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.”

Bucs DC Todd Bowles
Bucs DC Todd Bowles – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

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.”

15 COMMENTS

  1. Yup if the DB’s play smart this defense will be fine for the long haul. I have confidence the rookies will grasp it sooner or later.

    Edwards, Muprhy-Bunting, Dean and White…four rookies that will see a lot of playing time. The growth will be there by the end of the year if they work hard.

    Go Bucs!

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  2. “In certain situations we probably need to be up as opposed to being off in coverage, and giving up some easy throws….”

    So what Bowles is saying is…. they were having Mike Smith off-coverage flashbacks????

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  3. One thing I’ve been trying to figure out is why MJ Stewart is still playing CB. I thought in the offseason it was determined that he was better suited as a FS and moved there. He has clearly been a liability in coverage, but then again there’s been a lot of that blame to go around

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  4. A few kinks?
    The secondary is a complete train wreck

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  5. VH.03 might be one of the kinks you want to work out of the line up. Try him in the slot, if he can’t play there, move on. He’s just to slow, and small to be an outside corner in the NFL.

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  6. VH111 has been tried in slot and for more than few games and he did very well. Just sucks having to use early first rd pick that way. Not saying slot isn’t important it is but using 1st rd pick to play there is not good.

    I though same on Stewart he needs to love to safety just too slow for CB.

    They can get better for sure if they listen, learn, and gel but to be a really good defense they need a real CB1 and they don’t have one right now.

    Bowles is sticking up for players like Koetter for whatever reason. It is obvious Arians was saying the play was soft from some secondary guys not being up or back on the line but whatever. Lol

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  7. Move to safety

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  8. It’s still pretty new for these guys and coaches. I have confidence that TB knows what he’s doing. Sapp, Brooks, Barber, and Lynch didn’t become a killing machine overnight….it took time and them getting pissed off at the status quo. I don’t know how SF landed Sherman, but you can bet your arse Bruce and company will be seeking some senior leadership in the next off season for our D backfield.

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    • You Rush!
      We Cover!

      I loved that

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  9. I think Trevor said it best this week: ‘if you don’t have a CB#1 (which definitely do not) then everybody else is being asked to do more than they are capable of doing and the whole thing is going to stink’.

    If only we had someone whose job it was to acquire the talent we need…..

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  10. Right Bowles. Work out them kinks. The season will be over in Dec. And the worked out kinks will reveal a less than 500 season. Its the SOB’s baby. Same Ole Bucs with a different album cover.

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  11. He just needs to work out some minor kinks And then they can go from 29th Pl. up to top 10 Defense.
    A tweak here and a tweak their.

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  12. VHIII is too slow and not tough enough to play Safety; that was a reason why he fell to us. I seen enough of him, time to move on and see if you can get anything for him.

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  13. Let me see if I understand this; Bowles wants us to develop into a kinky defense. What; the Pewter de Sades? Brings new meaning to the term whipping their asses.

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  14. They play scared. They are better than previous years,with a rookie safety,but still probably the worst secondary in the league. VIII should move to the slot,then some combo of Dean,Davis,Smith, & anybody they can trade for or sign off practice squads,streets. lol We don’t have to get Peterson or Ramsey in a trade.

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