Raheem Morris has stressed several times that he wants the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to play a very physical form of football. The Coach wants his team to have a certain intimidation factor- to be violent. As a fan, it can be said that I very much crave the same. Stellar play on the defensive side of the ball was my initial attraction to this team, and aspiring to imbue the team with a brutal philosophy is what the entirety of the fanbase can support.
On the unfortunate side of things, it is evident with their two losses that this installation is coming along quite slowly.
What comes to mind when one thinks of a dominating defense? Moreover, when one thinks of a violent defense?
Stopping the run is the first thing that tumbles around in my skull. Trite to say "old fashioned football," but a punishing defense that can stuff runners hearkens back to the days where facemasks weren't worn (they only slow people down, you see). In a time where both sides of the ball knew exactly what play was going to be ran each and every down, the toughest team was going to win. Tampa currently does not resemble such a lot.
Tampa fans haven't time for fanciful reverie of their playoff teams years ago. The defense in place now has us cringing and wishing we could go back to the time where it won games. This young corps wont peak for a while as players are learning and progressing, but it's getting harder to watch as opponents figure them out. Morris came in and wanted to establish a physical team on both sides that played with violence- one that commanded respect if not reverence. I appreciate the mentality, and hope he starts producing soon.
In this moment Tampas defense is second to last in rushing yards allowed per game with 157. They are also 22nd and 26th in points and yards per game, respectively. It is illusory to say the pass defense is doing alright as it sits at 16th as teams focus on running the ball to exploit the worse half of the unit.
Those are the mere numbers, watching the contests is where the real sickness takes hold. Aqib Talib will make a big interception every game only to redeem the touchdown he gave away. Cody Grimm is guilty of the same for missing assignments over the top. The line will get pushed around without getting pressure on quarterbacks, and then Piscitelli will absolutely miss tackles.
This is not to say that Tampa hasn't earned the wins accrued, or that player performances haven't any upside, because they have and they do. When Morris goes on record saying "We're going to play violently fair," I just want to see it put into practice more so on the field than in the paper.