Bill Sheridan is the new Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator, and he faced the media for the first time today. Speaking to the press, he answered questions on a variety of topics, most importantly on the kind of defense he'll be running. Here are the key points I took away from this press conference:
- This will continue to be a 4-3 defense, although there will be some odd-front alignments as well (defensive linemen aligned head up on offensive linemen, rather than shaded in gaps). Note that alignments and assignments are two different things: the Bucs aligned in odd fronts plenty of times last season, but still played an up-the-field, one-gap scheme.
- Scoring defense is the most important aspect of defense, according to Sheridan. This seems rather obvious: stopping opponents from scoring is a key part of any defense. Whether this means the Bucs will play a bend-don't-break defense, or whether it just means an emphasis on red zone defense isn't clear.
- He noted that allowing all those big plays was correctable. I don't know why he'd say anything else. "Yeah, guys, I can't prevent big plays" seems like an awful way to introduce yourself as a defensive coordinator.
- As with all new defensive coordinator, Sheridan promised an aggressive style of defense. We'll see whether he actually brings that, but he did talk about the importance of manufacturing pressure to disrupt passers, both with four down linemen and with blitzes.
- On the subject of techniques, he noted that the Bucs would play a one-gap system but would occasionally ask a defensive end to two-gap, as that's what defensive ends need to do when you don't have eight men in the box. That's why John Lynch was so crucial in the old Bucs' Tampa 2, as he had the ability to come down into the box quickly and help stuff the run.
- He said that he really liked Mason Foster in last year's draft, but he didn't know whether the linebacker would play in the middle or on the outside, but he did note that he expected linebackers to be able to play all three positions. This could have some implications for the type of linebackers the Bucs go after, as it seems to imply versatility is very important.