Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Statistically speaking, Tampa Bay will be bringing one of the top-ranked defenses in the league to Washington this weekend as the Bucs try to climb back to .500.
The unit as a whole is surrendering 322.8 yards per game (fifth overall) and the much-criticized secondary is actually No. 4 out of 32 teams when it comes to passing yards allowed (202.4).
Photo by: Mark LoMoglio/PR
That doesn’t come as a surprise to third-year cornerback Johnthan Banks, who’s working his way back from a knee injury that’s kept him on the sidelines for two straight games.
“I look around at our guys – I’m not even going to talk about Gerald [McCoy] and Lavonte [David] – but you look at Jacquies [Smith], he’s one of the tops in the league in sacks. You look at George [Johnson], the plays he’s made. Look at Kwon Alexander and especially Bradley McDougald and the plays he’s making and the things he’s done. Then you’ve got me, Mike [Jenkins], Tim [Jennings], Vern [Alterraun Verner] – I honestly think we have a top five defense.
“If you look at these guys’ history and their pasts, that tells you we have a top five defense and we can be the best defense in the league if we really go out and put it together.”
Everything’s far from rosy, though, on the defensive side of the ball. Only the Chicago Bears give up more points per game than Tampa Bay’s 29.6 average and the team’s allowing opponents to find the end zone on 73.7 percent of their trips inside the red zone, which is also second-worst in the league.
“When it comes to points it’s everybody working together – offense, defense, special teams,” Banks said. “We just don’t give up points on defense. We give up points on every phase. That means everybody’s got to be synced in and on the same page. When we put a complete game together, where the offense is working and the defense is working and special teams is working, we can have a really special team.”
Head coach Lovie Smith was asked Tuesday about the current state of the Tampa Bay defense and said stats show a unit that’s progressing but with plenty of room to grow.
“Your stats, your record, that’s who you are,” Smith said. “You have to go on that. What else can you go by? But for us it is a little bit bigger than that. We haven’t played our best defense here; it’s as simple as that. If you look at total yards and some of those things – how everybody else kind of judges the league a little bit – you can feel good about some of the things we’ve done.
“But the things we need to do better? Yes, I’m going to go to the points. I’m going to go to takeaways, to third down conversions. Those are the things that will really help us win football games. We have to get better at that and we will.”
Cornerback Alterraun Verner cited the Bucs’ troubles when backed inside their own 20 as a major point of emphasis in lowering the points-against average.
“In key situations we’ve got to be good,” he said. “When we’re in the red zone we can’t give up touchdowns. On third downs we’ve got to get off the field and get our offense the ball back. We’ve got to take the ball away. So those are the things we need to work on. The yardage sounds good and all that, but at the end of the day it’s wins and losses and points on the board.”
I could be a millionaire if I hit the lottery. Before you become the best of anything, just beat Washington.
First time I’ve seen you post in a while Surfer, I thought maybe you did hit the lottery.
Well surferdudes. I see something what Tampa is doing is they are finally getting together.Espically with Winston at the helm. It seems that the miracle boy at qb for Tenn Titans has hit a wall. I say Mariota Welcome to the NFL. I say Tampa beat Wash first. Then challenge the rest of the season. Win one game at a time. Go Tampa bucs and the die-heated fans. George L Hicks HB Plant 64
Prove it before you speak Jonathan.
With the first pick in the 2016 NFL draft, the Tampa Bay Bucs select CB Jalen Ramsey/FSU!
Well Mac , my friend, I hope we aren’t picking that high, but Ramsey would be just what the doctor ordered in our secondary. He can play safety or corner and is probably the most physical corner I’ve seen in some time. He also has an attitude, which is what we lack severely on defense with a ll of our nice guys.
A corner with the very first pick of draft? No way!!!
Yeah one is a bit high for a corner. If we were the first pick again,which I don’t think we will be, we should trade back.
I honestly think we’ll win three or four more games which put us right out of the top 10. Anyhow, though corner needs to be our first pick if there is one that’s worth it available.
Yea macabee, don’t jinx us.
