Thursday, November 11, 2010

Let's Cut The Bullshit

There are times, not many but a few times that I see something that I probably should comment on but instead I hold my tongue. One of those times came up last night when I read this article on It's about how the Bucs plan on making some changes to get their pass rush going. I don't have a problem with any of the things they are talking about doing (they sounded awfully familiar anyway), but some of the assertions made about WHY they are doing them were somewhat dubious. But I figured hey, no need to make a fuss about it as long as it gets fixed.

Then this morning I read this article over at TBO...

Now I'm going to tread lightly on this one but read that article then read my Bull Rush post from Monday and ask yourself if my suggestions and their suggestions don't sound an awful lot alike. I will just leave it there and let the readers decide for themselves.

But what actually compels me to blog about this isn't the fact that someone may or may not be reading my blog. What compels me to blog about this is that there seems to be a faulty premise being espoused by the Bucs at least publicly and if believe really believes what they are telling reporters then I still don't think the pass rush problems the Buccaneers are having will get fixed.
McCoy has drawn the biggest percentage of double-teams among the defensive front four this season. So Wash said the Bucs will try to move him around more in rush packages.

"We're going to do some more things to give him some freedom,'' Wash said. "Maybe it's not exactly, I wouldn't say sound, or worrying about a quarterback scramble. We're going to make sure he can get where he needs to get to rather than slow him down in the system. What happens is, if he's in the three-technique, the center slides to him. In the odd front, he had two knockdowns.

That's from the column

"And how do you become productive? Well, technique and opportunity have to meet. So we'll have the different combinations, the different use of guys around him, and see if we can find that right combination.'' The previous combinations often resulted in McCoy facing two or even three blockers. That created a lot of opportunities for sacks for other players, but in most cases they failed to capitalize on them.

That's from the TBO column.

Here's the truth, Ive watched every game and I don't think any team has changed their pass protection rules because of McCoy. In fact I'm about as close to being sure of it as you can get next to sitting in the offensive line meeting rooms of the opposing teams. But if you don't know what the opposing team protection scheme is and you keep sending McCoy to the side where the center is already supposed to slide, then yeah I guess he WILL keep getting double teamed.

Let's talk about the Falcons game for a moment. I went back to chart where the center slid when the Matt Ryan was either in the shot gun or it was 3rd and medium to long. There were 25 plays that fit into that category out of the 36 passes Ryan threw. Want to know how many instances there were out of 25 where the center slid in a different direction than where the formation dictated?


Three times out of twenty five.

But here's the kicker. Of those three times, Gerald McCoy was still away from the slide twice AND on the third he was lined up as a nose in a three man line.

It is clear that while the Falcons may have been concerned about McCoy's pass rush, they stayed consistent to their protections rules during the game.

And that's true for most teams the Bucs have faced thus far. But the what the problem ACTUALLY is comes back to McCoy being lined up to the center slide even when its predictable. That along with how much we went back to going with a 3-3-5 again after two games where it had been used sparingly.

McCoy lined up 4 times to the slide in a four man line when the Bucs should have known the slide was going that way against the Falcons. That doesn't sound like a high number until you realize that of the 25 clear passing situations the Bucs used a three man line 10 other times. So on the flip side there were 9 times during the game where it was an obvious passing down and McCoy lined up correctly based on the formation and had a one on one pass rush opportunity.

What happens if he gets 5 more bites at the apple? How about 10 more? Think he might be more productive if put in a better position to be so?

But let's be real here for two seconds. Ndamukong Suh is looking like a monster out there with 6.5 sacks already but teams aren't sliding to him on every pass. Are you really going to try to convince everyone that teams are showing more respect to McCoy who doesn't have ANY sacks?


If the Bucs really think the problem is that McCoy is being double teamed too much then they need to ask themselves why in the hell they aren't telling him to line up away from the center slide on definite passing downs.

I actually went back and watched the first Panthers game last night. And while they weren't consistent in their pass protection according to formation, they WERE consistent in having the center slide to the 1 technique. It just so happened that for that game the Bucs decided to have McCoy at the 1 technique quite a bit. But whether he was there or someone else was, all but one time the center slid to the 1 technique on obvious passing situations.

But, and here's is really the most damning indictment to me, even IF teams were sliding to McCoy all the time instead of following their normal protection rules, that kind of predictability should be something the Bucs have taken advantage of by now. Up above you will see two versions of a simple ass TOM pass rush game with the two defensive tackles. About the only time a TOM game won't work is when the center either sets in the middle and just looks for traffic, or he isn't consistent with where he slides.

If its a fact that the center is sliding to McCoy every time then the easiest thing in the world is to run a TOM game where the defensive tackle opposite McCoy gets penetration to the center's back and shoves him while McCoy takes a quick step up field to set it up then loops around the guard on the opposite side almost assuredly coming unblocked to the quarterback. And the great thing about that particular pass rush game is that it gives McCoy a chance while he is looping to notice if it might be a screen.

