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Statistically, the Bucs defense is bad

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Cliff McBride

Six games into the season and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have stumbled once again into mediocrity.  Except this time around against the Ravens, the Bucs have managed to get into the record books for their mediocrity.  They hold the largest deficit in the first half by a home team for giving up 38 points and scoring none.  Could this debacle have been predicted?  Yes.

Opposing Offenses vs TB Defense

Team

Drive

Plays

Yards

Offensive Scoring

40 + yard Drives

50 + yard Drives

60 + yard Drives

70 + Yard Drives

80 + Yard Drives

90 + yard Drives

Total

Car

11

71

317

20

2

0

1

0

0

0

3

StL

8

64

343

19

1

0

1

1

1

0

4

Atl

13

67

570

42

1

1

1

1

2

0

6

Pit

11

75

375

24

0

0

1

1

1

1

4

NO

13

89

522

35

1

0

2

2

1

0

6

Bal

13

67

448

48

0

3

0

0

2

0

5

Totals

69

433

2575

188

5

4

6

5

7

1

28

Avg

11.5

72.17

429.17

31.33

0.83

0.67

1

0.83

1.167

0.167

Percent of drives over total number of drives

7.2%

5.8%

8.7%

7.2%

10.1%

1.4%

40.6%

One would believe after becoming embarrassed in the Atlanta game, that there should be evidence of improvement if the regime expects its fan base to have hope.  Even though the Bucs pulled out a win against Pittsburgh in the following game, it allowed several long drives, including a 90+ yard variety.  New Orleans pulled out six long drives two games after the Atlanta game, where Atlanta also had six long drives.  In that New Orleans' game, the Bucs' had an 11 point lead in the fourth quarter.

In the most recent game against the Ravens, the Bucs' allowed the Ravens to have four long drives in the first half alone, scoring touchdowns on all four long drives.  One of those drives was 80 yards long, the opening drive for the Ravens.

Asking the offense to bail out the defense at this frenetic pace is an unachievable goal by head coach Lovie Smith.  Lovie believes it is too early to panic as six games represent the middle of the second quarter of a full game.  Yet, the numbers the defense has put up do not reveal a pattern of improvement.   Is having a bye week enough time to steer the defensive ship onto stable waters?  If all of preseason and the blowout in Atlanta were not enough time to create appropriate adjustments by now, then how can two weeks off completely turn the tide of the storm we find ourselves within?  The only positive aspect of having two weeks off is affording injured players to become healthy.

Now let us look into our offensive pattern.

TB Offense vs Opposing Defense

Team

Drive

Plays

Yards

Offensive Scoring

40 + yard Drives

50 + yard Drives

60 + yard Drives

70 + Yard Drives

80 + Yard Drives

90 + yard Drives

Total

Car

11

55

279

14

1

1

2

0

0

0

4

StL

9

54

372

17

1

0

2

2

0

0

5

Atl

14

57

143

7

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

Pit

10

66

365

27

1

0

1

0

2

0

4

NO

11

55

274

24

1

0

0

0

2

0

3

Bal

12

69

379

17

0

2

1

1

0

1

5

Totals

67

356

1812

106

4

3

6

3

5

1

22

Avg

11.17

59.33

302

17.67

0.67

0.5

1

0.5

0.83

0.167

Percent of drives over total number of drives

6.0%

4.5%

9.0%

4.5%

7.5%

1.5%

32.8%

There was only one long drive in the first half, near the end of the first half.  That resulted in a 53 yard missed field goal.  Had that field goal counted, then there could have been a possibility that the Bucs would not have gone into the record books for their mediocrity.  The 60+ yard drive ended in downs on the 16 yard line as the team went for the touchdown in an effort to claw back into the game.

Given time, the offense can produce as shown by the drive sheet of having five long drives.  Unlike the Atlanta blowout, the offense continued to have long drives.  That lone long drive in the Atlanta game was with Glennon under center, when he came into the game for the second half because starting QB Josh McCown had injured his throwing thumb.  What is missing from this stat is the context of blitzing done by the Ravens to deter the offense in the first half of the game.

In order for the Bucs to have a chance at winning a game, the offense must find a way to keep a clean pocket for Glennon.  Glennon has shown the propensity to lead the offense to long drives when given time.

As for the possibility of a turnaround by this team, after six games into the season, I lack the confidence the head coach has.  Sure, it is possible to run the table, but it is highly unlikely.  I am hoping to look for incremental improvements on this team, nothing more.

Note: All stats found from ESPN.com.