The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are heading into Sunday’s matchup against the San Francisco 49ers with an unbelievable streak of 32 quarters without a single takeaway by the defense.
No matter how good your offense is, you simply do not win games like this, and the front office needs to find a way to fix that issue. The attempts made to fix this apparently did not work out. Jason Licht traded for Pierre-Paul and Vinny Curry in the offseason and used Tampa’s first round pick on Vita Vea, as well as two early picks on defensive backs Carlton Davis and MJ Stewart.
While Jason Pierre-Paul has contributed in a major way so far, Vita Vea is struggling to adjust to the next level, which is not uncommon for rookie defensive tackles. MJ Stewart looked like a rookie when he played, and the absence of former first round pick Vernon Hargreaves, who was supposed to make strides in his third year in the league, can be felt on the field as well.
A huge problem for the Buccaneers is that their hopeful players whom they pick early in the draft have not panned out lately. Vea needs to improve drastically soon, and at least some of the 2019 draft picks, which must largely consist of defensive players, need to have an immediate impact for the Buccaneers to solve this problem.
In addition to that, Hargreaves needs to take care of what will most likely be his last chance at staying in this league long term when he returns from his injury next season.
To be brutally honest, that is a very iffy outlook, and the near future does not look very bright for the Buccaneers’ defense. Yet it is not impossible to turn things around and right this ship. Bucs fans just have to stay optimistic and hope for the best.
Hopefully, the Bucs will end this terrible streak this upcoming Sunday, which would be the first step toward fixing this nightmarish defense.