Former Bucs great linebacker Derrick Brooks knows the Tampa 2 defense nearly as well as those that coach it. Brooks was a second-year linebacker in 1996 when Tony Dungy arrived in Tampa Bay with his Cover 2 defense and began the turnaround that would eventually lead to a Super Bowl win following the 2002 season.
But the Tampa 2, as it became to be known, was not an immediate success, as the 1996 Buccaneers were just 6-10 in the first year of Dungy’s tenure. And now Brooks is cautioning Bucs fans they may need to dial back expectations in the first year of the reintroduction of the style of defense that will be played under head coach Lovie Smith and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier.
“I’m anxious to see, (but) this is their first year in a structured system,” Brooks said to Ron Diaz of 620 WDAE last week. “I know some of our fans, from reading their comments, I hope they don’t expect these guys to pick up where we left off in this defense. We went through some growing pains to get to that success. These young men are going to go through some growing pains to understand that. The system that they have played in thus far has not been as structured as this system requires you to be. So they have to go through those playing growing pains. The quicker they get through that, I think they will be all right..”
Brooks went on to talk about two of the stars in this young Bucs defense.
“Obviously the talent level that they bring is tremendous,” Brooks said. “These two players, particularly Gerald [McCoy] and Lavonte [David] are talented. Very talented. But I want to see them play together in this system. Ho can they get that bond and will the organization be able to keep them together? We were able to stay together. How long will they be able to keep these guys together and build together is something we all want to see.”
Despite warning Bucs fans to temper their enthusiasm somewhat, Brooks still thinks the Buccaneers have an opportunity to catch some off guard in 2014.
“But this coming year, I expect our Buccaneers to bounce back and be a surprise team,” Brooks said. “Will they have the turnaround that Kansas City had last year? I don’t know. But I tell you what, I would not be surprised if that type of turnaround is in their neighborhood.”
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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