Former Buccaneers RB Michael Bennett once said learning former Head Coach Jon Gruden’s playbook was like learning Chinese. QB Luke McCown spoke yesterday at Mini-Camp of how new Offensive Coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski’s playbook was three inches thick compared to the six inch thick playbook of Gruden’s. In a strange term of events the offense may have become a bit easier to learn where as the defense, run by new Defensive Coordinator Jim Bates, may have become the tougher of the two systems to learn.
On the first day of Mini Camp Bates stressed patience in learning his system. He also explained how the system could become somewhat of a hybrid, melding his philosophy, Kiffin’s and that of Coach Morris’ together. They put in one coverage, two different fronts, and no stunts. By going slow he is trying to set a foundation within his players by avoiding the frustration that comes with learning his system. Make no bones about it, this is not the Tampa 2 defense as LB Barrett Ruud will attest:
"It's a different defense, it's a 4-3, but there are a lot of differences style-wise. It's just different. It's not the Tampa 2 everybody is used to here. It's detailed and requires you to play hard, but that's no different than Monte." - LB Barrett Ruud on the Bucs new Defense per the Pewter Report
This is a pretty huge risk for Raheem and company. The fan base has grown with and loved the Tampa 2 defense that Tony Dungy and Monte Kiffin helped trademark here. I think we would all agree that it wasn’t the scheme that hurt us down the stretch last season; it was the players executing the scheme. With that said I have complete faith in Raheem Morris and the staff he has put together. I’m just saying if this defense struggles mightily, while not resembling the defensive packages of old. . . it could get ugly in Tampa. I know the staff is well aware of this though.