About the author

Trevor Sikkema

Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he’s not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: [email protected]

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28 Comments

  1. 1

    David DeLeon

    I really appreciate all your hard work Trevor, just so we can understand all the differences in the 3-4 and 4-3 line up. I would like to see us go to a 3-4 at times but I think we have the personnel that better suited for 4-3.

    Baker, McDonald, Stevie un the middle and McCoy and Spence sounds pretty cool though.

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  2. 2

    BucsPhan2Phear

    Every week you out do you prior week. I know it’s silly but every following week is your best week. This is the best thing pewter report has going for them. This is the kind of analysis I wished we had during games or after during film review of the prior weeks game. Just a thought. You’ve been able to do everything else. Really feel like I became a better fan after reading your cover 3. Thanks Trevor.

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    1. 2.1

      Trevor Sikkema

      I will absolutely be continuing the Cover 3 series during the season. I’ll for sure be doing film recaps from the week’s prior game, and am hoping to do some in-depth previews on like a Thursday or Friday as well.

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  3. 3

    Piratic

    “I thought it would be useful to breakdown (sic) the characteristics of defensive fronts while pairing them with the Buccaneers’ current roster. That way we can really understand the positives and negatives that would come with any kind of position change, and you could be more informed in your opinions…I always want to make it my goal for Bucs fans to become more informed on the game and the team they love each time they visit this site.”

    Trevor, I haven’t even read the article yet, but I want to thank you (and SR & MC) for continually striving to make our fan base more knowledgeable about the team that we love and the game that they play.

    PR is the only Bucs website whose articles and reports I truly anticipate, and now there is (finally) a podcast!! Well done.

    Often, I visit other websites that cover the Bucs simply because I want to read anything and everything Bucs related, but you guys never fail to make me a more educated fan. I enjoy the game more because you’ve helped me to understand it better.

    Thank you, and be well.

    p.s. GO BUCS!!!

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  4. 4

    scubog

    Looks to me like the Bucs have the personnel to deploy either formation. Longtime Bucs fans should remember when the Abe Gibron, Tom Bass and Wayne Fontes utilized the 3-4 alignment that was initially scoffed at as a “college” defense. Lee Roy was always listed as 260 but in reality he was less than 250 playing the DE position. Folks used to wonder how even greater he might be in a 4-3.

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    1. 4.1

      watson

      Scubog,
      And those of us that were around to see that defense will also remember that Dave Logan played Nose Tackle at 248 pounds…..and played it well.

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  5. 5

    Dundaz

    Wow Trevor. That was very helpful, particularly the in-depth analysis on how the current could fit in the different roles under the 3-4 formation.
    I think a mix of 4-3 and 3-4 (4-3 still being the main formation) would be a great benefit as it would allow players to rest more and without necessarily downgrading, giving the fact that we would be bringing in backups who have the physical tools to excel in. McCoy mentioned him having to give more in the 4th quarter, so I think using Baker/Gholston/Ayers at DE and Baker/Stevie T/Siliga at NT could give McCoy a good opportunity to rest and still have a good front out there.
    Looking forward for this season.

    My first post on here 🙂
    Sorry for any grammatical errors…I am a bucs fan from Mozambique! Yes, believe that 😀
    Go Bucs

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    1. 5.1

      Trevor Sikkema

      Mozambique!? That is awesome!

      Thanks for reading all the way over there, and don’t let this be your last post on here. You have a whole country to represent as a Bucs fan!

      Glad you enjoyed the piece.

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    2. 5.2

      ScottC543

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDZ1KMERnWs

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  6. 6

    VeeJay24

    Thanks for all the hard work Trevor; I think the biggest benefit w/ the 3-4 for the Bucs is that it’s possible to get their 2 best pass rushers on the field at the same time (Smith & Spence). Another benefit is confusing the offense. I don’t think McCoy has to be hindered either; if they use Wade Phillips’ version of the 3-4 which is a one gap system. You can go all the way back to Bruce Smith then to this era with JJ Watt; the ends who had double digit sack seasons. Versatility is always a good thing.

