According to ESPN Stats and Information, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers blitzed their defensive backs 120 times last season, landing just 4 sacks on those blitzes(h/t Stephen White). Only one other team sent its defensive backs on blitzes more often, as the Miami Dolphins managed an insane 124 defensive back blitzes. In case you weren't aware yet: the Bucs love to blitz.
Only two defensive backs actually notched sacks last season: Ronde Barber and E.J. Biggers. Incidentally, neither player is with the Bucs anymore.
Those 120 blitzes and 4 sacks stand in stark contrast with the Miami Dolphins, who managed 8 sacks on 124 blitzes, and the Green Bay Packers who had a whopping 14 sacks on 120 blitzes. The Bucs' ability to get to the quarterback was, simply, pitiful.
And here's the horrible thing: the Bucs didn't exactly have the players to execute those blitzes properly. Ronde Barber used to be a great blitzer, especially so when teams didn't yet account for him, but for the past few years he hasn't really made an impact in that area. Mark Barron can be a quality blitzer, but he was more often playing deep with Barber blitzing.
Meanwhile, players like Aqib Talib, Eric Wright, E.J. Biggers and Leonard Johnson simply don't have the ability to beat any pass blocker. They don't have the physicality or experience blitzing to do so. The only way you can be successful when you blitz a defensive back like that is by giving him a clear path to the quarterback.
But the Bucs couldn't do that. They simply could not create free rushers, as their blitzes were either picked up with pass blockers or circumvented with quick passes to the voids left by those very blitzes. Those failed blitzes caused several late-game collapses, and were one of the main culprits for a failed season.
If the Buccaneers want to be successful this season, they cannot make the same mistakes they made last year. Improving their secondary was step one. Now to improve their schemes.
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