As we wait for FA and the draft to come, we debate on what our real needs are on the team. And the debate comes up as which units on the team struggled the most? Pass defense? Pass offense? Run offense? Run defense? Pass blocking? Run blocking? Etc.... This is a fact. Our defense sucked. I am not saying that they didn't nor am I saying we shouldn't address the defense. We should know why our defense sucked and realized the pieces we have on defense and what we really need.
What was the big problems on defense? I personally think it was our run defense. Pass defense was bad but not as bad as people make it to be. I also think that our offense sucked completely in the run and the pass. The lone bright spot was the O-Line who did run block pretty ok (except for Jeff Faine. I also think that the offense was worse than the defense. But everyone says hey we had the worst defense in history because we gave up the most points. It is true, the TEAM gave up the most points ever, but this is not all the defenses fault. Countless 3 and outs, turnovers on our side of the field for points and turnovers for immediate points. So lets break down some key stats and facts:
Tampa bay's offense: Run game was ranked 30th in rushing. last in attempts,but we ranked tied for 8 in fumbles and tied for 2nd in fumbles lost. This is interesting because many feel that if we ran the ball more Legarrette Blount would have more yards. Which I agree to some degree, however its not a guarantee and also note the more he carries the ball the more likely he is to FUMBLE. We were 25th in passer rating 26th in TD receptions last in the league in turnover ratio with -16(our biggest problem). We turned the ball over the most in the league with fumbles and ints each. 27th in first downs made. Tampa Bay's defense 21st in 3rd downs made.21st in pass defense. last in run defense with 156 yards a games (this is the main factor on our sorry defense) 5 of our losses we gave up 100 yards rushing to a single player. Including 190 to CJ2k, 172 to Turner in the first half. While we gave up also 5 100 yard games in the pass game, and two of those games were to Foster for the Texans (RB)and Graham (TE).
Breakdown of turnovers in games for losses (with the exception of the first loss against the Lions)
49ers: 2 turnovers on our side of the field including a pick 6.
Bears: 4 turnovers but lose by a touchdown and a last minute bad throw by Freeman.
Texans: 4 turnovers on our side of the field for scores. Packers: 2 turnovers one on our side of the field in the redzone but no points given up.
Titans: 4 turnovers, 2 on our side of the field and four scores.
Jaguars: 7 turnovers and 4 were on our side of the field and 4 were for scores.
Panthers 1st game: 2 turnovers on our side of the field for scores.
Panthers 2nd game: 3 turnovers.
Falcons game 4 turnovers on our side of the field for scores.
Finally I am going to play the blame game for the most disappointing players on the team.
Sean Jones: Lead the team in tackles which is bad enough but even worse, nobody had 100 tackles on defense. Although ok in stopping the run, he was terrible in pass defense. Alot of the big plays were because of our terrible safety play. Bad angles, bad support, bad coverage etc... Even Jackson who couldn't tackle for nothing, ill give him a pass because of his rust.
Mason Foster: Our QB on defense. I like him and I give him a pass because he was a rookie and he was banged up at times, however I still feel he shouldn't have started at MLB and should be switched on the outside. Its a big reason why this defense was suffered. He did show flashes in the beginning of the season but later on he struggled. Missing tackles, very hesitant to hit the gaps, and couldn't get off blocks very well.
Tanard Jackson: Very rusty, worse tackler on the team last year. Also bad in coverage but not as bad as Sean Jones.
Quincy Black: Worst LB out the bunch. Horrible in coverage, pedestrian against the run Hayes was bad too but Black was really horrible.
Josh Freeman: No 4th quarter magic this year. Very inaccurate, made bad throws and was afraid to take shots down field even when we were getting blown out. Receivers didn't help much but he's our best player on the team and he gets most of the blame in my book.
Finally.... Kregg Lumpkin. Because his name is Kregg Lumpkin and he just stinks. No explanation needed.
If you notice any errors let me know. This took me a while to break this down. Also let me know what you think.
*Note* These stats were gathered from NFL.com and ESPN.com