Monday, December 20, 2010

Bull Rush

Not much to say about the game yesterday.

But I will say this, if the Bucs don't get back to having everyone in their gap on run fits then it won't matter whether you call it Tampa 2.0 or any other nickname you can come up with, it ain't gonna work.

I don't give a damn how many blitzes you call.

Oh and boy did Coach Morris call them.

32 by my unofficial count.

And yet after all that the Bucs still didn't have any sacks, no interceptions, and very few pressures.

If you can't play your base defense eventually its going to come back to haunt you.

It wasn't as if the Lions came in with some kind of exotic blocking scheme. They ran basically what the last few Bucs opponents have run at them, zones, split action bellies and Iso belly cut backs (AKA The Saints' play). And yet the defense still hasn't seemed to fix it.

Every time one of the Bucs defensive ends face a kick out block its a potential for disaster. Either the End doesn't get under the block and the running back runs straight down hill into the secondary, OR the defensive end DOES get underneath the block but then the guy who is supposed to cover his back doesn't and the running back gets into the secondary on the perimeter with the potential for a big play.

No matter how many times teams have run kick out blocks against the Bucs this season it seems like one of these scenarios continues to play out several times during the game each and every week. And the run defense continues to get carved up.

I'm just going to give a few more comments about the defense and then the individual breakdowns.

- It appears that the injuries finally truly caught up with the Bucs. For one when you look and see Myron Lewis and Elbert Mack playing important roles in dime then you know there's a problem. Mack just is not a good secondary. Lewis has the potential to be but its obvious he isn't ready right now.

Nothing to be ashamed about there, most rookies aren't ready to play their first year. Ask Ronde Barber about whether that's such a bad thing.

But unfortunately because of injuries the Bucs don't have a choice but to play both guys.

With Lewis his technique is just so bad right now that him making any plays at all would be a massive feat. He turns the wrong way when looking for the ball, sticks out the wrong arm when trying to make a play on the ball, is not the greatest tackler. And yet the Bucs don't really have anyone else.

So you try to hide them with big cushions. But then a team picks on them BECAUSE of the big cushions. So you put them up in bump and then teams bomb them out of the stadium. It's clear to me that those guys being out there would severely hamper what any defensive coordinator in the world's play book.

Similarly with Gerald McCoy out now there is no big time pass rusher inside for the Bucs. That means that on first and second downs its not as likely that the defensive line will get a pass rush all on their own against play action. Do you blitz to help out with the pass rush? If you do then you might leave Lewis out there on an island by himself.

Is that really a risk you are willing to take?

But then again even if the Bucs play zone and rush four the fact that the quarterback won't be pressured means that the secondary will still be stressed.

That's the conundrum that Coach Morris is faced with because of the loss of McCoy.

And lets not forget about the free safety position where the Bucs have gone from a potential Pro Bowler, to a helluva late round gem, to a guy who has ball skills but just isn't very physical.

You put all that together and you have what we all saw yesterday.

It is what it is.

- By the way, the people who continue to make asses out of themselves complaining about Barrett Ruud will look particularly silly when they try to pin the terrible run defense on him this time. I don't think he was out of position the whole game. But hey, for some folks in this area it doesn't matter whose play it actually was, its still Ruud's fault, smdh.

- It still bothers the hell out of me that the Bucs defensive line isn't good at running pass rush games. Yesterday Mike Bennett and Tim Crowder try to run an EX. Crowder sets the guard up beautifully with a fake bull rush. Crowder, however, gets up field too much to come in and pick the guard so both he and Crowder ends up stuck in their one on ones.

Alex Magee and Stylez White are on the other side attempting to run a TEX with Stylez as the inside rusher. Stylez does a great job of getting off the ball, making a move on the guard, and then trying to get to the offensive tackle's back. Magee, however, only took two steps up field and then came inside allowing the offensive tackle to follow him right into Stylez's rush and pin him inside.

What is it about "looping inside late will allow the inside rusher a chance to get to the offensive tackle's back" that's so damn hard to understand?!?!?!

- Again, the Bucs ran somewhere in the area of 32 blitzes yesterday. And yet they came away with no sacks, few pressures, and no turnovers on the day. That, my friends, is a major problem.

On to the individual breakdowns.

Tim Crowder: Crowder had 1 tackle and two assists by my count. He was ok for most of the game but he was one of the ends who didn't get underneath the kick out block against the run. That HAS to get fixed.

Frank Okam: Didn't really know what to expect from Okam but I thought he played ok. He was in his gap most of the game and I had him with 2 tackles and 3 assists. As I did expect though he wasn't much of a factor as far as pass rush goes. They did have him drop underneath a tight end one time which showed they believe in his athletic ability. Not a bad start for his career as a Buccaneer.

