FAB 2. How The Bucs Personnel Fits A 3-4 Defense

The Bucs will be playing some 3-4 defense next year, as well as continuing to play some 4-3 under new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. The scheme won’t really matter because Tampa Bay will be in nickel defense 70 percent of the time, especially in the pass-happy NFC South division.

But the majority of the existing players will be a scheme fit in a 3-4 front – just in case you are curious.

It doesn’t matter if the Bucs are in a 3-4 or 4-3 front as long the players attack. That’s all Bowles and his one-gap scheme are about.

Bucs DC Todd Bowles - Photo by: Getty Images
Bucs DC Todd Bowles – Photo by: Getty Images

The Big Takeaway
Bowles likes to play a 3-4 Under scheme, which is a one-gap, attacking style of defense that isn’t too far removed from a 4-3 one-gap scheme. The good news is that the Bucs have a lot of good defensive players in their front seven, especially after last year with the acquisition of guys like defensive linemen Jason Pierre-Paul, Carl Nassib, Vita Vea, Vinny Curry, Beau Allen and linebacker Kevin Minter.

Here is how the current Bucs defenders would fit in a 3-4 alignment:

3T Gerald McCoy / Vinny Curry
NT Vita Vea / Beau Allen
DE Carl Nassib / Will Gholston
RUSH (also called WILL) Jason Pierre-Paul / Noah Spence
JACK (also called Stack LB) Lavonte David / Adarius Glanton
MIKE Kwon Alexander / Kevin Minter
SAM Kendell Beckwith / Adarius Glanton
SS Jordan Whitehead /Andrew Adams
FS Justin Evans / Isaiah Johnson
CB Carlton Davis / MJ Stewart
CB Vernon Hargreaves / Javien Elliott

3-4 Under graphic by: Matt Bowen/Bleacher Report
3-4 Under graphic by: Matt Bowen/Bleacher Report

The Quotes That Matter
New Bucs head coach Bruce Arians said that fans shouldn’t get too caught up in what scheme the team plays under Bowles.

“There’s no doubt,” Arians said. “It’s just schematics – 3-4, 4-3. Everybody lines up the same if you’re a gap scheme, gap control defense. We tried to get Jason Pierre-Paul really, really hard in Arizona. We got Chandler Jones and he’s led the league in sacks over the last three years, so yeah, he fits extremely well because he can rush the passer. Seventy percent of the game now is nickel, so that’s a 4-2 or a three-man front. So yeah, those guys fit. If you can play football, we’ll find a spot for you.

“Again, what we’ll do is what our players do best. Three-four, four-three, some call is over and under. We call it different – they still line up the same. Not a two-gap team. We’re going to attack. As long as our players attack – in today’s NFL, you’re in nickel defense 70 percent of the time, so you’re playing a four-man line. We’ll have odd-man lines, we’ll have four-man lines. That’s just schematics to me.”

The key is that the Bucs are going to be in a one-gap, up-the-field, aggressive scheme under Bowles – the likes of which Tampa Bay fans may not have ever seen.

Bucs D-linemen Will Gholston, Jason Pierre-Paul and Carl Nassib
Bucs D-linemen Will Gholston, Jason Pierre-Paul and Carl Nassib – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

“There is no question that in this division the first thing you have to do is affect the quarterback, and you do that by attacking,” Licht said. “A sack sometimes can be a selfish act unless you get the ball out. So attacking the football and getting it out, and affecting the quarterback is what it’s all about.”

Arizona ranked fifth in the NFL in scoring defense (18.7 ppg), ninth in the league in total defense (368.9 avg.) seventh in the league in interceptions (18) under Bowles.

“He’s a completely different personality than Bruce,” Licht said of Bowles, who will be introduced to the media at AdventHealth Training Center on Friday afternoon. “He’s a little bit more subdued, but you don’t want to rattle his cage, though. He’s extremely, extremely bright. The thing as a coach that I love the most about Todd – it’s just like Bruce said – it’s not so much about the scheme as it is the players. He builds the scheme around the players and makes it fun for them on a week-to-week basis on how we can attack this particular team.”

The FABulous Ending
The beauty of having coaches like Arians and Bowles in Tampa Bay is that they will adapt their schemes to fit the talent, which is the true sign of great coaching. That, coupled with Bowles’ attacking philosophy, should make the Bucs a formidable team in 2019, especially on defense.

Todd Bowles and Bruce Arians
Todd Bowles and Bruce Arians – Photo by: Getty Images

“Attack is a good word,” Licht said, describing Bowles’ philosophy. “The word ‘defense’ is semantics if you are defending your goal line. But really, you want to be on the offensive when you are playing defense. The whole theory behind his defense is to attack. It’s going to be fun to watch.”

