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Ronde Barber: Buccaneers defense to be more conservative in 2013


Ronde Barber had an exclusive, 20-odd minute interview with J.P. Peterson (via JoeBucsFan). And in one of those videos, he speaks to the defense. He implies that the Bucs will see a lot more of how the Buccaneers played in Atlanta at the end of the season. "It can't all be that way. It's just too hard."

And then, he detailed a few of the schematic issues of this defense.

"Not a lot of teams in this league play that type of defense for a reason. For the reason that it exposes your corners. You're basically playing with half a safety in the box -- kind of in kind of out -- and it's great in the run game, which obviously showed. But teams can definitely pick out their matchup, and if you don't win on the outside it looks pretty bad."

This isn't shocking: we all know that's what happened last year. Safety creeps down into the box, the Bucs send some blitzers and the cornerbacks are playing on an island. And when your best cornerbacks are undrafted rookies and waiver wire pickups, that leads to issues. Surprising, right? The Bucs' coaches would have to be complete idiots to not get this point.

Will this change in the future? Barber seems to think that it will, and obviously he has more information on this than I do. Perhaps we'll see a little more conservative defense at times. And yet, I can't help but think that this won't change at all for one simple reason: these offseason additions. What's the point adding a range free safety who can help the cornerbacks who are on an island even when the other safety's in the box if you're not going use him? And why would you go after Darrelle Revis, perhaps the only cornerback in the NFL who can consistently play with no safety help over the top, if you're not going to put him on island? Why are you adding a linebacker whose biggest talent may be blitzing like John Casillas if you don't plan on using them?

More importantly: this is Schiano's identity. It's how he played defense in college, how he played defense last year -- it's what he wants to be. He wants to run an aggressive, blitz-heavy defense that stops the run first and foremost, and tries to put the burden on the secondary to stop the pass. Coaches don't change their identities easily, and I think we will continue to see a blitz-heavy scheme as the foundation of the defense, even if we see a little more conventional four-man pass-rush.

Ronde Barber had a lot more to say in his talks with JP Peterson of, and I'd advise you to check them all out. You can find part one here, part two here, part three right here, and finally part four over here.