Defensive Line Hurts Secondary, Secondary Hurts Defensive Line
What was the biggest factor in the Buccaneers five game winning streak, the pass rush. In the Seahawks game they had six sacks and shut Russell Wilson down. With a strong pass rush they force hurried plays from the quarterback helping the secondary get turnovers and contain players from making big plays. The Buccaneers still have not had a defensive line that included a 10 sack player since the days of Simeon Rice. Gerald McCoy had his lowest sack total since 2012. Robert Ayers had 6.5 while missing seven games. Noah Spence is the bright spot while recording 5.5 sacks in his first season in the NFL with a torn shoulder labrum for the entire season. The line managed to contain the running game this season but were ranked 30th in quarterback hurries.
While the secondary needs get some help from the line they needs to hang with their guys for long enough to give the line enough time to get to the quarterback. Brent Grimes and Keith Tandy were the lone bright spots on this secondary. Grimes has been able to make plays all over the field but he is getting up there in age and Tandy only started six games. Vernon Hargreaves had the worst statistical season for a corner back this season. He is the only corner in the league who gave up 1000 receiving yards. Hargreaves is a rookie but he only had one interception being the most targeted corner in the league. Over time he can develop but there is no reason why the first round pick in the NFL should be the worst corner in the NFL. I don’t really think I need to talk about all the blown coverage’s because he is a free agent and they should not be bringing him back. The best thing that the defense needs is experience and leadership.
The Buccaneers are a young team and work needs to be done if they want to make the playoffs next season. While they have a lot to grow off of from this past season they can still regress. It’s always hard to think of the worst case scenario but anything is possible. As Bucs fans we have to trust the leadership’s decision making because the only thing we can control is show up to home games and get loud. The dream is the playoffs but the nightmare is a real possibility.