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    • michael89156

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      Bucs Beat: Defensive line feels sense of ‘freedom’gerald_zps3acdd0db.pngGerald McCoy has never been a fan of having to run around teammates to get into the opponent’s backfield. TRIBUNE FILE Published: June 2, 2014TAMPA — Gerald McCoy is a jovial sort, a man slow to anger. If you want to set him off, though, just ask him to run a stunt. Even better, ask him to run them regularly as part of a defensive scheme.That’s what former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano did, and McCoy so bristled at the idea that the two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle eventually went to Schiano and all but demanded that he abandon the practice.Schiano relented, but only a little. He reduced the number of line stunts he called, but he never completely abandoned the practice of having McCoy run around an end or another tackle on his way to the quarterback.New Bucs coach Lovie Smith hasn’t completely abandoned the practice, either. McCoy, who is at his best running a beeline to the quarterback, is still running stunts. He’s just not running them as much.“We’re running way less stunts than we used to,’’ McCoy said as a big, wide-eyed smile came across his face following a workout at One Buc Place last week. “It’s not even close to what we were doing.’’The same can be said of the Bucs’ defensive philosophy. Out is the man-press scheme that Schiano employed, in is the old zone-based Tampa 2 scheme that Smith learned as a linebackers coach under Tony Dungy back in the late 1990s.In that scheme, the trick is to pressure the passer using only the four down linemen, leaving the other seven defenders in coverage, where they can concentrate on limiting yards after the catch and taking the ball away.To achieve that objective, the defensive linemen are coached to take the shortest route possible to the quarterback, which means fewer stunts, and that has McCoy and his fellow linemen playing with a new sense of what they call “freedom.’’“We’re an up-field, penetrating defense now,’’ McCoy said. “We don’t sit on the line and wait on nobody. They have to adjust to how we play. And that’s the freedom we’re talking about.“Last year, we were running slants here, going sideways there, that type of thing. Now, we get to get up-field and make them react to us, and that’s why we’re all so excited about playing in this defense.’’Scrapping scrimmagesThe Bucs’ defensive philosophy isn’t the only thing that has changed since Smith took over, of course. The structure of practices is much different, too, and that will continue through training camp.Whereas Schiano was a big fan of scrimmaging against another team, thinking that players get stale hitting the same teammates every day, Smith has no plans to scrimmage against an NFL rival.“I’m not one that buys into that,’’ Smith said. “When we go against someone else, we want officials out there, so we’ll go through our routine and use those four preseason games to get ready for the season.”That daily camp routine will be a little bit different, as well. Unlike Schiano, who worked the Bucs out early in the morning, Smith is expected to begin most camp workouts in the early afternoon.He is also expected to conduct several late afternoon workouts, his hope being that the players will eventually grow accustomed to the afternoon heat and humidity they’ll play in for the bulk of the regular season.Three’s a crowd, or notThe Bucs are planning to take four quarterbacks to training camp this year. How many they’ll take into the start of the regular season is up for debate.Smith said last week that it’s hard to keep three quarterbacks on a regular-season roster, but more often than not, that’s what he has done in the past.Smith had three quarterbacks on his opening-day roster seven times during his nine years in Chicago, but the two times he carried only two were in the last four years of his tenure.Whether that’s part of a trend that will continue with the Bucs is hard to tell.“We all have a record,’’ Smith said. “You look at my record, our record, it’s tough to keep three guys. But if you feel like that third guy is one of the best 53 (players)… For the most part we’ll suit up two quarterbacks (on game day), so you can kind of look at that as far as what direction we’re going to go.”rcummings@tampatrib.com(813) 259-7979Twitter: @RcummingsTBO

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    • jamesh

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      Post count: 43

      Clayborn and Bowers will really be feeling a sense of freedom come March…

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    • Anonymous

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      Post count: 9891

      great

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    • Anonymous

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      Post count: 4623

      Woo hoo the annual players love the new scheme article. The season is almost here!

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    • Anonymous

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      Post count: 2775

      Actually, this reminds of the transition from the Wyche regime to the Dungy regime.  I remember Sapp specifically lauding the scheme to allow him to be him.  It resulted in a hall of fame career.  Now, I have no idea how good we will be this year (still have major questions about Tedford’s scheme in the NFL), but I do think the defense is top 5 overnight. 

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    • Anonymous

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      Post count: 8096

      The linemen may be happy… But, will Lavonte David be minimized?  He was a lock for the Pro Bowl until they stopped stunting.

