Friend of the blog “Uptown Murph” has written up a fantastic article breaking down how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defense will take a big step forward in 2013, to the point where he believes the Buccaneers will be victorious in the NFC South ahead of the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints.
So unlike those who mourn the loss of Roy Miller and Michael Bennett as some kind of huge hole for the Buccaneers to have to fill, Murph believes the schemes put in place by Greg Schiano and the defensive staff, combined with the talented personell in place, will lead to a defense that remains strong against the run, and takes a huge step forward against the pass.
So is Murph a little too optimistic here? As a fan of the Falcons, he clearly has no bias towards the Buccaneers, and in fact gets to see the Bucs at their best, as some of the Buccaneers best performances last year were against the incredibly strong Falcons’ team. So there is at least a strong amount of objectivity and analysis in his thoughts.
He also points out that the run defense is bolstered by the scheme and the talent of the linebackers, two things that will not change going into 2013. The loss of Michael Bennett will certainly leave an opening that someone must fill, but if Da’Quan Bowers is able to perform up to his expectations, Murph is right on in saying that the Buccaneers linebackers and linemen will continue to lock down opposing running games, as Lavonte David and Mason Foster will both be headed downhill and making plays on opposing runners all season long.
The questions come when he mentions the play of Darrelle Revis, and his impact on the Buccaneers’ ability to cover top receivers, and also dial up blitz packages based on Revis’ shut down ability. Revis has to be fully healthy and back to his old self in order for this to work. He includes amazing photos showing just how great Revis can be locked up one-on-one against top receivers, but this was Darrelle Revis before a major knee injury. There are no signs that the Bucs’ new corner will have any setbacks, but if he’s not 100% for this upcoming season, it throws this whole scenario out of balance.
Otherwise, there is little to debate in Murph’s breakdown. It will be interesting to see if the Buccaneers have the depth to keep the talent needed on the field through a long NFL season, and also to see how the young defensive ends do in a defense with better talent on the back-end.
So what do you think? Can the Buccaneers have one of the best defenses in the NFL? Can they finish first in the NFC South? Let us know in the comments below!