With an average of 323.6 yards per game, the Bucs defense against the pass is ranked last in the entire NFL. Over the past three weeks the Bucs have been torched by opposing offenses, causing Bruce Arians to call the secondary soft.
The Bucs face a different challenge against the Panthers in London with Kyle Allen as their starting quarterback, but it doesn’t change the fact that the Bucs have to figure out some problems of their own.
Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles responded to the issues that the defense has struggled with while speaking to the media on Thursday, and also reacted to coach Arians’ “soft” comments. Here is an entire transcript from Bowles’ press conference.
On how the Panthers are a different team with Kyle Allen since the last time they played them
“I think they’re playing better as a unit. They’re running the ball a lot better, they’re spreading the ball around, they’re playing great defense as well. Right now they’re clicking pretty good, they’re a totally different team running the ball and throwing the ball then when we played a couple weeks ago.”
On if there’s anything different he’s seen on the film for how Christian McCaffrey has been used
“Everything I’ve seen on the film I didn’t like because he’s running for touchdowns all the time. Nothing different, like I said, they’re running the ball a lot better, you can tell they’ve come together as a unit and they understand who they are and they do it very well. Norv does a great job at it.”
On other teams looking at film and concentrating on stopping Shaq Barrett with double teams
“We understand that, that’s just a compliment. Somebody else has to step up, when Suh and Vita and Carl are getting double teamed Shaq’s making plays, and if Shaq’s getting double teamed they have to make plays.”
On where are the signs that this defense is better than it’s been
“I don’t know if it’s better. We got a ways to go, we got to work out some kinks from the last two ball games. We’re tough up front, we understand that, we got to play four quarters and we got to make plays in key situations to get off the field. Younger guys need to understand that as well as the older guys so we got a ways to go, but we’re close, we’re starting to come together, it just needs to happen on the field.”
On if he’s thought about Jason Pierre-Paul returning and playing with Shaq Barrett and company
“None yet. Until he gets out there or the possibility of him getting out there, I can’t have any thought on it. Obviously if he gets out there that’ll be great and I’ll have a lot more thoughts when he does get out there, but right now the guys we got, we got to get ready to play.”
On getting Jamel Dean back and how much he expects him to play
“He’s rounding back into shape, it’s good to have him healthy. Obviously he’s a good teams player and we got rotational guys in if there’s certain packages in the game plan that fit him, we’ll play him, if not, we’ll bring him along next week.”
On what he saw from Sean Murphy-Bunting getting more playing time
“I thought he played tough. He made some rookie mistakes but they were mistakes he can learn from and get better. He made a lot of good plays we thought that was very encouraging so he can only get better.”
On coach Arians saying the secondary is too soft, and what they can hammer that mentality and improve
“It’s not so much a mentality. In certain situations we probably need to be up as opposed to being off in coverage, and giving up some easy throws, so a softness from that standpoint. He wasn’t really talking about the physicality of it.”
On this defense being high risk, high reward and if that’s the only way to do it these days
“No, we’re not like that all the time. We have times where we play coverage and we do things and we drop eight. It’s a mixture of a matter what teams do and a matter of what we can get away with and what we’re good at. We try to mix it up a little bit.”