It is truly a new era for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as Todd Bowles has the defense flying to the football in his first year as the defense coordinator.
There is a major storyline that is becoming a common theme throughout Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp: the defense is playing like a bunch with their hair on fire. A unit that was shredded against the pass and the run a year ago, new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles has the defensive side of the ball blitzing more, playing more man coverage, and much more aggressive.
"“This [Buccaneers] defense is NOTHING like it was last season. The aggressive nature from coverages to blitz, is crazy different under DC Todd Bowles” (PewterReport’s Trevor Sikkema via Twitter)"
Clips are all over the internet of Ndamukong Suh and Vita Vea blowing up their teammates on the opposite side of the ball and wreaking havoc in the backfield. Gholston has been getting the starting reps next to these two as he looks to bounce back from back-to-back sub-par seasons.
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Mike Smith played a scheme dependent on zone coverage, pushing physical players further off the line of scrimmage; Bowles has always been an aggressive defensive coordinator, and his philosophy has not changed one bit over the years. Defensive backs Carlton Davis, Vernon Hargreaves, and Sean Murphy-Bunting are already excelling in this scheme.
Hargreaves was hurt last year, but struggled the previous two years playing off the line of scrimmage, while Davis also had more than a handful of growing pains as a rookie last season. Davis has already shown a great improvement thus far in camp, Hargreaves has shown flashes as well.
The middle of the defense will not be a worry for the Buccaneers as Lavonte David and Devin White look to man the linebacker posts. These two, veteran and rookie, will have the ability to flash and make plays behind Vea and Suh.
From top to bottom, the defense is flying around the field. While expectations can be understandably low and cause hesitation, Bowles has his defense ready to prove the league wrong.