It is What It is on Defense

 

Let’s face it the Bucs defense has been average to below average for most of the year and just have not shown any signs of being a consistently good unit. The defense has had three solid showings against the Bears, Patriots, and Panthers while in the other 4 games they have been very sub par to say the least. Statistically the defense is near the bottom in most categories and the one that sticks out the most is third down as the Bucs just can’t get off the field on defense consistently, and it is the big reason the defense is not more efficient.

Last year, the Bucs defense was the best in the league on third down which limited possessions for opposing offenses. Granted the Bucs pass rush was better than it is now as they had a more consistent edge rush that applied pressure. In 2017, the Bucs have had zero edge rush and have had to be creative with their pressures leaving their secondary on islands more than they would like.

This defense is a bend don’t break type defense that relies on turnovers and getting off the field on third down. Being more consistent as a unit is something that needs to happen going forward. Certain individuals are playing well but the unit as a whole needs to be better. If the run fits and tackling can be consistent, then this defense can manage to be decent, just need to continue to be aggressive in trying to force turnovers.

“We’re a very inconsistent group and we’ve got to get that figured out. I was impressed with some individuals in terms of how they performed in the game against Carolina. But as a group, we’ve been very inconsistent. We were inconsistent in that game last week. They take the ball on that first drive and we are three-and-out and then they run it 19 plays before we get them stopped. There’s a lack of consistency. In this league, if you’re not consistent, it’s going to come back and bite you in the butt. That’s what we’ve really been dealing with is a lack of consistency across the board.”

With the Bucs linebacking core back intact, Mike Smith should be able to be even more aggressive and dial up more blitz packages to help the dreadful pass rush. So hopefully the defense can find a way to be more effective against the run to help them create more turnover opportunities in third and long situations. This week against the Saints the defense is going to have to do just that which won’t be easy as they will be facing a much better QB in Drew Brees. Overall, this defense is what it is and that is a unit that is wildly inconsistent that must play for the turnover by being aggressive and creative to do so.

 

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