One of the worst defenses in the league—that is what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are cursed with this season. Not only that, but they are also on pace to allow the most points in NFL history.
The record for that is currently owned by the 1981 Baltimore Colts, who gave up a whopping 533 points. The Buccaneers are more than halfway there with eight games remaining in the season.
Can the Buccaneers turn it around?
Veteran defensive tackle Gerald McCoy certainly thinks so.
“The positive is, it’s only halfway through the season. We have a chance to turn this thing around. We’ve just got to come out and play, man. We’ve got to be more disciplined all of us, myself included. Especially me. And we’ve just got to tackle better.”
There’s no question that the defense has to tackle better. During last week’s loss to the Panthers, the Buccaneers looked as if they were playing flag football. They missed easy tackles. The Buccaneers did hold Cam Newton to 247 yards and two touchdowns but gave up 407 yards of total offense. The defense allowed 42 points.
The Buccaneers’ poor tackling is a concern for Dirk Koetter.
“Huge concern. Yeah, it’s a huge concern because it’s the most fundamental thing to playing defense. We practice it every week. Number one: You only wear pads one day a week once the season starts. We have tackling periods in practice. I doubt if any team in the NFL has taken guys to the ground because that’s a double-edged sword. You’ve got to have somebody tackle, but that’s not a good excuse. We have to tackle better.”
You can watch Dirk Koetter’s full interview HERE.
The Bucs have 519 total tackles at the midway point of the season, and that’s good for 24th in the league. On a positive note, the Buccaneers are tied for 12th in the league in sacks with 24. Eight of those sacks belong to Jason Pierre-Paul.
Normally Gerald McCoy is the first one to voice his opinion loudly for all to hear, so why has he been so quiet about the defensive issues?
“I heard Tony Dungy say something on TV. He said when you’re winning say little and when you’re losing say less. So, that’s kind of where I’ve been at with talking because we haven’t been winning, the defense hasn’t been playing good, there’s not really a lot of talking that needs to be done. So, that’s why I haven’t been doing interviews because it’s like 9-years in, defense is playing bad, how much talking do I really need to do?”
McCoy did note that the discipline level has to be better.
Why does McCoy believe the defense can turn around?
“I’ll say about Duff, immediately he brought a different type of energy. I’m going to say this first and foremost: I love Coach Smith, I love Mike Smith and what he brought, but every coach is different, just like Coach Buckner is different from Jay Hayes. Every coach is different. But, what Duff brings is, he brings energy. It’s an aura around him that you can’t help but feed off of. We’ve been doing it every week, we’ve just got to play better. That’s really all it is. We’ve been practicing hard. It’s not a lack of practice or preparation, we’ve just to perform on Sunday. We’ve got another opportunity, coming home. What better time to get it right than at home in front of our fans.”
If the Buccaneers are going to have success, they will have to play better defense, and what better place to start than next week at home against the Redskins?
Want to watch Gerald McCoy’s full interview? You can watch it HERE.