Roy Miller: Roy is a guy who played well most of the day but again he got washed on some of those kick out block plays and made it easier for the running back to come down hill. I had him with 1 tackle and 1 assist.

Stylez G White: I thought Stylez played ok but he didn't get near enough pressure on the quarterback. He had many opportunities one on one against the offensive tackle but didn't even have a pressure. He did almost get to the quarterback late in the game but he was just a half a second late and it gave Drew Stanton just long enough to get the ball off to Calvin Johnson for a 1st down.

I had him with 1 tackle and 2 assists and he did hustle well to the ball all day. But the Bucs needed more production out of him yesterday and didn't get it. With McCoy out he has to find a way to make more plays if this defense is going to have a shot at being any good.

Michael Bennett: I still believe that playing Bennett at undertackle instead of Okam was the better option. Okam played ok but he wasn't dynamic and I believe Bennett would have been.

Just had to say that.

I only had Bennett with 1 assisted tackle. He did force a holding penalty with his penetration one play which was good. But he is another guy who needed to be more productive yesterday and wasn't. Potential is great but unless production follows it all goes to waste. At some point Bennett is simply going to have to play better or he will be one of those guys that get labeled as never fulfilling his potential.

Al Woods: I had Woods with two tackles. He played well most of the day but on a simple ISO play he got knocked into the opposite A gap opening up a huge lane for the running back to go through. He is going to have to work on anchoring in their against double teams.

Alex Magee: Magee got a lot more oportunities on Sunday and I had him with 1 tackle. He had an opportunity for a sack but he missed the tackle on Stanton. I thought he played ok.

Well that's all for now, see you in the comments section!


  1. Steve,

    You've mentioned numerous times about guys not being in their gaps all season? Is it just one player in particular or a number of guys through out the game?

    Is the players being out of their gap a result of not knowing the playbook? I kind of believe there will be changes to the defensive coaching staff at the end of the year (cough D-Line cough and probably LB coach- I believe Greg Lloyd is an assistant LB coach now). I know the team is decimated by injury, but really does the pass defense matter if the defense can't stop the run? I agree Lynch is soft as a run defender in particular, I think we see just how good and important Grimm was at safety. Just damn, this sucks to watch my team run over by no name running backs.

  2. Spot on assessment, thanks Steve. this was a horrible replay of my childhood. It reminded me of Barry Sanders back in the day, gashing our D right up the gut.

    I could be wrong, but don't see the development of the DE's. I didn't see any pressure from either edge. Next year we should have some good depth and development at DT,but I'm not so sure at DE. Further, it looked like the blitzes were piling into each other at the line and getting Zero penetration. My jersey was dirtier that Stanton's. The fans in my section made a big deal regarding bucs players not getting off their blocks. I thought Geno made plays, a few in the backfield... Ronde played in typical fashion and was our most physical player...he was all over the place.
    My opinion is based on watching the game in the stands and not looking at any tape, so please take that into consideration.
    Ra just gave his assessment and was critical of himself. He thinks very highly of Megatron and given that we could not stop the run with any consistency, he put it on his beat up, 2 minute D to win the game. No one really pressed him on Free and Caddie getting the carries at the end of the game. that sucked to watch.

    Did Preston Parker play Safety?
    Did we run the "Saints" play?

    One more thing, I know it's we are all hit hard by the economic downturn. If you can, make the choice to get to the game and support these guys. They are young, playing hard and making plays. I know people in our section got great deals on tix and The players deserve our support.

    Thanks again, Steve. I hope you and your family have a good Christmas.

  3. At one point during the Lions first or second possessions I saw Okam and Miller switch, putting Okam on the point and Miller at the 3, and it looked like Okam held the point and Miller did get some penetration, but I only saw it once. Did you see this, if you did, what did you think of their play?

  4. i asked you before once and I will ask again Steve. Do you think Rah needs a real DC at some point? You disagreed the last time, but may be he does. Why would the same mistakes be recurring if he was doing his job well?

    Also, did you like the idea of us playing safe (3 rushes) and going for the FG instead of going for the TD. I am sort of mad at Rah for this game Steve, I love what he has done thus far, but I fear Dungyball 2.0 in Tampa and I am NOT a fan of Dungyball.

  5. Based on how the line played, I'm really starting to look forward to next year when McCoy and Price are healthy and they've drafted a DE in the first two rounds. I'm honestly not sure if any of the starting four yesterday are starters on most other teams...

    Oh well, let's just hope they figure out how to coach up and motivate in the offseason, because it's painfully apparent they have a long way to go.