clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Will a defensive overhaul change the course of the Buccaneer Franchise?

Gruden overhauled the culture in one season for the Buccaneers, can the team repeat that same magic on defense years later?

NFL: Washington Redskins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Raheem Morris, Greg Schiano, Lovie Smith and then Dirk Koetter... all tasked with the same essential job of turning around what didn’t work for the previous regimes. Between the four coaches and 10 seasons they’ve amassed, only twice have their respective teams finished top 15 in the league in scoring defense. Half of those years have been spent near the cellar in terms of points against.

It has felt like each hire prior to Koetter was brought in to be the opposite of their predecessors, Morris to lighten the mood. Schiano to bring in hard work and demand a more controlled environment. Lovie Smith, the father figure and soft spoken opposite of Schiano. A change in culture is what was needed and none of the previous four coaches have been able to change it.

Morris was the best friend, Schiano the common enemy and Lovie Smith just flat out appeared to be preaching an old message to young minds. Dirk Koetter and Mike Smith tried their hand at it after and essentially... same results.

Enter Bruce Arians, donned “The coolest damn coach in the NFL” by Jason Licht, to the rescue. Can Arians be the man to change it all for the better? After all, this is the first staff to allegedly be “all in” on Jameis Winston. This staff is all about accountability and teaching. This staff is all about winning. But at what point does Arians risk toeing the line of the Greg Schiano regime?

Arians has already reportedly taken out the music, changed the tone in the locker room that was previously filled with loud music and ping pong games. Arians has exiled the teams best interior defensive lineman since Warren Sapp in lieu of the border-line dirty player in Ndamukong Suh. The team drafted a new era inside linebacker to replace a player that many felt was the heart and soul on defense in Kwon Alexander. Tampa Bay went out and got a whole new stable of defensive backs as well.

The biggest change Arians has brought may also very well be with veteran defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. Bowles brings an in your face, up tempo style of defense. Bowles and company have effectively changed the entire look on defense without a single snap having taken place. Gerald McCoy is out, Ndamukong Suh is in. Kwon Alexander is out, Devin White is in. The attitude is changing right alongside the culture whether fans want it to or not. The days of helping opponents up off the ground are gone. The days of dancing while losing are gone.

With a lot of time still to go prior to the 2019 pre-season, it’s safe to say there will be a visible change in culture of this team. The defense has officially been overhauled with the signing of Suh. Will it work? Will Suh be good for Vea? Will this time be the right time for a franchise longing for stability and something positive to hang their hat on? The questions around this team and this season will be exhausting. But one thing is evident, this team is officially different.