“A hell of a lot better than how they performed last season,” according to the Buccaneers defensive coordinator.
Last season, it was obvious the Buccaneers defense seriously lacked in several areas. The defensive line struggled to get a sufficient pass rush and in turn, forced a struggling secondary to play on its heels. However, this offseason, the Bucs made several moves that, in theory, should help both areas to improve tremendously.
During free agency, the Bucs acquired several defensive linemen that have proven themselves to be more than capable. Tampa signed free agent defensive linemen Vinny Curry and Beau Allen, both big contributors to the 2018 Super Bowl Champion Eagle defense, and also signed free agent Mitch Unrein, formerly of the Chicago Bears. They will add much-needed strength and depth to inside and outsides of the line. In addition to these solid signing is the acquisition of the well known defensive end, Jason Pierre-Paul. Pierre-Paul has an outstanding defensive record and will automatically boost Tampa’s lackluster pass rush.
The Buccaneers did not stop with defensive line improvements as it headed into the 2018 NFL Draft as they set their eyes on another stout defensive lineman in Vita Vea. After the second round selection of RB Ronald Jones, the Buccaneers continued with the defensive improvement by selecting CB’s M.J. Stewart and Carlton Davis. These two rookies will put heat on the competition in the Secondary and should become instant impacts anywhere in the secondary they find themselves.
Tampa is in a win-now mode, as they have been for the past few seasons, however, in the past, they had lacked the necessary personnel to do so.
Tampa added an outstanding defensive line coach, in Brenston Buckner. Without a doubt he his well-known passion and expertise of defensive lines have already placed the Buccaneers line in a better situation than they were the last season.
Last season, Tampa was ranked dead last in the NFL for sacks and historically Brenston Buckner has coached his line within the top ten or better, with his former team the Arizona Cardinals.
Buckner may be the lifeline that allows Mike Smith to continue to keep his job, however, if his current scheme shows any signs of wavering, he will likely find an abrupt end to his career in Tampa. Alternatively, Buckner could find himself at the defensive helm at some point, during this upcoming season.
Regardless of whose job is on the line this season, one fact remains, Tampa has to get better on defense and certainly it seems to have done just that.