Once again, Arians is excited to work with Bowles, who was one of his players at Temple back in the 1980s and also his defensive coordinator in Arizona from 2013-14. Bowles will have complete autonomy over the Bucs defense.

“That’s one of the things I learned in Indianapolis,” Arians said. “Becoming the interim leader, I was never the head coach, we always had Chuck as the head coach. As the interim leader, there wasn’t any time. I learned how to delegate. Do your job, do your job, I’ll do my job, I’ll decide if we go for it on fourth and it worked. Fortunately, I got Todd in Arizona. If I click over – and I usually don’t have to tell him to blitz anyway – but if I click over [on the headset], bring ’em all. And he knows it.”

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Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
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Alldaway 2.0

Arians more in involved with the draft? Love it.

Two practices going for vets and youth? Love it.

Cutting the cancerous players from this team? Love it.

Finally a coaching staff that will develop, train and let the players play to their strengths. We are very lucky as Bucs fans.

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Buc stops here

Kareem Hunt? Sure they could sign him, but I would hesitate before I did if I was in their position. Why? Because his family is a bunch of criminals – and he is going down the same path. The Bucs are already giving Winston a third chance, how many chances does Hunt now get? What is this saying to the women who are getting attacked? Is the “Metoo” movement exempt in the NFL? Hunt’s father, also named Kareem Hunt, has been arrested at least 35 times in northeast Ohio and multiple times on charges of domestic violence. Most of the… Read more »

Ivan Figueroa

grow up

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Buc stops here

Grow up? Are you kidding me? I am presenting the other side of the story. Don’t like it, give me a thumbs down. Nothing I wrote is not the truth about the extended family – or him. Image is part of the NFL.

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Devasher

Wonderful post @bucstopshere5 the information you’ve posted is exactly what any franchise in the NFL would pay an investigator to find out. To the people who downvoted that post I’d love to hear your explanation why a background check on a player and word of caution is something you disagree with. To some knowledge is power, to others ignorance is bliss.

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cgmaster27

That’s a an good bit of research there bucstops! I didnt know he came from a family with such trouble. I hate to put the sins of the father on the sun, but hunt has also done some bad things. Do I believe the bucs should pick him up? I do if its vented and he signs a contract with a ton of offset lagnuage. Again ,it is vision thing to as to how this looks to the public, but we shall see. Again a great bit of research sir Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00 No votes yet. Please… Read more »

76Buc

I believe in second chances. I’ve had them. Guys can get away from the home boys back in the hood or wherever, but it’s hard to run away from your family.
That said, it can be done.

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Buc stops here

I should not get all the credit. It was originally posted online, I believe on USA Today on research everything his family has gone through. Thank you devasher, cgmaster27. It is eye opening.

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Bucsfan1983

I like that you have McCoy in your 3-4 lineup. I think he should return on a restructured contract. He deserves to be on a Bucs playoff team. I think he along with Vea and Nassib, could be the 3 down lineman. I also like the 4 LBs you have, JPP, Kwon, David and Beckwith. I’d like to see the Honey Badger start opposite of Evans. He signed a 1 year deal with Houston last March. A reunion with BA would be great. I’m also open to the Hunt idea, I thought about it the minute he was released. And… Read more »

Bucco63

I’m on the fence with Hunt. I like Winston and believe he is a better and different man than he was, but unfortunately I don’t think the Bucs can handle the PR of including Hunt with Winston already on the roster. If Jameis didn’t have that history, I think it could be sold better as a second chance. No doubt we could use his talent. As an Oklahoma State alum I do feel I need to clarify and defend the mention of Tyreek Hill while there. OSU did the right thing and cut him immediately when this occurred. It was… Read more »

Buc76

Are you out of your mind? Obviously you know nothing about politics and business. Do you think for a minute Darcie Glazer would allow that? Did you not see her in the picture taken with Arians and the family? Yea that’s a good idea, let’s alienate all the women fans. Dude you are not a businessman. You never will be if you come up with crap like this. On video is another Ray Rice. He will never play football again. What a dumb comment. Stick to what you know. Xs and Os and nothing else Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit… Read more »

MichaelMyersIsABucsFan

Buc76 Hunt will be in the NFL again. Ray Rice was already on his downward slide. If and that’s a big If Hunt is getting the help he needs and shows it in the community he will be fine and I would like to have him in Tampa.