BTW, what did you think of those new roster moves.
drdneast, I don’t know anything about these latest guys except it shows they’re looking in the right place. Didn’t know Howard Jones either – still watching. Besides, I’m taking your advice and not fretting over PS moves – just hoping for another diamond in the rough. lol.
I think that Lovie eventually putting a respectable D on the field was never really going to be an issue. If Winston can continue to grow, we’ll have a solid team for a long time. Oh, MAC… Vernon Hargreaves III should not be overlooked.
e, I like VHIII too. Ramsey is rated a little higher. He is bigger, more physical, and has greater versatility because he can play anywhere in the secondary (or so I’ve read). Would take either one. Kendall Fuller/VTech is no slouch either.
Of course, we’re saying DB at this point in the season, but it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out by the end of the year. I’m just hoping that we can all say that we have our QB of the future; that’s all I really care about from this season.
Jalens stats this year are pretty serious as QB’s are completing 34% of passes thrown his way at a 4.5 yard per clip average. And like you said he’s got the size and is very physical in the run game.
It’ll be fun again when we’re all focusing less on the draft and more on the what-ifs of playoff contention… But, this has been an optimistic year for me so far.
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A stud defensive lineman causing havoc up front can cure a lot of ills in your defensive backfield.
As far as this year, until the Bucs corners move up in the redzone and start playing press coverage they won’t even be a top 10 defense.
I can’t count how many times I’ve seen Jennings standing in the endzone 7 or 8 yards off the line.
I’d rather see the guy just get beat mano e mano than to sit back on his hind legs.
Even if he snares the guy up a tenth of a second, sometimes that’s enough for a defensive lineman to get him if the QB has to recock cause the timing is slightly off.
I knew I would get some attention with that post. I’m surprised – thought I’d get more calls other than Jon Gruden for DE. Let me explain why I threw that out there! IMO,the two most important positions and the hardest to find in today’s pitch-and-catch NFL is a franchise QB and a shutdown CB.
Anybody notice the effect Aqib Talib and Darelle Revis have on the outcome of games lately. BTW, we used to own both of them, but some smart guy figured out that if we wanted to keep losing, we should get rid of them as quickly as possible! Please save me the rationale, I already know – at the time Talib was a knucklehead and Revis’ cap space was needed for the two yokels that are no longer on our roster. God bless our Bucs!
Nobody trades or lets one of them get to free agency. They are rare and can’t be found. You have to draft your own and stick with them long enough for them to pay high returns. We can find a decent DE here or there (Jacquies Smith/maybe Howard Jones) if you keep looking. But no such luck with a franchise QB or a shutdown corner. They are called that because they can literally “shutdown” one side of the field. As much as I like Johnthan Banks, he is no shutdown CB. Josh Norman/Panthers is on his way to becoming one.
Jalen Ramsey comes as close as I’ve seen lately that fits that description. When a skill like that comes along, you better make a move, because you may not see it again for a while. My only worry is that to be sure we get him we’ve either had a terrible season (top five pick) or we will have to trade up to get him. But with our secondary needs and he’s there, we will rue the day if we let such a talent go by!
Every time I watch Talib play, i get headaches. The dude is a beast and that is one of the worst GM moves ever. Ofcoure that was DOMS MO, being an idiot.
Yeah, I wonder what a roster of cut or traded ex-Bucs would look like? I bet they’d field a competitive team.
It’s true that pressure from the line helps in the secondary, but even with pressure on the QB our CBs are still not getting the job done. Our biggest need has now shifted from DE to CB.
Our DEs seem to be playing well and if this Jones kid plays out we should be pretty well set. Maybe CB 1st and DE 2nd pick for some depth/competition. I’m hoping for another 3-4 wins at least but I wouldn’t hate having a top 10 pick either. Go Bucs!
Okay Mac….I’ll jump on the DE bandwagon. I understand your point about shutdown corners, but I would make the same point about DE sack machines (guys that can – if not every year – exceed 20 per season). There are very few in the league and they change the game – they make opponents run heavy, keep TEs in to block, and they (unlike shutdown corners) knock QBs out of the game (or at least knock them silly). Would I rather have (in their prime) a Revis or a Ware, a Talib or a Reggie White…all are great, but I know which I would prefer.
