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Buccaneers defense couldn't manufacture a pass rush

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David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers weren't very good at creating a pass rush last year, and one of the many reasons why was that they couldn't get any unblocked rushers going. According to Pro Football Focus, the Bucs ranked 32nd in the NFL in creating pressure from unblocked rushers with just 35 such instances. That's way down from 2013, when the Bucs had 73 such pressures, which ranked second in the NFL.

Now to be fair, Lovie Smith and Leslie Frazier don't run a blitz-heavy scheme. They don't want to create free rushers so much as they want to have a consistent pass rush out of the front four, with the back seven playing conservatively to limit big plays. That's a massive contrast with 2012 and 2013, when Greg Schiano would send masses of blitzers -- creating more pressure, but also more holes in the back-end.

Still, the worst in the NFL at creating pressure through unblocked rushers? That's just awful. It's a failure of scheme, because while the Bucs didn't rush a ton they still tried -- at times. And they couldn't do it. Part of the issue was, of course, that they didn't exactly have a dangerous stable of pass rushers. That will cripple any team. The problem is that his year, the Bucs don't really have all that much more.

If the Bucs want to get a pass rush going, and they do, they're going to have to find ways to either get a four-man pass rush going, for which they don't have the personnel, or they need to start creating more unblocked rushers.