The Tampa Bay defense has been bad for years. The ineffectiveness of the offense may have overshadowed the Bucs’ defensive struggles in recent years, but now that the offense looks to be headed down the right road, it’s time for the defense to step up and turn it around. With a new defensive coordinator in Mike Smith, the new look on defense will be one of the first things many fans watch for during camp and into the season.
Greg Schiano and Lovie Smith, the Bucs’ last two head coaches, were unable to make the defense into the formidable unit that it could’ve been. When Mike Smith was introduced as the team’s defensive coordinator, it looked like the best possible hire that Tampa Bay could make. In his first press conference, he talked about a flexible defensive scheme that will be based in a 4-3 front, though it can, and will, shift to a 3-4 at times. One of the biggest things that could be taken away from Smith’s presser was that he said he will fit the scheme to the players he has on the roster. Sounds a little different, doesn’t it?
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One of the biggest complaints among Bucs fans in the Lovie era was that he continued to bring in aging veterans solely because they knew his scheme. This frustration wasn’t just felt by the fans, as plenty of players were left on the sideline watching without being given enough of a chance. With Smith coming in and running a flexible scheme, it should allow players like Johnthan Banks to get back in the fold.
The flexibility and concept of fitting the scheme to the roster is exciting enough, but of course, there is the usual excitement that players like Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander bring. Factor in new additions like Robert Ayers, Brent Grimes, Noah Spence and Vernon Hargreaves, and the promise and intrigue for the Tampa Bay defense are high entering the 2016 season.
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