Give Coaches Credit for Adjustments

Halftime adjustments help the Bucs D stop the Rams in the 2nd half.
Halftime adjustments help the Bucs D stop the Rams in the 2nd half. /
Halftime adjustments help the Bucs D stop the Rams.
Halftime adjustments help the Bucs D stop the Rams. /

For as many problems as the Buccaneers had on Sunday in the first half, the adjustments made at halftime really saved the game for the Buccaneers. It’s pretty easy to throw blame at the coaching staffs when something goes wrong but today I think it’s worth pointing out that the team made a few different adjustments coming out of the half that really served them well over the final two quarters.

For starters along the line of scrimmage the Buccaneers stopped getting in their own way and simplified their scheme for their defensive front seven. It’s almost as if Raheem Morris finally gave in and took the advice Derrick Brooks offered earlier this week on his radio show, the Bucs stopped with all the excessive stunting and Tom-Foolery and focused on just whooping the guy in front of them. The results were immediately evident on the first play of the first drive when Roy Miller (who collided several times with Gerald McCoy on stunts in the first half) just straight up beat his man and collapsed the blocking. On the same play Ronde Barber came up and set the edge as well as any of the defensive ends had done all day and allowed the Bucs to bring down Steven Jackson for no gain. It was a statement play, and over the course of the second half the Buccaneers defense proceeded to stymie the Rams offense.

This is still a unit that needs some help in the front seven, specifically with regards to their pass rush. I’m certain the scheming the Bucs were doing was to try and supplement a lack of talent and experience. But the Bucs defense doesn’t seem to have developed to the point where they can grasp and execute some of the more complicated stunts. If you go back and watch a lot of Steven Jackson’s big carries in the first half you’ll see a few common things.

On plays to the outside, it was typically a mixture of bad stunting and the defensive ends’ collective inability to set the edge that almost completely took the Bucs front four out of the play. If it went big inside, it was typically because the Bucs were either stunting and moved themselves out of position (on several plays Buc D-lineman literally cancelled each other out allowing for the Rams linemen to move on to the second level and start putting hats on linebackers). Or if it wasn’t the result of a stunt it seemed to be the result of gap confusion. At one point Jim Mora Jr. even commented that with the personnel Buccaneers had on the field and the defense they had called, there was no conceivable way they could get gashed like that.

Unless of course the schemes were overly complicated and the young front seven couldn’t maintain gap integrity. Coming out of halftime the Bucs simplified things and the players stopped thinking and started playing. I remember at the beginning of the week Gerald McCoy saying he needed to stop worrying about everything and go make a play. In the second half, credit the Bucs coaching staff for putting and end to the fancy stuff and putting the team in a position to just go make plays.

"“Most of the stuff is what we do wrong. Not so much the offense,” said Styles G. White. “When we come back to the locker room and we adjust, and play disciplined football, we can go out there and give you this type of football.”"

Raheem Morris added:

"“I said we had to go out there and execute what we’ve been talking about and what we’ve been teaching,” Morris said. “And they went out there and executed. I’m proud of them for being able to do that.”“But we have to go back and review film to get better and better, and try to find out what we can do to make this thing more consistent.”"

In the third and fourth quarter the Bucs outscored the Rams 12-0 and out-gained them nearly 3:1 in terms of yardage. And while there’s still a lot to be done, I will tip my hat to the coaching staff for making the right adjustments to help the defense stop the Rams in the second half on Sunday.