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The Buccaneers need to build on their steady improvement on defense

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have steadily improved over the past few weeks on defense, and that's what they need to continue to build on.

Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

What are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' strengths? What do they need to build on going forward?

There's only one thing the Bucs have done consistently this season: defend the run. Football Outsiders ranks them as having the sixth-best run defense in the NFL. They've allowed just 3.8 yards per carry, ninth in the NFL. Thanks to Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David, this is the one thing we know the Bucs can do.

That needs to be the basis of their success going forward, but that's easier said than done. The best run defense in the world won't matter if opponents can complete passes at will, and your offense can't score. Noteworthy: the Bucs have the worst offense in the NFL according to Football Outsiders' statistics.

But there have been some signs of improvement in recent weeks. The past two games the Bucs have allowed fewer than 300 passing yards each, and they've been much more consistent in coverage. Not to the point where they need to be, but they're better: defenders seem more at ease in the scheme, and most players seem capable of at least executing their tasks, if not always to perfection.

And that's really what the Bucs have to build on now: they just need to get a little better each week. They need to show improvement. They're not getting to the playoffs this year, but they need to be the 1996 Bucs again: show that what they're building is going to work in the long term.

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