Will the Buccaneers build their team on offense or defense?

Matt Stamey-US PRESSWIRE

Strong offense and weak defense or weak offense and strong defense?

Editor's note: Please welcome Hockey Duckie as the latest addition the Bucs Nation writing staff!

There seems to be a lack of congruence as to what kind of team the Buccaneers are to be. The Bucs possess a QB who threw for over 4,000 yards and 27 touchdowns as well as the owners of a porous secondary on defense. There is plenty of blame on the defense for not doing more to secure wins, and rightly so, but what seems to be amiss is the responsibility of the offense to carry the weak defense. The premise is if we have a high scoring offense led by a prolific passer, then why are we relying on a defense whose attribute is to be more open than any 24 hour convenient store? Is our defense that terrible to overcome such deficiencies by our high powered offense that we think we possess?

A Snapshot of Porous Defenses


Team


Points Allowed


Rank


Points Scored


Rank


Team


A

24.2

21st

22.3

18th

A

B

24.3

22nd

27.3

4th

B

C

24.6

23rd

24.3

13th

C

Of the three teams I denoted, two of the three teams are led by rookies. One of those teams is our very own Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And of those three teams, two had new head coaches (new systems implemented). All three defenses are very similar to one another in Points Allowed and all three rank consecutively at the bottom tier of the league. Next, I also put their respective offensive output on the same chart. They vary in scoring with a total of a 5 point difference between the highest scoring and lowest scoring offenses.

Permit me to digress upon a tangent at this moment. All QBs are new to their respective offensive systems as they are either rookies or Josh Freeman is new to his coaching staff. Freeman was a three year NFL veteran entering into the 2012 season. Now look back at the chart and think who should be leading the pack.

A season snapshot does not necessarily point out any particular trend, offensively or defensively, aside from averages. Yet, averages can be useful if broken down into smaller segments to reveal a trend, if any. Using the same three teams, I made a chart that broke down their seasons into three parts. Except, I re-arranged and re-named each team, going from letters to numbers.

Porous Defenses Broken Down in 3 Parts


Team 1


Team 2


Team 3


Points Scored


Points Allowed


Points Scored


Points Allowed


Points Scored


Points Allowed


First 4 Games

30.75

30.75

20.5

22.75

27.5

22.75

Middle 6 Games

17.2

21.8

34.2

23.2

19.8

25.0

Last 6 Games

29.8

22.3

17.0

27.3

24.5

21.2

Differentials between the middle six and the last six games.

(Last six – Middle six = progression or regression)

L6 –M6

+ 12.6

+ 0.5

– 17.2

+ 4.1

+ 4.7

– 3.8

Points Scored = Offense; Points Allowed = Defense


From the Porous Defenses Broken Down in 3 Parts chart above, we notice all three teams struggled with one of the six game sets, two in the middle and one in the last six game set. The first four game set was separated as a chance for the all players to become accustomed to their respective offensive systems. Looking at the differential between the middle six game set and the last six game set, one team’s offense was drastically not scoring and defense was giving up more points in the last six game set.

Between all three teams, two of the three had new head coaches in 2012 and two of the three had rookies at the helm. Two of those three teams were playoff teams. Without further adieu:

Team A = Team 3 = Indianapolis Colts, rookie QB, new head coach and (11-5) Playoff team.


Team B = Team 1 = Washington Redskins, two rookie QBs and (10-6) Playoff team.


Team C = Team 2 = Tampa Bay Buccaneers, new head coach (7– 9) no playoffs.


As terrible as the defense has been labeled, their season average suggests they are a playoff type quality defense provided they have an offense that can produce. Our offense put up an average of 34.2 points per game for six consecutive games which netted the Bucs with a 5 – 1 record during that stretch. So what transpired thereafter? There are many factors that could lead to an offense’s demise, but blaming the defense for giving up an extra four points seems more like a deflection of the offense’s deficiency.

The curious case for the Bucs is are they a 17 point scoring team or a 34 point scoring team? Defining what type of offense the Bucs want to be will define how to address the defense correctly. Because if we are only a 17 point scoring team, then that is more than 10 points to shave off for the defense. That would be a miracle to accomplish because there was only one team last year to allow less than 17 points per game: the Seattle Seahawks with 15.3 points per game allowed. Regardless, we are addressing our secondary concerns this offseason and that should help bring down some of the average of points allowed per game.

Obviously, we were not a balanced team in 2012 as we came to know that it was our offense that carried this team midway through the season. And as glaring as the mistakes our defense made, statistically it did not hurt as much as we have perceived those mistakes to be. Yet with all of the finger pointing directed at the defense, we fans can overlook the deficiencies of the offense as we can say we had two offensive pro-bowlers in WR Vincent Jackson and RB Doug Martin as well as have career high numbers for our QB Josh Freeman in passing yards and touchdowns thrown. That last six-game stretch revealed our point scoring was only 17 points per game. With that scoring ineptness, we would be ranked 29th in scoring as opposed to the 13th scoring offense in the league. Since VJax and Martin went to the Pro Bowl, that leaves only a certain number personnel as the weakest link on offense. Claims that Freeman is the best QB that the Bucs have ever had may have some truth in it, but with a completion percentage of 54% and 17 interceptions to go with 4,065 yards passing and 27 TDs... his best may not be good enough.

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