The first week of preseason is finally here! This Friday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will take on the Pittsburgh Steelers at the ever-so-popular Heinz Field. The Buccaneers have recently released their first depth chart of the season, which on the defensive side, includes some highly anticipated changes from the media. Fan favorite, Mike Edwards, has won over the coaching staff for the starting safety spot (at least for now) alongside the second-year safety Jordan Whitehead, out of Pitt.
Corner in Question
Looking at the cornerbacks, Vernon Hargreaves and Carlton Davis sit on top. The slot cornerback role, however, is still in question. A live-action position battle between Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean Friday night hopes to answer that question. It is safe to say that with the additions during offseason (Ndamukong Suh, Shaquil Barret, and Deone Bucannon, to name a few), as well as having a three-man front for the first time, there are a lot of questions regarding what fans can expect to see from this defense.
Taking a look back at last year, the Bucs’ defense didn’t live up to its potential. This may have been the ripple effect from the coaching staff never having been able to get on the same page, or it could have simply been human error. There were many reasons the defense failed in 2018. But all that matters now is 2019. The Bucs coaching staff got a complete overhaul this offseason. Todd Bowles has stepped into the defensive coordinator role and is looking to turn this unit around.
What Can Bucs Nation Expect?
Bowles runs a complicated system that has the ability to switch between three- and four-man fronts, best suited to the wisest strategy against his opponent. To summarize his defensive scheme would be difficult, but I can say, with great confidence, that it will be aggressive. For example, when the Arizona Cardinals played the Dallas Cowboys in 2014, Bowles changed his predominant 3-4 look to a 4-3, resulting in ending Demarco Murray’s 100-yard game streak and ultimately winning the Cardinals the game.
Bucs fans can definitely afford to get excited about change this year. However, time will only tell whether that change will be good or bad. Tampa was once a city built on the foundation of its defense, and we have all heard the phrase “history repeats itself”. So could this be the turning point for Tampa Bay?