The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had some issues on defense last year. They allowed quarterbacks to complete passes at a ridiculous rate, and then they proceeded to miss a whole bunch of tackles. Football Outsiders even charted the Bucs as having the most missed tackles in the league with 125, which you can read in this year’s Football Outsiders Almanac.
A major culprit: Kwon Alexander, who put up a ridiculous 16 broken tackles and managed the second-highest broken tackle rate among linebackers with at least 40 tackles. That’s....not good. While Alexander had an impressive rookie season for his status as a fourth-round draft pick, and he made a number of splash plays, missing 16 tackles in 12 games is not acceptable for a middle linebacker. That’s one area where he definitely has to improve — that, and not biting on play-/run-action.
Alexander wasn’t the only problem, though. Bradley McDougald notched 12, Chris Conte added nine, Lavonte David even had 19 — the fact that he played four more games than Alexander spares him from being the worst. This is the first time he’s had these issues, though: he missed more tackles in 2016 than he did in his other three seasons, combined. Oh, and if you think Daryl Smith is going to be an improvement here: he missed 14 tackles for the Ravens last year.
Curiously, broken tackles have been a recurring issue for the Bucs under each of the past three coaches. Ronde Barber was a major culprit under Raheem Morris and Greg Schiano, while Kwon Alexander seems to be picking up the torch. Is there something in the water in Tampa that makes defenders miss all these tackles, or are they just cursed? Either way, this is something Mike Smith has to fix for this defense to be successful.