The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense needs to be "machine-gunning" - 1998 Defensive Principles

Here's something I just came across, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1998 Defensive Playbook[PDF]. It details the Bucs' defense at the time, and there are plenty of interesting notes in there. Anyone interested in playbooks should look that over, and the main site (fastandfuriousfootball.com) has a lot of different playbooks. 

What's interesting is the "defensive team philosophy" set out in this document. A number of these things are obvious: "Mental Preparation", "Be a Physical Defense", "Hustle", "Physical Toughness", "Be Disciplined" - these are all tenets of every defense. Two things stand out, though: Quickness and Gang Tackling. 

We all know the Bucs used to be about speed over size. Derrick Brooks was undersized for his position, but fast as anything. Simeon Rice wasn't the biggest, but he was quick. Sapp had size, but he was all speed. Speed was why the Bucs defense, but they seem to be going away from that and back to size these days. Da'Quan Bowers and Adrian Clayborn are both big, quick and use their hands very well, but neither player is a speed demon. Geno Hayes is a very fast linebacker, but Ruud isn't the fastest, and the linebackers this regime has brought in (Tyrone McKenzie and Mason Foster) are more big than fast. 

"Gang Tackling" is the other point of interest. Let me quote that piece:

Gang Tackling: Eleven guys getting to the ball. Nothing is more discouraging to an offensive back or receiver knowing he is going to get machine gunned by the Buccaneer defense.

Now that's what I want to see more of: a Buccaneer defense that machine guns the opposition. Here's to hoping they get back to that soon. 

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