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Grading out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Defense

Continuing on with the "Grading out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers" columns, we'll take a look at the defense.  

As usual, we are looking at the previous game (Bucs @ Jags) and how each unit/individual did relative to their position on the team, expectations and other factors.  For example (fictitious):  Gaines Adams getting 2 hurries against first string opponent is worth more to me than him getting 2.5 sacks against the 4th string JV team.  When looking at a player/unit, we take into account what they did at their position.  If McCown delivers a strike to a WR but the WR tips it to a defensive player and it gets picked, I'm not holding that against McCown. 

To check out the grades, click the jump and read on.


Defensive Line

Gaines Adams - Perhaps it just took me calling him out in an open game day thread.  Was non-existant for most of his playing time until he exploded for two pressures and an almost sack in 4 plays.  When he does something other than speed rush, he can be a force.  Needs to be more consistent in his play still.  Grade: B-

First String - The pressure arrived in Jacksonville.  After a week of stellar run play, but no pass rush, the DL added that missing caveat.  Consistenly got up field, disrupted the back field on plays.  Did show some fatigue, but with some good depth (which we have) may be the biggest improvement on the team from last year Grade: B

Roy Miller -  No idea how he lasted to third round if he keeps this up.  Was in the backfield, occupying double team (and winning occassionally), hitting runners, providing pressure.  I'm pleased with the progress.  Would like to see him against starters.  Probably needs a bit more size to hold up for 60 minutes against double team.  Grade: B

Kyle Moore - Another nice surprise. Pressured the quarterback numerous times.  Moved inside and showed he could adapt to play DT or DE, which is HUGE as a defensive lineman.  Could easily assume the starting spot opposite of Gaines if he keeps it up.  Grade: B-

The Others - While the pressure was there, inconsistency killed this group again.  Made some nice edge plays and were able to disrupt a few plays. But allowed Jacksonville to move too freely in two minute drill.  Grade: C


Barrett Ruud - If you look at the box score you would think Ruud didn't play as he is listed nowhere, no stats, no tackles, nothing.  He was in the game. This is back to back games where he has been average at best.  It may be the new scheme but right now, he isn't making plays like he was last year.  I don't see him as first to the ball.  He did make a nice play in pass coverage on the tight end, but he has to re-emerge and fast.  Grade: D+

Quincy Black - Still waiting to see that break out potential.  He's around the ball alot but not making too many plays.  Again, didn't show up in boxscore.  Lined up at end a few times and if he can get soem coachign on some pass rush moves, he looks to be a fit there on 3rd downs.  He probably ideally projects to a 3-4 system as the DE/LB hybrid. Grade: C-

Angelo Crowell - Our big defensive free agent acquisition is done for the year. Not the impact he (or we) wanted him to make.  Good luck to you Mr. Crowell.  Grade INC

The Others - Hayes?  Phillips? Hayward?  Not much of an impact.  Phillips made a nice tackle on the play he got hurt, but missed one prior.  Largely disappointing Grade: D

Defensive Backs

Sabby Piscitelli -  Showed why coaches and fans are concerned.  While he is a ball hawk, shows little discipline in coverage.  Was beat 1.5 times (both long plays to Williamson). One he was beat deep, the other he overpursued.  Must find a way to remain in position or will hurt us in long run.  Grade: D

Tanard Jackson - I give him an A for not coming out stoned.  Seriously, played alright, played longer than most starters and made some ncie open field tackles.  Looked a step slow at times and missed 2 tackles that he seems to have lwarned from Flip.  Grade: C

Elbert Mack - Hisnumber sshow differently, but thought he was more liability in coverage than usual.  Was beat on long play to Williamson (the non-TD).  Must learn on the job quickly.  Grade: C

The Others - Arrington made some nice plays and showed the ability to finish plays and hang in coverage.  Nice reaction and tipped pass in the end zone as it looked as if he was in zone and read the sideline pass.  Grade: B-

If you take out the first play of the game, the defense played well and played pretty discipliend.  The pass rush improved, the run game didn't go anywhere, and though we saw no turnovers, we did see more sacks and hurries.  Unfortunately the first play did happen, and it was our starters.  A leader needs to step up.  Grade: C+