But have we run any TOM games so far?

C'mon Son!

So here is my thing, I think Dekoda Watson has a bunch of natural pass rush ability and so does Quincy Black. If the Bucs want to use them as actual defensive ends on passing situations then by all means feel free. But the truth is this, if all they are gonna do is continue to use them in a 3-3-5 alignment then to me it will still be more of a gimmick than a fix. To actually fix what ails the pass rush the Bucs need a left end that can pass rush on all 3 downs and they need to keep McCoy away from the center slide as much as can be predicted. And if in fact teams are sliding to McCoy regardless of where he lines up then after a drive or two that should be sniffed out and taken advantage of.

All this other stuff is just Mickey Mouse bullshit that looks pretty on paper but ain't worth a damn on the field. Get four guys who can pass rush, teach them protections, line up and let them whup people's ass.

That's the formula. Hopefully someone at One Buc starts using it.


  1. Great work as usual. Was it me or did Stylez go back to loving the scenic route to the QB in Atlanta despite the slow footed tackle (Baker) who has shown that if you start upfield and either spin inside or simply make a good under move he is simply another spectator in the dome?

  2. Steve,

    Thanks again for another great blog. Thanks also for the explanation of TOM. I think maybe Raheem or Dom needs to have Wash call you and maybe set up a sit down meeting to go over whats happening. Maybe get you a consulting fee or something. Somebody's gotta get it figured out soon, or a season will be wasted training these guys up.

  3. Hey, quick question. Is it possible to run the TOM on the fly? Have both DT's crash the guards inside shoulder, and whichever side the Center slides to, that guy loops around? Just curious.

  4. Nice post, as always.

    FYI, you might be interested in the second question on ESPN's latest Bucs mailbag, where the poster (Pat Y.) basically shows how dumb he is:

  5. Most people who read your blog wish Tampa would hire you as an assistant Steve. I BET one day you will be coaching in the NFL. Your insights and knowledge of the game are amazing!

  6. @oldschool there was only one time in the game that I though Stylez shouldve made an inside move but didnt. The problem was we ran so much 3-3-5 he really couldnt get in a goox groove but he did have a couple pressures.

    @BamBam yes, it is possible to run a TOM on the fly. Its called a read TOM. Both guys start in 3 techniques and on the snap they both make lateral inside moves. Once the center slides on way or another the guy away from the slide penetrates and the guy to to slide loops around.

    @fatmosh Pat Y doesnt pay much attention to the Bucs and often sounds like a moron. The truth is this, we may not have world beaters at end but we DO have enough talent to have more than 6 sacks in 8 games

  7. Great read Steve,Have to agree with you PY is a closet Bucs hater who doesn't know shit about the game or at least D-Line play.I know it does not fit the Dominik plan but I hope the Bucs try and sign Mathis from the Colts.If not who do you think would be the best fit in college or NFL?

  8. Great read again Steve. I am sure you read the "5 plays away from 5 sacks" comment by Wash. It seems like our coaching staff or at least the D-line coach is kind of complacent with our D-line's performance.

  9. This is the first time (at least in a long time) that i've heard comments attributed to Wash. You've got them speaking up for sure, Steve. Can't hide anymore.

  10. I do believe that someone at 1 Buc is reading this blog, or has at least checked it out. Please keep feeding them information. If they get this D line fixed, they can beat anybody. I'm really fired up about our team. They are the most exciting group of Bucs to come along in years. They are not for the Faint of Heart.

  11. To be honest I didn't need this blog to know Wash was talking out his ass, I have a keen nose for BS, but I really do appreciate you proving my suspicions with facts...Wash is in damage control mode and I don't think it's too far of a stretch to think he's in that position because of your last bull rush...Take a bow sir and keep up the good work because most/all of us fans really appreciate getting info from someone who has forgotten more about football then most of us know!

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. So, if Wash is in over his head, why isn't Morris fixing the problem? Does he not see the same problems as you, Steve? Or, is he part of the problem, or is RM too busy with day to day duties to help fix the problem? Which is it?

    I think you need to put on a disguise, crash practice and start fixing things! We're a damned good team if we can fix this pass rush issue.

  14. Steve,
    So come out and tells us what you see. Is McCoy gonna become a force or a merely overpaid quick fix?

  15. Congratulations, Steve.

    Your Blog is getting loads of attention from all sorts of sources this week. Hopefully one of them is the Buccaneers, themselves.

    Keep up the great work.

  16. Hell ya Steve, I'm tired of all the spoon-fed bullshit we get from other "reporters". Same stupid questions and cliche answers every week. Your take is the real deal and the ONLY way we will get better and have some accountability. Keep speakin the truth... you make us educated fans and hopefully give these rooks some much needed direction.

  17. Just wanted to say thanks for this great blog. I'm from The Netherlands so i never got the best info on the details of the game, but your explainations are really helpful and i will try and look for them in the game. So you made it more fun for me, thanks for that.