Greg Cosell: “Predictable” Buccaneers’ Defense Is “Not a Defense That Has Played Much Man Coverage”


Sep 15, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Darrelle Revis (24), cornerback Leonard Johnson (29) and cornerback Johnthan Banks (27) react after stopping the New Orleans Saints short of the end zone during the game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

Greg Cosell knows more about football than I do. As the senior producer at NFL Films, he’s watched, charted, and discussed more games of football this year than many people have watched in their entire lives.

And while he admits he could be wrong, because it can be tough to know exactly what plays are being called on defense, Greg Cosell sees the Buccaneers as “not having played much man coverage” this year. He discussed the topic on 98.7 The Fan.

In looking back at the Philadelphia Eagles game, he counted two plays in which Darrelle Revis lined up in “cover man zero”, or in other words man-to-man against a receiver with no safety help.

This was the backbone of the New York Jets’ defenses which went to AFC Championship games behind Mark Sanchez at quarterback, as Rex Ryan was able to send Revis out to cover one receiver, and wreak havoc with the other 10 players on defense.

The Buccaneers are not doing the same, and according to Cosell, they’re hardly using Revis in man coverage at all.

Oct 13, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano on the sidelines during the first half against the Philadelphia Eagles at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

When asked if Revis was good in zone coverage, Cosell replied that he is, but since he’s so gifted in man coverage it’s hard to compare. He also mentioned that there’s a lot more coaching that goes into zone coverages, rather than man which is as simple as saying “Darrelle, you got this guy today.”

Cosell noted that Revis lined up on the left side of the defense for most of the day, which made the Buccaneers extremely predictable on defense.

Greg Schiano was quoted as saying there “weren’t that many” snaps during which Darrelle Revis was playing in zone coverage. He and his staff insist that Darrelle plays mainly man coverage.

But on multiple occasions this season we have seen Revis lined up well off of his receiver, and not follow him to the middle of the field where a safety was supposed to have been. So if that’s man coverage, then I guess Revis has been playing man.  But he’s not being asked to do the things he did in New York, where he earned his 16 million dollar reputation.

So Schiano can say whatever he wants. But the results speak for themselves, and others are taking notice. As Cosell said during the interview:

That reflects poorly on a head coach who is in the news off the field as often as he is on the field.