The Buccaneers will look much different on defense in 2019, both in terms of personnel and scheme. With the hiring of Bruce Arians and the resulting addition of defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, changes were bound to come.
Since the new coaching staff came in, it’s been repeated that yes, Tampa Bay will run a 3-4, but there will be a number of different looks and schemes for the group to run. That’s why this tweet from Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com is not surprising. It’s not surprising, but it’s still notable:
Beau Allen says the Bucs’ coaching staff is cross-training all the DL/OLB guys at multiple positions. Some guys are working in positions they’ve never played before. Allen says it’s really good work for this time of year.— Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) May 21, 2019
This is the latest example of how unique this coaching staff is. They’re actually coaching their players and making them adaptable and versatile. That versatility will work really well, considering the Bucs are going to have the freedom to run a number of looks. Versatile coaches, versatile players and a versatile scheme? The Bucs are taking a much-welcomed departure from the staffs that insisted on forcing their players into their scheme and not budging from it.
This process of players learning new positions and developing some versatility might present some bumps in the road, but it should still be interesting to see how it unfolds. Tampa Bay has the personnel to make this work. There are a number of guys that can work as outside linebackers OR down linemen. Carl Nassib, Noah Spence, Will Gholston, Shaquil Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul and rookie Anthony Nelson are all capable of working at both positions. And, with Smith’s tweet being from Beau Allen, that would seem to indicate that he is also getting work at different positions. There could be a number of others that Tampa Bay looks to use in multiple roles.
This will be a major storyline to follow as training camp gets going later this summer. The staff, players, front office and fans just want this defense to be competitive again. Is versatility the way to get there? It very well could be.