...

  12. Anonymous #3, I am quite sure our D-line was all about penetration during the preseason. Don't know what happened after that. May be they still are, may be not, Steve might be able to shed some light on the issue.

  13. Hey guys

    Ill try to answer everything at once.

    First of all writing these posts aren't easy. I realize that many of you want more information but sometimes I just don't have the time to write every single post that people would like to see. Actually most of the time I don't. But I will continue to give you what I can with the time that I have.

    As for the linebackers, nobody had a great game yesterday the linebackers included. It seemed to me like Geno didn't have a good game, Ruud and Quincy were ok in their fits but didn't make a lot of plays.

    As for the defensive coaching I really can't say what's going on. I can see the things that need fixing but I don't know for sure if they are being fixed or not. I also don't know how the guys are being coached to play. I only go by what my eyes see on Sunday and make my critiques based off that.

    I really have no idea why we don't blitz more. We have stunted more this year with the line than last year but its usually the same old Pirate stunt and we didn't run much of that even yesterday. But I can't speak to whether that is Coach Morris' philosophy or just a function of how the games have been going.

    As for McCoy's comment, yes he was right. We used to concentrate on getting up the field on the snap of the ball and playing our gaps with penetration. Now it appears that our linemen are taught to be heavier into the offensive linemen. Not saying which approach is right or wrong but it IS different.

    As for the offensive line I think its more a scheme thing than anything else. When we get back to running the kind of plays tht we are good at like Powers and Traps and Isos and maybe some Split Belly's I think we will see more success. But as long as we keep trying to run zones I don't see it getting any better.

    Thanks for all the comments. I'll be back tomorrow to try to follow up with any subject I missed.

  14. To be honest I think your write ups after the game are absolutely amazing Steve. I just keep thinking that Rah would do SOMETHING to fix the run D. Anything at all would be an improvement. I dont know why they keep beating on a dead horse with that 3-3-5. I heard Rah talking about the Psycho and 3-4 and Bear defense this off season, where did all that go? Im sure I speak for everybody when I say that I think you should be coaching our D line, if not the whole damn team. If we let Steven Jackson come in here next week and tear it up I will be pissed and I know you will you too. Oh well, I will be rooting for the Bucs all the way! Go Bucs!

  15. 2 straight games at Tampa Stadium of total humiliation. A Fish stinks from the head down, and Raheem must accept the blame, and fix it.
    When the Rams come in and beat us Sunday, it will mark the beginning of the end of the Raheem experiment. Tampa Fans at the game were sick of watching us be humiliated. The Jets did it to us last year, and it was done to us twice already this year. The Glazers are hated by the Tampa Fans there at the stadium with me. Tampa had a LOT of draft picks we trusted Dominick with. WHY did the Glazers do this to us ?
    Look at Kansas City, they have 1/2 of the Patriots brain trust in there, including the GM that built them. We COULD have had Mike Shanahan, and Washington was competitive with Indy!
    Even Caddy says we are getting out coached Steve, why do you protect Raheem ?
    IS Raheeem not the problem, did Mark stick him with sub par players ?
    Then Mark must go.

  16. Listen, don't come to my blog with that bullshit. You don't like what I write then don't read it but talking about me protecting somebody is not going to fly. We are 3-2 and most of the people who don't like Raheem never would have thought that would be the case at this point but I DID. And we won exactly as many games after 5 games as I predicted. You don't like Raheem, so be it. I think he's a good coach but I also call him out when I disagree with his decisions. You hoping we lose against the Rams to "end the Raheem experiment" just shows you really aren't a fan from the get go in my opinion. Don't get it twisted, this ain't JoeBucsFan. I don't put up with that kind of fuckery here. You got a gripe about the game then speak it. But if you want the Bucs to lose I don't really know why you read my blog to begin with.

