clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Reviewing five years of Buccaneers defense

New, comments
David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

The doldrums of the off-season is here. The NFL Combine has been recently conducted and the NFL draft is a month and a half away. Pi day was yesterday. So I am gathering stats just to gather up stats.  Sometimes an idea clicks.  Sometimes I am just collecting more information. Here is a defensive snapshot courtesy of Football Outsiders.

TB Bucs
Football Oustiders Defensive Rankings, 2011 - 2015
Year Total Def Rank Total Def DVOA Pass Rank Pass Def Rush Rank Rush Def Head Coach
2011 31 14.20% 31 21.30% 30 7.60% Morris
2012 20 2.90% 26 16.90% 3 -19.60% Schiano
2013 8 -6.80% 11 -0.10% 8 -14.90% Schiano
2014 18 1.10% 23 14.90% 8 -14.50% Smith
2015 18 3.30% 26 20.60% 9 -16.50% Smith
http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/teamdef

In 2011, we fans all knew the team gave up playing for coach Morris. That season establishes just how terrible the defense was.

Then in came Greg Schiano and quickly bolstered the rush defense. In the offseason, he did nab free agent CB Eric Wright. Also, in the draft, he helped GM Mark Dominik select safety Mark Barron, weak side linebacker Lavonte David, and then cornerback/safety Keith Tandy for the defense.

The following year, the Bucs went secondary crazy! They traded for CB Darrelle Revis, signed free agent safety Dashon "the Hawk" Goldson, and drafted CB Johnthan Banks in the second round. Later in the draft, the organization selected DT Akeem Spence and DE William Gholston in the fourth round.

There has been an abundance of complaining on how the defense was not using Revis in the best possible way. So I found it surprising at how the pass defense significantly improved! I have a perplexed look when staring at that particular year's metric. The organization was in such a hurry to get rid of Schiano that I did not pay attention to Schiano just as quickly. We fans knew why the rush rank dropped, which was because the organization decided not to retain DE Michael Bennett's services and long stunts, but I am still shocked at the defensive pass metric by Football Outsiders.

Finally, we have come to the last two years of the Bucs' organization under defensive guru Lovie Smith as the head coach. In 2014, the organization release Revis during the offseason and replaced him with CB Alterraun Verner during free agency. During free agency, the Bucs also picked up DE Michael Johnson, DT Clinton McDonald, and S Major Wright. Just how terribly did the organization not utilize the personnel it had? That secondary just did not maintain nor improve from the Schiano regime the Glazers wanted to get away from so rapidly.

Surely a second year in the system would show progress. Nope. In fact, the defense continued to degrade. The secondary went from bad to worse. How can a defensive guru make a defense worse in its second year of implementing the defense, especially when Lovie took over calling plays for the defense? That is why Lovie Smith was jettisoned. His defenses were worse than his rookie head coach predecessor.

Let us hope the Bucs' new DC, Mike Smith, can improve from a location so low.