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Lamb Chop

I think Brent Grimes is a turd after his podcast revelations. But, to say that Licht made a mistake signing him in the first place is a bigger load of turd. I call BS on that. The way Grimes played for the Bucs in the first few years was a breath of fresh air. There wasn’t a corner since Ronde and BK that opposing QBs had to fear until Brent put the pewter and red on. He literally locked down one side of the field. You can crap on him for this past season and his comments, but to play… Read more »

EastEndBoy

Kareem Hunt – all I’ll say about your analysis is that you should not compare violence against anyone to smoking marijuana. One is, always has been and always will be both illegal and unacceptable in every corner of society….the other is now legal (to varying extents) in 33 States plus DC. On the projected DLine…that’s roughly $15 million of cap space used for back-up linemen. Yes, backups are necessary – but $15m is a lot for a team that will be seeking some cap space. Finally, I couldn’t agree more with your comments of good riddance to Jackson and Grimes… Read more »

Devasher

Kareem Hunt is an incredible talent at the RB position, and as much as anyone here can see that, so could the Chiefs who of all teams were in the midst of a playoff and potential Super Bowl run when they cut him for repeatedly punching and attacking people. To have a player of Hunt’s ability at RB would be incredible for this team and chance how the offense is played and how opposing defenses scheme against the Bucs. But the team still must do their diligence on Hunt and his character before they signed him. It wasn’t a good… Read more »

BUC-ASS-BOB

THE excuse Giants have for trading JPP was he does not work in 3 -4 defence Now Bucs have 3-4 where does that leave J P P ?

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GrayBalls

Bob, shut up already, man. Maybe read what Bowles and Arians are saying. Wait…… I realize now that I have contradicted myself. I told you to shut up AND to read. My bad, dude. Go on your little rants, I’m sure someone will be along shortly to put the straw in your Capri Sun and adjust your helmet for you. Oh, word of advice for everyone out there, DO NOT smell FUC-ASS-BOB’s finger

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Buc stops here

This is interesting – a poll was taken of NFL players of the most overrrated NFL QB. Number 1 was Kurt Cousins. He was followed by (in order): Eli Manning was the second-most overrated, while Joe Flacco, Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford, Tom Brady, Derek Carr, Andy Dalton, Dak Prescott, Jameis Winston and Sam Bradford had multiple votes as well.

So Winston was 10th most overrated with Sam Bradford #11. They were all the QBs mentioned. Just interesting.

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Devasher

Eli Manning will go into the Hall of Fame purely due to his 2 Super Bowl runs. While you have to respect the two championships against the Patriots, Eli has been anywhere from average to below average for his entire career. I generally agree with most of the players listed as overrated except for Brady and to a lesser extent Ryan. Flacco had the one super bowl, Stafford has been on losing teams for most of his career and padded his stats, Carr peaked early and has come back to earth, Dalton is Dalton, Prescott gets a ton of help… Read more »

Lamb Chop

Tom Brady overrated? I find that a bit hard to swallow unless people think he’s a product of the system. But still, you can have a system, but if you can’t deliver then you can sink that system in a heart beat. I’m a huge Joe Montana fan, but with the number of trips to the SB that Tom has had, Tom will always be in the discussion of greatest QB to play the game for a very long time. He just needs to retire before he tarnishes his image. Learn from Brett Favre. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00… Read more »

76Buc

Yep, ever good QB is a product of his system.

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damian_thompson

I had a similar thought about Hunt & Arians but was reminded by someone that Mrs. Arians is VERY involved in charities focused on abuse and violence towards women & children. Would highly doubt signing Kareem would get her approval.

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surferdudes

I’m all for giving Hunt a second chance in Tampa. Where I would disagree is just signing him to a one year deal. He’ll be suspended maybe for half that time, so a cheap three year deal with no guaranteed money, and a clause where we can cut him if he gets in trouble again. Scott I have to disagree with you on our defensive personal fitting a 3- 4. I think David can play in it, but he’s at the end of his career, and has a high cap value. He also seems to get nicked up, and miss… Read more »

GrayBalls

“He only had one decent rookie year”…… One rookie year? What happened to his second rookie year?

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surferdudes

Defensive options: Henry Anderson RDE age 28 Jets, Sheldon Richardson RDT age 28 Jets, Deone Bucannon ILB age 27 AZ, Avery Williamson ILB age 26 Jets, Neville Hewitt ILB age 25 Jets, Jeremiah Atlaochu OLB age 28 Jets, Markus Golden OLB age 28 AZ, Brandon Copeland OLB 27 Jets, Morris Claiborne CB age 27 Jets, Buster Skrine CB age 30 Jets. I know Buc fans fall in love with their own, I don’t always get it, but you do. Expect some of these players to be suiting up for the Bucs this year, and expect some of your old lovers… Read more »

76Buc

R u n buc-ass related?