EEB, I’m going to say good point, but that 20 sack game changer is not in this upcoming draft. I’m preparing a piece now on how up-tempo offenses are changing NFL defenses (later for that). Have you noticed the type of DEs that the Bucs have brought in lately – undersized guys with speed. Howard Jones weighs 238, but runs a 4.56/40.
Joey Bosa weighs 275 and runs a 4.82/40. You know what Mariota and an up-tempo offense taught us in game 1? You can bull rush and get there, but the ball will be gone and you better have some help in the secondary. The reason our 5th pick/trade George Johnson has been benched is because he doesn’t have the stamina to stay on the field against a hurry-up offense.
The NFL offenses are changing and defenses must keep up. Is Kam chancellor a SS or a LB? Does New England play 3-4 or 4-3? They line up in both. Hybrid is the new by-word going forward in the NFL. Bosa, Ogbah, and Bruckner (all 1st round DEs) represent the era gone by of DEs mentioned in your post. As a matter of fact, most of the 20 sack or near 20 sacks guys are OLBs – just a sign of things to come.
Well I couldn’t agree more Mac. There isn’t a de worth taking in the first round this year. Personally I think bosa is incredibly overrated. With the competition that team has played and he has 1.5 sacks? That’s sad when they play that poor of competition every week. It’s got to be db in the first round this year.
I’ve been saying this for years Mac. Years, like since 2011 when E.J. Biggers was stinking up the place but nearly everyone wanted Talib gone. I’ll take a shutdown CB over an elite pass rusher every time, simply because there are fewer shutdown CB’s in the NFL (Revis, Sherman and maybe Verrett, Norman, Haden, Talib and C. Harris Jr). Elite pass rushers are all over the place, nearly every team has at least one (Watt, C. Jones, Wilkerson, Richardson, M. Williams, M. Dareus, C. Wake, N. Suh, C. Dunlap, T. Suggs, J. Houston, V. Miller, D. Ware, J. Peppers, C. Matthews, G. Hardy, R. Kerrigan, G. McCoy, M. Bennett, A. Donald, R. Quinn and C. Campbell).
Your right pinkstob. almost everyone was calling for the Bucs to get rid of Talib including most of the esteemed members of the fourth estate.
Gary Shelton (Times) and the knucklehead Martin Fennelly (Tribune) both offered up columns saying Talib should be let go. Fennelly was particularly vehement about Talib’s ouster from the team.
This came after Talib’s sister got smacked around by her ex boyfriend and he and his mom rushed over there and were fighting over a gun in an attempt to shoot him.
Such outrage I heard, especially from Fennelly.
I’m not defending Talib but at the same time I guess it says something about my character that I thought a mother and her son fighting over a sidearm in an attempt to be the one to shoot the perp was kind of funny.
I can hear the conversation now.
“Let go of the gun mom, it’s mine, I’m going to drop a dime on the sissy ass punk.”
“No son. let me have it, this is mother’s work.”
Or something to that effect.
As far as DE;s go, yes a lot of teams have one, but how many teams have two.
I think the Bills used to but you make a valid point macabee.
I guess here in Bucvillle we’re so accustomed to poor seasons that even at 2-3 we’re already talking Draft. No wonder the team’s swagger is so fragile.
I’d rather the Bucs target Robert N. in the 1st and then hope Fuller falls to the 2nd round or trade back into the latter part of the 1st and get him.
Robert Nkemdiche is a great player if you’re looking for a DT with versatility. He is a 6-4, 296lb DT that sometimes lines up as a DE, even plays offense in the red zone – now in concussion protocol as a result. Is compared to last years versatile DT Leonard Williams.
Nkemdiche runs a 4.86/40 which is good for a DT, but will not come off the edge in an NFL D-Line. The Bucs have a glut of DTs – good ones at that. They need an edge rusher, preferably a RDE that can push/beat an LT. If we didn’t have McCoy, Melton, McDonald, McDaniel, and soon Akeem Spence, Nkemdiche would be an excellent choice.
Agreed Id love Robert on our line if it wasn’t the one position we are actually stacked at.
Banks needs to be drug tested
Don Banks needs to be drug tested
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