After a dismal season on defense, things can only get better. Hopefully! Last season the Buccaneers finished 31st in points allowed; as well as last in some categories.
The scheme on defense was terrible to the point of confusing seasoned pros. More than once cameras caught Tampa defenders trying to establish where they were supposed to be after the ball had been snapped. It was so often a calamity of errors. Once again on defense, the Bucs were the “Yucks” and a laughing stock.
What was so surprising was that on paper, Tampa had one of the best LB cores in the league. Kwon Alexander, Lavonte David, and Kendell Beckwith were set to star. Jack Cichy was a capable backup that would provide little drop off in performance.
As we all know, football isn’t played on paper.
Before the season started, Kendell Beckwith was lost to an auto accident and may never play again. The injury list was littered with Linebackers including Kwon and Kevin Minter, their backups Jack Cichy, Devante Bond, Riley Bullough, and Adarius Taylor; this was the ultimate “next man up” unit. There was a lack of talent on the field and it was exposed so many times.
Throughout the season Tampa Bay was never able to field its strongest defensive team. The lack of depth, which was exposed in the preseason, was never addressed and came back to haunt the Bucs week after week.
Fast forward to the new regime!
Kwon Alexander left in free agency. Todd Bowles is introducing a 3-4 defense. Carl Nassib and Noah Spence are becoming outside linebackers.
Coach Arians has already brought in reinforcements in the shape of Shaquille Barrett and Kentrell Brice. Additionally, Deone Bucannon will play as a hybrid safety/LB.
One indicator from this is that a previous weakness is now becoming a strength for this team. Depth is being established and players will be pushing each other for playing time, creating competition and keeping players sharp. With the upcoming draft yielding more potential front 7 players, things are looking up for this defense.
For those readers who aren’t familiar with the recent acquisitions, I’ll leave with this.
The Bucs are getting violent at the line of scrimmage and teams will be noting that the Bucs are coming to make them bleed for every inch.