The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a terrible season. But they were particularly awful in one aspect of the game: defense. The Bucs had the single worst defense in the NFL, according to Football Outsiders’ efficiency ratings.
The Bucs had the second-worst pass defense, and the nineteenth-most efficient rush defense, making for a pretty rotten combination. The reasons are obvious, of course: a slew of injuries and a non-existent pass-rush, mostly.
We didn’t need advanced statistics to see this, either: they allowed the most total yards and the most passing yards in the NFL, as well as the second-most net yards per attempt. The only thing the defense could do well was force turnovers, but those 26 takeaways couldn’t compensate for a complete inability to stop opponents on any other occasion.
And despite that stunning display of incompetence, the Bucs have indicated that defensive coordinator Mike Smith is likely to stay on and lead the defense this year, too. It’s one thing to keep Dirk Koetter, but to not even change the leader of the worst defense in the NFL seems a tad much.
Whether they keep Smith or not, though, the Bucs are going to have to make some changes to this defense. Most importantly, they’ll have to find a pass rush somewhere. Anywhere. Somehow. They haven’t been able to do that in 13 years, so I’m not sure how they’re going to start now, but they’ll have to—or they’ll face the same issue next season.