Despite a 31-29 win in Week 1, the Bucs aren’t satisfied with how they began the season. That dissatisfaction applies heavily to the defensive side of the ball, particularly in the secondary. Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles has his unit getting back to the basics before Sunday’s game against Atlanta.

The Bucs allowed 403 yards through the air and three touchdowns in their Week 1 win over the Cowboys. But poor tackling was Bowles biggest concern coming out of Tampa Bay’s narrow victory.

Bucs CB Ross Cockrell

Bucs CB Ross Cockrell – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

“It was just fundamentals and open field tackles,” Bowles said. “We have to get our angles back together, we have to get our tackling down. It looked like a preseason game as far as tackling. We have to coach it better and they have to play it better.”

The Cowboys tried to exploit the Bucs’ secondary by abandoning the run game and throwing 58 times, as well as implementing quick screen passes to receivers on the outside. If this is the blueprint that other teams want to use to beat the Bucs, it’s nothing they haven’t seen before.

“It’s been like that last year,” Bowles said. “It’s just a matter of execution as well as helping out with some of the calls and understanding what’s coming at us.”

Losing cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting will be tough, but Tampa Bay does get a boost with safety Jordan Whitehead returning for Week 2. Bowles spoke about getting him back, as well as the importance of having a variety of traits at safety with Whitehead, Mike Edwards and Antoine Winfield Jr. at his disposal.

“It helps at the safety spot in understanding what he’s (Whitehead) done for us and what he can do for us,” Bowles said. “Him and Mike (Edwards) are different players as well as Winfield. So rotating those guys around and putting them where we need to put them is essential for us.”

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About the Author: Matt Matera

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1 month ago

The Cowboys treid to copy what the Saints did to us twice last year and what the Rams did once. I wouldn’t call in the mostsucessful strategy though since the Girls lost. the Rams only bear us by three and then the Saints lost the final most important contest. if the Bucs hadn’t committed three costy turnovers, they would have blown the Girls out and Jerry Jones would be looking for a new coach already.

Reply to  drdneast
1 month ago

Agreed the penalties and turnovers were biggest factors. Not tackling. We should have killed Dallas even with the poor secondary play. 11 penalties? 4 turnovers? I honestly didn’t think poor tackling was the biggest issue at all so much as shit play from SMB before he went out and shit play from whole secondary except Davis. The pass rush was great too so they cant say that’s why they sucked.

Reply to  drdneast
1 month ago

I can’t believe it, I actually agree with you on this one. I would add that our pass rush was not very effective until the fourth quarter, which is really counter-intuitive, as usually it is the pass rush that tuckers out in the fourth quarter against a pass-happy team. But Vita Vea, who merely plugged up the middle in the early going, started pushing the pile back towards Prescott, taking away both throwing angles and rushing him hard, leading to a pick. The D-line is always the key to winning defenses. Stop the run and rush the passer, then the… Read more »

Reply to  Naplesfan
1 month ago

Well it isn’t the only thing we agree on. I also believe the key to a winning defense is the defensive line. I am a firm believer in whoever wins the battle of the trenches usually wins the game, offensively and defensively.

Reply to  drdneast
1 month ago

Agree with you on this one too.

1 month ago

How will losing Murphy Bunting be tough? Before he got hurt he wasn’t able to cover any of Dallas’s receivers and was usually 3 to 5 yds. of of his man. He is the same crappy DB he was last year even though he improved in the playoffs as our D line put a lot of pressure on our opponents QB’s in that run to the SB.