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    • Anonymous

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      Post count: 2847

        Stunting has been used in the NFL for decades. What is key to it’s success is to coordinate the movement of the linemen; one guy gets there late, or not where he was supposed to go, and a smart QB will feast on it. Running too many stunts with inexperienced players is a BAD idea...

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    • Anonymous

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      Post count: 4623

      Although the Buccaneers have sequestered new defensive line coaches Keith Millard and Grady Stretz from the media since their arrival in Tampa Bay, PewterReport.com has spoken to a number of the team’s defensive linemen this offseason and have been tipped off about a dramatic difference in the style of play regarding that unit this year. In conversations with defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Roy Miller, and defensive ends Michael Bennett, Kyle Moore, Tim Crowder and Stylez G. White, those veteran lineman have pulled no punches in their excitement about playing more of a penetrating style of play in their gaps instead of the read-and-react style of play under former defensive line coach Todd Wash.While no player has thrown Wash under the bus on or off the record, the defensive linemen PewterReport.com has spoken with have absolutely gushed about their brief conversations prior to the lockout with Millard and Stretz and the return to the way that Rod Marinelli used to coach the unit, which was to stop the run on the way to the quarterback.“Stop the run on the way to the quarterback” was Marinelli’s famous mantra in Tampa Bay during his tenure from 1996-2005, and was the perfect way to describe his desire for his defensive linemen to attack the gap, penetrate the line of scrimmage and be disruptive in the backfield.When asked to describe Wash’s coaching style, the players told PewterReport.com that his philosophy was more about clogging and controlling the gap than penetration. They also indicated that Wash was big on his linemen staying in their gaps and was too focused on maintaining gap integrity rather than turning the defensive linemen loose to make plays outside of their gap. That was the style of play that former defensive coordinator Jim Bates wanted, but there were some real philosophical differences between the way Wash coached the position and what head coach and new defensive coordinator Raheem Morris wanted over the last year.When Wash’s contract was up, there were conflicting reports about whether the Bucs really wanted him back or not. He was supposedly offered a contract extension, and allegedly turned it down to go to Seattle to work again with former Bucs linebackers coach Gus Bradley, who is the Seahawks defensive coordinator. Did the Bucs purposefully low-ball Wash, knowing that he would turn down their offer, which may have been simply done out of courtesy? Who knows?But everyone associated with the defense that PewterReport.com has spoken with has welcomed Millard and Stretz with open arms and is excited about the change in philosophical approach that they will bring to the table, which is more akin to that of Marinelli. One current member of the organization told PewterReport.com this offseason, “With the new talent, new coaches and the way we are going to play this year along the defensive line, you’ll see a dramatic improvement from Day One. Sacks will be up and I think we’ll lead the league in interceptions, too.”

      https://www.pewterreport.com/index.php?option=com_k2&Itemid=20&view=item&layout=item&id=7008

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    • Anonymous

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      Post count: 3027

      The linemen may be happy... But, will Lavonte David be minimized?  He was a lock for the Pro Bowl until they stopped stunting.

      I sure hope not. The kid is the most instinctive, football Saavy, fast, agile, closer, tackler and play maker we have on this defense. I'm already not thrilled about Foster being our play caller. I love me some Foster but David is the best in the business. L&L are continuing to do some things that are relieving my initial concerns during FA and pre-draft. If I see David come off the field in lieu of Foster, I'll lose my mind.

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    • Anonymous

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      Post count: 8096

      The linemen may be happy... But, will Lavonte David be minimized?  He was a lock for the Pro Bowl until they stopped stunting.

      I sure hope not. The kid is the most instinctive, football Saavy, fast, agile, closer, tackler and play maker we have on this defense. I'm already not thrilled about Foster being our play caller. I love me some Foster but David is the best in the business. L&L are continuing to do some things that are relieving my initial concerns during FA and pre-draft. If I see David come off the field in lieu of Foster, I'll lose my mind.

      I doubt he'll come off the field.  I just don't think the sacks and TFLs will continue at the same rate.

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    • Anonymous

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      Post count: 9891

      The linemen may be happy... But, will Lavonte David be minimized?  He was a lock for the Pro Bowl until they stopped stunting.

      I sure hope not. The kid is the most instinctive, football Saavy, fast, agile, closer, tackler and play maker we have on this defense. I'm already not thrilled about Foster being our play caller. I love me some Foster but David is the best in the business. L&L are continuing to do some things that are relieving my initial concerns during FA and pre-draft. If I see David come off the field in lieu of Foster, I'll lose my mind.

