The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been working hard to overhaul their defense, and we saw the first glimpses of the new defense on Thursday. It won’t be drastically different from last year, we won’t be seeing all kinds of complicated blitzes every other snap, but new personnel, new coaching, and subtle changes to techniques and assignments are supposed to change things.
That all starts with an improved pass rush. Affecting the passer is key to any NFL defense, and that starts with a four-man pass rush. You can’t consistently blitz your way out of a lack of individual quality along the defensive line, and it seems like the Bucs may have finally found some help there. Robert Ayers and Noah Spence both showed up consistently on Thursday night, and Spence’s early impact is especially promising. Here he is making second-string Eagles lineman Andrew Gardner look silly.
That wasn’t an incident, either, and we got another taste of it at today’s practice. The Bucs consistently harassed quarterbacks throughout the night. More of this please. More people lining up and beating offensive tackles consistently. It’s been a long time since we had that in Tampa.
Noah Spence blowing by Kevin Palmer around the edge for what would've been a sack. pic.twitter.com/OhQmdckBxc— Trevor Sikkema (@TrevorSikkema) August 13, 2016
It wasn’t just the pass rush, though. The secondary showed up, too, and gave up fewer than 100 passing yards throughout the day. Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel, the Eagles’ top two quarterbacks, managed just 18 combined passing yards. That’s because the secondary was on point, at least until the second half started. Everyone showed up there.
That’s beautiful, really. And that’s what we hope to see when the regular season starts, and not just in the team’s first preseason game.