Greg Cosell has written yet another outstanding article, but it's about more general scheme issues rather than quarterbacks this time. The issue at hand: multi-dimensional players are forcing defenses to adjust in ways they haven't had to adjust in the past. For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, this means finding hybrid defenders who can match up with the opposing offense's hybrid players. I wrote about that a few days ago, noting the importance of safeties and the expectation that the Bucs will go to a lot of dime defense this season: rather than rely on four or five defensive backs (nickel), the Bucs will run with six defensive backs to match up against explosive passing offenses.
Apparently, that's exactly what one of the best defenses in the NFL did last season according to Greg Cosell:
Traditional linebackers will find their roles - and snaps - significantly reduced. There will not be a place for them against offenses that feature five receivers with multi-dimensional abilities to attack all areas of the field. We will likely see more teams employ the Houston Texans' model. They played dime (six defensive backs), not nickel. That allowed them to field better athletes with more scheme versatility and greater body flexibility and agility to play in space, i.e., coverage. It was not an accident Houston had one of the best defenses in the NFL last season.
That evolution was a big part of the Texans' quick jump up from being absolutely terrible to being pretty great in just one season. That, and Wade Phillips. There are more similarities between the Texans' defense and Schiano's likely defense, though. Phillips nominally relies on a 3-4 defense, but it's actually closer to a 4-3 under defense with one player lifting his hand off the ground. It's not clear whether the Bucs rely primarily on a 4-3 Under or 4-3 Over, but the defensive principles will be similar to Phillips' - except they won't have a defensive lineman take his hand off the ground.
More importantly, though, Phillips defense is built on pressure. He regularly sends five pass rushers on passing downs and makes getting to the quarterback a priority. That is exactly what Schiano did at Rutgers: blitz often and try to make the quarterback's life hell - and it's something we will likely see in Tampa Bay as well. Dime defense and pressure will be important parts of the team's defense this season. And if we can look at the Houston Texans as an example, you can go from worst to first quickly using that template.