The secondary has been a sore spot in Tampa Bay for quite a while now. For a team that has a storied history in aggressive top-notch defense, this team in recent memory just hasn’t been able to stop anyone. You have heard the groans from the fan base and even the media when both cornerback’s play 10 yards (or more) off the line of scrimmage on a 2nd/3rd and short. Or how about the constant sloppy tackling. Or even the countless blown coverages that have become all too common for this troubled defense. Here are just a few stats the have echoed the play seen on the field in 2018:
- 26th in passing yards allowed
- 32nd in completion percentage allowed (72%)
- T-26th in INT (1 of 9 teams not to reach double-digit INT)
- 30th in TD’s allowed
- 27th in total defense
Now to be fair this Bucs squad did see a slight improvement in their defense in 2018. In 2017 they were dead last in overall defense. So there really was really nowhere to go, but up. Much of the improvement that you saw last season was due to a combination of things. First the promotion of Mark Duffner to Defensive Coordinator during week 6, and his simplification of the defensive scheme. Secondly, there were key rookies who developed late in the season. Such as Vita Vea, Jordan Whitehead, and Carlton Davis.
With Mark Duffner out and Todd Bowles coming in, it should only mean good things for this young DB unit. Bowles is considered to be one of the top defensive coordinators in the league today, and has expressed his desire to mold his defensive scheme around to his personnel’s strengths. That last statement is key for this defense. Not just because it makes good football sense in general, but it will give this young DB nucleus (Davis, Stewart, Whitehead, and Evans) the opportunity to take a big step forward in 2019.
There has been a good amount invested from the draft in the secondary these last couple of seasons, and with the addition of a veteran FA to replace the outgoing Brent Grimes (or even the emergence of Vernon Hargreaves III), there should be a dose of cautious optimism for this young Bucs secondary.
What are your thoughts on the Buccaneers DB’s heading into the 2019 season? Drop a comment below to let us know your thoughts.