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  1. 1


    I’m sorry, Eric, but defensivr backfields don’t play by themselves … they are part of a whole that depends very much on the pass rush for success. No pass rush, no pass defense, end of story. We all know that in the first half of the season our paas rush was mostly non-existent … in part due to injuries that ravaged our D line early on, and in part due to the entire defense having to learn a completely new defense from a new DC. In particular, Coach Smith’s defense relies competely on gap discipline and good communications between players …. two factors that take time to develop. We also had several key players in each position group on the D – including both starting corners, one of whom was a rookie – who were first year Bucs.

    You can’t judge a defensive position group in a vacuum, and with so many new personnel, both coaches and players, on the team, you can’t judge the season based on its first half performance.

    This season, the learning curve should not be a factor. Injuries, of course, can bite any team any time.

  2. 2

    Eric Horchy

    All parts of a defense play off each other, you’re right. But to say the secondary was aces last year and got exposed solely by a lackluster pass rush? I can’t get on board with that. The non-existent pass rush also produced 17 sacks in the first eight games and 21 in the final eight. Like you can expect from any rookie, Hargreaves progressed as the season did, which helped shore up the entire secondary a bit more. But there’s more to be done on that end, in my opinion.

    1. 2.1


      Eric, I didn’t write or suggest in any way that the secondary played like aces. I wrote that you cannot judge the defensive backfield when the pass rush is non-existent, as it was during the first half of the season.. We lost Smith for the entire season, McDonald missed several games due to injury in the first half as did Ayers, and while our rookie end rusher didn’t miss games due to injury, he definitely lost effectiveness due to a banged up shoulder, as well as being a rookie.

      All in all, you can’t fairly judge any part of the defense when the pass rush is missing in action. Defense starts with the pass rush, period. It may well be that VH3’s learning curve last year, which was very steep, occured when the prospects of high performance by the secondary were seriously in doubt as I describe, but that is what it is.

      There won’t be any excuses for any part of the defensive this season except injury. The learning curve is now in the rear view mirror. The time to perform starts in Week 1 of the 2017 season.

      1. 2.1.1

        Eric Horchy

        I think we’re both on the same page. I kept this pretty tightly focused on Grimes, Hargreaves and the secondary in general and didn’t go into the defensive front’s impact on the back end, so you’re correct in making that point. It’s totally valid and we all saw what played out week to week.

        Maybe the biggest thing I want to see is a reduction in the big plays. Gonna get burned sometimes, but has to be less frequent. Second year with Smith after finishing pretty strong for the most part. I’m interested, for sure.

  3. 3

    David DeLeon

    I think defensively we are quite a bit better and on the positions that started the same have a whole year already behind them like Vernon and Noah. That’s a great thing I think Baker next to McCoy is going to help the backfield a bunch.

    Still have to see it on the field but I’m hoping for NFC champs this season. Breaking the playoff drought will be pretty sweet. Not sure about the Bucs in the Superbowl article that came out but I’d love it too!

    Good article Eric

  4. 4

    Alldaway 2.0

    Everyone is down on the CB’s as a group but I am excited about this unit.

    Grimes + MClure +Robinson = experienced vets that can play inside or outside

    Adje-Barimah + Elliot + Hargreaves = Have flashed as nickel players and Adje/Hargreaves have experience kicking it on the outside.

    Bucs have SIX PLAYERS with NFL experience at CB. Not many NFL teams can say that.

    Throw in Ryan Smith who is on the cusp?

  5. 5


    With Naples making the “no pass rush” excuse for the secondary ; one could also conclude that the lack of coverage on the back end allowed the QB to get rid of the ball quicker because his targets were so open. As Naples said, it all ties together. There’s little doubt that when injuries hit and guys are starting on the D-line that were literally off the street, you can’t expect much.

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