Todd Bowles Brings The 3/4 Defense Back To Tampa


The Buccaneers are about to deviate from the script in 2019.  With Todd Bowles running the defensive side of the football, many expect to see a lot of the 3-4 defensive alignment. The good news is if you squint your eyes and look far enough into the past, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have had great success with this defense and a return to anything approaching those glory days would be welcome.

Bucs 3-4 In 1979

The one thing with any defense is the communication between players.  It is the in game adjustments, the reads, the common language that gives a great defense its strength.  With the 3-4 defenses of today, as with the 3-4 defense the Buccaneers employed during their ‘Worst to First’ campaign in 1979, is the unity of the starting linebacking corps is vital.

Going into 1979 the Buccaneers had inside linebackers Dewey Selmon and Richard “Batman’ Wood going on their 4th year playing side-by-side.  Beginning their 3rd year on the defense was outside linebackers Cecil Johnson, and Dave Lewis.  There were many moving parts to that ‘79 defense, but the seamless movement of the linebackers was a very fluid part of the on field success that year.

Can They Find Success In 3-4 Again?

Bringing Devin White to Tampa Bay is huge.  Getting him and Lavonte David into a room, locking the door and throwing away the key is a great second step.  With linebackers Kevin Minter, Jack Cichy, Devante Bonde, Corey Nelson and Emmanuel Smith also part of the linebacking corps there are a lot of moving parts.  Right about now they are all learning to speak ‘Todd Bowles’ language.

The success of the 2019 Buccaneers defense will be impacted in large part by the camaraderie of the Buccaneer four horseman in the middle.  With hard work and time spent together the Buccaneers defense should get right back on script.