Questions were abound on how the Buccaneers defense was going to perform this season. If this pre-seaon is any indicator the answer is, the Bucs will do very well.
Experts around the NFL had the Buccaneers defense taking a step back this season. Well I have something to tell those so-called experts. This defense isn't going anywhere.They were saying the tackles were too small for Jim Bates scheme. They had no one to replace future hall-of-famer Derrick Brooks. Rhonde Barber was just a zone coverage cornerback
Raheem Morris and Jim Bates experimented by bringing Jermaine Phillips down from his strong safety position to linebacker. Things were looking well until the NFL suspended Tanard Jackson for the first four games. With the play of Geno Hayes and Jackson's suspension, they decided to move Phillips back to his safety spot.
This defense is going to rely on speed, speed, and more speed. The scheme works with the linemen holding up the offensive linemen and letting the quicker linebackers making the tackle on running plays. On passing plays it is paramount that the linemen get pressure on the quarterback, occasionally bringing one of the linebackers or safeties on a blitz.
So far this pre-season things are looking well. The Bucs are 10th in the NFL in yards allowed. Tied for 2nd in sacks, 3rd in the NFL againist the run and 2nd on 3rd down percentage giving up a 1st down only 28% of the time.
One weakness i've seen this pre-season is their tendecy to give up the big play, Usually on a missed assignment. Those mental mistakes should be cut down as the players get more accustomed to the scheme.
If the Bucs want to have any sucsess this season these trends will have to carry over to the regular season. Which I believe they will. A great defense and a strong running attack will take you far in the NFL. Teams have been very sucsessful with this philosophy.
Hopefully the defense can keep up with what they are doing and surprise a lot of teams and prove those so-called experts wrong.
Editor's note: I jsut cleaned up some of the formatting for the front page move.