    Its funny how people were saying we wouldn't win 3 games all year are now mad because we lost to the defending champs. This is after we lost our Pro Bowl level safety for the year and had two running backs get hurt during the game. Get a damn grip

  17. As always great write-up Steve!
    No one covers the Bucs X's and O's better than you man.

    People are so damn quick to bury the Bucs,and it is beyond stupid. Here's why.
    1.)Freeman. No turnovers AGAIN and if K2 and Sammie read their long balls just a bit better in the air Free has 3TDs on the day.
    2.)2nd YOUNGEST team in the league. Anyone who wants the Bucs to build a team like the Skins are flat out retarded. Allen made the oldest team in the league OLDER. And just in case anyone forgot.
    The older the team more likely they are to fade down the stretch.
    And ANYONE calling a outright Rams win next Sunday has shit for brains. The Rams are WORSE on the road than the Bucs are at home.

  18. Sounds like the DBs in some cases were more concerned about the pass than the run. It would be nice to see 8 passing plays broken down. If the DBs know they are not going to get any help from DL pressure, maybe they cheat a little and that gets them out of position for running plays?

  19. I agree Steve, hang in there. It's funny how, to some fans, you're only as good as your last game. Doesn't matter the team is 3-2, has as many wins as all of last year already, has very winnable games ahead... all that matters is we got beat by the Saints. We're horrible, fire the coach, sell the team, the world is coming to an end. I see the other sites, and these guys disappear after every win, only to come back and scream the sky is falling after a loss.

    Keep up the great work Steve, many of us appreciate your insight into the plays and players of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Knowledge is power, and you give us knowledge. Thanks.

  20. You point out bad coaching a lot. Since you like Raheem you must see a lot of good coaching, too. I'd be interested in what the staff is doing well.

  21. Steve, just curious what your thoughts were on Bennett and Crowder? With Moore out, they both had more playing time. I thought Bennett had a nice game, with a couple pressures (almost had a sack on the 2nd TD pass). Both Bennett and Crowder were making some inside moves on the RDE spot against the LT, and it also almost worked a couple times.

    Also, I was watching the game again, and kept noticing that our O-line is almost always pushed back a yard on run plays. Watching the Saints, they were always at or beyond the line of scrimmage. One play for the Saints, I even noticed the blocking FB didn't even have to touch anyone until 2 yards past the line of scrimmage. Davin Joseph seemed to get handled pretty badly all game. Any thoughts?

  22. LOL. Well I certainly won't be hiring "Apple Roof Cleaning" when my roof gets durrrrrty. Ain't got no time for haters!

    Steve, your columns are superb, keep on keepin' on, cos there are a lot of us out here who absolutely appreciate what you are doing.

  23. Steve it great when your beating down haters!What do you think about the job Mangurian is doing with the O-Line?

  24. With all due respect Steve, you are incorrect about me being a true fan. I sit every game in section 119 row BB with my Son, to cheer the Bucs as they come out of the Tunnel. I was a fan at the old stadium from day one. I love the Bucs. In fact, I love my Team so much that I voice my opinion of what I see wrong, and use my REAL Company name, knowing it could possibly cost me some business.
    No hiding behind a computer here with some phony, assumed name.

    I am sorry I am so late to respond to all this, and only found out about it recently on JoeBucsFan. My company has been very busy lately, and I wanted to have the time to clear up any misconceptions.

    First, I wanted to say that I am not on your Blog to start trouble, or ridicule you in any way. When you decided to leave JoeBucsFan, I was probably the poster that cried the loudest at the loss of your regular posting.
    Go have a look ?

    Second, I jumped all over Joe once because he forgot to link BACK to you!

    Third, many posters at JBF, including me, would like to see you involved in our defense in some way or another.

    Fourth, I am sorry for accusing you of protecting Raheem. I guess I just plain forgot in all my frustrations that you have called Raheem out before.

    It has not been easy on us Season Ticket Holders lately Steve. New Orleans and Steeler fans walking around Tampa Stadium mocking us.

    Of course I don't really want the Rams to win, and us to lose. But sometimes it takes hitting a bottom to break the denial of having a problem.
    You can't fix a problem, until you admit one exists.

    This is where you and I disagree Steve, and I hope you are correct.
    I would love to eat my words, and admit I was wrong about Raheem. I have been wrong before.