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May 15, 2010 @ 5:12 am
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Carlson: Disruptive DTs Can Push Each Other

Written by Jeff
Jeff Carlson


Contributing Writer E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Pewter Report contributing writer Jeff Carlson discusses how the Bucs new defensive tackles will harass quarterbacks into mistakes. Carlson examines the Bucs defensive system and how rookies Gerald McCoy and Brian Price can flourish in it.
Jeff Carlson is a regular contributor to PewterReport.com. In his regular columns, Carlson will share expert analysis and insight regarding the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and NFL based on his previous playing experience with the Bucs and in the league.

Carlson played quarterback in the NFL from 1990-92. He spent two seasons (1990-91) with the Bucs and one season (1992) with the New England Patriots. The former Weber State signal caller originally entered the NFL as a fourth-round pick with the Los Angeles Rams.

Since his NFL playing career ended, Carlson has remained active and busy in the Tampa Bay area by heading up America's Best Quarterback, which is a clinic that trains quarterbacks privately or in groups in Tampa year round. To inquire about America's Best Quarterback, visit AmericasBestQB.com, e-mail
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or call 813-789-9255.

In addition to his work with Americas Best Quarterback, Carlson is a regular host on Bright House Sports Network, which is PewterReport.com's television partner.

After breaking down the Bucs 2010 NFL Draft from the offensive side of the ball last week, let's focus on the Buccaneers new on. I'm not an expert on Price, because he played across the country at UCLA, but from what I've seen I really like him.

Having those two young guys in there addresses a huge need, and something that the Buccaneers have missed. In the post Warren Sapp era, they haven't had the dynamic tackle play and this gives them a change to get back to that. They can make the guys behind them better. They can make Ronde Barber a couple years younger. They can make Aqib Talib an All-Pro. If the guys are playing at a high speed and causing disruption, it upgrades all the defenders in the back seven.

Those two have enough quickness to plays some games and get free runs at the quarterback. By games your talking about stunts, flipping sides, switching techniques, etc. Now I don't think looking at the rookie defensive linemen to have a huge impact and go every series as rookies is the correct expectation. However, having two guys come in and rotate with Roy Miller, I think is a really good thing to help them have more of an impact in 2010. The rotation allows them to go full go when they get in there and use their athleticism to their strength.

McCoy and Price look like perfect fits for the Buccaneers defensive system under head coach and defensive coordinator Raheem Morris. That's the one-gap system versus the two-gap system. The two-gaper is holding things up and then reacting when they see the ball and going to it. A one-gap defense made the Buccaneers famous on defense. It is about disruption. They need the quickness to explode into those gaps. In the run game and pass game. When you disrupt quickly you can divert the quarterback's eyes. Even if the quarterback is very disciplined. The offensive line can get out of position and grab the defender, so you cause holding penalties by shooting a gap. Standing your ground at the line or just bull rushing draws less calls. There is a whole number of issues that a little quickness and a little power can present for an offense. The disruption by the tackles is the key to the Buccaneers defense being back in top form.  

It is extremely important to have your offensive line be able to stop a push up the middle, so when your two defensive tackles are giving fits to the interior three an offensive line it has a big impact on the signal caller. Pass rush coming from straight ahead causes a quarterback to short-arm throws. Short arming passes causes the efficiency of a passing game to fall massively. Offensive linemen are getting pushed back in a quarterback's face, and their hand is hitting a helmet. That can lead to quarterbacks getting knocked out of games due to injury. Plus it gives your defensive ends more opportunities for sacks, and creates more turnovers.

Miller was drafted with the two-gap defense in mind, but watching him last year he looks like he'll transition well as a nose tackle in the current defense. The hope is that Miller and Price will make McCoy even better than what he would have been without high draft picks drafted around him at his position. The competition together should be very good. They will push each other. When one makes a play the next guy is going to want to follow suit. Price's job is to out shine the guy who was drafted 32 picks before he went off the board. McCoy has to make sure he stays out in front. It should be a very positive motivation for them to excel as individuals and as a tandem. I like having those two young guys to grow and push each other.

Now on the other side of the ball, thank goodness Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman is mobile and one of the bigger quarterbacks in the league because that allows him to bail out his offensive linemen on some good interior rushes. There will be keys for Freeman to look at to know where they want to go in the run game when they are going against top level defensive tackles. Whether it is going to the left or right or another audible for him to get the team into, Freeman will have to master the mental challenge of getting the team out of bad plays. You can see that big-time defensive tackles have a huge impact on Sundays even if a stat line doesn't always reflect it.

By Jeff Carlson as told to Pewter Report Editor-In-Chief Charlie Campbell.

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