The Winds of Change

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Lo and behold, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on a three game win streak!  Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon has recently won the Offensive Rookie for the month of November and Levonte David won Defensive Player of the week with the Bucs defeating the then 6  – 4 Detroit Lions, giving the Lions their fifth loss.  The running game had found some wheels in three of the four games, where the lowest output of those three games was 140 yards rushing.  A huge factor to that was the insertion of offensive guard Jamon Meredith into the starting lineup.

Let us take a peek at simple scoring statistics, broken down into the first four games, the following four games and the recent three games, where the Bucs have found success in the win column..

2013 Tampa Bay Scoring Stats


Game #


Game


Opp Score


Bucs Score


Win/Loss


1

NYJ

18

17

Loss

2

NO

16

14

Loss

3

NE

23

3

Loss

4

Ari

13

10

Loss

Bye

Sum

70

44

Average

17.5

11

5

Phi

31

20

Loss

6

Atl

31

23

Loss

7

Car

31

13

Loss

8

Sea

27

24

Loss

Sum

120

80

Average

30.0

20

9

Mia

19

22

Win

10

Atl

13

41

Win

11

Det

21

24

Win

Sum

53

87

Average

17.67

29

As you can see, the shift in both the offense and defense has both improved after the middle four game set.  The improvement for the offense has gradually improved since the beginning of the year.  The defensive performance has returned back its form at the beginning of the year.  Fortunately, my obsession with numbers has stumbled upon a parallel to help understand why the defense is playing like it did for the first four games of the year and possibly be even better.

.

2013 Tampa Bay Sack Stats, Defensive Line


Game #


Game


Total Sacks


D-Line Sacks


Win/Loss


1

NYJ

5

1

Loss

2

NO

4

2

Loss

3

NE

3

2

Loss

4

Ari

1

1

Loss

Bye

Sum

13

6

Average

3.25

46.15%

D-Line %

5

Phi

1

0

Loss

6

Atl

0

0

Loss

7

Car

3

1

Loss

8

Sea

0

0

Loss

Sum

4

1

Average

1.6

25.00%

D-Line %

9

Mia

2

2

Win

10

Atl

3

3

Win

11

Det

2

1

Win

Sum

7

6

Average

2.333333

85.71%

D-Line %

The sack statistic does reveal a trend such that the middle four games provided less.  Less sacks does not necessarily mean no quarterback pressure, but it does account for pressure.  The first four game set points allowed (PA) is 17.5 ppg with the sack rate of 1.5 sacks per game.  In the next four game set there was a lack of sacks, or pressure, which lead to a PA of 30.0 ppg.  For the last three games, the team is back to creating sacks, during which time the PA is back down to around 17.5 ppg, actually 17.6 ppg. What is interesting is the defensive line is creating most of the pressure with the sacks in the last three games!  DT Gerald McCoy earned four of those seven sacks.  With pressure created by the defensive line, then the defense can allocate personnel elsewhere instead of trying to add more pressure to the opposing quarterback.  What exactly do I mean?  Permit me to present to you one more table:

.

2013 Tampa Bay Sack and INT Stats


Game #


Game


Total Sacks


Def INTs


Win/Loss


1

NYJ

5

1

Loss

2

NO

4

2

Loss

3

NE

3

1

Loss

4

Ari

1

2

Loss

Bye

Sum

13

6

Average

3.25

1.5

5

Phi

1

0

Loss

6

Atl

0

0

Loss

7

Car

3

0

Loss

8

Sea

0

0

Loss

Sum

4

0

Average

1.6

0

9

Mia

2

1

Win

10

Atl

3

2

Win

11

Det

2

4

Win

Sum

7

7

Average

2.33

2.33

A lack of pressure can help explain the lack of interceptions.  With less people being assigned to produce pressure on the quarterback by way of a pass rush, then there should be more personnel in the secondary.  Here is a Sander article that denoted that DT Gerald McCoy had talked with coach Greg Schiano about altering the pass rush:  Gerald McCoy, leader .  Although the team notched only two sacks against the Lions, here is a video that shows a four man rush and the result of pressure:  Watch GMC create pressure .  Now, just imagine what an effective defensive end would add to a one man defensive line.

The scheme may have changed for the better recently, but it also accentuates the importance of an effective pass rush from the defensive line.  In a previous article, I chronicled that the defensive line was producing a sack rate of about 41% of the total sacks within the first eight games of the year.  These past three games revealed that the defensive line is producing 85% of the total sacks.  And because the defensive line is creating a majority of the pressure, there happens to be an increase in interceptions.

This change in the defense conflated with a change in the offensive game plan, to make sure it is balanced between passing and running, presents a different team to this week’s opponent, the Carolina Panthers.

Extra - I found extra time to do another sketch, but did it quickly so I can try to get it in time before the next game.  I am not great with color and am doing the coloring in MS paint.  I envy those who possess a higher quality art program to color, but coloring the sketch after it is scanned is as arduous as doing a stunt that spans a three gap jump.

Bucs_vs_lions__colored__medium

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