Have the Buccaneers Closed the Gap in the NFC on Defense?


The NFL stands for Not For Long. Last year’s Buccaneers accomplishments and roster are in the rear view mirror. The fact that they were 15 minutes away from playing the Niners in the NFC Championship Game took many fans and the league by surprise. They were tied with the Lions entering the 4th quarter but their defense gave up 14 points in that quarter.

While we can reminisce about what an amazing season 2023 was, Todd Bowles and company don’t have that luxury.
Thursday the Bucs signed Randy Gregory to help shore up their most glaring defensive weakness of rushing the passer. Competition is sorely needed and when they released Shaq Barrett this was a necessary addition.  The Bucs have some intriguing OLBs on their roster in Ramirez and Watts. To say they NEED one of them to emerge is an understatement.

The Buccaneers should have some good pressure up the middle with Vita Vea and Calijah Kancey. Bowles is a master at creating blitz packages, but he said he was disappointed in the amount of pressure they got out of a four man pressure.
Letting Devin White walk in FA and trading Carlton Davis has left a void on defense. White needed to go, but behind him is K.J. Britt and SirVocea Dennis. It’s up to the coaches to get these younger players to step up.
Carlton Davis when healthy was a good shut-down corner. But it seems that Bowles may want more guys who can play better zone. Bryce Hall and Zion McCollum will battle it out for the CB2 position opposite Jamel Dean.
The one area where a clear upgrade was made was at the safety position. The return of Jordan Whitehead brings a physicality to the defense that’s been missing since he left.
With the draft a few weeks away, we will see what other defensive chess pieces will be added.
As it stands now I’d say there are still holes/unproven/question marks at OLB, CB and ILB. If Bowles has to send five or six guys to get pressure on a quarterback then the Bucs will be in trouble on defense.
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Of all the NFL teams that I could follow, why did I choose the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? It was 1979, I was an impressionable 12-year-old living in Canada. At that time, getting any NFL coverage was tough enough but that was reserved for the elite teams like the Cowboys, Steelers etc. I watched one game at 1 PM and one game at 4 PM. That was it. No Redzone, no night games on Sunday Each Christmas my family would drive from Montreal to visit my aunt in Jacksonville. I remember seeing the Bucs playing on TV against the Falcons when I was there. I saw something that day that changed my fandom forever. There was a QB wearing number 12, in an orange jersey and he wasn’t white! As a minority myself, seeing a non-white QB was something that immediately I was drawn to. I knew that this was the team, and this was the guy who I would follow. The years between 1979 and 1997 were obviously difficult but my fandom never wavered. If anything, it made me stronger as a person. I’ve often joked that I’ve had 3 wives but only ONE football team. I was asked if I wanted to write the occasional article for Bucs Report. Talking and writing about the Bucs is a full-time hobby so of course my answer was YES. I’m 56, retired and living in Costa Rica now. I sport 4 Buc tattoos and have been fortunate to make many visits to Tampa to watch the Bucs. I’ve made countless friends and even more memories. I look forward to chatting and interacting with the many Buccaneer fans throughout the world. Go Bucs Greg D’Cruz