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    1. 6.1

      Trevor Sikkema

      I agree. I always love versatility, offense or defense. And if the rest of the front seven is elevated in some variation of a 3-4, McCoy playing a defensive end spot would be worth it. Like I said at the end there, as long as someone (or multiple players) produce at higher levels because of the change, McCoy’s potential impact going down *could* be fine. In the end it’s about getting the most out of the unit, not just McCoy – though, to this point, getting the most out of McCoy HAS been the formula to getting the most out of the unit.

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      1. 6.1.1

        Mark A Hurst

        I think the personnel is best suited to the 4-3, but mixing in the 3-4 situationally is an intriguing changeup. But just like in baseball, you can’t telegraph your changeup or become predictable, because you would get shelled. Every team gets game film on opponents, so a real challenge would be to avoid getting into patterns. Also, McCoy is still the best defensive player on this team, around whom the defense should be built. He’s a rare enough talent that maximizing the number of snaps he plays should be a focus. He makes the increasing talent the Bucs are acquiring better when he’s on the field. He needs occasional rest, like anybody else. But you never want the other team to be the happiest people in the stadium to see him on the sideline.

        All of that said, I do like the systematic acquisition of overall talent we have seen the last couple of years. We’ve come a long way from the Michael Johnson-Anthony Collins desperation debacle.

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        1. 6.1.1.1

          Trevor Sikkema

          Two ways you can look at elite talent.

          1. Play him at the position he’s best at with the highest impact and try to get the rest of the unit to fill in the rest.

          2. You can play him in many spots, even though some will be better than other, knowing that his raw talent is good enough to be well above average, even in spots he isn’t *as* productive in.

          If they can do the second option with McCoy and thus get even greater production out of two or three other players playing in better spots as a result, they’ll probably take it.

          That’s Smith’s thought process, I think.

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          1. 6.1.1.1.1

            Mark A Hurst

            I don’t disagree with you. I am just not yet sure the Bucs have the total personnel needed to effectively do it. They are closer, for sure. It is nice to be optimistic headed into a season. Last year it was “hope.” This year there genuine reason to be optimistic.

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    2. 6.2

      billbyrne

      I wish the Bucs would use McCoy as the Texans use JJ Watt and move him around along the defensive line so the offense never knows where he is coming from. Quickness and speed is Watt’s strength and McCoy is just the same. When the QB always knows where McCoy is going to be he knows what blocking scheme to call with the center. The Bucs are not giving McCoy the opportunities to impact the game. Just a thought!

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  7. 7

    Naplesfan

    Thanks Trevor for taking us to school on an important topic. Excellent post!

    My non-expert opinion is that it is obvious that Coach Smith is installing a “flexible” defense using his new persinnel. It is also obvious to me that McCoy needs more rest in the first 3 quarters so he can be fresher n the “money quarter”. The Bucs appear to have set this up well.

    The biggest weakness I see in the flexible D is if we make it too obvious by going 3-4 every time McCoy comes off the field, becoming too predictable. The way to counter that is to sometimes “waste” McCoy by having him play 2 gap on some plays … thus force offenses to always guess. Also, do shifts just before the ball is snapped.

    This should be very interesting and entertaining to watch!

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    1. 7.1

      Trevor Sikkema

      Right, and being unpredictable would be the whole point to adding 3-4 elements into the defensive gameplan. So, if they do, I don’t see it being only used when McCoy needs a rest; he’ll play in it plenty.

      Maybe “waste” is too harsh of a word. It’s just limiting the potential impact of one of the more elite players in the game by playing him at a position that doesn’t allow him to use all the traits that make him elite. Not a “waste” entirely, but certainly a lower ceiling on what he *could* do each play.

      Like I’ve said before, McCoy wouldn’t be a “bad” 3-4 defensive end, he just wouldn’t be the focal point he is when he’s in that 3-tech spot.