      I doubt he'll come off the field.  I just don't think the sacks and TFLs will continue at the same rate.

      that's probably right. Still very productive, but a little different.  In fact, shouldn't Foster pick up some of that behind the line production in this defense?

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    • Anonymous

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      Post count: 499

      Clayborn and Bowers will really be feeling a sense of freedom come March...

      Bowers maybe. Clayborn will be setup to be more successful in this scheme. Right now he looks to be the starting LE unless someone really pushes to unseat him. Clayborn is a one gap bull rusher that's all motor and plays the run well. He played a good number of snaps at LE last year and had decent numbers in the pass game and was great I. The run game despite being stunted and dropped into coverage like a 3-4lb most games. Add in they have a de on the other side who can actually get pressure, it should make it easier on everyone. Clayborn was not built for schianos craptastic d. He was built more for a penetrating scheme like lovies, or even Raheem's.Only issue is if he can be consistent on the left. If he was fairly consistent under Schiano on the left, I think hell improve under Lovie.

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    • Anonymous

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      Post count: 499

      The linemen may be happy... But, will Lavonte David be minimized?  He was a lock for the Pro Bowl until they stopped stunting.

      I sure hope not. The kid is the most instinctive, football Saavy, fast, agile, closer, tackler and play maker we have on this defense. I'm already not thrilled about Foster being our play caller. I love me some Foster but David is the best in the business. L&L are continuing to do some things that are relieving my initial concerns during FA and pre-draft. If I see David come off the field in lieu of Foster, I'll lose my mind.

      I doubt he'll come off the field.  I just don't think the sacks and TFLs will continue at the same rate.

      that's probably right. Still very productive, but a little different.  In fact, shouldn't Foster pick up some of that behind the line production in this defense?

      Yup. He was asked to eat a lot blocks under Schiano and that left David to reap the benefits. Fosters numbers should go up and David's may drop a little, but that doesn't mean either is better or worse than previous years. Foster could become even more of a playmaker than he was last year.Also, there's very few circumstances that would see foster on the field over David. Lovie doesn't really run much of a dime package. He almost always runs some form of nickel. If that continues to be true, you'd be lucky to see a couple plays a game where foster is on the field without David being out there as well barring injury.

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    • Anonymous

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      Post count: 8983

      What mccoy REALLY means.."My god, are we happy to be out of that ridiculous defense.. de's running away from the line, me by myself, and revis out in zone. I almost beat schiano to a pulp when we talked about his overezealious love of stunts, because it was wasting our talent. At least lovie can coach a defense properly, and without having to worry about halftime lunches and temperature checks. Lovie's da' man, and thank goodness schiano is gone."Or, something to that tune.

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    • Anonymous

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      Post count: 1693

      “We’re running way less stunts than we used to,’’ McCoy said as a big, wide-eyed smile came across his face following a workout at One Buc Place last week. “It’s not even close to what we were doing.’’

      faith-in-humanity-restored-010.jpg

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    • Anonymous

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      Post count: 2445

      Sweet, afternoon practices. I won’t have to wake up early to get over there. I know everyone is afraid of this for some reason but I would love for them to bring Tebow in as the 3rd or 4th QB in TC. By this time the media storm surrounding him should be a little less.

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    • Biggs3535

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      Post count: 5948

      I remember when Todd Wash was holding our DL back. Now he’s running Jacksonville’s defense.

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    • J.A.S.H.E.R.

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      Post count: 2983

      Jags d is stacked. No coach would look bad with a group like that. You can get Wash back here and not a damn thing would improve until we get legit talent on the dline & secondary.

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    • Biggs3535

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      Post count: 5948

      That’s been my point for years. People love bitching about position coaches, but the players are the ones on the field making (or not making) plays.

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    • Nobody

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      Post count: 6484

      That’s been my point for years. People love bitching about position coaches, but the players are the ones on the field making (or not making) plays.


      @Biggs3535

      Yup. Same thing goes for coordinators/play-calling.

      Doug Pederson has gone from an offensive genius to averaging only 17 points/game, only 279.5 yards/game, under 30 % on 3rd down conversions (from tops in the league at above 50), and being absolutely awful in the Red Zone (when they can get there) in the last 4 games.

      They_lost_one_player.

      Now he’s horrible apparently.

      Obviously, the same thing goes for Pederson as goes for the Buccaneer’s running game and Dirk’s Red Zone run calls. If your Guards are absolutely awful, the production is going to follow suit. If we had two great Offensive Guards this year (instead of well below average), our running game would have been spectacular and our Red Zone and 3rd down conversion numbers would have followed suit.

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