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Grading out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Defense - Week 2

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Let me preface this column by saying the grades are based solely on the individual game.  At some point (probably after each 4 games) we'll do a look back at a grouping, but this is strictly based on performance in the previous game.  The reason I say that is the secondary would probably get a high mark if we were comparing Week 1 to Week 2.  I mean, any time you allow that many long TD's one week, and have defenders in the same screen the next game, that's improvement right?  Shades of grey is more like it.

On to the grades

Defensive Line

Gaines Adams - When will the light bulb go off?  He's obviously more scrutinized because of where he was drafted.  Had this guy been an undrafted free agent, he'd go largely unnoticed.  He didn't draft himself so the criticism he faces should be partially deflected.  He isn't performing, but the expectation he garners are based off of other's scouting.  That being said, he just hasn't done anything to make me see improvement.  He did have 4 tackles this week.  But he threatened the quarterback about as many times as I did on Sunday.  He loops up field too often, and now is doing it on running plays.  His rush consists of sprint off the blocks, and try to speed rush, once he realizes he has lost that battle, he stops and moves up field to no avail.  It's aggravating for all involved.  Grade: D+

The rest of the guys - The rest of the line didn't look great either.  Wilkerson got a sack (Grade: B-), Crowder looked a bit lost (Grade: C).  Roy Miller (Grade B-) and Hovan (Grade: C+) provided some pressure, but helped give up 218 yards on the ground with missed tackles and assignments.  As a group generated very little pressure.  Edwards had all day to throw.  Grade: C-

Linebackers

It's unbelievable that what was once a strength of the Bucs is now very average.  Quincy Black has all the tools in the world, but doesn't leap off the screen at you.  I can tell he's still thinking rather than reacting.  Grade: C+  Geno Hayes is developing nicely, if he can stay healthy.  He is making some monster plays and hits but is prone to stupid mental lapses at times.  Grade: C+  I'd like to offer up a theory on Barrett Ruud.  Is it possible that A) we cut Barrett and kept Bo by mistake or B) that Barrett is at home and has Bo standing in for him?  He isn't the same player as he was last year.  A step late in every direction, he's missing tackles.  It seems he is lacking confidence. That's a straight guess, but last year, he would've attacked a ball carrier in space (maybe because he knew help was on the way).  This year, he waits, and gets faked out.  Just a startling difference.  Grade:  C  Overall, the linebackers aren't functioning as a unit.  Missed tackles are becoming rampant and in pass coverage they seem a step slow, a step late, or are out of position.  Grade:  C-

Secondary

Let me first congratulate them on not being out of position on every third play.  Talib had a rough go of it on T.O.  He was beat once (the dropped pass) and on the TD pass, had nice coverage, but didn't get the leap in at the end.  Was a good throw and good catch, tough to defend.  Still prone to that mental lapse.  Grade: C+  Ronde got beat on the first touchdown, and I panicked that this would be a long day for him on Evans.  But he recovered, led the team in tackles, and while he was a bit slow on the underneath stuff, didn't see him get beat again.  Grade: B-  Mack and Cox were average.  Nothing too exciting from them, but I'll focus on the lack of big plays.  Grade: C+  Piscitelli came back with a better game.  I found myself watching #21 to see what he would do.  He was beat on a few pass plays where Edwards went elsewhere with the ball, he blew a tackle (a few times) and took a bad angle a few times.  He did have an interception and recovered a fumble and almost scored, but both of those were gift wrapped. I saw him get beat too many times and miss too many tackles to call this a good day Grade: C-  Flip just misses too many tackles.  It started on the first play and continued.  This isn't a new trend.  Stop trying to kill people and make the effing tackle already.  We get it, you're a big mean dude who likes to hit people.  You followed John Lynch and want to take people's heads off.  It's not working.  You cost us yards everytime you miss.  Grade: D+  Good throws or not, the secondary still got beat on two long TD passes and missed some key tackles.  Grade: C-

Overall

Gave up 438 yards of offense.  Wow.  Gave up 27 points (the pick 6 doesn't count against them).  6.2 yards per play on the ground, 6.7 yards per pass play.  Not good.  Countless facemask penalties.  We couldn't rush the passer, we couldn't tackle against the run, we allowed the underneath stuff to be free and gave up some long TD passes.  This is a very young, inexperienced and outmatched unit.  We're asking mainly platoon men to form a formidable DL, two youngsters to step up and play starting LB roles and 2 guys to play safety that shouldn't be back there.  This isn't a well set up scheme for the players we have and vice versa.  Grade: D

Feel free to agree or disagree below.