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  8. 8

    MudManVA

    Great breakdown Trevor, and it is only fitting that one of the best weekly published articles comes from the GATOR in the group.

    I think this gives the BUCS versatility in there D options with the players they have. It also gives the opposition more to study and think about for their game.

    As long as we have McCoy & he’s healthy 4-3 will be the BUCS base D, but it does give them options & gives McCoy rest by switching it up!

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    1. 8.1

      Trevor Sikkema

      It’s

      Great

      UF

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      1. 8.1.1

        Trevor Sikkema

        #WillGrierLeftMe

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  9. 9

    Horse

    Wow; alot to read and digest! i think I got it. Bottom line we have options within the actual players on the field to go to a variety of schemes. Trevor, how sure are you the new players acquired can pick this up in this season?

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    1. 9.1

      macabee

      Horse,

      This post is for all us older Bucs who need not be bothered or upset by changes at our Bucs. If you’re a young Buc (pardon the pun) this is not for you! Lol.

      First I must give high praise to DJ Man Bun (our wise beyond his years Trevor) for doing a wonderful job of laying out and explaining the various schemes and fronts deployed in the NFL. But even he is wise enough to let you choose what you think is best. Great job Trevor!

      Horse, don’t try to remember all of this. Not that it isn’t good but it isn’t necessary. Take it from a guy who understands every word of it and once read the entire CBA. Bad idea! You will lose the enjoyment of watching if you are trying to read defenses real time. Some of it (shifts) are sleight of hand intended to confuse the QB, watch him audible then shift back, make him throw his hands in the air and call a time out.

      Drew Brees has seen all of this and will not be intimidated, probably Matt Ryan too. We will get to Cam a few times as he is still learning like our budding franchise QB. The Bucs added two defensive players in the draft (one recovering from an ACL) and difference maker in FA – Not enough to do a defensive makeover and BTW DC Smith has never said that.

      What is happening here is not new. There are literally no pure vanilla defenses played today. They have all evolved in one form or another, most hybrid as we intend to be, but all with the same motive – confuse the offense.

      The last thing you want to do now is read more but this link on hybrids from 6 years ago from PFF adds light. As for Noah Spence, not a bad idea to set the defense as Denver did to have him hopefully perform like Von Miller in the 2015 Super Bowl.

      https://www.profootballfocus.com/hyping-the-hybrids/

      Now relax, my friend and enjoy your Sunday afternoons of Buc ball. Lol.

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      1. 9.1.1

        Horse

        Macabee, thank you that helped!

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  10. 10

    JayBuc52

    Trevor,
    Thanks for doing this so quickly after I asked for it following your explanation of the receiving tree. Obviously the 4-3 will remain the base for this team unless McCoy were to get hurt. The 3-4 is something to mix in to keep the offenses guessing. While most of the time it should be used while MCC is getting a breather, he is a good enough athlete that I’d like to see what he can do in the Eagle or under front. Yes, it’s further outside, but his quickness would make it a nightmare for a tackle that would have to worry about that quick twitch speed and the speed of 6 or a 7 techinique.

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  11. 11

    BucWild02

    So, to sum up the article:

    4-3 puts an emphasis on your most talented players in the front 4. Penetration up front with linebackers cleaning up the back end with tackles.
    3-4 puts an emphasis on your most talented players in the back 4. Space eaters up front and punishing penetrators behind them attacking the ball.

    Good stuff Trevor.

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  12. 12

    Snook

    One of the best articles I’ve ever read on PR. Well done.

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  13. 13

    Ken Grant

    I think the old adage that the more you give a team to prepare for the better off you are fits here. Even if its just something used 8-10 times a game having another look to show teams that eats up time in their preparation and could potentially counter something they do better than our base is a competitive advantage.

    Also, love the You’re the Worst reference. Well played, Trev.

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  14. 14

    billbyrne

    Great job Trevor. You have obviously put a great deal of thought into your article and the graphics are a big addition. Thanks again.

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