I’m simply just having a hard time believing too much about Jameis Winston’s struggles through camp so far. Why? Well, simply put; the Buccaneers defense through three days of training camp looks awfully stingy. The architect behind it all? New defensive coordinator, Todd Bowles.
Improvements In All Three Levels
Defensive tackles, Ndamakung Suh and Vita Vea, simply cannot be moved. Just yesterday, Vita Vea took a rep against starting center, Ryan Jensen, in a one-on-one matchup. On the snap, Vea simply man-handled Jensen and pushed him back a whole five yards before the veteran center got his footing. Vita Vea is the real deal people.
Beyond just the penetration up front being noticed in camp, players from the second and third levels of the defense are getting their hands on the balls, too. Sean Murphy-Bunting has stuck out this training camp as well as Vernon Hargreaves and Carlton Davis. Each of the three defensive backs all notching interceptions in camp so far and not making it easy for any of the receivers. Pass deflections. Sticky coverage. Solid communication. Heck, even rookie safety Mike Edwards has been seeing extended time on the field as of late due to his versatility.
In the middle of the defense, Devin White, Lavonte David and Shaq Barrett have all made splash plays in camp so far. Whether it be from solid coverage play, or one of the three getting in the backfield with help of road-graders Vea and Suh. Devin White has gotten off to a modest start (not bad, not great), but his teammates are taking the pressure off as they continue to give the offense fits.
This Is Bowles’ Defense
But back to my main point. Something as dismal as the 2018 Buccaneers defense doesn’t receive that much of makeover without a decent artist, right? Player after player have come forth with their own testimony of Todd Bowles allowing them to play to their strengths. That freedom and continuity is starting to spread from the meeting rooms to the football field. I get it though, three days is a small sample size, but there’s one thing here that’s overwhelmingly apparent. The new Buccaneers defense looks a hell of alot better, and there’s no denying that.