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EricNV

G McCoy is probably gone due to cap considerations. I wouldn’t be too surprised if Curry was gone. If we can get to at least $70 million under the cap, I can see a few of those players you listed being signed. A lot is going to depend upon how Hargreaves and Alexander bounce back from their season-ending injuries. I think Hargreaves showed vast improvement in the opener against NO in September, and I would expect that improvement to carry over given complete recovery. Alexander’s as tough as they come, so I’m expecting him, God-willing, to be out there in… Read more »

matador

GMC has only experienced losing. I’d offer him a two year deal that would pay as much in total as his deal for next year, with the carrot being a chance to play in the playoffs.

We don’t have a ton of experienced professionals on the roster. Those are needed as example setters in the Arians Era Of Accountability. Let GMC decide, if he wants to go elsewhere so be it.

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BucWild02

Fab 1/5: Kareem Hunt is a solid RB who deserves a second chance, but I’m not sure a party city like Tampa is a good fit. I won’t argue his production or counter system vs player by extrapolating D. Williams production in KC in Hunt/Ware’s absence. His family concerns documented above by “Buc Stops Here” are also eye opening. Fab 2: Defense is transitioning to a 3-4? But is it? It seems clear that they’re gonna be in nickle 70% of the time. That wasn’t the only commitment by BA. He said they will attack to the players strengths. Balt… Read more »

drdneast

So whar you are saying BucStopsHere is criminality is inherited and passed along in your genes and DNA just like diabetes or ALS. Scientists, all over the world. are laughing hysterically at you along with me. Look up and see what one of the biggest criminals in the history of the United States history, Jessie James’ son became when he grew up. You undoubtedly took a science class with Donnie Trump. Not only is your line of thinking moronic, it is also unAmerican. In this country, sir, you are born with a clean slate and you aren’t judged by your… Read more »

76Buc

Not DNA; environmental. PC bs.

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chetthevette

Drdneast. It’s tough being a lefty liberal these days. I’m with you all the way with your prognosis about how we are born fresh as babes in the woods. Unfortunately that is where your statement falters. Of course it matters who your parents are. Try getting a fair shake being born with dark skin. It’s a crapshoot just to get by let alone thrive. Take it from me, and I’m the whitest guy you will ever meet, I get sun burned shopping at Wal-mart. I wish Kareem all the best, but he’ll be better off somewhere other than Tampa. Just… Read more »

chefboho

So much to like about all this. Hopefully it’s more than hearsay this time. My favorites are the two practice fields for vets and rookies. I’ve also complained so many times with former regimes because they take players who are gifted at a position and then move them somewhere else. It’s drove me crazy for years stunting growth I believe. Especially when a clown like Warhop is supposedly training your rookies in new positions they never played in college. I’m extremely excited for the upcoming year. On the Kareem hunt topic, this one is a tough call for me so… Read more »

EricNV

If Hunt keeps his nose clean in Tampa, all will be forgiven. He’s too talented a RB to not seriously consider adding to this roster.

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JJ

Good riddens LOUDMOUTH Miko and you’re dumbass husband, who made a fool of himself his last days here and no doubt because of you.

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76Buc

I wonder how long she’ll hang with without the $millions coming in?

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EricNV

“Arians demands that players play hard every down and plans on holding them accountable. ”

You hear that Donovan Smith? You’re going to play hard EVERY down or face the music.

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drdneast

76Buc, than you and I agree. Criminality has nothing to do with your heredity but as you said, is much more environmental. If you grow up and around criminals, it is much more likely you will be a criminal. If you look at what Hunt obviously grew up around, it speaks volumes about his character that he didn’t follow the same path. I also agree with you about Miko. As soon as the money stops rolling in, Miko will roll out of her marriage with Grimes. She has all the characteristics of a credit card diva. I loved the video… Read more »

plopes808

Finally got to watch the Arians presser and I’m even more excited now! I haven’t been this excited since we signed DJax…hopefully this will yield better results and I think it will. Change has to come from the top and from what I’m seeing and Arians is saying, it’s coming! The Hunt issue is a sensitive one but I could get onboard with a low-risk prove it deal. We all know his stock is as low as it will probably get at the moment so if we strike, we should strike now. This will save another draft pick and give… Read more »

SaskBucs

I was more on board with bringing in Hunt before I watched his ESPN interview. I assume the one linked is from over a month ago, the first (maybe only) one he did. I really didnt think it helped him out. It seemed as though his agents gave him 4 things to say and he stuck to the script. It didn’t seem genuine or particularly honest. He is already fired at that point, why not speak honestly about that night and apologize. “It was late, I had been drinking which was stupid to begin with and this girl got my… Read more »

matador

Buc stops here post is the type of article SR should have written. Talk about tone deaf.

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